American 04 501 8888 Sheikh Zayed Road

The restaurant is situated in the elegant lobby area of The H Dubai and its décor is modern, giving the impression of a fine-dining venue. However, without a wall separating it from the sights and sounds of the lobby area, the dining experience loses a little exclusivity. We’ve found staff to be a bit slow off the mark, but once they click into gear, they’re attentive and efficient. The menu is refined and dishes are described simply and clearly. There are plenty of healthy choices across the fish, seafood and vegetarian main course options, too, but sometimes not everything is available. The organic kale and quinoa starter has a nice texture and taste – the fresh citrus and feta cheese dressing really lifts it. And it’s a generous portion, too. The pan-seared baby chicken main, with carrot purée and green vegetables is a sizzling delight, the herb-tinged flavours adding additional depth to the well-cooked meat. The sautéed wild mushrooms side dish is one of the highlights of the menu. Cooked in parsley garlic oil, they’re a great match for the meat.

French 04 435 5577 Al Habtoor City

The vast interiors of BQ - French Kitchen & Bar are reminiscent of a neighbourhood French bistro. Light woods, green velvet seats and the monochromatic tiled floors transport you to France, while its multiple offerings (there’s a buffet area, patisserie, main dining room and a chic bar) remind you that you’re still in a Dubai hotel. It’s not particularly atmospheric, but for a meeting or group gathering it’s a worthy choice, especially because of its reasonable prices. Plus, the fact that you’re in a St. Regis means you get the five-star service to go with it. The menu is large – full of French classics from escargots to soupe à l’oignon with Gruyère toast, also featuring a more Mediterranean influence. The tomato tart tartin with Brie is a delight, while the burrata with tomatoes and aubergine is creamy and moreish. On the other hand, the salted cod is surprisingly lacking in saltiness. Most impressive is the generous portion of grilled sea bass – its juicy flesh and crispy skin marry well with a fresh, herbed couscous and the tart tomato vinaigrette.

04 324 8888 Oud Metha

When a new chef takes over an award-winning restaurant, questions inevitably arise. Will they live up to their departing predecessor? Will we still love the food? Thankfully, under the leadership of executive chef Doxis Bekris, we’re pleased to say the answer to both is a resounding yes. Get to Solo early and it can feel a bit like you’re rattling around the huge space. And it can take time to attract staff’s attention (the focus seems to be on preparing for busier times ahead). But you’ll be pleased for the time alone with the diverse menu. Look to the vitello tonnato antipasti, slow-cooked veal with tuna sauce, or the rather decadent carpaccio di capesante, scallop carpaccio with ox bone marrow and caviar. The fresh, thin and crispy, stone-baked pizzas are a classic, hearty choice, too. The cheese-to-topping ratio is spot on and the thin base doesn’t buckle under the weight of it all. Step outside of your comfort zone and try some tasty home-style dishes prepared with finesse. Solo is a cool, contemporary spot for a classically Italian dinner. Live the dolce vita and try it now.

There’s strong competition when it comes to finding a place to eat in DIFC, and The Gramercy has carved out a niche as a laid-back gastropub. It’s busiest during weekday evenings when hungry and thirsty workers pour out of the surrounding offices, but is good for a quiet catch-up or as a place to watch the football during weekends. The menu isn’t overwhelming, with only one page featuring starters, sandwiches, salads, steaks and a few other main courses. It’s an international selection, taking in everything from tagliatelle to fish and chips. By focusing on a core of well-known meals, The Gramercy is able to consistently serve up satisfying dishes, particularly suited to hungry diners. It’s also a great destination for hops fans, with a selection of craft beverages that are hard to find elsewhere in Dubai. The open-plan layout makes for a bustling atmosphere on busy nights, and the decor fits in well with the sophisticated DIFC surroundings.


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