From restaurants and bars to individual superstars, these venues represent the very best of Dubai’s food and beverage industry.
The FACT Dining Awards Dubai 2023 saw 70 awards given out across 36 categories covering more than 250 hotels and independent restaurants.
The primary objective of the FFACT Dining Awards Dubai is to acknowledge excellence within the food and beverage industry in the city. The winners were chosen through a combination of public votes and the evaluations of industry critics. So, without further ado, here are the 2023 winners.
All Day Dining
The Bay at Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai
Sit on the terrace overlooking the beach and blue waters, and indulge in Mediterranean-inspired cuisine at The Bay. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the live stations range from the healthy to the sweet. Look for the cruffins – a croissant meets muffin hybrid – and the amazing juices.
Culinary Staycation in the Northern Emirates
Aquario at The Oberoi Beach Resort Al Zorah
The Oberoi Beach Resort Al Zorah offers a spectacular culinary staycation. Aquario is an all-day dining restaurant with a difference. The Mediterranean menu showcases seafood, and the venue has a prime spot by the beach. Take a seat by the walls lined with sofas or by the pergola.
Splendour Fields at The Park, Jumeirah Lake Towers
With a cafe, coffee bar, bakery and deli overlooking The Park in JLT, Splendour Fields is a leafy sanctuary set amongst an urban jungle. The menu includes homemade farm-to-table soups, sandwiches, salads and a range of coffees. They also serve a banging business lunch.
Josette at ICD Brookfield Place
Josette brings that French chic to afternoon tea. The décor includes velvet green curtains, mirrored pillars and pale pink walls, and the grand dining room transports you to 1920s Paris. It feels like we might bump into F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. So, sit under the shimmering chandeliers and sip the day away.
Nightjar Coffee Roasters at Al Quoz
Nightjar has coffee so good, it’s worth travelling halfway across town. Now, you don’t just have to head to Alserkal Avenue for the coffee, as in 2023 it opened a second café in City Walk. The homegrown brand was created by Dubai-born Leon Surynt in 2017. Authenticity is at the heart of the brand, which continues to gain critical and commercial success. The drinks include coffee blends, origins and cold brew nitro infusions, plus non-alcoholic cocktails.
Pitfire Pizza at Various Locations
Pitfire Pizza is often hailed by locals as creating the best pizza in Dubai, and we can certainly see why. The chewy dough, artisan cheese, and wide choice of toppings are just some of the ingredients that make its pizzas a success. The menu includes spicy salami primo, Hawaii five-oh, margherita, buffalo chicken, and veggie primo. Plus, when it’s the FACT team’s go-to takeaway pizza, it has to be doing something right.
Goose Island Tap House at FIVE Jumeirah Village
More than just a sports pub, Goose Island Tap House has artisan ales, its own barrel and tasting room, and a menu boasting international dishes. Great for groups, it has games ranging from billiards to indoor golf. Oh, and there are jumbo screens for all your sporting needs.
February 30 at Palm West Beach
This Beirurt-born concept has already notched up plenty of fans. With three bars, including a circular bar overlooking the sea, it’s a fantastic place to have a drink or three. Come for the drinks, and stay for Reith Othman’s Mediterranean and Japanese dishes.
Monkey Bar at 25hours Hotel One Central
25hours Hotel Dubai One Central is packed with personality, and loved by the FACT Editor-in-Chief. Head to the cheeky spot, Monkey Bar, for some sundowners. Located on the sixth floor, it has views of Museum of the Future and Zabeel Park. Settle into one of the monkey cages, boogie to the DJs and order some cocktails. Drinks range from Mai Tais to Old Fashions.
Honeycomb HiFi at Pullman Dubai Downtown
Honeycomb Hi-Fi is alive with the sound of music. Located in Business Bay, the venue prides itself on being the region’s first listening bar. The chilled cool hangout opened in October 2022, and has a loyal fan in the form of FACT’s Editor-in-Chief. The concept combines an izakaya experience with craft cocktails. Plus, there are exhibitions and a record as well as book shop.
CÉ LA VI Dubai at Address Sky View
Sky-high hotspot CÉ LA VI Dubai in Address Sky Views offers the kind of Burj Khalifa shots that will set your Instagram alight. Should you visit, a table on the terrace is a must, offering glittering views of the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Fountains and Downtown skyline to complement the exceptional Pan Asian menu from chef Howard Ko. There’s a reason why CÉ LA VI Dubai is a multiple FACT Dining Award winner.
Orfali Bros at Wasl 51
Once Orfali Bros opened in March 2021, it quickly gained a cult following. Mohamad, Wassim and Omar are the Orfali brothers behind the homegrown success story, which takes inspiration from their travels. The family works closely with local farmers and suppliers to serve local ingredients of the highest quality in their contemporary take on Middle Eastern dishes.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at Atlantis The Royal
Atlantis The Royal let the celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal work his culinary charm, and were soon awarded a MICHELIN Star. Famous for his scientific and playful approach to cooking, he uses techniques from vacuum-packing to sous vide to create unique dishes. Drawing inspiration from the 14th century, the new experience feels like a history lesson in the form of food. Sample dishes from the royal chefs of King Richard II to Lewis Carroll’s flights of fancy. Come for the meat fruit and stay for the appropriately named tipsy cake – you can thank us later.
Sticky Rice at Jumeirah Village Circle
Sticky Rice is one of the UAE’s great homegrown success stories. In 2023, it expanded from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, and is spreading its Thai flavours across the country. The menu covers starters, salads and soups, plus fragrant curries, noodles, rice and stir fry. Highlights include the Som Tum Thai (Thai Papaya Salad), Spicy Kaeng Keaw Wan (Thai Green Curry), and Pad See Ew Pak (Stir Fried Thick Flat Rice Noodles).
Mott 32 at Address Beach Resort
Mott 32 Dubai is located on the 73rd floor of the luxury hotel, Address Beach Resort. The menu serves fine dining Chinese food, especially Cantonese dishes, in a traditional way. We’d recommend the Crispy Sugar-Coated Charcoal Lamb Buns, which was so good we ordered them twice. The restaurant includes indoor dining and an open-air balcony terrace with views of JBR, Palm Jumeirah and Ain Dubai.
North American and Caribbean
The MAINE Land Brasserie at ME Dubai by Meliá
The Maine is a shucking spectacular restaurant, and a firm favourite among seafood eaters across the world. The brand expanded to London’s Mayfair and opened a pop-up for Riyadh Season. Loved by locals, we cannot fault the menu with a selection of freshly shucked oysters, raw plates and steaks.
Amazónico Dubai at DIFC
Amazónico Dubai must be the only restaurant to be able to make a rainforest theme feel refined. The luxury Latin American restaurant specialises in seafood, grilled meats and sushi. The restaurant originally opened in Madrid, Spain in 2010 by the husband-and-wife team, Sandro Silva and Marta Seco. It later found a home in DIFC, Dubai and has been impressing diners with its dazzling dishes.
BeefBar at Jumeirah Al Naseem
Meat lovers have been falling knife over fork for this restaurant. BeefBar is – as the name suggests – all about beef, glorious beef. Beefbar was born in Monaco in 2005 and has been striking it lucky with its restaurants in London, Hong Kong, Mexico City and Riyadh. We have Riccardo Giraudi (aka The Beef Boy) to thank for giving street food a swanky upgrade, and creating this modern yet luxurious dining experience.
Middle Eastern & North African
Ninive at Emirates Towers
Taking its name from one of the world’s seven wonders – the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, or Neneveh – Ninive is a magical setting. Settle into the urban majlis, where you can dine under the stars and soaring skyscrapers. It feels like you are doing a desert safari without touching foot in the dessert, as it is surrounded by palm trees, foliage and twinkling lights. Plus, the dishes are inspired by Morocco, Iran, Iraq and Turkey, and range from fattoush salad to lobster tagines.
Ossiano at Atlantis, The Palm
Ossiano in Atlantis, The Palm has been impressing not just Dubai but the world with its seafood. Not only is it a multiple FACT Award winner, but it is MICHELIN Star-quality. You may be next to a floor-to-ceiling aquarium, but the dishes are so dazzling, they will steal your attention away from the marine life. Chef Grégoire Berger’s menu is inspired by the ocean and includes unique ingredients that you rarely find in a restaurant.
Tasca by José Avillez at Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai
Celebrity chef, José Avillez, is passionate about the history and traditions of Portuguese cooking, and he shows off all that affection at Tasca by José Avillez. Located on the sixth floor of Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai, the menu gets better and better. The team give traditional Portuguese dishes a modern twist, and the restaurant boasts the largest selection of Portuguese grapes in Dubai. Come for the skyline views and stay for the signature dishes including the avocado tempura and Josper-roasted lamb shank.
GAIA at DIFC
Chef Izu has done it again. As one of Dubai’s most well-respected chefs, GAIA has been a firm favourite on Dubai’s dining scene. The Greek-inspired menu aims to bring the simplicity of home cooking to a restaurant environment via its salads, seafood and more. If you’re a serious foodie, there’s even a chef’s table for twelve diners. Not content with just the UAE, GAIA will be making its London debut very soon – there’s no stopping Chef Izu.
Jun’s at Downtown Dubai
Chef Kelvin Cheung is behind Jun’s, which has created a fine dining Asian experience. The third culture chef has fused his Canadian and Cantonese heritage together, and told a story through his food. The restaurant has gained critical success and featured on The World’s 50 Best Restaurant list.
LPM Restaurant & Bar at DIFC
Whenever we visit the multiple FACT Dining Award winner LPM Restaurant & Bar, it’s a masterclass in French fine dining. The brand has foodie fans across the world, as it has been serving customers in Hong Kong, London, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. The Dubai restaurant has recently undergone a full refurbishment and is beautifully romantic. Ideally located in DIFC, it’s the ideal spot for a business lunch or romantic dinner.
Chic Nonna at DIFC
Some things never go out of style: the little black dress, trench coat and Chic Nonna. The new fine dining Italian restaurant has been turning heads from the moment it strutted down to DIFC. We love the Sea Bass Fillet roasted in an aquapazza sauce, and Lamb Shank that is oh-so slow cooked. It’s all about the attention to detail – if you look closely, you’ll find nods to Italy, from the shelves lined with Roman-style statues and books on Ferrari as well as Spuntino.
Trèsind Studio at St. Regis Gardens
Trèsind Studio is one of Dubai’s most critically acclaimed restaurants: it was awarded two MICHELIN Stars, ranked at number two in the MENA region for 50 Best Restaurants, and was named Restaurant of the Year at the FACT Dining Awards Dubai in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Dig into dishes that are a thing of beauty, and it will make you rethink Indian cuisine.
Japanese – Casual Dining
Reif Japanese Kushiyaki at Various Locations
The homegrown Dubai concept, Reif Japanese Kushiyaki, is famous for its unconventional spin on Japanese food. The man behind the brand, the much-loved Reif Othman has a loyal following. We love the restaurant for its appealing list of sushi, ramen, kushiyaki (skewers) and arguably one of the best sando interpretations in the city.
Japanese – Fine Dining
Mimi Kakushi at Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach
Mimi Kakushi has made quite the impression since it opened in 2021. The Japanese restaurant and bar, transports you back to the swinging jazz age of 1920s Osaka. Plus, the menu covers lunch, dinner and brunch, and the signature dishes include sushi, sashimi and tempura.
Dinner & A Show
Q’s Bar & Lounge at Palazzo Versace Dubai
If you want to party like the FACT Editor-in-Chief, then head down to Q’s Bar & Lounge. Pass through the sound-proofed doors and into what feels like a basement New Orleans jazz bar. The late-night venue showcases performances from emerging artists handpicked by Quincy Jones. Known for its intimate ambience, unmatched acoustics, innovative cocktails, it is unlike any other music venue in the city.
Ongaku at Clap at DIFC
We love a secret bar at FACT. So when the already excellent Clap launched its own speakeasy, we knew it had to be something special. Thanks to its tucked-away entrance, stunning terrace and resident DJs, it’s one of those bars that give you FOMO. However, it’s Ongaku’s party brunch, featuring live entertainment, a superb sushi buffet and free-flowing Champagne that draws the crowds.
Zuma at DIFC
When the words “Zuma” and “brunch” are in the same sentence, our mouths water. The FACT favourite excels at whatever it turns its chopsticks to, which is why we can’t help falling in love with its Saturday brunch. A must-visit in Dubai, the main dishes are served straight to your table and include the famous Miso Marinated Black Cod. Plus, it takes the traditional buffet and turns it into a foodie’s dream.
21grams Urban Balkan Bistro at Meyan Mall
21grams comes FACT recommended, as you may well spot the team remote working from the cool café. The café is loved for its quality dishes and drinks, and has a loyal fan base among locals and critics – it is a multiple FACT Dining Award winner, after all. We’d recommend coming for coffee but staying for the soul food. The menu is inspired by the Balkan Peninsula, and serves dishes ranging from pljeskavica to breaded chicken schnitzel.
Newcomer – Casual Dining
SOON Nobby x True Izakaya
The word unique gets used a lot, but is appropriate when it comes to SOON Nobby x True Izakaya. The space is packed with personality and includes old hi-fis, VCRs and a giant smiling robot. The Japanese izakaya experience is one of the coolest in the city. The menu covers sushi and raw, small plates, large plates, kushiyaki, rice and noodles, and dessert.
Newcomer – Fine Dining
Chez Wam at St. Regis Gardens
Chez Wam, which translates to “at mine”, has mastered the relaxed yet refined dining experience – and it’s well worth checking out. Located in St. Regis Gardens atop Palm Jumeirah’s Nakheel Mall, it has been created by Chef Hadrien Villedieu. The menu covers starters, fish, meat, pasta, sides and sharing dishes. We’d recommend its innovative take on Wagyu Boeuf Tartare and The Poulet Adobo.
Restaurant of the Year
Ossiano at Atlantis, The Palm
If you thought that dining underwater was a gimmick, think again. Ossiano, located inside Atlantis, The Palm, may be next to a floor-to-ceiling aquarium, but the food is one MICHELIN Star-quality and will steal your attention away from the marine life. Sure, there are stingrays and sharks swimming past you, but, best of all, there’s an impressive seafood menu inspired by the ocean. Chef Grégoire Berger has done it again and is a multiple FACT Award winner.