Discover our unique selection of where to eat and be seen in Dubai, with these new openings and quirky hotspots.
An uber-cool import from Beirut
There’s something about Indie, the new venture from the team behind Dubai’s Iris and White. It could be the discreet location, hidden away in the upper levels of Gaucho in DIFC, though you wouldn’t know it exists, for there is no signage in sight, or the darkened interior punctuated by flashes of bright colour from the green and purple upholstery.
The space has a distinctly rustic charm, an eclectic collection of retro ornaments, think suitcases, old television sets and typewriters, shelved away amongst a beautifully crafted decor. Seating is a mixture of high bar style and more formal dining tables. There are also striking light fittings with exposed filaments surrounded by bulbous glass jars, like burst fireworks, momentarily suspended in mid-air, before cascading to the ground.
In an area renowned for pretentious dining and expensive prices, Indie is making waves bucking the trend, providing a breath of fresh air into an area where most venues are offering the exact same thing. The vibrant area injects a huge boost of personality into Dubai’s financial district and this is evident in the eclectic mix of cocktails served in everything from re-cycled light bulbs to tin cans.
The urban menu includes a selection of tapas, taking on an experimental nature. The food may be downplayed as you will be focused on the overall atmosphere and experience offered by the restaurant. However, the food here is an excellent blend of international flavours and cooking techniques, and although it may not be as high end as neighbouring establishments, the quality is exceptional, from the starters all the way through to the grills, grains and mains.
Indie is a busy place, one that is bursting with energy. A neon sign that adorns the entranceway says it all, ‘If you don’t belong, don’t be long.’
A refined spot offering British favourites in a gentlemen’s club atmosphere
Alfie’s is a British restaurant in Dubai with a sophisticated playground for the more discerning gentleman. Situated in the Boulevard alongside the Dunhill store, Alfie’s Dubai is the third venue in the Alfred Dunhill restaurant portfolio, joining Alfie’s Shanghai and Alfie’s Hong Kong.
For a restaurant that takes its name from the icon of British luxury, Alfred Dunhill, it’s unsurprising that Alfie’s wears its Britishness on its sleeve. The cigar lounge immediately on entry is lifted straight from a London gentleman’s club, all brown leather, dark wood, and bookshelves crammed with artefacts. However, the main dining area takes a more modern approach. The leather is still very much in evidence, but lighter tones and white marble table tops give an airy feel, while arty black and white prints on the walls pay homage to the Dunhill company’s fashion exploits over the last 120 plus years.
The considered menu has been designed with a fresh interpretation of British fare in mind, with a strong seafood accent, though meats, poultry and vegetarian options are represented too. An emphasis is made on the finest quality ingredients and provenance, making this dining at its stateliest.
By Enoteca Pinchiorri
Bringing La Dolce Vita to the heart
The Artisan, by Enoteca Pinchiorri, is a concept derived from Italy, and is known for offering a feast for the senses. L’Enoteca Pinchiorri is home to one of the best chefs in the world, and the 3 Michelin Stars main restaurant in Florence has been highly acclaimed since the 1970’s. The Artisan is yet another chapter in a rich culinary history, it’s got a pedigree background while being slightly more casual than its Italian counterpart.
The interior speaks of grande dining rooms, with details reflecting the attention to detail and passion present in the artisanal craftsmanship of the food. A broad nod to the long established Italian institution is evident, but with a modern twist to suit its new Dubai context. There is an abundance of stunning marble, together with suspended handcrafted Murano glass irises, the space plays a game of contrasts between old and new.
The menu is compact but varied, with small starters, antipasti, pasta dishes and mains. The cuisine is best described as mainly Tuscan, with exceptions including burrata from Puglia and tomatoes from Vesuvius near Naples. Although the menu is smallish, it has enough variety to excite, but not too much as to overwhelm.
A prestigious fine dining experience based around authentic Lebanese cuisine
Em Sherif is Lebanese chef Mireille Hayek’s first restaurant in Dubai, a licensed concept imported from Beirut. Conveniently nestled at the foot of The Address Downtown Dubai and facing Burj Khalifa.
As you step inside the restaurant you will instantly feel transported to Beirut. From the décor, to the atmosphere and waiters. The restaurant is mesmerising and plush space, yet still with a shabby chic aesthetic. Blue walls are wallpapered with Ottoman-style mirrors and oriental porcelain plates, pale blue translucent drapes adorn plush fuchsia banquettes, and a huge metallic firewood oven surrounds large black tables and chairs.
The restaurant has no a la carte menu. For a set price, the only option is a fixed menu of 32 dishes, changing depending on seasonal ingredients, starting with a freshly baked and well-seasoned thyme man’ousheh as you sit down. This continues to traditional salads and a cold mezze. Warm mezze dishes follow, then the meats and finally an assortment of desserts.
A theatre-style venue that pushes the boundaries of entertainment in Dubai
Dubai’s most theatrical venue offers vaudeville-style entertainment, great quality Latin food and a stop and stare atmosphere that can’t be matched anywhere else. The variety performance includes well-choreographed dance routines, circus-style acts, music and comedy.
Stepping out of the lift on the 42nd floor of the Shangri-La, and through another door, you’re in another world, all dark and Victorian burlesque, think boudoir, sexy cabaret and Moulin Rouge. It is a Simon Hammerstein Las Vegas theatre club concept, offering Peruvian cuisine, and is apparently the highest theatre in the world.
The menu which is divided into several starter options from ceviches and tiraditos, to enrollados and salads, mains and accompaniments, follows the sharing concept and is created by two chefs straight out of Lima.
A café and concept store
Launched in 2012 by two Parisian girls, Emmanuelle Sawko and Alexandra de Montaudouin, Comptoir 102 merges food with fashion. Acclaimed by international travel guides and fashion magazines, the space has been conceived as a home, with its kitchen, lounge, garden and terrace- combining fashion, homeware and organic café.
The philosophy behind the café is to offer a more conscious and healthy lifestyle by offering sustainable and nutritious food. Ingredients are sourced from local organic farms, meaning the menu changes daily according to the harvest. Age old techniques such as pre-soaking, fermenting, cooking at low temperature, steaming and dehydrating are used, and vegan choices are offered, together with a menu which is sugar-free and dairy-free, with raw and gluten free options.