Ask The Locals
These 5 new Dubai restaurants propose some of the best food we’ve had in town
If there’s one promise that Dubai’s restaurant scene can keep is to never leave you unsatisfied. Any type of cuisine, setting, venue, ambiance, whether you want to splurge or celebrate authenticity, chances are you’ll find what you’re looking for but also what you had no idea existed.
The counterside of that? Getting lost and ending up returning to your favourite place over and over again. How many nights did we imagine multiple scenarios based off a Top 50 list before settling on a safe choice, not always exciting but guaranteed satisfying? Sounds familiar? Well it’s 2023 and we’re about to spice things up. At JDEED, we take food very seriously – call us foodies, we’ll take it. From Atlantis The Royal to the streets of Karama, rolling up our sleeves or pretending we still got it on 12cm heels, new restaurant openings are the type of challenges we love to take on.
Trust us, we’re not going to act all gatekeeper-esque here; continue reading and you’ll find out about 5 restaurants that we can promise will wow you in a way or another. But always the good type of wows. Let’s go?
Ling Ling Dubai
If you were looking for an occasion to bring out that dazzling dress or fancy shirt, a dinner at Ling Ling might be a good one to explore that option. The whole experience screams grand. First off, its location; Beyonce-inaugurated Atlantis the Royal is only the newest, most luxurious hotel on the Palm, in the MENA and most probably, in the world, home to some seriously attractive venues. Of course, Ling Ling -which started off as the lounge of Hakkasan in London- debuted its Middle-Eastern journey on the 22nd and 23rd floor of the hotel, a cruising altitude that you’ll reach after a swift elevator ride.
At destination, you’ll be taken to your table and quickly absorbed by the muted and elegant venue. Outside, the breathtaking views might take your attention away from the delicious food – but not for too long as you’ll realize you’re about to dive into a menu of exquisite maki rolls, caviar-lobster pairings and eel-truffle duos.
WHAT TO ORDER?
We’re not going to lie – everything we had was delicious. This isn’t another fusion restaurant. Ling Ling takes the food as seriously as the ambiance and service. Some winners however crawled atop our list:
The Black Truffle Dragon rolls (eel-truffle) were our favourite hand-in-hand with the Royal Shumai, an elevated dumpling with lobster and caviar. The King Crab and Pomelo salad was the perfect amount of fresh and light to keep us hungry for the main act. In the larger plates department, the vegetarian-friendly Truffle Xo Hand Cut noodles is still visiting us in our dreams at night as well as the prawns of heaven (this isn’t their actual name but it sounded fitting) that sent 99% of all other prawns we ever had, home.
As per the dessert, the apricot sorbet with dates was big enough for 2 but delicious enough for one, to finish it all alone.
Great vibes, sweet staff, good drinks, amazing food. Definitely on the pricier side, Ling Ling is where you celebrate an occasion, impress a date or take the gals on a night out we won’t forget.
Book Ling Ling here
We have probably been missing out this whole time, but Tasca was our very first introduction to Portuguese food. The Mandarin Oriental’s 1 michelin star Tasca, led by chef Jose Avillez was our destination of choice for that first exercice. Not too shabby, to say the least.
Living in Dubai means brunches are a must on your week-end’s program. Tasca’s proposal was however as refreshing as it was absolutely drop-dead delicious.
Welcomed by a glass of champagne or mocktail, we sat near a stage that would later on be taken over by one talented duo that entertained guests throughout with covers of all our favourite songs. Behind that, a mesmerizing spectacle of infinity pool-meets sea left our brains wandering, letting us dreamy for a much deserved holiday.
But let’s bring our focus back to the Michelin-starred food. Not a buffet and no choices to makes, everything on the brunch menu will invite itself on your table. The tuna tartare cone with spicy sauce, tempura cod cake, cherry gazpacho, the garlic bread, the *insane* lagareiro octopus then eventually the Portuguese cheeses and a perfect ending in shape of a Pastel de Nata… we’d like to be more critical, find something that didn’t work, but we’d be lying.
WHAT TO ORDER?
Nothing. You’ll be getting everything. The Iftar menu currently happening seems to be one to remember as well. For 265dhs per person, indulge in a sharing-style menu featuring some of the unmissable lupini beans hummus, chicken piri-piri and of course, Portugal’s staple, a Pastel De Nata.
Amazing vibes, some of the kindest staff in Dubai, incredible food. Again, it’s a 1 michelin star, hence a brunch price tag on the higher-end but this is the type of splurging you’ll gladly want to go for.
Book Tasca here
On the ground floor of Dubai mall, in the wing where all good restaurants landed, is found Kata, an ambitious Japanese restaurant where creativity meets authenticity. The venue is sharp, elegant, with details that elevate a place – here, an olive tree direclty imported from Greece. The staff is exceptionally helpful and kind, and especially Saqlain who didn’t shy away from explaining the dishes and mocktails to perfection.
About the mocktails, they’re not just juices or enhanced with elderflower syrup here. They were specially crafted to reinterpret famous alcoholic beverages in a sober version, and the result is as beautiful as it is tasty.
WHAT TO ORDER?
Trust us blindly on the Dragon rolls and Miso Black cod if you only need to pick two options.
Not just another sushi + robata, Kata truly worked on the flavours and pairings to propose something different and if not insanely out-of-the-ordinary, sincerely well executed, with a charming soul. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a shopping spree and definitely our favourite dining option at Dubai Mall. But, it’s not the restaurant you’ll go to only if you’re around the shopping center and that, is how you know it’s good.
Book KATA here
ARIANA PERSIAN KITCHEN
We’re positive we already sold you on visiting Atlantis the Royal earlier, well, here’s antoher very valid reason to make your way, presto. Ariana Persian Kitchen is one of the last venue to have opened its doors at the resort, keeping fans and visitors on their toes.
Celebrity chef Ariana Bundy is bringing her fresh take on Persian food, serving recipes inspired by her book “Pomegranate and Roses” which IRL translates into an umbrella of deliciousness. We started with the Zeytoon Parvardeh, an olive and tomato salad, Kashk E Bademjoon, an egg-aubergine mix hot mezzah, a surprising seaweed vegan caviar and continued on a surprising note, with an impossible kebab.
WHAT TO ORDER?
The Kashk e badjemoon, Rose Water Seabream and Impossible Kebab with Jewel rice were as creative as they were full of flavor.
The Rice Pudding Brulé was a hit amongst the desserts, although we are eyeing the traditional Persian Faloodeh for our next visit.
Beautiful decor with touches of pink everywhere, a nostalgic Persian vibe meets modernity, super knowledgable waiter who told us so much about Persian food, great food – even if we wished the dishes were served hotter.
Book Ariana Persian Kitchen here
Not just your average Japanese restaurant, believe us on that one. In fact, quite the opposite. NETSU also proposes the first Japanese brunch in town. The restaurant is located on the ground floor of the Mandarin Oriental , an exceptional hotel that would turn any normal day into a holiday.
With Dubai weather being just about right these days, we sat outside on the restaurant’s luxuriant terrace before our kind waiter Peter, started taking our drinks order. Japanese Margarita? Sounds about right if you ask us. And the taste matched the dreamy name: succulent.
Just like its Portuguese neighbor Tasca, here you do not need to choose, except for your main dish – which is a major plus when you’re a die-hard indecisive (like…us?)
WHAT TO ORDER?
You can’t go wrong with Netsu’s makis and sushis with perhaps the best salmon in Dubai. The Spicy Veggie Hot Stone rice with mixed mushrooms, sesame butter corn and carrot pickle is definitely a winner, the Spicy Mayo Chilean Seabass, a very strong contestant.
Great vibes, amazing service, delicious food and drinks, the absolute perfect way to start your Saturday. They’re currently hosting an Iftar for 265dhs per person right now including Tuna Tataki, Wagyu Beef Cuts, maki rolls and more.
Book NETSU here
For more of our favourite cafes in the Middle East, click here.