Best restaurants in Dubai

After 12 months of eating our way around the city, Time Out Dubai held their 11th annual celebration of the very best restaurants in Dubai. The Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards took place in late March 2016, and you can relive them using the links below.

The team take the job very seriously, and scour the emirate – from Jebel Ali to Mirdif – looking for the finest food experiences on offer. For the 2015/16 awards, we were surprised by some old favourites, impressed by eateries in what should now be their "difficult second album" period and were blown away by the quantity and quality of new kids on the chopping block.

In a city that is ever-growing, the culinary scene flourishes in tandem and continues to attract star names. Their presence can only help the overall profile of Dubai, but that shouldn't overshadow the reliable stalwarts that serve excellent food year-in, year-out, and have done for many years.

So, after almost 500 restaurant reviews, carried out independently and anonymously, and more than Dhs200,000 spent to help us achieve it, here is the official, definitive list of Dubai's best restaurants in 2016.
Best restaurants in Dubai

Time Out Dubai profiles the best restaurants in Dubai, including brunch, steakhouse, Thai, Indian, Italian, French, Japanese, Asian, Chinese and Cafe

After 12 months of eating our way around the city, Time Out Dubai held their 11th annual celebration of the very best restaurants in Dubai. The Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards took place in late March 2016, and you can relive them using the links below.

The team take the job very seriously, and scour the emirate – from Jebel Ali to Mirdif – looking for the finest food experiences on offer. For the 2015/16 awards, we were surprised by some old favourites, impressed by eateries in what should now be their "difficult second album" period and were blown away by the quantity and quality of new kids on the chopping block.

In a city that is ever-growing, the culinary scene flourishes in tandem and continues to attract star names. Their presence can only help the overall profile of Dubai, but that shouldn't overshadow the reliable stalwarts that serve excellent food year-in, year-out, and have done for many years.

So, after almost 500 restaurant reviews, carried out independently and anonymously, and more than Dhs200,000 spent to help us achieve it, here is the official, definitive list of Dubai's best restaurants in 2016.

04 336 4444 Sheikh Zayed Road

This swanky Asian, set high on the 36th floor of The H Dubai, is the ideal place for a fun, swish night out. As soon as you enter you’ll be wowed by the sparkling vistas out from the floor-to-ceiling windows and the classy, low-key vibe.

The signature dishes here should not be missed. The cuisine is “Mediterrasian”, a blend of light, fresh Mediterranean flavours with the bold, powerful tastes of Asia, and the kitchen does this tremendously.

PLAY’s Pita Surprise – baked crispy pita bread filled with wagyu beef and truffle paste, a Time Out Dubai favourite – is a simply stunning dish. Unique, fun and wonderfully indulgent, the crisp crunch of the casing houses a marvellously creamy, smooth filling. The sushi and sashimi are also delightful, fresh and tasty, too.

Main dishes range from entrecôte with café de PLAY butter – a tender cut of meat enhanced by that unique, tasty spread – grilled sea bass and black cod to oven-baked marinated saffron chicken. However, the spaghetti carbonara with veal pancetta made tableside in a giant Parmesan wheel is a showstopper. Not strictly Asian, it’s a dish served with flair and fun, and encapsulates what’s PLAY is all about.

Sit back and take in the ambiance, and don’t arrive too early – this place ramps up later in the evening. Book later to enjoy the top atmosphere alongside those views and that food.

The bottom line:
Creative dishes and striking views

+971 56 474 6812 Al Quoz

A noisy, happy and casual café, Tom& Serg hasn’t seen any drop off in popularity over the past few years.

Founded by Tom Arnel, a chef and foodie from Melbourne, and Sergio Lopez, a savvy F&B operations director from Madrid, the café – a former Time Out Dubai Best Café winner – prides itself on nutritious, gourmet food and laid-back vibes to go with it.

Upon walking in, the place is heaving, with the crowd laughing and chatting easily. We make our way upstairs, to a table overlooking a bustling ground floor with seating adjacent to the kitchen and bakery.

Tom & Serg is known for its love for avocado, so we can’t miss the marinated green tomato avo on toast – and wait for a good dose of the fatty, single-seeded berry. We’re not disappointed. The tangy green tomatoes are the perfect match for the creamy avocado, with a red dukka and parsley salsa giv-ing it a bitter, satisfying twist.

After the zesty boost, we need something neutral, and so opt for the Caesar baguette – the famous salad in sandwich form – with juicy roasted chicken, crispy veal bacon and leaves. It’s tasty and a hit.

We round it off with a generous serving of salted caramel French toast, complemented with fresh macerated rhubarbs and glazed black cherries. It’s the perfect sweet treat.

Perfect for families, the café has just launched a new kids’ menu, too, showing its dedication to good nutrition for all ages, with dishes including Egg Soldiers (Dhs32), apple pancakes (Dhs30) and chicken quesadillas (Dhs36) among others.

Overall Tom&Serg feels like home, but with food that we’d be too lazy to make.

The bottom line
Cosy venue that pays attention to detail

French 04 439 0505 DIFC

Perennially popular and consistently good, you can’t go wrong with a table booking at La Petite Maison. Whether you want to impress a business client, visiting family or a loved one, it will come up trumps.

As our current Best French restaurant, LPM wows every time. Inside, the décor is understated, all neutral shades of creams, whites and beiges. But the fine-dining white tablecloths and flecks of gold give it an elegance and class that shines through.

We visit on a weeknight, and it is, as expected, packed. The chatter rings out giving a buzzy, friendly atmosphere.

The food is simply outstanding. From the sweet, caramelised onions atop a wonderfully crisp pastry that forms the delightful pissaladière (onion tart), to exquisite lamb cutlets, perfectly pink inside their expertly charred exteriors, everything here will blow you away. Order a side of the intensely rich and creamy Dauphinoise potatoes and it will enhance your meal ten-fold.

For veg-lovers a pumpkin risotto is packed full of flavour, while our starter of crab and lobster salad is fresh and zesty with an ample helping of the meaty crustacean.

We love LPM, and if you’ve been, you’ll know exactly why. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?

The bottom line
A multiple award-winner for a reason.

+971 4 384 8484 World Trade Center Area

Stylish Chinese lattice, low mood lighting and sleek wooden furniture set the scene on arrival at Hakkasan, in the iconic Emirates Towers.

The restaurant is candlelit, the gleaming bar is vast and impressive and the feel is cosy and authentic. Hakkasan offers fine dining at its fanciest, and the contemporary Cantonese menu is top notch. The three-time Best Chinese Time Out winner is still a benchmark against which most of its city counterparts can be judged.

Prepare to be bowled over by the roast chicken in satay sauce, which is served in a crispy skin swimming in a thick and flavoursome peanut curry. The stir-fried duck breast with dried chilli and Szechuan peppercorn is bursting with tantalising flavour and the crispy duck rolls are dangerously moreish.
We also recommend trying the dim sum, which is as fresh and juicy as we’ve known it in the entire city and will leave you clamouring for more.

Service, as you might expect, is also flawless, and waiters are efficient and professional.

All of the aforementioned niceties, however, do come at a price, and although you’ll leave thoroughly impressed, your wallets will be considerably lighter. Nevertheless, Hakkasan is stunning overall, and well worth visiting for a truly special occasion.

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