Best dishes in dubai seafood
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.
If you work in DIFC, chances are you’ll have been to BOCA. With a fun, post-office vibe it’s a lively and relaxed place for pint with colleagues or friends. But don’t dismiss it as just a bar – this Mediterranean restaurant deserves you staying for dinner.
It’s a cool little hangout, which opens out to a terrace outside, making it feel big, bright and like the place you (and a sizeable chunk of the DIFC crowd) really want be in cooler weather. It’s big, bright and airy and is the place to be in the winter.
The restaurant has made an effort to cater to modern tastes, too, boasting a vegan menu (including vegan grape varieties) as well as sourcing local and sustainable ingredients. Dibba Bay oysters, Emirati sea bass, vegetables from the Waterfront Market in Deira – you can guarantee your produce is fresh and seasonal.
The tasty menu is primarily Spanish – a variety of paella is available, including a vegan rendition – and is heavily focused on tapas such as manzanilla and octopus carpaccio. Some dishes even take on a local twist, such as sweet potato hummus.
With a fun bar, lively staff and top dishes, stop in for dinner in BOCA, DIFC office worker or not, and that’s why it claimed a Highly Commended gong at the 2019 Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards.
Open Mon-Sat noon-1am, Sun noon-midnight. Licensed. Gate Village 6, DIFC (04 323 1833).
A bona fide family-friendly Dubai institution, Reform Social & Grill is that rare thing – a community pub.
Set in The Lakes, Reform is perfect for a weekend meal with a few drinks – mum and dad can chill out in the garden and let the little ones go wild in the small playground, as well as the makeshift football pitch that goes along with it.
During the week this place also gets rammed with people popping in for a pint and bite to eat on the way home after work. And those bites are very good, by the way, hence the award.
Pâtés, steak tartare and salads pepper the starters – and the pear and Stilton tart is a corker, too. Meanwhile there are four packed sharing platters to choose from, top grills good salads. A special shout out to the burgers as well. Juicy and fat. Just as they should be.
Weekends also mean special roast dinners, see right, with options including chicken and beef – as you’d expect. There’s also a properly authentic bangers and mash on the menu, too, and that will keep you coming back for more, as all the dishes here do.
There are good brekkies at this place, too. This is a real top choice for grub that we wholeheartedly recommend.
Make no mistake, this French restaurant is extravagant. With grand, regal seats in royal blue and chandeliers throughout the sprawling, crisp white dining room, decadence is on show here. But it’s also super-cool with a fun vibe and buzzing atmosphere.
It brings a sense of dining in the south of France and a chilled-out, leisurely Mediterranean ambience that makes a meal here an excellent choice.
Not least because the food is top-notch, too. Fresh, seasonal ingredients directly from the Mediterranean are used to create some of the best dishes that French cooking is famous for. The restaurant’s signatures include escargots à l’ail – Burgundy snails with cured meat, garlic butter and smoked mashed potatoes, plus shards of flatbread with which to scoop it all up. If you’ve never had this French classic before, Bistrot Bagatelle is the place to try it.
Meat-lovers will want to dive into such Gallic staples as tartare de boeuf, starring hand-cut cured beef tenderloin, with capers, cornichons, truffle and pecorino. It’s a real treat as a precursor to the signature poulet rôti entire à la truffle – that’s a whole, truffled roasted chicken with baby potatoes and chicken jus. A carnivore’s dream. If you love seafood, don’t miss the lobster linguine, it’s a delightful pan of al dente pasta, a whole lobster and a silky tomato sauce that’s perfect sharing date-night food. Staff are super friendly and helpful, too.
Don’t arrive too early, as it will be super quiet, but head here later and the restaurant’s vibe picks up, with almost a club-like atmosphere – pumping music and dim lighting.
For a sophisticated meal in high-end, but unstuffy setting, get yourselves here pronto.
The bottom line
Super-cool spot with excellent food and a great vibe for a late evening dinner.
Royal China is steeped in luxury, from the huge red tasselled chandeliers down to the dark polished wood floors – and the garden is something else completely. It’s candlelit, romantic and ambient, and the tranquility feels a million miles away from the bustle of DIFC.
Not sure what to choose from the menu? Order prawn crackers and pickles to nibble while you peruse the options – though you should know that the prawn dim sum is unbelievably juicy and fresh. The calamari, meanwhile, is unlikely to remain unfinished for long, delicately flavoured in an encased in a beautifully light, crisp batter. (You may not wish to share with your dining companion – but Time Out accepts no responsibility if your table manners fall so far short.).
Elsewhere on the list, crispy shredded beef has a perfect balance of crunchy exterior and tender meat, and arrives garnished in fiery red chillies that deliver a seriously moreish kick. Also try the sweet and sour chicken dish, which is laden with crunchy onions and fresh peppers that balance out the rich sauce perfectly.
An oasis in the city’s busy business district, prepare to enjoy the serenity, the grandeur, and the completely splendid food. It is one of our Highly Commended in the Best Chinese Restaurants category, after all.
The bottom line:
Top-notch Chinese cuisine in a fancy location
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