Friday, January 29, 2016

This fast-paced city of culinary wonders has a wide array of new places to try, from restaurants dripping in pearl chandeliers to edgy underground bar...

This fast-paced city of culinary wonders always has new places to try—from restaurants dripping in pearl chandeliers to edgy underground bars in historically overlooked neighborhoods. These are the Dubai hot spots having a moment right now.

Bistrot Bagatelle

Yes, this is the same infamous French bistro that's also located in Manhattan's Meatpacking District, a place where one is practically begging for a champagne shower if visited during brunch hours. With locations everywhere from St. Tropez and Los Angeles to St. Bart's and Sao Paulo, it was only a matter of time before this flashy establishment followed its transatlantic clientele to the UAE. Dubai's version of Bistrot Bagatelle is slightly more subdued, offering the same dose of sophistication and style as its counterparts via a menu of classic French fare and a comprehensive wine list, as well as clean and light decor with colorful punches of blue, and revelers that are little less rowdy.

Bread Street Kitchen

Gordon Ramsey's first Dubai venture, Bread Street Kitchen, is located in the sprawling Atlantis Hotel. An offshoot of Ramsey's London outpost Bread Street, this bustling space brings the same gastro-pub vibe one might expect from the British chef. Guests sidle up to tall stools at communal wooden bar tables or into tufted banquettes to lap up comfort dishes such as tamarind chicken wings, short rib beef burgers with Monterey Jack cheese, and bread and butter pudding ice. To round out his quintessentially Anglocentric eatery, Ramsey has also included two bars dedicated to specialty wine and beer.

Maine Oyster Bar & Grill

Until recently, the city's appreciation of New England-inspired cuisine was few and far between. But now, thanks to the Maine, Dubai has quickly caught on to the appeal of American East Coast fare. Those lucky enough to score reservations at this lively seaside brasserie start with something from the raw bar, whether that's the oysters, prawn cocktail, or a seafood tower brimming with snow crab legs and scallop ceviche ($130 to share).

The Maine also serves up traditional clam chowder, mushroom and truffle pizza for the crustacean-averse, and creative kale Bloody Marys made with Stoli and horseradish to wash down all that casual comfort food. The space feels it could be in Portland, sporting classic oyster bar decor of intricately tiled floors, whitewashed brick walls, and brass accents. In the winter months, be sure to book a table on the terrace, which is draped in delightful fairy lights and looks out on the rolling waves of Jumeirah Beach.


The gentrification of Dubai's Jumeirah Lake Towers has been rapid over the past two years, with the once less-than-desirable skyscraper cluster now home to many of the city's most interesting places to eat. Begin at Mythos, a charming and airy white-washed cavern serving some of the best Greek dishes in the city under vaulted ceilings and stone walls. No meal here is complete without tomato kefta, chicken souvlaki kebabs, and tzatzkiki, but afterwards, head down the street for a proper artisanal cocktail at the newly opened Cocktail Kitchen. The elegant bar features a live DJ spinning vinyl, as well as a cocktail-making corner where serious spirits connoisseurs can exchange notes—and toasts.

Play Restaurant

Reif Othman, former chef of the trendy and forever-hyped watering hole Zuma Dubai, recently opened his latest venture on the 36th floor of the H Hotel: Play Restaurant. The restaurant-meets-lounge is based on a fusion of Mediterranean-Asian cuisine, or as Othman has dubbed it, "Mediterrasian cuisine." Othman's loyal followers are flocking to this new Art Deco-inspired hangout—with low lights, lower lounge chairs, and slick wood floors—for the 76-hour marinated wagyu ribs and "fish in a bag" (trust us). The pleasing cuisine, combined with the glitzy backdrop by interior design firm Gregory Gatserelia, provides just the sparkle needed to attract even the most discerning Dubai glitterai.

Dylan Essertier, originally from Westport, Connecticut, is a Dubai-based writer and the features editor for @SavoirFlair. Follow her on Instagram at @DylanEssertier.

This fast-paced city of culinary wonders has a wide array of new places to try, from restaurants dripping in pearl chandeliers to edgy underground bar...

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