The 19 Best Restaurants in Dubai: tried and tested, from timeless to new

Near+Far’s editor Isabella Sullivan’s personal favourite restaurants in Dubai for every occasion, from a laid-back Lebanese to the city’s own Chiltern Firehouse

Isabella Sullivan

14 May 2024

best restaurants in dubai

Dubai is home to one of the world’s most exciting and diverse culinary scenes, thanks to its melting pot population of residents from across the world, bringing their culinary traditions, but also their unique styles and designs. Diners can get everything in Dubai by the bucketload, but while new restaurants seem to open every week, only some truly stand out and maintain their apple after their opening glow fades away. These are, in my opinion, the best restaurants in Dubai: the restaurants I return to time and time again, recommend to visitors and take friends and family – the very best of the best, from timeless to new.

The best restaurants in Dubai right now

lana lusa: best restaurants in dubai

Lana Lusa

Location: Four Seasons Residences
Cuisine: traditional and contemporary Portuguese
Vibe: smart casual, chic

Some of the best restaurants in Dubai are unlicensed – having to focus on food and up their creativity – and it’s great news when an unlicensed favourite finally does get a license. Lana Lusa has been a neighbourhood favourite in Dubai for years, and it has an army of loyal customers (including this writer) at its Wasl 51 venue. The chic Portuguese concept has reopened at the slick Four Seasons Residences on Dubai Water Canal, gaining a license (soon) and a beautiful waterfront terrace – making it now an incredible place for breakfast, lunch and dinner, drinks, and dates. Indulge in Portuguese heritage dishes inspired by founder Jessica Kassim Viveiro’s grandmother alongside favourites like prego rolls, rissóis de camarão (deep-friend shrimp snacks) and seared prawns. The interiors and slick bar are even more stunning than the original venue, complete with colourful artwork, Portuguese tiles and more.
Four Seasons Residences, Dubai Water Canal;, @lanalusadxb


Location: Gate Village, DIFC
Cuisine: elegant French brasserie-style
Vibe: smart casual in the day, elegant and dressy up in the evening

Whenever I’m looking to impress someone fussy (usually visiting from abroad), I head to LPM. LPM Dubai is truly perfection – and I don’t use that word lightly: the service, the vibe, the food, the bar, the interiors. The concept is widely known, originating in London (and that originating from Nice) and bringing French joie de vivre across the world – with outposts including Miami, Las Vegas, Mykonos, Hong Kong, Doha and Riyadh. You really feel like you’re in a Parisian brasserie, or, with their annual winter terrace, the South of France. There are white table cloths, smiling, impeccably dresses French wait staff and a menu of French-Mediterranean classics. All guests get a lovely plate of ruby red tomatoes, crunchy French bread and olive oil to start – but then make sure to start with the escargot, burrata, warm prawns in olive oil and lemon, before the duck confit, homemade pappardelle ragu, lamb with aubergine Caviar and pine nut and a comorting side of potato gratin. That said, make sure to save space for the famous LPM vanilla cheesecake. There’s always a great vibe, Monday to Sunday, and the bar has a real London, Paris, New York vibe – with standing good looking guest sipping serves from thr famous Jean Cocteau menu or enjoying French wine (like Gstaad Guy‘s Palais Constance).
Gate Village DIFC;, @lpmdubai

bordomarvi dubai

BordoMavi Dubai

Location: Jumeirah Fishing Harbour, Jumeirah 2
Cuisine: seafood and Middle Eastern
Vibe: casual

From the team behind 3fils and Brix comes BordoMarvi – one of the best-kept seafood secrets in Dubai. Unpretentious, unlicensed and right on Jumeirah Fishing Harbour, this charming neighbourhood spot is a bit hit with the locals, and as a result has a truly upscale atmosphere. Metres from the water, with fishing boats bobbing in your eyeline (yet the twinkling towers of Burj Khalifa and Downtown Dubai behind you), sit at wooden tables and share utterly sublime dishes using sustainably caught seafood. The menu is extensive and incredibly reasonable for the quality and setting: choose from cold starters, casseroles, salads, burgers, grills, tartares and a host of specialities – all made to share. Don’t miss the oysters dripped with hot wagyu butter, lady fish in butter, black seabass shashlik and BordoMarvi burger – black seabass in a fluffy brioche bun.
Jumeirah 2;,

the guild - best restaurants in dubai

The Guild

Location: DIFC
Cuisine: brasserie style
Vibe: smart casual in the day, elegant and dressy up in the evening

The Guild is the most beautiful restaurant in Dubai – hands down. Opened by Dubai’s renowned Eatx Group – founded by highly respected chef and restauranteur Tom Arnel – and the brains behind concepts like Common Grounds, Hawkerboi and Byron Bathers Club, The Guild brings the vibe of London’s Chiltern Firehouse and New York City’s Tribeca to Dubai. Located at ICD Brookfield Place, it’s multiple dining destinations under one roof – and I often stay for the whole day: having breakfast in a cosy corner by the polished scarlet-hued espresso bar, lunch in the leafy Nurseries, a post-work cocktail in the Potting Shed, followed by dinner in the Salon. You can even grab a nightcap at new late-night cocktail corner, The Aviary. The space is a head-spinning hideaway, designed by Archer Humphryes Architects (the team behind Chiltern Firehouse) with red walls, velvet curtains, a rock pool, gilded bar tops, and a champagne ‘room’. Food is overseen by Executive Chef Paul Gajewsk – who cut his teeth with Chef Shannon Bennett at Melbourne’s iconic Vue de Monde – and is hearty, rich and brasserie-style – think thick cuts of steak, lobster, pasta, and seafood. That said, there’s also a raw bar, salads and more for when you’re after something light. The new Sunday Roast is the best in the city – book it now.
ICD Brookfield Place, DIFC;

new restaurants in dubai: hawkerboi


Location: JLT
Cuisine: Pan-Asian street food
Vibe: cool, casual, creative

I first became familiar with Hawkerboi in 2021, invited to a top-secret supper club at an undisclosed location in Barsha. So in 2023, when Eatx announced it was opening a permanent site in collaboration with the mysterious eponymous chef, I was delighted and intrigued. Hawkerboi 2.0 is just what Dubai needed – somewhere the city’s cool, social crowd could pop by after work, enjoy causal yet vibey dinners with friends, killer cocktails, cool interiors (think neon lighting and madcap photography) and be delighted by zingy creative flavours. The food trots the hawker stalls of Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand with a modern, more mainstream twist, and diners sit on canteen-style seating or tucked away in intimate booths. There’s also a terrace with views over JLT and parkland. Order and share everything. I always go for the Thai beef salad (AED62), tea leaf salad with preserved lemon (AED45), wok-fried fried seabass (AED166), sweet duck Penang curry (AED75), charcoal short ribs with buttery paratha and sauteed kang kong (a Southeast Asian spinach) with oyster sauce and lime (AED38). There’s even a dedicated greens menu with four delicious takes on healthy vegetables. Wash everything down with plenty of Bangkok Spritzes (Aperol with Thai basil) – two for the price of one between 6 pm and 8pm.
The Park, JLT;


Location: DIFC
Cuisine: Greek
Vibe: elegant and dressy

I adore Gaia and am always in the best mood in the run-up to my reservation. Founded in Dubai, this homegrown Greek concept now has outlets in Monaco and London, but is still one of the best restaurants in Dubai. There’s always a vibe, whether Monday at 7pm or Friday at 10pm (though come later for an insatiable buzz), and the food is consistently outstanding. Ignore the entry manned with what feels like an army staff; inside, the vibe is really laid back and friendly. Grab a Santorini Spritz at the ornate bar, before moving into the whitewashed dining room or charming terrace complete with bougainvillea. Gaia embraces the cuisine of Greece and its islands, though not in an obvious way, and I always delight in the whole seabass carpaccio (AED180), served with viles of flavoured oils and Himalayan salt, the Spanakopita (AED55) finished tableside, and then move onto a whole fish from the day’s catch – displayed on ice and cooked in your favourite style- with some crispy oregano fries (AED45) and a bountiful Greek salad (AED60). Pair with a bottle of Assyrtiko for the dream dining experience. The dessert is the best in Dubai – a tower of frozen Greek yoghurt big enough for three, drizzled in honey, candied walnuts and warm Greek loukoumades doughnuts (AED120) – which I dream of every week. Carry the party on by heading to Nyx, the secret basement named after the Greek goddess of night bar for late-night dancing.
Gate Village 4,

em sherif dubai restaurant

Em Sherif

Location: Downtown Dubai
Cuisine: Lebanese
Vibe: Casual and relaxed

Whenever friends or family visit, I take them to Em Sherif – a casual, fuss-free (yet still vibey and well-to-do) restaurant and lounge in Downtown Dubai. This is the place to come for authentic and delicious Lebanese and Arabic food in a beautiful setting overlooking the twinkling Burj Khalifa. The restaurants are split into two: a more casual, lounge-style space on the ground floor with smoking and shisha, and a more upscale restaurant upstairs that’s licensed for alcohol. There are all the favourite shawarma, fattoush, lentil soup, manakish, and tabbouleh along with very traditional dishes and some interesting twists. It’s a little pricier than Lebanese competitors but so worth it for the spectacular location, elevated feel and, of course, the beverage menu. It is one of the best restaurants in Dubai, without the price tag.
Downtown Dubai;, @emsherifcafedubai

The Sum of Us

Location: Sheikh Zayed Road
Cuisine: Modern Australian dining with Middle East influences
Vibe: Casual and relaxed – co-worky

Another of Eatx’s community-driven restaurants, The Sum of Us is one of the best restaurants in Dubai and most popular breakfast, brunch and lunch spots. Located on Sheikh Zayed Road in the base of the Sheraton Grand, the warehouse-style space is all exposed beams, wooden chairs and hanging greenery. But what makes it so special is the delightful, comforting aroma of freshly baked bread and roasted coffee coming from Eatx’s own on-site bakery and grinder – which supply all the group’s outlets. By day, it’s a vibey coffee shop and cafe where you can hide away, enjoy smoothies, detox juice, all-day breakfast, salads, and fantastic coffee with your laptop, by yourself or with friends or colleagues. By night, it’s one of the most underrated supper spots. The food is stand-out in Dubai, and the tables deserve white tablecloths. Grab a seat on the terrace and enjoy creative and flavorful dishes, dishes to the standard of London, Melbourne, or New York, like toasted focaccia with hazelnut dukkah and goats’ cheese (AED35), charcoal harisssa chicken with freekah tagine (AED78) and broken meatballs with chermoula, eggplant and tahini (AED68).
Burj Al Salam, Trade Centre;, @thesumofus

Mimi Kakushi

Location: Four Seasons Restaurant Village
Cuisine: Japanese with a Western influence
Vibe: Beachy by day, beach chic by night

Rikas Group is behind some of Dubai’s most stylish and popular hotspots, with immersive concepts across the city that offer a stylish take on a distinct theme (think Paris with La Cantine Du Faubourg, French Riveira at Twiggy by La Cantine, Greek Islands at Kyma and the Wadi Rum at Nineve). Mimi Kakushi transports diners to the swinging era of 1920s Osaka with its dimly lit restaurant and bar that continuously appears in The Word’s 50 Best Bars list (currently at number 40). Typical of the period, there are Japanese touches with Western and Art Deco influences – which we adore: the straw ceiling grid, towering greenery, stained glass windows and hand-painted wallpaper showing Japanese landscapes. Order the miso marinated black cod (AED230), the wagyu and foie gras gyoza (AED93), sushi, a donobe rice pot (from AED185) and then retire to the bar area, where the atmosphere increases throughout the night with a well-heeled crowd and vibe-curating Rikas Group DJ (plus frequent takeovers from fellow World’s 50 Best Bars). There’s also a fabulous weekend brunch where you can sample their best-loved dishes with unlimited signature cocktails for four hours for AED599 a person.
Four Seasons Restaurant Village;, @mimikakushi

Flamingo room Dubai pink interiors with animal print

Flamingo Room by tashas Dubai

Location: Turtle Lagoon, Jumeirah Al Naseem
Cuisine: Modern African and European
Vibe: Elegant and dressy

Originally from Cape Town, I’m very familiar with the tashas brand – and have spent an hour in their chic cafes sipping iced coffee and enjoying light, all-day fare. So when I moved to the UAE, I was delighted to see the group not only had a present but also a totally different elevated identity – one of high calibre restaurants. Flamingo Room by tashas is the most beautiful and beloved of these – a rosy-hued design lovers’ dream in Jumeirah Al Naseem‘s glitzy Turtle Lagoon restaurant development. Everything is Instagrammable – the pink walls, animal print furnishings, ceiling with glass floral details, and the glittering terrace on the waterside. The menu pays homage to Africa with dishes like calamari Mozambique and butternut carpaccio, and the desserts are full of nostalgia- think baked Alaska and peach melba. Come for a glamorous dinner and a drink at the shiny pink bar and to imbibe the atmosphere of one of the city’s most elegant dining spots – take a wander afterwards through the leafy grounds to get a close-up view of Burj Al Aarab and the beautiful beaches of Jumeirah Madinat properties.
Jumeirah Al Naseem; @flamingoroomae,

tasca mandarin oriental dubai pool and rooftop

Tasca by José Avillez

Location: Mandarin Oriental Jumeira
Cuisine: Portuguese
Vibe: Smart casual in the day, elegant at night

This is a restaurant I use for show-stopping – for wowing visitors and showing off about life in Dubai. Sitting on the rooftop of the Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Tasca by José Avillez is the most panoramic spot in. the city. On the one side, it offers endless blue views from its gorgeous terrace – of its swimming pool, the ocean and blue sky, and. on the other, the complete DIFC, Downtown and Business Bay skylines. The baby of Portuguese star chef Jose Aville, Tasca offers authentic Portuguese cuisine with a mesmerising setting. The menu is genuinely Portuguese, not watered down, and you can order dishes like Bacalhau A Gomes De Sa – codfish, egg, potatoes, onion and olives (AED165) and piri-piri chicken (AED165) – plus the refreshing delight of port and tonic and a pitcher of sangria and Portuguese wine. Make sure to save room for the sumptuous signature pastel de nata, served warm with coffee ice cream (AED55).
Mandarin Oriental Jumeira;, @tascadubai/

scalini dubai - best restaurants in dubai


Location: Four Seasons Restaurant Village
Cuisine: Italian
Vibe: Elegant and upscale

Coming from London and its surplus of world-class Italian restaurants, particularly when it comes to pasta, I struggle in Dubai to find somewhere to deliver this standard – after all, pasta is my love language. Scalini delivers this, and more, whisking diners into what feels like the Amalfi Coast. Accessed by a striking Wonka-equal cerulean blue elevator from the forecourt of the chi-chi Four Seasons Restaurants, subterranean Scalini offers an indoor dining room with pops of the same blue and a bright and beautiful terrace which emulates the feeling of eternal summer in Italy – complete with faux Amalfi lemon trees. The setting is divine, and the staff is even more – charming, passionate and، Italian, making the restaurant feel like a family-run trattoria. The taglioni with caviar, butter and Amalfi lemon (from AED450) was my Dubai foodie awakening – homemade (hard to come by) and swimming in warm, lemony, buttery deliciousness. Order this to share with some antipasti, pizza, a main and dessert, enjoy a spritz and a bottle of Italian wine, and enjoy the upscale and vibrant atmosphere. Book a table after 9:30pm for the full experience.
Four Seasons Restaurant Village;, @scalinidubai

mina brasserie dubai terrace

Mina Brasserie

Location: DIFC
Cuisine: Modern brasserie style
Vibe: Smart casual and elevated

The first time I visited Mina Brasserie was purely by accident. It’s the setting for a special breakfast at Four Seasons Hotel DIFC, and I was surprised and delighted by the beautiful and refined setting we experienced. No wonder, as the space is designed by internationally acclaimed Martin Brudnizki Design Studio – the man behind London’s Art Deco restaurant renaissance and interiors like Paris’ Pink Mamma and London’s The Ivy, Annabel’s and Sexy Fish. His signature style is everywhere – the gilded art deco bar with bar lamps, the high ceiling, chandeliers, the banquette seating, the maximalist hues. Combine his with acclaimed Egyptian-American chef Michael Mina’s food and an understated, low-key atmosphere (older, more genteel ), plus a seasonal terrace with foliage and fairylights, and you’ve got one of the best restaurants in Dubai. Wondering through the entrance is a feast in itself – lined with local and contemporary artwork. 
Four Seasons DIFC,, @minabrasseriedubai

11 woodfire dubai - best restaurants in dubai

11 Woodfire

Location: Jumeirah
Cuisine: Creative, flame-grilled
Vibe: Relaxed, neighbourhood

The affluent, beachy neighbourhood of Jumeirah is home to some of the best restaurants in Dubai – and without alcohol licenses to hide any sins, the standard of food quality is exceptional. In a former residential villa on Jumeirah Beach Road, 11 Woodfire has elevated the city’s unlicensed fine dining scene – so good, it was awarded (and has maintained) one Michelin Star in its first year and is a constant in MENA’s 50 Best lists since opening. Owned by renowned Chef Akmal Anuar, you can dine on the terrace to get the warm, Jumeirah buzz or in the villa itself, which feels like a beautifully designed home. Despite being dry, there are two gorgeous bars with stools to grab a drink – and real-time and effort that has been put into them: experimenting with tea, tennis, shrubs and more. The meat and produce are all sourced responsibly and locally where possible. Food is split into started, cold, hot, meat and, fish and vegetables and includes ingredients like Chlorophyll, bone marrow, scallops, Gulf clams, French turbot, and prime cuts. I adore the vegetables lost, often forgotten in Dubai restaurants, creative sides with leeks, asparagus, courgette, zucchini, eggplant and banana shallots. (plus both potato garti and potato aligot). Orde the burtn Basque cheesecake or ‘Bone Marrow’ chocolate – sublime.
Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 1;


Location: Jumeirah Fishing Harbour
Cuisine: Modern Asian
Vibe: relaxed, cool, laid-back, breezy

3Fils feels a world away from the glitz of Dubai – located in Jumeirah Fishing village overlooking bobbing boats and endless sea views (that is until you glance behind to see the entire twinkling skyline). This is one of the most loved of the best restaurants in Dubai, winning MENA’s best restaurant in 2021 thanks to its affordable, unique, incredibly creative and delicious menu. On casual tables by the waterside or inside chic yet stripped-back restaurants, guests dine on contemporary Japanese cuisine with a playful twist. Dishes are small and shareable, so order a lot and relish every moment. For me, the wagyu sando is unmissable (AED209), also the crispy fish burger with tartare sauce (AED75), spicy beef tartare with picked lime skin (AED75), triple-cooked chips (AED24) and a host of zingy fish carpaccios, Asian salads, and sushi. There are playful touches along the way, like the Charcoal – a signature surprise I still haven’t managed to try due to selling out each time, and a delightful hot pot of Indomie ramen noodles with beef chorizo, asparagus and sugar snap peas. I still dream of 3fils homemade Magnum (AED45) and Ananas dessert (AED41) with caramelised pineapple, coconut mouses and peach sorbet – daily. 3Fils isn’t licensed, but you can get non-alcoholic beer, mocktails, and regular soft drinks.
Jumeirah Fishing Harbour,, @3.fils

Nobu by the Beach

Location: Atlantis The Royal, Palm Jumeirah
Cuisine: Japanese-Peruvian beachy bites
Vibe: Beach chic

Most will be familiar with Nobu – the eponymous restaurant founded by iconic chef Nobu Matyhusia, the pioneer of Japanese-Peruvian cuisine. In Dubai, Nobu is located at Atlantis The Palm – moving to a striking new bridge location earlier this year, but there’s also another, more laid-back, almost playful and stripped-back alternative, which is my personal favourite – Nobu by the Beach. Located at the new Atlantis The Royal, this chic, minimalist beach club and poolside is a haven for sipping sake and cocktails and nibbling on bite-size black cod: the first-of-its-kind Nobu by the Beach. This is the spot for long, sun-drenched lunches that can get out of hand, thanks to sublime cocktails, great DJs, good-looking bartenders, sea views, an outstretching bar and a Malubu-meets-Miami vibe. Nestled in the resort’s grounds, the views are stunning – the hotel megastructure, beach and Dubai skyline, swaying palm trees, and manicured green gardens. Come for a pool day (pricy but worth it), book a table for lunch – best to maximise the glossy Palm Jumeirah and ocean views and sunny tropical garden feel – or take a seat at the vibey bar for a crisp bottle of rose and breezy bite takes on Nobu signatures (the black cod bites in lettuce wraps and wagyu sando are unmissable).
Atlantis The Royal, Palm Jumeirah;

dinner by heston blumenthal dubai

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Location: Atlantis The Royal, Palm Jumeirah
Cuisine: Modern British, experimental
Vibe: Elevated and upscale

Also, in Atlantis The Royal is Dinner by Heston Blumenthal – one of the newest best restaurants in Dubai. Having visited both London and Dubai, Dubai is undoubtedly my favourite – a sexy, stylish, intimate feeling space (over bright and family gathering heavy). The cavernous space is moody and glamorous with black and gold touches and a dazzling rotating gold pineapple sculpture in the muddle – an ode to Heston’s love for the fruit (and his famous tipsy cake dessert). The menu follows a similar ilk, inspired by Britain’s feasting history and traditions, and guests can sample his classics like the signature meat fruit (AED155) and magnific mains like venison and pickled cherries (AED370) and cod in cide (AED320). A tasting menu is the best I’ve had in the city – leaving me full, with actual mini meals and made-up plates – not just bites of meat or fish. Triple-cooked chips (AED75) and Savoy cabbage with beef pancetta (AED55) are essential. Finish with the famous Tipsy Cake (AED130) and nitrogen ice cream trolley (AED100) – a nod to zany Victorian gastronomic inventions and a favourite across the Heston Blumenthal Group. This is classic creative, zany and generous Heston Blumenthal, but with a gilded and seductive Dubai edge. The restaurant also recently launched a Sunday lunch, which is getting rave reviews.
Atlantis The Royal, Palm Jumeirah;

tagomago dubai interiors


Location: Azure Residence, Palm Jumeirah
Cuisine: Spanish
Vibe: Beachy by day, beach chic by night

Dubai is home to some of the best, if not the best, beach clubs in the world, dotted along the shore, on promontories, on islands and each with its own vibe and soul. One of my absolute favourites is Tagomago, on Palm Jumeirah – as stunning as its Rikas Group sisters Twiggy by La Cantine and Kyma Dubai. Tagomago is all about vibrancy and colour, taking guests to the Balearic Islands’ heady shores with 120 sunbeds, a brand new rock pool, hot pink and a sunset orange theme. The beach club is wonderful, but I often just grab a seat at the bar of the breezy tapas bar and restaurant – a small rotunda restaurant right above the waves with a wrap-around terrace, vibey and open inside restaurant and views across to the Burj Al Arab. Open until 1am, it’s the place for sundowners of crisp Spanish white and sangria, best paired with salty padron peppers, Manchego cheese boards, and various flavours of patatas bravas and croquettes. A main menu served classics like paella, fresh seafood, and other hearty Iberian dishes. I truly feel like I’m in Spain when at Tagomago – one of the best restaurants in Dubai.
Azure Residence, Palm Jumeirah;, @tagomagodubai

Little Miss India colourful dining room

Little Miss India

Location: Fairmont The Palm, Palm Jumeirah
Cuisine: Indian
Vibe: Informal yet elevated

With such a huge Indian expat population, it’s only right that Indian food in Dubai is absolutely fantastic. My favourite is Little Miss India, tucked away in the verdant grounds of Fairmont The Palm. It looks unassuming, but this is far from – one of the best restaurants in Dubai and booked up year round. A playful tuk-tuk marks the entrance, and the interiors take you straight to the regal northern states of Punjab and Rajasthan, but the terrace is more Goa and Kerala – especially with the daytime sea views and warm, salty sea breeze come evening. There are kebabs from the tandoor, biriyanis, seafood, curries (with a dedicated vegetarian menu), myriad flavours of rice, and a delightful menu dedicated to just bread. We order the Bhatti da Smoked Lamb Chops (AED195) – with 12 spices and served smoked in a jar -, the paneeer tikka (AED78), Tandoori Achari Broccoli (AED70) – broccoli marinated with pickling spices and cooked on the tandoor. – butter chicken (AED98) and rich and creamy (and slightly addictive) dal makhani (AED65) every time.
Fairmont The Palm, Palm Jumeirah;, @littlemissindiarestaurant

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