Taste of Dubai dining guide

From celebrity chefs to popular pop-ups, get ready to eat

As everyone knows, Dubai loves its food. Whether street snacks, fine dining or brunching, we’re all about the eating here. And what better place to explore the delightful culinary offerings of this great city than at an entire event dedicated to them? Step forward, Taste of Dubai. Held at Media City Amphitheatre, this three-day sampling session, which is now in its tenth year, will have your mouth watering (literally). Peruse food stands from 24 top restaurants and enjoy demos from famous chefs including Gary Rhodes and Atul Kochhar. Here are some of the restaurants to look out for...

Burger & Lobster

There might be just two main dishes on the menu, but what a pair to base a restaurant on, we say. This cool and casual spot, brought to Dubai by way of London, serves up – you guessed it – burgers and lobster. We love the original lobster roll, packed full of juicy meat tossed in a light wasabi mayo, all wedged into a toasted brioche (Dhs30). Yum.

Carnival By Tresind

This innovative Indian eatery presents dishes full of flavour in a colourful and contemporary style. We suggest you head here for interesting takes on Indian food and try either the Italian job (chicken piccata kebab, sautéed vegetables, tempered cream, Dhs20) or Viva la Goa (braised beef short ribs, goan vindaloo, with mashed potato, Dhs30).

Time Out Dubai’s seafood restaurant of the year 2017 must be on your “to try” list. And if you haven’t yet made it down to the eatery at Fairmont Dubai on Sheikh Zayed Road, then catch it here (see what we did there?). Serving up only the freshest of ingredients, on the menu at this pop-up is crispy shrimp (Dhs20) and king fish tacos (Dhs30). If you have a sweet tooth you can’t miss the S’mores pizza (Dhs20). Chocolate and marshmallows in a pizza format? What’s not to love?

Cook Hall
This recently opened US-style gastropub was a runner-up in the Best Casual Newcomer category at the Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2017. And if you’re after some comfort cooking, this could be the food stand for you. The menu offers up a Reuben slider, made with corned beef, sauerkraut and swiss cheese (Dhs20), duck tacos (Dhs20) and more. Still got room? Squeeze in a traditional sticky toffee pudding for dessert (Dhs20). A hug in foodie form.

Fratelli La Bufala

This casual chain serves everything you could want when it comes to authentic Italian food. Set up in 2003 by the Fratelli brothers, this eatery places buffalo mozzarella and meat at the core of its food offering. Perfect for those carb lovers out there, dig into some traditional, and generous, portions of lasagne, gnocchi and calzone (all Dhs30). Don’t worry, you can have a nap on the grass afterwards...

J&G Steakhouse
Sure to be a popular attraction for meat lovers, our Best Steakhouse award-winner is renowned for a super menu. Here, we like the sound of the slider, made with wagyu beef, aged cave Cheddar and tomato chutney, a bargain at Dhs15. For an even more indulgent feast enjoy a black truffle and Comte cheese fritter (Dhs20) followed up by braised beef cheek, purple potato and carrot and cumin purée (Dhs30). Pop-up food doesn’t come much classier than this.

We love the tasty offerings at this Korean/Japanese culture clash of a restaurant. The flavours are exciting and fresh and all look
as good as they taste. The menu here lists sweet potato noodles and wagyu buns. Sounds intriguing.


Japanese staples are given a modern makeover at this stylish eatery. For something entirely different, try the tuna sashimi pizza with truffle ponzu (Dhs20), more fun than an actual pizza, we’d say, plus without the carb coma. Mains include soft shell crab sliders (Dhs20) and slow-cooked brisket in a steamed bun with cucumber pickle (Dhs30). Delish.

Spice & Ice
If you’re in the mood for something with a kick, head here. Known for it’s molecular gastromony (as is the trend in Indian restaurants in this city) you can try out a “molecular” papdi chaat for free. Opt for the prawn coconut chilli (Dhs30) followed by a potato masala dosa (Dhs30) for a full meal.

The Gramercy
Sometimes you just need a good dose of comfort food. And happily, that’s what The Gramercy does best, albeit in a more grown-up way. Tuck into beef hotdogs, cheese fries or a baked potato with raclette cheese (all Dhs30) to chill you out and cheer you up.


This Canadian cuisine is usually served up high on the 68th floor of the JW Marriott Marquis, but you can enjoy it on ground level this weekend. Don’t miss the signature southern-fried chicken, served with Tabasco honey and Brussels sprout slaw (Dhs30) and the S’mores (Dhs20), homemade graham crackers (think digestive biscuits) toasted marshmallows and chocolate sauce. Plus, as if you needed another reason, Weslodge was recently crowned Time Out Dubai’s Best North American & Caribbean restaurant.

The others…
Still hungry? There are also fantastic offerings from these top restaurants: Abyat, Aubaine, Cucina, GRK Fresh Greek, Lucky Voice Olea, Royal Orchid, Somamu and Teatro.
Standard Dhs75 (advance), Dhs90 (on the door), VIP Dhs240 (advance), Dhs260 (on the door), free for kids under 12. Thu March 9 4pm-midnight, Fri March 10 noon-midnight, Sat March 11 noon-11pm. Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, www.tasteofdubaifestival.com.

Also at Taste of Dubai

R&B and pop singer Billy Ocean kicks off the weekend when he appears onstage at 9.30pm on Thursday March 9. Get ready for some classic tracks such as When the Going Gets Tough and Get Outta My Dreams. Other performers taking to the stage over the weekend include Scottish-Canadian rockers The Boxtones, Dubai’s The Maplejacks and finally 4The Music. The popular band, known for its smooth jazz, has made two previous appearances at Taste of Dubai and headlined the first-ever Taste of Abu Dhabi in 2014.

Celebrity Chefs
Want some tips from the top? A stellar cast of world-class chefs will be converging on the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre over the weekend, too, taking part in cooking challenges and demos. These include Gary Rhodes, Luke Thomas and Atul Kochhar, who all have restaurants in Dubai, as well as famous faces Jean-Christophe Novelli, Michel Roux Jr, Aldo Zilli and Eric Lanlard, among others.

Kids’ zone

No need to leave the little ones at home, My Gym UAE has a whole zone dedicated to your sprogs, from creative activities such as storytelling and arts and crafts, to gymnastic stations, Zumba classes, relays and face painting.

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