As places are reopening in Dubai, I have been excited to get out and try some new restaurants after cooking every day for the past 2 months! However, I couldn’t forget my good old favourites so I thought I would share my top 5 restaurants in Dubai. These restaurants I have visited over and over again, and absolutely love!
Gordon Ramsey Hell’s Kitchen $$$
Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai
I visited Hell’s Kitchen early last year, shortly after it just opened. Having watched many episodes of Hell’s Kitchen, I was really excited to try this restaurant and see what all the fuss was about. We booked our table on the day, for about 9pm, and it was relatively quiet. For dinner, they have an A La Carte menu, or the signature menu – I of course went for the signature menu. To start, I had the pan-seared scallops with sweetcorn purée, crispy veal bacon and pickled shallot rocket salad. For main, I had the famous beef wellington, wrapped in puff pastry and comes with mushroom duxelles, potato purée, glazed root vegetables and a red wine demi-glace. To finish, I had the delicious sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce and speculoos ice cream – Just WOW!
What can I say? It was absolutely beautiful and even better than expected. Looking back at the photos, the portions look very small, but I remember feeling so full afterwards. The restaurant itself has a stunning design and it’s location is great. Bluewaters Dubai is a brand new island near to JBR with a range of other restaurants and shops within walking distance.
The signature menu costs 395 AED per person (Approximately £87/$107) – very very pricey. I wouldn’t normally spend that much on a meal, but this night was an extra treat. Not for any reason, but I really felt like splurging and eating somewhere nice! I would say it is 100% worth it as the food was incredible, but it is not somewhere you would go back to every week! For a more affordable option, Hell’s Kitchen has a lunch menu, as well as a brunch set menu which is ‘all you can eat’. For more information, click here.
Din Tai Fung $$
Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Mall, Al Ghurair Centre
Din Tai Fung is a Taiwanese restaurant which is famous for it’s delicious soup-filled dumplings, also known as ‘Xiaolongbao’. These are my absolute favourite and we order 3-4 portions as they are just so good! I have visited all three of the restaurants in Dubai, but my favourite is Mall of the Emirates as it has a buzzing atmosphere. The must-have item is the xiaolongbao, and I tend to order the seafood ones. We then order chicken and shrimp chow mein, shrimp wonton noodle soup and chicken fried rice. The waiters prepare a ‘special dipping sauce’ to accompany the dumplings made from rice vinegar, ginger and soy sauce – this is probably my favourite part!
The price in Din Tai Fung is fairly reasonable but it can vary depending on what you order. For our order (4 X xiaolongbao, 1 x noodles, 1 rice) it normally comes to around 220 AED (£48/$59). For the food and quality, I think that isn’t too bad. We have been to Din Tai Fung several times, and we even ordered take-away during quarantine. I would highly recommend this place if you enjoy Chinese food. For more information, click here.
If you like fast food with a bit of a twist, you will love SALT. SALT does the most delicious and iconic burgers that come with regular, sweet potato or cheese fries! Their burgers are called ‘sliders’ and you get two per meal as they are mini burgers. The location is picture perfect too. SALT is actually just a food truck on the beach, but it has become such a popular spot with both tourists and locals. There is a large seating area, and you will often see a long queue. Kite Beach is also such a lovely, family friendly area, with great views of the Burj Al Arab, so it is the perfect place to come for a sunset walk, and stop by SALT for some food.
The cost for a burger, chips and a drink comes to around 55 AED (£12/$15) which I think it very reasonable. The food is great quality and I don’t think you can beat this place if you are looking for somewhere cheap, quick and with a fantastic location. I have been to SALT numerous times and will continue to go back! I just wish they would make more branches across the UAE! For more information, click here.
Dampa Seafood Grill $$
I stumbled across this place a couple of months ago, and I can say it is honestly one of my favourite restaurants in the entire world! Dampa is a Filipino-run restaurant that serves the freshest fish and dumps it right onto your table! Yep, that is right. They literally dump a large bowl of mixed seafood onto your table, along with rice, and then you tuck in using your hands. I think the whole concept is brilliant, I have never seen anything like it before. Not to mention, the food is delicious.
There is a standard menu, however the most popular dish is the ‘Dump @ Seafest’ which contains shrimp, muscle, clams, crab and corn on the cob. You can select all different spice flavours, but the most popular and my favourite is Cajun. This combo also comes with white rice and a fish bowl mocktail drink of your choice.
What I love about Dampa too is the service and how quick and efficient the staff are. We normally visit in the evening, and it is always super busy, however the staff will always find us a table really quickly and the wait for food never exceeds 10 minutes. The cost of the seafood combo is 152 AED (£33/$41) which is enough for two people. For a large portion of seafood, which is always more expensive, the price is very good, especially when split between two. For more information, click here.
Catch 22 $$
La Mer Beach
Catch 22 is a little gem that I discovered last summer located on the South side of La Mer Beach. Catch 22 is a ‘beach shack’ style restaurant which serves an array of food such as sushi, tacos, burgers and seafood.
The food itself is beautiful but the highlight for me is the restaurant itself. Set along the stunning La Mer beach, the interior makes you feel like you have been washed up on a beach in Hawaii. It has such a cool, laid back vibe and my favourite feature is the free photo booth! Right in the middle of the restaurant, there is a photo booth for all guests to take some photos whilst you wait for your food. It is such a fun idea and there are lots of accessories to dress up with too. You can get the photo printed out for free instantly or emailed to you.
We typically always order the lobster roll and then a side of either sushi or a salad. The lobster roll costs 68 AED ($15/$18) which again, I think is quite reasonable as lobster can get really expensive in some restaurants. The menu has such a great variety so every time you come back you can order something new. It is also a lovely restaurant to take friends/family to as you can enjoy amazing food, and get a fun picture to take home with you! For more information, click here.
And there we have it, my top 5 restaurants in Dubai. Hopefully this may inspire other people to visit these restaurants, should you be visiting or if you live in Dubai. I myself, cannot wait to get back out there and visit these restaurants! I think all of us will no longer take dining out for granted.
Thanks for reading.