Restaurant openings: your guide to what's new on the UAE's dining scene
With a new restaurant opening its doors in the region every other week, we thought it was time to put together a list of some of the new culinary offerings worth putting on the hit list. This is just a snapshot, and there is more to come in the coming weeks and months, with the opening of La Mer – the new mixed-use development between Palm Jumeirah and Jumeirah Bay – and the growth of DIFC and the capital’s Galleria. So, tuck in, it’s a flavour-filled landscape.
La Petite Maison, The Galleria on Al Maryah Island
One of the most anticipated openings of the year, La Petite Maison Abu Dhabi can seat 140 guests inside and outside. The outdoor terrace offers beautiful views of the waterfront and downtown Abu Dhabi and the space has been designed to replicate the award-winning Dubai branch.
Serves: French bistro fare, inspired by Nicoise cuisine. Signature dishes include snails with garlic butter, sea bass carpaccio with salsa verde and squab pigeon cooked in hay, honey and mustard.
Prices: From Dh25 to Dh3,300
Details: Open seven days from 12pm to 3.30pm and 7pm to 11.30pm. www.thegalleria.ae
Filini Garden, Radisson Blu Yas Island
One of the newest dining additions to Yas Island, Filini Garden is likely to be a popular haunt during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix later this month. The restaurant is stylish with an upper and lower deck and views out over the golf greens and the sea nearby. This has to be one of the most relaxed dining
options outside the city centre.
Serves: Contemporary Italian cuisine. Signature dishes include veal chop Milanese and taglione lobster.
Price: From Dh56 to Dh132
Details: Open daily for dinner from 6pm. www.filinirestaurant.com/restaurant-abudhabi
Toro Toro, Jumeirah Etihad Towers
Taking up residence in the location formerly occupied by Pearls by Michael Caines, Richard Sandoval’s Latin restaurant Toro Toro sits adjacent to the private marina and offers a colourful dining experience. The attraction is as much about the decor as it is the food, with standout interiors including Mexican handmade carpets, colourful furnishings and contemporary Peruvian artworks.
Serves: Latin-inspired cuisine. Sharing plates include ceviches, tiraditos and empanadas. A tip – the tasting menu is worth a try.
Price: Dishes range from Dh60 to Dh510
Details: Open daily from 7pm to midnight. www.torotoroad.com/
99 Sushi Bar & Restaurant, The Galleria, Al Maryah Island
A Japanese eatery like no other in the capital, 99 Sushi is the brainchild of siblings Pedro and Fernanado De León.
This restaurant is the first for the brand outside of Spain and with 99 seats inside and out, diners are assured a high-end culinary experience packed with flavour and innovation.
Serves: Japanese “haute cuisine” with notable dishes including crispy tiger prawn tempura, CapuMiso soup, Wagyu meat maki, tuna tartar, fatty tuna carpaccio sashimi and rib-eye marbling 9 Wagyu.
Price: From Dh35 to Dh460
Details: Lunch daily from 12.30pm to 3.30pm and dinner from 7pm to midnight. www.99sushibar.com
Eat Greek, Kouzina, The Galleria, Al Maryah Island
Another of the Dining Collection restaurants, Eat Greek Kouzina Abu Dhabi is the fourth branch of the popular eatery in the UAE. Situated next to Bentley Bistro and with a 100-seat capacity, Greek foodies will enjoy the range of flavours head chef Theodore Rouvas has put in his menu. Ingredients are sourced fresh from farms in Greece with a variety of feta, saganaki, graviera and kefalotyri cheeses. Vegetarians are well catered for here.
Serves: Contemporary Greek cuisine with a twist. Signature dishes include Kadaifi Jumbo Prawns and Soutzoukakia à la Grecque, Greek style Bifteki and Moussaka.
Price: From Dh60 to Dh280
Details: Open from 12pm to midnight. www.galleria.ae
Little Miss India, Fairmont the Palm
The first Indian restaurant for the Fairmont Group, Little Miss India has an actual Miss India as its ambassador. The eatery is a character-themed restaurant built around the fictional Mohini Singh, the granddaughter of a Bollywood actress and a well-travelled young woman who invites foodies to her mansion. That mansion has the Dubai Marina as its backdrop.
Serves: Comfort food aimed at local diners. The food focus is on regional Indian flavours, with a selection of sharing dishes on offer. Signature dishes include tandoori ran, a marinated leg of slow-cooked lamb and dum biryani – basmati rice with saffron and spices slow cooked in a sealed clay pot served to the table and a selection of fresh Indian breads including Naan, laccha Paratha and Kulcha varieties.
Price: From Dh48 to Dh108
Details: Open daily from 6.30pm to 11pm, with the bar and lounge open from 5pm. www.fairmont.com/palm-dubai/dining/little-miss-india/
Miss Tess, Taj Dubai
Touted as “unconventional”, Miss Tess is an Asian street food restaurant that “transports guests into the bustling street markets of Asia”. The eatery is hosted by a mysterious woman, Miss Tess, who has travelled the streets collecting inspiration and experiences along the way. She leads the service with her theatrics.
Serves: Asian street food, including authentic Korean barbecue, fresh sushi, fresh and spicy Thai soups, noodles and interactive cooking stations.
Price: Average cost for two Dh480
Details: Open daily from 6pm. www.taj.tajhotels.com
Kohantei Japanese Beef Kaiseki Restaurant, Dubai Opera
The cultural precinct in Dubai has welcomed a newcomer – the emirate’s first Kaiseki culinary concept, which offers a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner. ComplementingSean Connolly’s rooftop restaurant, this eatery is quite the experience, with servers dressed in kimonos and guests invited to sit on pillows on the floor or in one of the three private dining rooms to enjoy the service.
Serves: Authentic Japanese with ingredients sourced from Japan. Wagyu beef is the star attraction on the menu created by executive chef Hisao Ueda.
Details: Open Monday to Saturday 12pm to 3pm and 6pm to midnight. www.facebook.com/kohanteidubai
Galvin Dubai, The Square, City Walk
Chris and Jeff Galvin opened the second of their Dubai eateries, this one, just four weeks ago. It is a sophisticated dining option for any occasion and is set across two floors with every detail personalised to please. Designed to provide a glamorous Mediterranean vibe, there is a bar area, outdoor terrace and open kitchen that allows guests a view of the team in action.
Serves: Seasonal fare with ingredients from right around Europe. Dishes include Sturia Caviar 15g, Mediterranean fish stew, poached lobster and grilled seafood platters.
Price: From Dh43 to Dh544
Details: Open daily from 12pm. www.galvindubai.com
Moombai & Co The H Dubai
Combining the Mumbai of yesteryear with modern-day Dubai, the decor of this establishment is reminiscent of 19th century Mumbai with its exposed brick and Italian marble tabletops, pendulum wall clocks and vibrant old Bollywood posters and memorabilia.
Serves: Old-fashioned Parsi and Indian cafe-style cuisine. From small plates to Rotis, to salads and curries, dishes include Keema Pao – a traditional delicacy of minced meat with buttered pao bread, Patra Ni Machhi, an Parsi delicacy of fish wrapped in a banana leaf and topped with chutney and steamed.
Price: From Dh25 to Dh115
Details: Open daily from 11am to midnight. To book go to www.moombai-co.com
Flamingo Room by Tashas, Jumeirah Al Naseem, Madinat Jumeirah
The first concept restaurant in Dubai from South African restaurateur Natasha Sideris, who already has a restaurant in the capital and 15 across her homeland. The 200-seat fine-dining eatery has a bar, outdoor area and sleek indoor dining space, and with its prime position overlooking the Arabian Gulf, it is sure to be a winter haunt for many culinary types in the emirate.
Serves: African cuisine. Dishes include lobster benedict, seafood pasta, classic beef carpaccio and classic prawn avo ritz.
Price: Average cost about Dh200 per person
Details: Open daily from 9am to late, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. www.flamingoroombytashas.com
Notable establishments still to come:
▶ Buddha-Bar, The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort Abu Dhabi
▶ Tasha’s Dubai DIFC
▶ Crazy Fish DIFC
▶ Beefbar DIFC