Best dishes in Dubai
Time Out is the guide to the best dishes in Dubai, and here we reflect on all we ate in 2016 at Dubai's best restaurants, including meat and seafood
Time Out has no problem telling it like is, and we’ve tried so much food in the city that quite frankly it’s alarming. And while once a year at our restaurant awards we share the best restaurants to go to, based on service, ambience and a multitude of things, we thought it would be nice to zone in on individual dishes. Here are some menu items that make the trip to a restaurant completely worth it on its own.
When dining at Zuma expectations are always high. This is a multiple award-winner, and is therefore always packed out. It’s also very expensive, but don’t let that put you off – save up and go. We mean it, if you dine at one Japanese restaurant in the city, let it be this one.
Book in advance, as it could take weeks before you get a table, it’s that popular. But happily, it ticks all the boxes once you’re in.
Winner of this category – as well as Best Brunch – for the second year in a row, the Japanese juggernaut that is Zuma shows no signs of slowing. It’s unfailingly popular and always busy.
Launched in Knightsbridge, London, in 2002, German-born chef Rainer Becker’s brand has gone from strength to strength, with branches from New York to Miami and Rome.
It’s not the prettiest of locations, set in DIFC with views over the main road, but you’ll hardly notice when your attention is fully focused on what’s on your plate.
Don’t miss the beef and green chilli robata skewers, they’re perfectly charred. The sweet potato with teriyaki and sesame is also a hit.
Main courses are sublime. The black cod is an obvious choice, although an excellent one, but we’d suggest the roasted Boston lobster, with shiso ponzu butter. It’s rich, tender, garlicky and moreish, with every bite a complete delight. And that’s what Zuma is, a complete culinary delight.
The bottom line
Award-winning Japanese. Book it, now.
One of the first things you’ll notice about Ayubowan is the amazing smell – scents of curry and fresh spices greet you as soon as you walk through the large wooden doors.
The restaurant is small, with only a handful of tables, of which all are empty when we arrive. However, this means our service is excellent.
Our waiter greets us like we’re old friends and talks us through the menu, advising us on which local Sri Lankan dishes he recommends. With curries starting from as little as Dhs20 you might think taste is compromised, but not in this restaurant.
The (admittedly slightly alarmingly neon yellow) potato mustard curry is a highlight for us. It’s spicy, yet sweet thanks to the coconut sauce, with a kick of mustard at the end. Order it with a portion of rice and you’ll be one happy diner. For meat lovers we recommend the string hoppers (circular noodle patties) with beef curry.
A whopping 15 hoppers arrive with a side of steaming spicy beef curry. We insist you add coconut paste to this dish, as although it’s brilliant without, it’s even better thanks to this addition.
Portions are on the large side, so arrive hungry and sit back for an excellent, traditional Sri Lankan meal.
There are three of these venues across Dubai and we’re fans of all of them. The atmosphere is always good, the selection of hops (Belgian, of course) is wide, and the food is consistent. For fans of mussels, meat and cheese boards or ribs, we recommend them highly. Our favourite is the Festival City branch, with a lovely outdoor area looking over the Creek. Look out for themed deals throughout the week, too.
Views of Ski Dubai, plenty of screens to watch football and daily happy hours on drinks are just three reasons we’re fans of Aprés. The ski chalet stylings of the décor and the laid-back vibe are also good reasons to visit. So is the pizza, which is ace. For those who like to try something different, check out the hoisin duck option, with a white sauce. It’s like a Peking duck wrap, pizza-style.
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