How To Eat Your Way Through Dubai

While the Japanese and French have been rightfully dominating the Michelin Guide for years, Dubai isn’t too far from becoming the culinary capital of the world.

Published On Oct 06, 2023 | Updated On Mar 08, 2024


Dubai gastronomy isn’t just about gold steaks, 24-carat gold burgers, edible gold ice cream dished up at Scoopi, or the 23-carat gold biryani. While the Japanese and French have been rightfully dominating the Michelin Guide for years, Dubai isn’t too far from becoming the culinary capital of the world. Last year, the first-ever Michelin Guide made its way to the United Arab Emirates, and out of 69 contenders, nine restaurants were awarded one Michelin Star and two were recognised with two Michelin stars, and 14 others were granted Bib Gourmand status. The evolution of Dubai’s distinctive culinary landscape lately is proof that Emiratis take their food very seriously. From Filipino to Italian, Japanese to Peruvian—and many other cuisines in between—Dubai has emerged as the new playground for chefs from around the world. And it’s finally basking in the glory of long-awaited culinary recognition!

During my recent trip to Dubai, I was privileged to sample the most delicious and well-crafted dishes, some at Michelin Guide restaurants and some at restaurants that are not too far from achieving the recognition. So, here’s your ultimate guide to where to eat, and most importantly what to eat in Dubai.

Wagyu burger

While there are many reasons to make the Michelin-starred restaurant your first culinary stop, their Wagyu burger and beef cheeks definitely top the list. Helmed by Akmal Anuar, the Singaporean chef-owner, here almost every dish is prepared over a fire or touched by it. They are experts when it comes to wood-fire cooking and chef Akmal doesn’t shy away from raving about it. He says, “The menu relies on superiority of produce and technique. Fire is not easy to control and we are specialists in it.” On the secret to running a Michelin-starred restaurant, he explains, “The secret lies in communication. It's not a secret after all. The team is required to work with a certain culture. The cohesiveness of this reflects on the product. Service must be impeccable and food must be prepared at a high level of skill and elegance. Balance in terms of offer to different audiences. Taking constructive feedback and applying where necessary.”

Beef cheeks

Situated along Jumeirah Beach road, in a standalone villa, the restaurant seats about 120 people at a time serving food that is all about naturality and simplicity. Elaborating on the cooking techniques they work on, he says, “We have a custom-made oven that reaches a temperature of 700 degree Celsius. This gives a hard char to the items that are cooked in there. That heat gives flavour and temperature that no other cooking technique can.” One look at the menu, and you will be tempted to try it all. While the seabass carpaccio seasoned with black chilli and pickled wakame, and chicken wings deserve your attention, their beef cheeks that sits on a bed of creamy and flavourful potato mousseline and banana shallots, and the Wagyu burger served with gouda, mushroom duxelles, and sriracha is exactly what you expect from a Michelin star restaurant.

Where: Villa 11 75B St - Jumeirah - Jumeirah 1 - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Grilled sea bream

Chef Izu Ani’s commitment and contribution to the culinary world reflects in every dish he plates and every bite you take. At La Maison Ani, a Dubai Mall eatery, expect the best of French-Mediterranean cuisine that will transport you to the Côte d'Azur. The man behind some of Dubai’s best restaurants such as GAIA, Kitch-In and Izu Burger serves dishes that find inspiration from his travels. The beef tartare with chips and quinoa salad with cranberry and nuts, was a great way to start the meal but the dishes that lingered on my palate were the crispy calamari and zucchini, grilled harissa prawns and grilled sea bream. 

Grilled harissa prawns

And they all had two things in common—commitment to flavours, and perfection in taste. Do not fill yourself up with their Wagyu beef burger with Emmental cheese lettuce tartar sauce or their pizza margherita, because you need to save your appetite to devour the astonishing seafood he creates that will have you hooked.

Where: TDM GF 319, Dubai Mall - Dubai - United Arab Emirates


To see the chefs in action at the open kitchen, not worried about being watched and allowing diners to see it all come together, is an experience. Apart from creating dishes that are a masterpiece, Sucre—a Michelin guide restaurant, helmed by chef Carlos De Los Mozos—exemplifies the statement ‘cooking is a show’. Mozos believes that his culinary approach is best described as 'Fire Feasting,' inspired by the rich flavours of Argentinian, Spanish, and Italian cuisines. Interestingly, it’s the only restaurant concept in DIFC that utilises fire as a main cooking element, making the flavour profiles as unique as the people behind them. Here, chefs innovatively blend these traditional Argentinian techniques with a Mediterranean flair, ensuring that each dish is nothing less than a culinary masterpiece.

Mozos says, “We heavily incorporate Mediterranean elements to create a unique blend that balances comfort food with one-of-a-kind gastronomic experience. Our chefs draw inspiration from their own culinary journeys and childhood memories, adding a layer of authenticity and emotional depth to each dish. What truly sets us apart is the human connection behind each dish on our menu. When you dine with us, you're not just tasting food—you're tasting the personality, passion, and heritage of the chefs who've put their heart and soul into crafting it.” Elaborating further on the cooking techniques they work on, Mozos says, “Our cornerstone cooking technique is fire-based cooking, which imbues our dishes with a smoky, rich flavour. From Parrilla (grilling) to a variety of other fire-centric techniques, we amalgamate diverse methods to achieve the best flavour results.”


I started with chimichurri, a native sauce from Argentina traditionally made of finely chopped parsley, chilli, and garlic mixed with a generous amount of vegetable oil and vinegar served with freshly baked breads. One bite of bread dunked in the sauce made me scream, “Bathe me in chimichurri.” I would go back to Sucre, just for this. 

Tuna tartare

Good things come in small packages, but not at Mozes’ kitchen. Next up was the utterly delicious tuna tartare made with avocado, soy, lime, ginger—a true delight for seafood lovers. However, amongst the many other divine dishes I savoured, the braised beef cheek with creamy mash and beef jus was clearly the star of the menu. 

Dark chocolate mousse

For sweet endings, you need to get a spoonful of dark chocolate mousse made with frantoia olive oil garnished with salt flakes.  

Where: Podium Level, Gate Village 05 - DIFC - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Roasted diver scallops, hamachi crudo and roasted salmon

Ce La Vi, a place where every dish they plate is as great as the view. It’s very rare when a restaurant pays as much attention to the food as they do to the interiors and views. Located on the 54th floor of the Sky View hotel, Ce La Vi—a Michelin Guide restaurant—not only offers stunning aerial views of the city with Burj Khalifa in the backdrop, but also makes sure they serve some of the most delicious contemporary dishes with global influences. Some of our favourites include roasted diver scallops, roasted mushroom soup, shrimp croquettes, hamachi crudo, roasted salmon, roasted chicken, grilled red mullet, and tagliatelle with burrata and black truffle. Also, opting for their mocktails instead of cocktails didn’t disappoint. 

Geisha paradise 

I highly recommend their Geisha paradise mocktail made of Thai coconut that marries exceptionally well with the refreshing zing of grapefruit soda.

Where: Tower 2 - Level 54, Address Sky View Hotel - Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Photo: Anannya Chatterjee