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Food & Drink

15 top food trends in Dubai

Thu, March 30, 2023

From Instagram-friendly plates and expert-led masterclasses to innovative vegan menus, Dubai's gastronomic scene always has plenty to astound.

From Instagram-friendly plates and expert-led masterclasses to innovative vegan menus, Dubai's gastronomic scene always has plenty to astound.


Supper club sessions

Discerning diners on the lookout for intimate culinary experiences can seek out supper clubs that often take place in the host's house. Insider status is secured the moment you book, as these pop-ups usually stay under the radar. Whether you're after The Curry Bureau's Indian coastal cuisine, Haya's Kitchen's Palestinian feasts, Spanish-accented menus by Tano's at 8, chef Jesse Black's modern Middle Eastern delights at @EyeHeartRabbit, or Girl & The Goose's Nicaraguan delicacies, there's a table in Dubai to satiate your craving. 

Show up for superb eat-ertainment

La Casa del Tango

What could be better than a sumptuous dinner at one of Dubai's best restaurants? Adding in the extra draw of a spectacular show. Many venues are specifically designed to display a theatrical on-stage performance, from DIFC's Babylon to The St.Regis Downtown's TABU and Address Beach Resort's DREAM joining established stalwarts like Billionaire Dubai, La Casa del Tango and Guy Manoukian's The Theater. And if you're looking for a more immersive retro vibe, then Paramount Hotel's Flashback Speakeasy fulfils a roaring 1920s brief.


Snap up Instagram spots

Trésind Studio Dubai
Fans of molecular gastronomy will be wowed by the intricate presentation, billows of smoke, bubbling concoctions and curious 'coffee stones' served by chef Himanshu Saini's Tresind Studio. And there are plenty of other eateries that urge you to keep your cameras ready for social media-worthy culinary reveals. Photogenic plates are served up at cafes like the floral-focused Saya, electric pink is the overarching hue at DIFC's VIBE while Farzi Cafe continues to innovate with a chaat trolley dispensing snacks. 

More greens, please


Many may eschew meat during Veganuary, but plant-based diets are now a permanent fixture for a multitude of diners. It's picking up such momentum that restaurants in Dubai are officially tweaking their offerings or adding special standalone menus. Dubai's eateries have been quickly adopting green-friendly recipes, while dedicated vegetarian and vegan spots like SEVA, Teible at Jameel Arts Centre, Bounty Beets and Comptoir 102 continue to serve up delicious meat-free feasts, packed full of flavour.


Tableside theatrics

Mott32 in Dubai

Whether it's being sliced, fired up or constructed, restaurants are determined to add drama to your evening by putting on tableside entertainment. Nus.ret's meats get a final buttery flourish after being served, while chefs at Mott 32 slice up their trademark Peking duck in front of your eyes. And DIFC-based Josette adds fancy French flair to proceedings with their signature crêpe Josette flambéed for guests to record.


Burger bonanza

She Burger

Dubai's appetite for burgers has resulted in a multitude of new spots mushrooming up across the city. From Twice in Al Safa, which specialises in wagyu beef smash burgers, to Asian-flavoured Ugly Burger and Emirati-owned She Burger, there's something for every taste. Other additions include celebrity chef Burak Özdemir's CZN Burak Burger, Dubai Design District's trendy G.O.A.T. eatery, and new High Joint and Pickl branches that cater to a growing legion of fans.


Charcoal bites

Charcoal may not necessarily be the ingredient you think of when whipping up a treat, but chefs are going all-out to incorporate dark hues into Insta-friendly plates around town. Once the preserve of drinks and desserts like Scoopi's activated charcoal ice cream, you can now feast on TABU's black tempura calamari, Ossiano's legine fish fillet, Galleria Mall-based Juan's inked prawns and pizzeria Moon Slice's black orbed arancini with truffle sauce. Plus, there are a host of black buns popping up on burgers like those served up by Salt Bae.

Fabulous food halls

Diners looking for elevated offerings, premium ingredients and artisanal fare – with the added bonus of fast service, casual seating and lots of choice – are flocking to gourmet food halls popping up across the city. Upscale spaces like Depachika at Nakheel Mall have been joined by the lunchtime favourites Downtown Kitchens, South Market Food Hall and Motor City's Neighbourhood Food Hall so discerning diners can try boutique culinary concepts all under one roof.

Always truffle season

You'd expect Italian restaurants to be shaving truffles onto pastas, but the prized fungi is now being brandished on all cuisines. There is even a Truffle House with everything an epicurean might want at Dubai Hills Mall. From the truffle-laden Turkish pide at Orfali Bros Bistro, to croque monsieur sandwiches at La Cantine du Faubourg, Parker's burgers and Hutong's Peking duck, everyone is utilising this prized ingredient. The most innovative of them all? Chef Gregoire Berger's sweet-savoury 'truffle truffle' at Ossiano.

New age blends


Dubai restaurants are not shy to break convention, which is why we’re celebrating experimental mocktails taking a rightful place on menus. Pioneering BOCA was one of the first to adopt refreshing alternatives – try the Alhambra Garden, a standout mix of apple, cucumber, lemon, local mint and elderflower. Most top eateries have similar sophisticated offerings that are worth discovering across the city, including 11 Woodfire that won a 2022 Gault&Millau award for their housemade blends.


Tasting menus

More and more diners are letting the chef decide what they should eat, with tasting or omakase menus becoming popular among foodies across the city. Whatever the cuisine, restaurants are curating multi-course extravaganzas that put a spotlight on the best of what's on offer, and lets those in the kitchen create a signature experience. Find seafood specialities at two Michelin-starred Ossiano, sushi at Taiko and an 11-course feast at Chinese Tan Cha.

Going global

 juns Downtown

As chefs' personal and professional journeys take them across the world, they are more and more likely to be adept at mixing flavours, drawing on the multitude of influences that they are exposed to. Chef Kelvin Cheung shows off his ability to mix North African, Far Eastern and Indian recipes at Jun's, while Mohammad Orfali's award-winning eatery defies categorisation, mixing shish barak with gyozas, and adding bonito flakes to his trademark Turkish pides flatbreads. Meanwhile, Moonrise's Solemann Haddad blends Japanese techniques and ingredients with Middle Eastern memories and notes to plate up dishes that have his own stamp.


Back to earth

Although there have been champions of sustainability in the local food scene for some time – LOWE has been serving zero-waste menus on a regular basis and Teible's Carlos Frunze has been an outspoken proponent – an emphasis on using local produce and reducing the industry's environmental impact has been gaining momentum. Local farms are reaping the rewards of more green-focused restaurants and knowledgeable chefs, with consumers making more informed choices when they dine too.


Pop up power

If you're not keeping in step with the foodie scene, you might miss some of its tastiest happenings. That's certainly the case with limited-time disappearing dining rooms or pop-ups that make an appearance across the city at various venues, before completely closing shop, ready to head to the next location. Hip 25hours Hotel hosts many established and emerging names like SALT for short stints in its courtyard, Ugly Noodles dispensed dumplings at Alserkal Avenue recently and Thai specialist Yellow Monkey often plates up at LOWE. Our top tip? Follow your favourites on social media to make sure you catch them.

Back to class

Seafood dish at Clay Dubai
Eateries are now focusing on masterclasses as an additional way of connecting with their regulars. Diners can learn tricks of the trade, pick up cooking tips and perfect a new recipe by preparing a plate alongside the chef in this fun, interactive experience that offers something different from a usual meal out. Plus you get to enjoy what you conjured up, and can recreate it at home to impress your family and friends. Check out Peruvian spots CLAY and COYA which are both sharing ceviche recipes, while Katsuya's chef Pavel is conducting weekly sushi-making classes.
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