Dubai’s best restaurants 2022

In the city’s most competitive dining scene to date, here are the best restaurants in Dubai and all the winners from Dubai Restaurant Awards 2022

Choosing where to eat out is not a decision to be taken lightly, especially in a city jam-packed with restaurants. We want you to be able to select the restaurants in Dubai that suit your every whim and preference, in the locations you like, at the budget you set. Every time you dine.

In short, we want you to select from Dubai’s best restaurants.

Whether you like Italian or Thai, steak or seafood, we want you to eat out and have an absolutely amazing time doing so.

That’s why we take great pride in presenting you with this list of Dubai’s best restaurants – Time Out’s definitive guide to the finest places to eat out in Dubai, chosen after 12 months of independent and anonymous reviewing by our team.

Week in, week out, we visit literally dozens of restaurants across Dubai, covering everything from family-friendly lunches to all-out fancy dinners, posh brunches to pub feeds. And we pay for every meal.

We’ve been doing this for 20 years, so we know a thing or two about what makes a restaurant experience move from being simply good to absolutely brilliant.

And being brilliant is what we care about.

Here, we celebrate Dubai’s best restaurants with the 17th edition of the Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards.

Here are Dubai’s best restaurants 2022


  • Americas
  • Asian
  • Chinese
  • European
  • French
  • Greek
  • Indian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Lebanese
  • MENA
  • Thai


  • Afternoon Tea
  • Buffet Brunch
  • À La Carte Brunch
  • Budget
  • Burger
  • Café
  • Family
  • Outdoor
  • Pub Food
  • Romantic
  • Seafood
  • Steakhouse


  • Casual Dining Restaurant
  • Casual Newcomer
  • Fine Dining Newcomer

Dubai’s best restaurants: Regional

Best Americas


Perhaps the most well-known Dubai haunt for excellent Latin American cuisine, one never leaves COYA feeling anything but satisfied. Continually delighting diners with its perfect Peruvian plates and buzzy atmosphere, dishes come influenced by Spain, Japan and China, bursting with exciting flavour combinations and interesting textures. While it’s likely to set you back a fair few dirhams, the service is as flawless as the food and you know you’re in for a super fun night, too. One of Dubai’s best restaurants? Boxes officially ticked.
Licensed. Restaurant Village, Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, (04 316 9600).


A regular in our list of Dubai’s best restaurants, Amazónico is one of the most popular hangouts in DIFC for dinner and drinks. Think an eclectic menu of Latin American-inspired small plates, sushi, seafood and grills, all washed down with a creative mixed drinks selection, this flora-packed restaurant is a dreamy date night spot beneath a chandelier of twinkling lights complete with 22 species of preserved plants.
Licensed. DIFC Pavilion, DIFC, (04 571 3999).

Bull & Bear

Inspired by the original steakhouse of the same name in New York’s now-closed Waldorf Astoria hotel, Bull & Bear is a sophisticated place for fantastic food and spot-on service. Boasting a menu of playful takes on American favourites – its black onyx beef steaks are some of the best in town – a grown-up crowd, carefully curated mixed drinks and regular live jazz nights are the makings for a perfect Dubai evening.
Licensed. Waldorf Astoria DIFC, DIFC, (04 515 9888).

Best Asian

BB Social Dining (WINNER)

East meets East in this quirky financial district offering, which wouldn’t look out of place in downtown Manhattan. Spread over three floors and with a wrought iron staircase twirling through the middle, it has the feel of a New York townhouse and the menu is suitably avant-garde: a dizzying mish mash of Middle Eastern and Asian dishes. Where else would you find cauliflower popcorn with a tahini dip?
Licensed. Gate Village 8, DIFC, (04 407 4444).


Still one of Dubai’s best restaurants, this New York import celebrates the best in French-Vietnamese cuisine in a venue so retro and slick you might be tempted to moon walk to your table. There’s a Studio 54 vibe about the atmosphere but with none of the stuffiness, so don’t be embarrassed to lean on the all-knowing waiters if you need help with the menu. Top tip: the Asian-inspired desserts are not to be missed.
Licensed. Gate Village 3, DIFC, (04 208 9333).

Vietnamese Foodies

Simple and unpretentious, this no-nonsense venue continually impresses because of the outstanding quality of its food. Vietnamese Foodies is all about vibrant, healthy cooking using the freshest ingredients, and there are plenty of healthy as well as inexpensive options: both your wallet (which will remain reassuringly fat) and your waistline (less so) will thank you for visiting here. The steaming hot pho bowls feature the restaurant’s legendary 14-hour simmered broth so make sure you come hungry – this restaurant lives up to its name.
Unlicensed. Cluster D, JLT, (04 565 6088).

For the top ten best Asian restaurants in Dubai click here.

Best Chinese

Long Teng (WINNER)

They say books should not be judged by their covers, and nowhere is that more true than this superb Chinese restaurant tucked away in an unremarkable office-like building in Business Bay. An aquarium filled with lobster, crab and king prawns dominates the light and airy room, which should prove a hit with little ones, although it performs the much more serious function of allowing you to pick your own food. The menu is extensive and authentically Chinese.
Unlicensed. U-bora Towers, Business Bay, @longtengseafood (04 241 1666).


It would be easy to make a series of pun-laden jokes about Hutong being a real hotspot, but we would not stoop to that level. The chilli infused dishes do make this a destination for spice-lovers intent on challenging their ability to withstand the heat, however. The menu is modern Northern Chinese and when the restaurant was originally launched in Hong Kong ten years ago, it was one of the first to be awarded a Michelin star.
Licensed. Gate Building 6, DIFC, (04 220 0868).

Maiden Shanghai

Spread over three floors and with an organic, MSG-free menu that draws influence from four regions – Cantonese, Sichuan, Shanghai and Beijing – this hotspot clearly does not do things by halves. It boasts one of the best outdoor terraces in Dubai where you are guaranteed a sea or marina view from every table, and there’s also a private karaoke room. Famed chef Luo Bing runs the kitchen, while the 1920s-inspired décor adds even more to the wow factor.
Licensed. FIVE Palm Jumeirah Dubai, Palm Jumeirah, (04 455 9989).

Best European

21grams (WINNER)

Restaurants like 21grams are few and far between in Dubai – not only is it the city’s only Balkan bistro, it’s also an independent gem with a community focus, favouring excellent, fuss-free food over glamour and theatrics. The menu is sharing style, inspired by the likes of Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian and Montenegrin cuisine, so expect plenty of baked goods, salads, meats and seafood served in a swanky new and fortunately much larger dining room. Undeniably one of Dubai’s best restaurants.
Unlicensed. Meyan Mall, Al Thanya Street, Umm Suqeim 2, (050 841 5021).


The baby of acclaimed Michelin-star chef Jason Atherton, Marina Social is the perfect spot to take visitors or a date you’re looking to impress. The modern British cuisine is consistently good – a given with it being a two-time Time Out Dubai Best European restaurant award winner – and we love its ‘feed me’ option, which gives the chef carte blanche to serve up four or six courses depending on your hunger. We’d highly recommend the latter if budget allows.
Licensed. InterContinental Dubai Marina, (04 446 6664).

Twiggy by La Cantine

Given that it’s one of the glammest places to drink and dine in Dubai right now, it’s likely you’ve seen Twiggy paraded proudly all over your Instagram feeds. And with good reason, too – its golden sands, picturesque infinity pool and menu of fresh Mediterranean fare are a recipe for success. Nestled on the banks of the Creek in Old Dubai, slink into a plush corner lounger and fill up on everything from fresh seafood and sushi to grills and salads.
Licensed. Park Hyatt Dubai, Dubai Creek Club St, (04 602 1105).

Best French

LPM Restaurant & Bar (WINNER)

Ask for recommendations for a French restaurant in Dubai and it’s likely LPM will be thrown at you. And for good reason. As much an upscale spot for city slickers who like to do business over good food and grape as it is for groups of friends or partners in the mood for a romantic night out, its staple dishes may be pricey, but always overwhelmingly excellent – so go on and blow the budget.
Licensed. Gate Village 8, DIFC, (04 439 0505).


A firm favourite with Dubai’s party people who like to kick off their night with a good meal, Bagatelle is one of the best restaurants in the city for a late-night dinner. We recommend booking a table no earlier than 10pm to get the full Bagatelle experience, which includes a menu of standout French dishes (be sure to sample the garlicky escargot), live music and plenty of dancing on tables. Fun, French and fancy-free. You’ll love it.
Licensed. Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, (04 354 5035).

La Cantine du Faubourg

Brassy, energetic and classily cosmopolitan, La Cantine du Faubourg is a bona fide Dubai institution that consistently remains one of the city’s nattiest and most pleasurable dining rooms. Following an eight-week refurbishment last summer, the venue still keeps the same Parisian flair but with swanky new artwork and interiors from Kokian. The food, as always, oozes well-heeled French class, with an extensive grape list to boot.
Licensed. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, (04 352 7105).

Best Greek


You’ll have a smashing good time at the legendary OPA – quite literally, as you’ll regularly be invited to smash plates on the floor as is custom at Greek weddings or during traditional dancing. Cheesy, yes? Great fun? Even more so. Blue and white interiors plus a smattering of greenery simply add to the magic, while flavours are reassuringly authentic with progressive presentation. Greek food, Greek vibes, Greek greatness.
Licensed. Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, (04 332 5555).


Named after the Greek Goddess of Earth, GAIA is a fashionable gaff in the business of reinterpreting Greek classics to impressive effect. A predominantly white colour palette, marble detailing and black-and-white photography provide a stylish backdrop to this contemporary taverna. The menu
comes courtesy of chef Izu Ani and talented chef de cuisine Orestis Kotefas, with tremendously fresh seafood the star of the show. Be sure to check out the ice market, where seasonal produce is hand-picked and cooked to order.
Licensed. Gate Village 4, DIFC, (04 241 4242).

Mythos Kouzina & Grill

All white-stone walls and cave-like ceilings, the stalwart that is Mythos Kouzina & Grill comes modelled on an intimate Greek taverna, despite being in the densely populated Jumeirah Lake Towers. Its gorgeous dining room makes for a prime date spot, but it’s the al fresco terrace that really shines come winter months, where you can sit and enjoy everything from casual seafood dishes to gyros and traditional Greek salads with cheese imported directly from Naxos Island.You’ll be amazed at what good value it is, too.
Licensed. Armada Avenue Hotel, Cluster P, JLT, (04 399 816).

Best Indian

Masti (WINNER)

A restaurant with a name that roughly translates to fun, you’re always in for a good time with an evening at Masti. This much-lauded restaurant scores highly on everything, from décor and atmosphere to divine food (what else would you expect from award winning chef Prashant Chipkar?), with modern interpretations of traditional Indian small plates. If you’re looking for a standard curry, you might want to look elsewhere. A quirky list of funky eats presented with flair, however? You’re in the right place.
Licensed. La Mer, (04 327 7889).

Indya by Vineet (HIGHLY COMMENDED)

The funkier sibling of big-hitting Indego by Vineet, Indya by Vineet lives up to its lively reputation. Powered by loud décor, perky murals and a rainbow-infused colour palette, its innovative menu also gives those radiant interiors a run for their money. There are lots of fun twists at every turn – a playful chaat trolley kicks off proceedings – and as with most Indian eateries, dishes are made to share, with street food-style snacks and quirky takes on traditional recipes stealing the show.
Licensed. Le Royal Méridien Dubai Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina, (04 316 5550).


A multi Time Out Dubai Best Indian award winner, a dining experience at Trèsind is a spectacle to behold. Don’t come here expecting a relaxed, chilled-out meal – instead, revel in the signature Indian dishes that come served alongside plenty of dry ice, foams, gels and other theatrics that taste as good as they look. Not sure what to go for? Opt for either the vegetarian or non-veggie set menu and get your cameras at the ready.
Licensed. voco Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, (04 308 0440).

Best Italian

Il Borro Tuscan Bistro

It’s impossible to pay tribute to Italian restaurants in Dubai without including Il Borro – and firmly at the top of the list. This always-packed eatery has been a favourite since it launched back in 2017, and is a consistent Time Out Dubai Restaurant Award winner. The number one spot in Dubai for exceedingly good Italian food that is sophisticated but unstuffy (pizzas take pride of place on the menu), you’ll need to book in advance for a table on the terrace, but we promise it’s worth it.
Licensed. Jumeirah Al Naseem, Turtle Lagoon, (04 275 2555).

Armani/Ristorante (HIGHLY COMMENDED)

There are fine dining Italian restaurants, and then there’s Armani/Ristorante. As classy and stylish as the hotel in which it lies, décor is minimalist and intimate, while the food marries Italy and Dubai thanks to quintessential dishes with a glossy twist. Yes, we’re talking plenty of gold leaf. Reserve a table on the expansive terrace which wraps itself around the base of the world’s tallest building – a must-visitrestaurant for one of those pinch-me Dubai moments.
Licensed. Armani Hotel Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, (04 888 3666).


The folks at Scalini know a thing or two about serving up excellent Italian food, with an array of seasonal specials curated by head chef Giuseppe Giampietro. Portions are generous, and we like to think of it as one big hug for the stomach. The stunning site is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the stomach too, welcoming diners through an Amalfi-inspired terrace that sits under a magnificent lemon tree. Bellissimo.
Licensed. Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, Jumeirah Beach Road, (04 349 0068).

For the top ten best Italian restaurants in Dubai click here.

Best Japanese


A culinary powerhouse, not just in DIFC but all around the world, Zuma is a sure-fire hit for everything from a business lunch or large-scale birthday to a romantic anniversary dinner. While most customers plump for its iconic black cod, the meaty treats served up from the restaurant’s expansive robata grill are also matched by the exquisite sushi and sashimi dishes. The bar is always buzzing too, so be sure to order a night cap before heading home. Not that you’ll want to leave…
Licensed. Gate Village 6, DIFC, (04 425 5660).


Think Japanese food means just sushi and ramen? Think again. Mimi Kakushi comes informed by Japan’s jazz age, with rich textures, hand-painted walls, beaded curtains and bespoke stain glass windows offering serious Instagram appeal. There’s a wide-ranging menu of everything from gyoza and sushi to black cod and wagyu beef, too. It’s modern, playful and the sort of place you could happily spend hours with friends or a special someone.Take all our money.
Licensed. Four Seasons Resort Dubai by Jumeirah, Jumeirah Beach Road, (04 379 4811).

Reif Japanese Kushiyaki

Chef Reif Othman needs no introduction, and neither does his home-grown, casual outlet serving affordable, street food-style Japanese food in Dar Wasl Mall. Featuring a mismatch of Asian favourites served in a small, intimate space, we’re sure you’ve seen his wagyu katsu sando with tonkatsu sauce all over Instagram, but there’s so much more to his menu than that. Be it skewers, ramen or kushiyaki, it’s all a treat for the taste buds.
Unlicensed. Dar Wasl Mall, Al Wasl Rd, (050 235 7071).

For the top ten best Japanese restaurants in Dubai click here.

Best Lebanese

Al Beiruti (WINNER)

Al Beiruti may only be a short stroll from a number of its competitors, but there’s barely a night it doesn’t do a roaring trade. Warm, modern and welcoming, you’ll find all the usual suspects on the menu here, including zaatar hummus, loaded fries and a perfectly seasoned chicken shawarma which is the ultimate in comfort food. It might not have been around as long as some eateries on our list, but that’s all the more reason to try it.
Unlicensed. Umm Al Sheif, Sheikh Zayed Road, (04 320 0043).


Serving up simple yet flavoursome Lebanese food since 2000, Al Safadi is rightly popular for its hearty fare and al fresco patio. Punters pour in to the Al Safa branch all nights of the week to indulge in a feast of meaty grills, piles of freshly chopped tabbouleh and crisp falafel, while breakfast is also worth scooting down for – from falafel to a lavish cheese majouka. Don’t leave without sampling one of its famous juices.
Unlicensed. Umm Al Sheif, Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Safa, (600500601).

Allo Beirut

A bijou neighbourhood restaurant that’s fabulously kitsch and colourful, Allo Beirut is no-frills Lebanese cuisine at its finest. Tempting diners in from the side of Hessa Street, food here is straightforward, generous and won’t break the bank, with chefs rustling up street food classics including shawarma, roast chicken (don’t forget the garlic sauce) and a killer cheese manakish. As for the interiors, expect exposed ceilings, an open kitchen and trinket-adorned walls.
Unlicensed. Hessa Street, Al Barsha, (800 8623 4788).


Orfali Bros Bistro (WINNER)

Thought you knew Levantine cuisine? Think again. On a mission to break boundaries with its creative take on Middle Eastern favourites, Orfali Bros Bistro was set up by celebrity chef Mohammad Orfali and his pastry-specialist siblings Wassim and Omar, and boy is it good. Menus change with the seasons, but always feature local produce where possible, and there’s a buzzing, boisterous atmosphere any night of the week. It’s brave, bold and an absolute must-try. We’ll see you there.
Unlicensed. Wasl 51, Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah, (04 259 2477).


Celebrating the fragrant flavours of Palestine through homely street food and some of the best Middle Eastern bakes in town, Mama’esh is a friendly neighbourhood joint we find ourselves returning to time and time again. It’s super cute and super chilled. Not only do chefs bake with only organic flour (you have to taste the mana’esh to believe it), they make it their mission to seek out the highest quality ingredients while keeping prices low. Not all heroes wear capes.
Unlicensed. Al Abraj Street, Al Manara, (04 453 8166).

Sultan Saray

Come hungry and expect a crowd at Sultan Saray. Not only is it one of the city’s go-to venues for prodigious portions of excellent Turkish cooking, it’s also one of the only Middle Eastern restaurants offering theatrics alongside its pillowy flatbreads, mezze and kebabs. Mains focus on lovely grilled meats, but its salads and small plates are all excellent too. Just add some lovely Turkish coffee and you’re golden.
Unlicensed. Al Thanya Street, Sheikh Zayed Road, (04 229 0600).

Best Thai

Café Isan (WINNER)

From the plastic chairs to the exposed lighting and stacked crates lining the exterior, this restaurant is purposefully designed to exude a Thai street stall vibe. But don’t let the modest décor fool you, as Café Isan serves fantastic food in a fun setting where you are equally likely to make new friends as experiment with spicy dishes. The beach shack look means flip-flops and shorts are welcome, and the shoestring prices will excite frugal travellers.
Licensed. Armada Avenue Hotel, Cluster P, JLT, (058 529 1003).


Some restaurants are hard to differentiate from bars given the high volume of the music, but if you want to slip into something more relaxing, Benjarong is the perfect antidote. Hand-woven lanterns light up truly authentic dishes, while calming, spa-like music floats past tables set amid warm colours. The food is all about harmony and balance too, based around five flavours – sweet, spicy, sour, salty, and creamy. This place is totally zen.
Unlcensed. Dusit Thani Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, (04 317 4515).

Pai Thai

There are not many restaurants you can get a boat to, so you should definitely consider this option if you get a table at the ever-popular Pai Thai. A traditional abra transports diners through the Madinat’s tranquil waterways, where you can take in views of the Burj Al Arab. Those in a rush can ask staff to taxi them in a hotel buggy, but the food is well worth the wait and this is a romantic venue set in verdant gardens.
Licensed. Jumeirah Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah, (04 432 3232).

Dubai’s Best Restaurants: Themed

Best Afternoon Tea

Bijou Patisserie (WINNER)

Have you ever had your afternoon tea served out of a jewllery box? No? Well what are you waiting for? One of the most extra afternoon teas in Dubai (and by extra we mean absolutely fabulous), inside you’ll find signature pâtisseries and delicious savoury bites served alongside artisanal tea and coffee, or a glass of fizz should the mood suit. A lovely spot to while away a few hours over a tray of fancies.
Licensed. Sofitel The Obelisk, Wafi, Sheikh Rashid Road, (04 281 4111).


There’s good reason why Dubai’s well-heeled patrons flock to Lobby Lounge week after week for afternoon tea: it’s a truly memorable experience. Served across the ornate indoor lounge or on the outdoor terrace that gazes out across the garden, Lobby Lounge never disappoints with its varied assortment of savoury sandwiches and sweet pastries. With a live pianist at weekends, the atmosphere is second to none too.
Licensed. The Ritz-Carlton Dubai, JBR, (04 399 4000).

Sahn Eddar

You need an excuse to visit the iconic Burj Al Arab, and afternoon tea at Sahn Eddar is one of them. Surrounded by opulent furnishings in a tranquil setting that’s ripe for the ’gram, kick things off with mise en bouche, followed by a selection of finger sandwiches, scones and pastries. Head here for a special occasion, or just an afternoon treat if you’re feeling boujis.
Licensed. Burj al Arab, Jumeriah Beach Rd, (04 301 7600).

Best Buffet Brunch

Bubbalicious (WINNER)

It’s back and it’s brilliant. One of Dubai’s most famous Friday brunches, be sure to come hungry to Bubbalicious, where an extraordinary global feast combines the culinary forces of three of The Westin’s best restaurants – Baba, Sui Mui and Mina’s Kitchen. Fill up on everything from lobster and steak to roasts, curries and speciality Asian dishes, with an impressive array of live cooking stations on offer. The kids are kept well entertained, so you can feast away.
Licensed. The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Al Sufouh, (04 511 7373).


This stalwart brunch might name check the British capital, but its food offerings are distinctly international, with a London Tube map taking diners on a culinary journey to everywhere from Lebanon and Italy to Southeast Asia. Everyone’s favourite stop, Pudding Lane, is loaded with a range of cakes and desserts, plus irresistable pick ‘n’ mix, while myriad drinks stations keep whistles wet for the duration. Great food, live music and a playful atmosphere do London proud.
Licensed. The Ritz-Carlton Dubai, JBR, (04 399 4000).

The Vintage Brunch

Perhaps the most elegant of buffet brunches in the city, Al Qasr’s foodie bonanza is a very fancy feast that takes place across the hotel’s Arboretum and The Hide restaurants. You’ll be spoilt for choice with a seafood display, smoker, grill and much more, while there’s live music throughout the brunch to really set the tone. The Burj Al Arab views are priceless, so book one of the classy shaded outdoor tables while you can.
Licensed. Jumeirah Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah, (04 432 3232).

À La Carte Brunch

Mimi Kakushi (WINNER)

It’s no secret that we love a good Japanese feast here at Time Out HQ, and Mimi Kakushi takes the cake – and the sushi. Chefs whip up an excellent array of gyoza, tempura, fish and veggie options designed for sharing, plus you can choose a signature main. Even better, it’s available on both Saturdays and Sundays, is incredible value and you can upgrade to the bubbly package if you’re feeling flush.
Licensed. Four Seasons Resort Dubai by Jumeirah, Jumeirah Beach Road, (04 379 4811).


Treat yourself to a lavish brunch at this Peruvian hotspot, which manages to pull off a classy party with aplomb. Its effortlessly chic surroundings make for the perfect place to unwind, while cheery waiters serve an endless array of South American delights to your table. In the mood for a glass of bubbly alongside your guac and ceviche? This is your place.
Licensed. Restaurant Village, Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, (04 316 9600).


Brunch at Zuma is just the kind of indulgent affair where you’ll celebrate a special day, or even take the in-laws if you’re looking to impress. One of the most sought-after spots in town, excellent Japanese food joins forces with a non-stuffy vibe, with menu highlights including the sushi, sashimi, Japanese yakitori and, of course, its famed black cod. As for the drinks’ department, Japanese rice-based beverages are on offer alongside your traditional pours. Be sure to dress to impress.
Licensed. Gate Village 6, DIFC, (04 425 5660).

Best Budget

Dampa Seafood Grill (WINNER)

This Deira spot is a place well worth getting to know, not least for its super fresh seafood. Synonymous with the Philippine ‘boodle fight’ tradition of gathering around a table full of food to be eaten with your hands, it might be a messy occasion, but it sure is a darn tasty one. On top of that the atmosphere is lovely, and you’ll have enough dirhams to return the following week, and the week after that, and the week…you get the point.
Unlicensed. Baniyas Road, Port Saeed, Deira (04 299 0884).

Calicut Paragon (HIGHLY COMMENDED)

There are a lot of decent Indian restaurants in and around Karama, but there’s only one Calicut Paragon. Just the ticket for a low-cost, low-key dinner, it attracts diners from all over Dubai with its excellent cooking, budget prices and no-fuss food. A regular on Dubai’s best budget lists, its seafood and clay pots are our orders of choice. Try them and you’ll see why.
Unlicensed. Al Tayer Building, Al Karama, (04 335 8700).

The Little Bali

Indonesian eatery The Little Bali is a favourite of renowned chef Reif Othman, which says it all really. If the pandemic, or just the Dubai lifestyle, has put the brakes on the concept of spare cash, then here’s where you need to head. Be it a blow-the-roof-off-your-mouth beef rendang or the more subtle grilled prawns, there’s plenty to choose from for both veggies and carnivores alike.
Unlicensed. Cluster U, JLT, (04 554 8575).

Best Burger

Pickl (WINNER)

There’s little that is neat or linear about a good burger, and the ones sold here are reassuringly sloppy, meaty and bursting with juicy flavours that can barely be contained by their buns. The huge chicken sando option stuffed with a wedge of tangy fried chicken sets Pickl apart as well as the (you guessed it) homemade pickles. Orders are placed at the counter and you then wait in line with a buzzer in your hand.
Unlicensed. One JLT Tower, JLT, (04 584 6859).


You could argue this is a steak house masquerading as a fast-food joint. With all its burgers made from USDA prime Angus rib-eye, High Joint has also experimented with a Dry Aged Beef Burger experience, with the cuts dried between 21 and 63 days to provide different levels of intensity. The results have been sensational of course, and anyone brave enough to tackle the dessert menu is in for a real treat.
Unlicensed. Al Manara, (04 268 1586).

Meat Me There

The name should give you a hint of its carnivore credentials, and this is definitely not a place to meet your vegetarian friends. The miniscule menu is 100 percent beef, and while purists will be delighted, non-meat eaters are out of luck with zero veggie options other than the fries. The restaurant is also small with only a handful of tables, but picnic benches are placed next to the harbour in the cooler months.
Unlicensed. The Souq at Fishing Harbour, Umm Suqeim, (04 437 6010).

Best Café

Common Grounds (WINNER)

The newest spot of the Common Grounds empire (there are four branches in total in Dubai), there’s always a buzz at this beautiful coffee hub in the heart of JBR. Be it breakfast, brunch, lunch or just a superior cup of caffeine from Encounter Coffee, chefs rustle up a full range of dishes, from breakfasts to salads, wraps and some vegan delights. Oh, it also serves up a tremendous sourdough pizza. For comfort eats and lush beach vibes, there’s no better option. Need we say more?
Unlicensed. The Beach, JBR, (050 523 7546).


Put all your preconceptions of a café in a mall to one side when you come to SLAB – these guys are some serious food and bevvie connoisseurs. All seasonal menus and high-quality ingredients, its international menu comes courtesy of chef Omar Rodriguez, who set up the original SLAB Test Kitchen at La Mer, comprising everything from pasta and salads to grilled meats and seafood. Its baristas treat the speciality coffee like a fine grape, too, and aim to make original creations that you won’t find elsewhere.
Unlicensed. Mercato Mall, (04 548 1477).

The Grey

Just one look at The Grey’s Instagram profile and you know you’re in for a seriously slick experience at this stylish haunt. Created for purveyors of quality, you can get some seriously impressive takes on coffee here, including its signature Grey Banoffee – an indulgent combination of toffee and banana that’s an absolute dream. There’s an equally alluring food menu too, so all bases are covered.
Unlicensed. 9A Street, Al Wasl Road, (054 582 6779).

Best Family

Wavehouse (WINNER)

While you don’t need a teenager in tow to enjoy all the activities that Wavehouse has to offer, we’re sure they’d be pretty stoked to be included. From its four-lane bowling alley, arcade, soft play area and wave rider machine to a separate adults-only bar area, it’s a one-stop-shop for the whole family, with comfort food staples that are both affordable and accessible. And just like that, we’re kids again.
Licensed. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, (04 426 2626).


There’s more than 33,000 square feet of drinking, feeding and entertainment space at this family pub, including a shaded kids’ playground with a climbing frame, and even a retro carousel on the lawn outside. Adults can take it in turns to get a round in at the bar, while its decent pub grub should keep everyone satisfied. Whether breakfast, lunch or dinner, there’s something for every age. All great value to boot.
Licensed. Montgomerie Golf Academy, Emirates Hills, (04 572 4477).

Reform Social & Grill

With its idyllic garden, relaxed vibe and Saturday Family Brunch, there’s loads on offer at Reform to ensure a good time is had across the whole generational spectrum. Its interactive kids’ menu makes choosing a meal extra fun with all the regular staples on offer, while adults can chow down on hearty British favourites. Throw in a regular schedule of live entertainment, a fab kids’ playground and everyone’s happy.
Licensed. The Lakes, (04 454 2638).

Best Outdoor

Twiggy by La Cantine (WINNER)

Soak up the sun as you indulge in a menu of Mediterranean-inspired dishes at Twiggy by La Cantine, which is a haunting ground for Dubai’s most stylish diners. Transporting you direct to the Côte D’Azur, it’s split between a gorgeous al fresco terrace and trendy beach club lined with plush loungers and luxury cabanas. Book in advance as it’s near impossible to get a last-minute reservation
at weekends.
Licensed. Park Hyatt Dubai, Deira, (04 602 1105)


Sunset is the best time to visit this stylish-yet-relaxed Greek restaurant, where you can happily tuck into endless Mediterranean dishes as the sun dips below the horizon. A long-established beachfront restaurant, chefs here are the dons at seafood which, given the restaurant’s proximity to the waves, seems particularly apt. Unmatched views of the Arabian Gulf, an extensive grape list and plenty of sunshine – delightful.
Licensed. Jumeirah Mina A’Salam, Madinat Jumeirah, (04 432 3232).

The Beach Bar and Grill

The Beach Bar and Grill is a regular fixture on Time Out’s best outdoor restaurants, but following a renewed partnership with chef Mauro Colafreco, which saw the popular spot revealing a fresh new look in 2021, it’s gone even further up in our expectations. The menu boasts a number of South American delicacies including grilled seafood and meats direct from the Argentine wood-fired parrilla, but it’s the deeply romantic vista that draws in diners from around the globe.
Licensed. One&Only Royal Mirage, Al Sufouh, (04 399 9999).

Best Pub Food

Goose Island Tap House (WINNER)

While gastropubs can get kind of a bad rep for overpriced pours and ill-prepared triple cooked truffle fries, Goose Island Tap House laughs at the notion. With a cracking choice of craft beer, a chic industrial aesthetic and a kitchen that turns out sensational pub grub, you’ll either find us at the huge bar which dominates the centre, playing pool and virtual golf or, come game day, planted in front of one of the huge screens.
Licensed. FIVE Jumeirah Village, JVC, (04 455 9989).


The Crown & Lion is a Barsha Heights favourite with good reason, drawing in punters from the Marina to Downtown Dubai thanks to its live sports and stellar pub dining.. All frills go out the window at this friendly drinking hole, where prices are reasonable, space is ample and service is always friendly. Chow down on comfortingly traditional pub favourites – it does a killer Sunday roast – while enjoying a refreshing pint.
Licensed. Byblos Hotel Barsha Heights, (04 448 8000).

JB’s Gastropub

JBR might have a handful of top pubs, but JB’s is always one of the best options. Almost too handsome to be called a pub, hence the title gastropub, not only do bartenders pour a blinding pint, the ‘pots and pans’ and ‘bowls and greens’ on the food menu keep every belly happy. The vibe is charming and it’s almost always heaving after 6pm, which we put down to its attentive staff and prime location.
Licensed. Amwaj Rotana, The Walk, JBR, (04 428 3084).

Best Romantic

Thiptara (WINNER)

Settings don’t come more romantic than down at Thiptara. Sitting by the waterfront of Dubai Fountain, tuned-in service and prime views of the iconic water show and Burj Khalifa come with the territory, as does fine Thai cuisine with an emphasis on Bangkok-style seafood. While dishes are classic, they’ve had a rather indulgent makeover, so be sure to advise your other half to arrive hungry and/or wear loose-fitting trousers. Who said romance was dead?
Licensed. Palace Downtown Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, (04 428 7961)


At.mosphere is one of those places you have to visit at least once in your lifetime. Sitting on the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa, come dressed to impress and be prepared for your date to be wowed by a carefully curated menu and an impressive drinks selection served alongside a background of twinkling city lights. If those stunning vistas don’t impress them then quite frankly, we’re not sure what will.
Licensed. Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai, (04 888 3828).


Be it Valentine’s Day, an anniversary meal or just because, you’ll always be well looked after at Ossiano. With beautiful dishes made from the freshest seafood and an incredibly unique setting within a giant aquarium home to more than 65,000 marine animals, there’s nowhere else in town quite like it. It’s a popular spot for proposals too, so have a tissue at the ready.
Licensed. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, (04 426 2626).

Best Seafood

The MAINE Oyster Bar & Grill (WINNER)

If you’re craving oysters and a glass of bubbly, JBR’s popular haunt The MAINE will not disappoint. Found underneath the DoubleTree by Hilton, the restaurant is a go-to destination for seafood enthusiasts. Naturally oysters are the star of the show (Dibba Bay oysters to be exact), but you can also get fish tacos, raw dishes and lobster rolls – and you absolutely should. Eat al fresco on the terrace should the weather allow.
Licensed. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dubai – JBR, The Walk, (04 457 6719).


With its super fresh seafood, romantic interiors and prime waterfront position on Bluewaters, Alici is a true taste of Southern Italy in Dubai. It serves up everything from fresh fish dishes to handmade pasta amid beachy blue and white interiors complete with pretty citrus trees, making for a picture perfect meal with friends. If you’re a fan of anchovies you’ll be well placed too – it’s what Alici translates to and, by default, specialises in.
Licensed. Bluewaters Island, (04 275 2577).

Dampa Seafood Grill

Come prepared to get your hands dirty for a meal at Deira’s Dampa Seafood Grill – it’s inspired by the Philippine tradition of gathering round a full table of food designed to be eaten with your hands, The seafest dump is as good as it sounds; fresh shrimp, crab, mussels and clams are piled onto your table, complete with unlimited rice. Dig in and enjoy the relaxed and welcoming environment, alongside fellow seafood fans.
Unlicensed. Baniyas Road, Port Saeed, Deira, (04 299 0884).

Best Steakhouse

Hunter & Barrel (WINNER)

Head to Hunter & Barrel if you’re looking for a superb steak that won’t pull too harshly on the purse strings. Here all steaks are either grain fed, CAB prime or wagyu, with fire-grilled cuts the focal point of the menu. Be sure to order yours slathered in the hunter’s choice of basting, and enjoy alongside wafts of these coal-grilled slabs of meat billowing from the kitchen. Vegans might not be too impressed – everyone else is delighted.
Licensed. Vida Emirates Hills, (04 589 0970).


There’s plenty of culinary competition among the buzz of DIFC, but this serene dinner spot is a truly special find. Bringing a touch of Manhattan to the financial district, grown-up vibes meet slick service at Bull & Bear, which is modelled on the original but now-closed branch at Waldorf Astoria in New York. Dishes are a playful take on NYC favourites, with perfectly executed steaks taking pride of place. Look out for the giant bull on your way out.
Licensed. Waldorf Astoria DIFC, DIFC, (04 515 9888).


When it comes to a perfectly pink and piping hot medium rare cut of steak in the city, chefs at Prime68 have it down. Sitting on the (you guessed it) 68th floor of the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, this long-standing restaurant has earned itself a stellar reputation for its straightforward approach to steaks, focusing solely on high quality meat cooked exquisitely well. Get some sides to share and wash it all down with a glass of red from its extensive grape list.
Licensed. JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Business Bay, (04 414 3000).

Dubai’s best restaurants: GRAND PRIX

Casual Dining Restaurant

Kinoya (WINNER)

Enjoy an education in Japanese culture by popping into this much-loved foodies’ paradise. Based around two key aspects of Japanese culture izakaya and ramen (the former refers to informal Japanese dining where people gather after work to enjoy snacks and beverages, while the latter is an everyday dish in Japan bursting with beneficial ingredients), the food is top notch, while the restaurant is intimate and inviting. It’s become a real hotspot so make sure you book ahead.
Licensed. The Onyx, The Greens, (04 548 6776).


Channel your inner backpacker and head to this eatery inside the Armada Avenue Hotel where you can enjoy fabulous Thai food at accessible prices. The colourful chairs and stacked plastic crates give the look and feel of a street food restaurant on the Khao San Road in Bangkok, but don’t let the modest décor fool you. This is Thai food at its absolute best, and at this venue it can all be washed down with a bottle of hops, too. Café Isan is a real hotspot where beach clothes and flip-flops are welcome and (almost) anything goes. You’ll feel right at home.
Licensed. Armada Avenue Hotel, Cluster P, JLT (058 529 1003).

Mythos Kouzina & Grill

Some of the best Greek food is often served in the humblest of settings and that’s just the case at Mythos, where there’s little that is flash or swanky about the white-washed walls and homely environment. Instead, all the effort is focused on the preparation of delicious, traditional dishes that can be enjoyed out on the terrace where you can close your eyes, take in the satisfying aromas and imagine you have escaped to the Aegean.
Licensed. Armada BlueBay Hotel, Cluster P, JLT, (04 399 816).

Best Casual Newcomer

Blue Seafood Asia (WINNER)

As its name suggests, you’ll be treated to a whole host of Asian-inspired seafood at this new DIFC eatery, which promises an authentic ‘sea to table’ dining experience plus a great new terrace. Channelling the lively fish markets, vibrant vibes and unbeatable cooking techniques of seaside Asia, start your culinary journey at the raw bar before moving onto dim sum, ceviche and cooked fish dishes, all of which hit the mark. Prices are surprisingly good for DIFC too – score.
Licensed. Burj Daman, DIFC, (054 581 9555).

Blu Pizzeriá

There’s generally at least a handful of restaurants in Dubai that nail each type of cuisine, yet a seriously good Neapolitan pizza has been notoriously hard to come by. With a tiny menu and limited seating, Blu Pizzeriá has opened right on the harbour in Umm Suqeim, and its pizzas come adorned with classic Italian meat and veg combos, as well as not so classic recipes (short rib pizza anyone?). The dough doesn’t play second fiddle here either – use the huge crusts to mop up the generous amount of toppings.
Unlicensed. The Souk at The Fishing Harbour, Umm Suqeim, Jumeirah 3,

Tandoor Tina

Already proving popular with British expats looking for their own unique take on the humble Indian curry, Tandoor Tina serves up traditional dishes with an English twist, including a chip butty doused in lashings of curry sauce. A fun and frivolous sibling to London’s famous Tandoor Chop House, a playful interior comes dotted with artwork, ceramics and lush botanicals.
Licensed. 25hours Hotel One Central, Trade Center Steet, (04 210 2500).

Best Fine Dining Newcomer

SushiSamba (WINNER)

With world-famous venues already established in Miami, Las Vegas and London, SushiSamba opened to much fanfare towards the end of 2021, and it has lived up to the hype ever since. Marrying Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian food on the 51st floor of Palm Tower, signature dishes are prepared in an open-style theatre kitchen, where you’ll also find a swanky bar and lounge area. Floor-to-ceiling windows that perfectly capture the astonishing views are the ideal accompaniment.
Licensed. The Palm Tower, Palm Jumeirah, (04 582 1555).


A dining experience with a difference, 11 Woodfire is the brainchild of chef Akmal Anuar of 3Fils and Goldfish fame, offering up various different kinds of woods on which chefs grill meat, fish and vegetables for interesting flavour combinations. Not only does its contemporary space ooze both character and charm, but chef Akmal is committed to zero waste and sustainable practices too, and we’ve got plenty of appetite for that.
Unlicensed. Next to Mercato Mall, Jumeirah (04 491 9000).


With a menu spanning the most exciting flavours from across Tulum, San José and Lima towards Cartagena, Caracas and Panama, Tamoka is the hottest new venue in JBR. Perched right on the beachfront next to The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai, this beautiful restaurant, terrace and beach bar combines striking Bohemian interiors with an open kitchen and ceviche counter. Add to that views of the ocean and Ain Dubai, there’s no better spot to while away a weekend.
Licensed. Mamsha Street, JBR, (04 318 6099).

Restaurant of the Year

Mimi Kakushi

Chances are, whatever cuisine is your favourite and whichever part of town you like to hang in, you’ve eaten in Mimi Kakushi – or have had it placed firmly at the top of your ‘to try’ agenda. And so you should. Whether you simply love Japanese food, want to try Dubai’s best brunch, want to catch up with friends, entertain a client or have a chilled-out date night with delicious food, bang-on service and art deco vibes, Mimi has you covered. And if you’ve not been, what are you playing at? Book a table and be
quick about it.
Licensed. Four Seasons Resort Dubai by Jumeirah, Jumeirah Beach Road, (04 379 4811).