The Hottest New Restaurants in the UAE
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The Hottest New Restaurants in the UAE

Looking for inspiration about where to dine in the UAE? You might want to check out these hot new venues - but don’t forget to book ahead!

The Hottest New Restaurants in the UAE

One of the great things about living in the UAE is the fantastic dining options on offer. From foodie faves and glitzy five-star celebrity endorsed concepts, to low key neighborhood joints without the razzamatazz, there are so many places to eat that it can be hard to choose. To make things even more difficult, this year has seen an explosion of new restaurant openings in the UAE, so to help you out, we’re listing a few of the newly opened and soon-to-be iin business hot venues across the region.

Cafés, Bistros and Grills

1. Fraiche Café and Bistro, situated in the Swiss Tower, Lake Towers may sound like a restaurant with an identity crises but is already quietly gaining a solid reputation for serving high-end bistro style fare with a twist, such as Canadian poutine with crab (that’s chips, cheese, gravy and crab if you’re a Brit). Critics seem to like its innovative and well executed take on classic dishes, and the weekend all-you-can-eat breakfast is already proving highly popular too.

2. Another celebrity-backed joint, Ketchup is, in fact, a relaxed, modern style diner located in Boulevard Plaza that is about great, all-American staples such as the signature classic New Yorker burger, steaks and fries. And, as the name implies, there are a number of flavored ketchups to choose from too.

3. It may seem like something of a brave move to bring healthy California style eating to a region not usually associated with strict portion control, but with no item on the menu containing more than 400 calories, HEAT Café & Grill offers a refreshing – and surprisingly hearty – alternative for diet conscious diners. Think plenty of high protein, low fat dishes such as the classic chicken burger, and there are even skinny genie muffins for a guilt-free sweet treat.

4. The Magazine Shop - Media City is a minimal café lined with lots of indie magazines for perusal and purchase. Specializing in fresh, ethically sourced coffee served by professional baristas, there are also cakes, sandwiches and pastries to keep you content as you while away an hour or two in this stylish, yet chilled space.

5. The iconic brand Shake Shack recently opened a new branch at Dubai Mall and continues to do what it does best; serving high quality American style food such as the Yukon crinkle cut fries and the 100% all natural Shack Burger. Made from American Black Angus Halal beef, this burger contains no hormones or antibiotics. The shakes and desserts will leave you drooling too.


6. Bā takes its name from the Chinese word for eight; an auspicious number that symbolizes wealth and good fortune. This restaurant-cum-bar runs with the theme with a fabulous, five-star ocean front location at the ritzy Fairmont The Palm in Dubai. The menu celebrates an array of regional Chinese cuisines, from fiery Szechuan to Cantonese and tableside wok cooking, along with traditional art performances and tea ceremonies bringing a further sense of theatre to the proceedings. The late night upstairs bar is touted as a destination in itself and features a regular DJ and signature cocktails.

Latin and South American

7. OCacti describes itself as a “fine dining restaurant and cocktail bar serving Mexican Authentic cuisine.” Chef Marco Abed certainly has a pedigree in Latin cuisine, which ought to please fans of Tex-Mex looking for a more refined take on the genre. Situated at the new Pier 7 complex in Marina Mall.

European / International

8. La Serre at the Vida Downtown Hotel is already gathering rave reviews as a standout restaurant on the Dubai dining scene thanks to a highly talented team headed by hot Chef Izu Ani of La Petite Maison. The service side of La Serre is overseen by Heather Mcknight, formerly of Heston Blumenthal's restaurant Dinner in London. Describing itself as a “family friendly, yet sophisticated French restaurant,” La Serre seems to be living up to its promise with a mouthwatering menu of Mediterranean inspired fare and a very decent wine list. If you fancy something a little more casual, La Serre Boulangerie is just the spot for artisan breads, cakes and Viennese pastries over afternoon tea. Late bites are served till 10:30, and they also do a great breakfast. The décor in both venues is an effortless, pared down style with lots of light and classic elements that keep the vibe relaxed, fresh and modern.

9. Dubai resident, celebrity chef and precision master Gary Rhodes continues to build on his success in the region with the recently opened Rhodes 44 at the St. Regis Abu Dhabi. The menu is a blend of international food subtly infused with local flavors, and guests can opt to dine inside or al fresco in a garden overlooking the Cornice.

10. Bapas is a Belgian restaurant and lounge situated in Dubai’s H Hotel. The venue’s decor is a little out of the box for the region: a dark and stylish blend of luxe industrial with a nod to the belle époque style that typifies Belgian design heritage. The menu has an international flavor and consists of a huge variety of salads, sandwiches and bistro style dishes, along with Bapas (that’s Belgian inspired tapas if you’re wondering) that are suitable for sharing. Of course, there are also Belgian specialties such as moules frites and waffles. They also offer an extensive take-out menu.

11. Noire at Spectrum on One is the UAE’s first standalone ‘dine in the dark’ concept restaurant and is already causing a stir since its recent opening. The one and a half hour experience starts with a welcome reception in the light, to discuss a menu that features a three-course gourmet meal and paired beverages. Diners then eat in pitch black and are encouraged to go with an open mind and see it as chance to rethink the culinary experience, thanks to a sensorial shift of perspective which focuses fully on the palate and nose, rather than judging a food by sight. It certainly makes for an intriguing and potentially far less formal evening, but a change of shirt may be advised if you’re the clumsy type.

12. The Sofitel Palm Jumeirah Dubai has recently opened with no less than six new restaurants including Porterhouse serving steaks; Moana, a seafood and sushi restaurant; and a Chinese restaurant, Hong Loong. The most intriguing option, perhaps, is their modern French offering Studio Du Chef where you dine opposite the open kitchen, watching chefs as they create inspired fusion dishes such as sesame crusted tuna loin topped with pan-seared foie gras and caramelized shallots.

13. Media One Hotel is set to launch a new restaurant, bar and lounge, Q43, in October. The concept is simple – to provide drinks and great food that’s ideal for sharing, along with an up-tempo, friendly vibe and lots of favorite tunes. The emphasis is on value for money and, citing a gap in the four-star market as inspiration, they even plan to introduce a loyalty card to redeem for days out, offers and other freebies. In a sea of increasingly fancy options, this venue has all the hallmarks of a winning combination, perfect to kick back with friends or colleagues after work.

14. Another highly anticipated October opening is the Brit-centric Reform Social & Grill, at The Lakes, Dubai. Following the successful blueprint of their English gentleman’s club meets grand café concept at the Mandeville Hotel in London’s Marylebone district, diners can expect to find quintessential British dishes such as a Dutch Scotch egg, fish & chips, and  a hay-smoked lamb rump. The delectable sounding bar snacks are sure to tempt with classics such as  Welsh rarebit on toast and duck faggots. There’s even a proper pudding menu, with old-fashioned favorites such as sticky toffee pudding and Bakewell pudding. Reform promises to offer the very best in comfort eating, served up in stylish surroundings, with a touch of English eccentricity. As expected, the drinks menu is equally appealing, with traditional British ales and ciders, and a cocktail menu that is chock full of glamorous, updated Hemingway-era classics.


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