The best restaurants in Dubai: All of this year’s FACT Award winners
From restaurants and bars to individual superstars, these venues and people represent the very best of Dubai’s food and beverage industry.
The sixth annual FACT Dining Awards Dubai ceremony took place earlier this month and 81 awards were given out from a selection of over 400 nominees.
Recognising brilliance in the food and beverage industry, the winners of the FACT Dining Awards Abu Dubai are awarded on public votes and critics’ opinions. Each category was given two awards, the BEST and the FAVOURITE. The latter is the result of a popular choice decided through online public voting, and the former is the critic’s choice determined by the FACT editorial team.
Without further ado, here are your 2022 winners:
- All Day Dining
- Casual Dining
- Family Friendly
- Afternoon Tea
- Business Lunch
- Culinary Staycation In The Northern Emirates
- Outdoor Bar
- Rooftop Bar
- Al Fresco Dining
- North American & Caribbean
- Latin American
- Middle Eastern & North African
- Pan Asian
- Italian Casual Dining
- Italian Fine Dining
- Japanese Casual Dining
- Japanese Fine Dining
- Dinner & A Show
- Party Brunch
- Saturday Brunch – Casual Dining
- Saturday Brunch – Fine Dining
- Newcomer – Casual Dining
- Newcomer – Fine Dining
- Restaurant Of The Year
- Food & Beverage PR of the Year
- Chef of the Year
All Day Dining
Best: Cordelia – The St. Regis Dubai, The Palm
The St Regis Dubai, The Palm’s flagship all-day dining restaurant Cordelia has an understated elegance. So whether you’re after breakfast, lunch or dinner, the vast space will fill your cravings. The menu serves continental and Arabic favourites, such as fluffy pancakes, egg dishes and pastries from the live station.
Favourite: Armani/Mediterraneo – Armani Hotel Dubai
Hotel addresses don’t get more fashionable than the Burj Khalifa. Armani Hotel Dubai occupies the ground floor up to level eight, and then levels 38 and 39 of the world’s tallest building. If you’re a fan of the Italian fashion brand, you can eat, sleep and shop the brand. The restaurant Armani/Mediterraneo hits the spot throughout the day, as it serves everything from a buffet breakfast to late-night dinner.
Best: Pitfire Pizza – Jumeirah Lakes Towers
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.
Favourite: Buffalo Wings & Rings – DIFC
Winner of ‘favourite casual dining restaurant’ at the FACT Dining Awards Dubai 2021, Buffalo Wings & Rings has built its reputation on casual fun, hearty food, refreshing beverages and superb service. The Cincinnati-based concept can be found in DIFC and JLT, and has a bright and inviting atmosphere, which makes it a popular casual dining hotspot.
Best: Jones The Grocer – Palm West Beach
Jones The Grocer rates highly among residents, and we can certainly see why. It has brought those laid-back Aussie vibes to Dubai. The Sydney-born brand is famous for its artisan food, especially its mouth-watering breakfasts, which include a traditional English breakfast, acai bowls and coconut pancakes. Best of all, it’s a firm favourite with families, as it has a healthy (yet fun) menu and beachside setting.
Favourite: BASTA! – The St. Regis Downtown Dubai
When it comes to chic dining destinations, few options in Business Bay can surpass the charm and sophistication of The St. Regis Downtown Dubai. The charming Italian restaurant BASTA! is bringing it every night of the week. If you’re after a fun dining night out, the restaurant has pizza evenings on Tuesdays, sharing menus on Wednesdays, and is part of the St. Regis Brunch on Saturdays.
Best: Mélange – Business Bay
Homegrown small-batch bakery Mélange constantly fills our Instagram feed with colourful pictures of extravagant cakes, gooey cookies and delightful tarts. Priding themselves on nostalgic flavours, high-quality ingredients and a refined aesthetic, Mélange’s cheat-worthy desserts are quite literally the stuff of dreams. The cakes include chocolate salted caramel, strawberries and cream, mocha hazelnut and sticky toffee date.
Favourite: Yamanote Atelier – Various Locations
Admire the skill and beauty of Japanese baking experts at Yamanote Atelier. The homegrown business was created in Dubai in 2013, and has been sharing its baking love with the UAE. All of the items are baked fresh with ingredients straight from Japan. The tasty list of croissants include almond, rose, blueberry, pistachio and chocolate. The buns include a melon bun, milky bun and red bean. Plus, look out for pastries iced with popular characters such as Minions, Pikachu, Super Mario and the Cookie Monster.
Best: 21grams Urban Balkan Bistro – 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.
Favourite: LOWE – KOA Canvas
LOWE is leading the way when it comes to sustainability in Dubai’s food industry. The restaurant even won a MICHELIN Green Star for sustainability. We love LOWE – KOA Canvas, as it gives casual favourites an upmarket spin. The food menu includes baked goods, salads and toasties, and the drinks list include coffee, juices and smoothies.
Best: Mosaico – Palazzo Versace Dubai
Decked out with red and gold upholstery with a floor mosaic of the unmistakable Versace logo and backed by a soundtrack of live percussion, Mosaico offers a refined experience at Dubai’s premier fashion hotel. The afternoon tea includes a curated selection of savoury and sweet bites presented in opulent Versace style.
Favourite: Noor Lounge – Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai
Noor Lounge is a stunning setting for afternoon tea. There’ll be plenty to take in, from the floor-to-ceiling windows with a view of the Arabian Gulf, to the beautifully presented afternoon tea. The savoury and sweet bites include lobster corn toast, roast beef tartine and scones with clotted cream. Drinks include teas, mocktails, ice teas and coffees. Plus, there’s a touch of the Orient about the whole experience.
Best: ROKA – ME Dubai by Meliá
ROKA, the contemporary Japanese robatayaki restaurant inside The Opus by Zaha Hadid, offers a stellar business lunch. Guests are invited to indulge in a selection of four starters to share, including salmon tartare and black cod and king crab dumplings. You then have the tough decision of choosing one main course from various signatures, such as sea bream fillet and lamb cutlets with Korean spices. Starting from AED 115, it’s a top-notch deal.
Favourite: Zuma – DIFC
Oh, Zuma. This FACT favourite can do no wrong and is loved in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. FACT’s Editor-in-Chief is what he calls a semi-regular – he even hunts it down in London – and praises it as being one of the most decadent dinners. The business lunch is a great way to enjoy the same luxury at a more affordable price.
Culinary Staycation in the Northern Emirates
Best: Nomani – The Chedi Al Bait, Sharjah
Nomani is the latest addition to The Chedi Al Bait, Sharjah. The Japanese-Korean restaurant has been created by the acclaimed chef and restaurateur Reif Othman. Open for lunch and dinner, the popular new restaurant has already garnered a loyal following of Sharjah residents and visitors from Dubai who come for the Wagyu beef mandu, sushi, sashimi and Wagyu galbi sandos.
Favourite: UMI – Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah
UMI is a cool Japanese restaurant, which serves handcrafted sushi and sashimi. Guests can watch the chefs work the Teppanyaki grill. Plus, there are seats on the balcony gardens and resort grounds. The culinary highlight is the five-course tasting menu, and dishes include Wagyu beef, lobster and black cod. Save room for the mochi.
Best: Lock, Stock & Barrel – Rixos Premium Dubai JBR
Lock, Stock & Barrel is a cool hangout that is famous for its live music, delicious food and party vibes. With happy hours and buy-one-get-one-free offers, this is a great value-for-money option. Plus, it’s the kind of pub where we take our mates and a drink or two turns into an evening out.
Favourite: Goose Island Tap House – 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.
Best: February 30 – Palm West Beach
This Beirurt-born concept may be the new outdoor bar on the beach but it has already notched up plenty of fans in less than one year. 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.
Favourite: Iris Dubai – Meydan
Whether you’re going to the races or not, Iris Dubai is a fantastic alfresco bar. The modern lounge bar comes alive with DJs, art installations and brunch parties. The dishes include tacos, seafood, salads, uramaki rolls and ceviche. Plus, there is a great wine and cocktail list, which includes low-alcohol and gluten-free cocktails.
Best: Monkey Bar – 25hours Hotel One Central
25Hours Hotel Dubai One Central is packed with personality, and loved by FACT’s Editor-in-Chief. Head to the cheeky spot, Monkey Bar, for some sundowners. Located on the sixth floor, it has views of the 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.
Favourite: Seven Sisters – JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai
There’s always a reason to come to Seven Sisters Dubai, as it has great events throughout the week. One of the main reasons, however, is for its rooftop bar, which boasts unobstructed views of the Dubai Canal. The Mediterranean meets Asian food includes snacks, salads and sushi – spider rolls, spicy salmon and tuna maki are on the menu.
Best: Galaxy Bar – DIFC
Galaxy Bar has continued to impress us with its intimate yet luxurious lounge, and its creative cocktails. True to its name, inside you will find a celestially lit-up ceiling that reflects Athen’s night sky. Plus, as one of the three bars in Dubai to make it on The World’s 50 Best Bars list, it’s truly world-class.
Favourite: Ongaku at Clap – 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. Plus, it recently launched its new brunch, Buranchi, so there’s even more reason to visit.
Al Fresco Dining
Best: URLA – Address Downtown Dubai
A visit to URLA will include beguiling cocktails served within glassware resembling jellyfish, and elaborately plated food to showcase premium ingredients. Plus, thanks to the stunning side of Burj Khalifa views, it is one of the best al fresco spots in town. Oh Urla, you do spoil us.
Favourite: CÉ LA VI Dubai – Address Sky View
Sky-high hotspot CÉ LA VI Dubai inside Address Sky Views offers the kind Burj Khalifa 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.
Best: Moonrise – Eden House
Omakase, loosely translated to chef’s choice, isn’t exactly a new concept in Dubai, but the new homegrown Moonrise has put a unique spin on the idea. Located on the rooftop of Eden House, it has impressed us with its tasting menus that spans Japanese and Middle Eastern flavours. Plus, we all love a bit of exclusivity, and with two seatings each night accommodating only eight diners, you’ll feel like a VIP.
Favourite: SUSHISAMBA Dubai – The Palm Tower
This year, SUSHISAMBA Dubai was the talk of the town. Located in the Palm Tower, it is the highest restaurant on Palm Jumeirah. Blending together Japanese and South American cuisine, the menu includes an eclectic selection of small plates, ceviches, sushi, clay pots and robata. The restaurant has energetic vibes, sky-high views, and, rumour has it, a two-month long waiting list. Go, it’s worth the hype.
Best: Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen Dubai – Caesars Palace Dubai
Gordon Ramsay may well be one of the most famous British chefs in Dubai, if not the world, thanks to his celebrity status through the TV show Hell’s Kitchen. If you want a taste of the show, head down to the aptly titled, Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen Dubai. Blockbuster in scale, it has an epic menu including white bean in purgatory, beef wellington and the Hell’s Kitchen burger. It’s a showstopper.
Favourite: Reform Social & Grill – The Lakes
This family-friendly gastropub is known for creating great British food. Bringing London vibes to Dubai, it serves classics including a fish finger buttie, pie and chips, battered fish and chips, and braised lamb shank. Plus, there are plenty of special events, in true British-style, ranging from quiz nights to curry nights.
Best: Sticky Rice – Jumeirah Village Circle
Sticky Rice is a charming UAE success story. The homegrown brand was created by Amena Rakkuson, also known as Mama by the team, who brought her love of Thai food to Dubai. The menu covers salads, soups and stir fries. The Thai specials include hoi pad prik pow, khai chiao, kai yang skewers, and kai tohd boi.
Favourite: Thiptara – Palace Downtown
Thiptara evokes the mystery and intrigue of Thailand, serving traditional Royal Thai cuisine with an emphasis on Bangkok-style seafood. The venue lives up to its name, which means ‘magic at the water’, by offering enchanting dining experiences, authentic ambience and mesmerising surroundings overlooking Burj Lake.
Best: Tortuga – Jumeirah Mina A’Salam
Overlooking the waterways of Jumeirah Mina A’Salam, Tortuga is a celebration of authentic Mexican cuisine. The main menu includes salads, ceviche, quesadillas, fajitas, burritos and tacos. Plus, vegetarians are well catered for with a dedicated menu. Taco fans should visit on Taco Tuesday, and enjoy unlimited tacos as well as three drinks for AED 180.
Favourite: Maya Mexican Kitchen & Bar – Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa
Mexican classics are served with love at Maya Mexican Kitchen & Bar. Starters range from guacamole to nachos, plus there are ceviches, tirraditos, quesadillas, tacos and fajitas. Get your fiesta on at one of the special events: Taco Tuesdays includes six tacos and two margaritas for AED 99, Senorita Night offers two dishes and three drinks from AED 120, and Mas Mas Brunch serves Mexican bites and drinks from AED 375.
Best: Hakkasan Dubai – Atlantis, The Palm
The Hakkasan brand is known the world over for top-quality Chinese food. When you combine a fine dining restaurant with a one-of-a-kind hotel, the results are extraordinary. The stylish Shanghai-inspired mood is set, thanks to the dim lighting and resident DJ. The signature dishes include stir-fried black pepper rib-eye, crispy duck salad and dim sum (some of which are brightly coloured). The restaurant has had a stellar year, as it notched up one MICHELIN Star and now a FACT Dining Award.
Favourite: Shanghai Me – DIFC
Bringing a touch of Shanghai’s glamour and history to DIFC, Shanghai Me transports each visitor to experience life under the dynasties. The exquisite dining room is designed by the renowned architect Michele Bonan, and pays homage to the Art Deco design elements of pre-war Shanghai. Plus, the menu has plenty of fans, as it offers a contemporary approach to Asian cuisine, which is rooted very much in tradition.
North American & Caribbean
Best: Tamoka – The Ritz-Carlton Dubai
It’s all about coastal Caribbean chic here. The sunset view, beach vibes and Caribbean menu make this a FACT Dining Award winner. We love Tamoka’s fun and flavourful menu, which includes dry-aged rib eye with pineapple mustard, craw lobster in rum butter, baked cheesy pumpkin and sea bass in a banana leaf. Plus, it’s a great spot to prolong the weekend, as every Sunday there are live DJs and dancers from 2pm.
Favourite: The MAINE Land Brasserie – ME Dubai by Meliá
While The Maine is famous for its spectacular seafood – in fact it has won another FACT Dining Award this year for just that – it delivers on so many fronts. This year, 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 caviar, freshly shucked oysters, raw plates and steaks, which is why it won in the favourite category.
Best: Amazónico Dubai – DIFC
Amazónico Dubai have done it again. The restaurant won best Latin American restaurant at the FACT Dining Awards Dubai 2021, and continues to charm with its food and finesse. Amazónico Dubai fully commits to its jungle theme, and creates an exciting and vibrant atmosphere. The food reflects this, as it uses traditional ingredients and modern techniques to transport guests to South America. Highlights include the Vieras y Tamarindo (Hokkaido scallops, tamarillo and tamarind ponzu) Lomo Tataki (prime beef tenderloin, jalapeño, yellow chilli, grated truffle). Check it out – that is, if you can get a reservation.
Favourite: COYA Dubai – Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach
Go on a culinary journey at this FACT favourite, which combines Japanese, Chinese and Spanish cooking techniques together. Once you’ve tucked into the flavoursome tacos, maki rolls, slow-cooked beef ribs or just about anything here, you’ll understand why we rate it so highly. The Peruvian powerhouse is a must when at the Four Seasons.
Best: Beefbar – 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. Meat eaters, come closer; vegetarians, look away. Beefbar was born in Monte Carlo, Monaco in 2005 and has been striking it lucky with its restaurants in London, Hong Kong, Mexico City and Dubai. 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.
Favourite: Hunter & Barrel – Vida Emirates Hills
Hunter & Barrel combines the ideas of hunting from the land and drinking from the barrel, and elevated it into a critically-acclaimed restaurant. Ever since the restaurant arrived on Dubai’s dining scene, it has been raising the steaks. With its quality produce at its heart, it has become well-known for its magnificent meats. The menu includes beef ribs, flame-grilled chicken, braised lamb shoulder and coal-roasted skewers.
Middle Eastern & North African
Best: Orfali Bros – 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.
Favourite: Ninive – 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. The romantic spot 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.
Best: Alici – Bluewaters Dubai
Alici has that laidback luxury that so many restaurants aspire towards. The restaurant succeeds at bringing a touch of the south of Italy and Amalfi Coast to the heart of Bluewaters. The seafood passes the fresh test, as it is shipped daily to Dubai. The menu includes tagliatelle with black winter truffle, oven-baked Norwegian cod and a cured salmon pizza. Diners, enjoy the authentic tastes while admiring the amazing JBR skyline.
Favourite: The MAINE Oyster Bar & Grill – DoubleTree By Hilton Dubai – Jumeirah Beach
The Maine is a shucking spectacular restaurant, and a firm favourite among seafood eaters across the world. This year, 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 caviar, freshly shucked oysters, raw plates and steaks.
Best: BOCA – DIFC
BOCA has long upheld a reputation for good food and sustainable practices. While the restaurant stocks wine from more than 200 labels, the European-inspired menu includes ceviche, oysters and tapas. If you want to go luxe, book the private dining room that doubles up as a wine cellar. The fun space can seat up to 14 people. We’ll raise a glass of the sustainable stuff to that.
Favourite: Tasca by José Avillez – 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 includes traditional Portuguese dishes with a modern twist, and the beverage list has 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.
Best: Twiggy by La Cantine – Park Hyatt Dubai
Twiggy by La Cantine adds some French chic to Dubai Creek, and serves up a Mediterranean-inspired menu and a sushi selection. The cool spot includes 60s artwork, a 100-meter-long infinity pool, gorgeous white sand beaches and luxury cabanas. The dishes cover sushi, sashimi and salads. Oh, and there’s a dedicated caviar menu.
Favourite: Carine – Emirates Golf Club
Chef Izu has mastered French-Mediterranean cuisine, so much so that it can be found across his restaurants in Dubai. Carine’s menu includes crispy calamari, creamy burrata and tuna carpaccio. Plus, it continues to be a firm favourite with residents and royalty – His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is clearly an Izu fan, was even spotted in the restaurant.
Best: GAIA – 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 also be making its London debut very soon – there’s no stopping Chef Izu.
Favourite: OPA Dubai – Fairmont Dubai
If you’re looking for a fun night out, OPA comes FACT recommended. The Greek restaurant is located inside Fairmont Dubai, but feels like an escape to charming Greek Islands. Dig into delicious dishes crafted with passion that are rooted firmly in tradition. Enthral the senses with an extensive menu and tableside preparations. Best of all, you can join the Zorba dancing and smash some plates – Greek-style, obviously.
Best: Indochine – DIFC
Winner of ‘Best Pan Asian Restaurant’ at the FACT Dining Awards Dubai 2020, 2021 and 2022, Indochine is more than just a place for a great meal and masterful mixology. Whether grazing on a selection of small plates or sipping on handcrafted cocktails, Indochine offers a vibe like no other in the heart of DIFC, often backed by live music. FACT’s editor-in-chief can regularly be found at the venue and said in his recent review “For an unrivalled vibe in the heart of the city, Indochine is well worth a visit.”
Favourite: CÉ LA VI Dubai – Address Sky View
While we already deem CÉ LA VI Dubai’s alfresco offering as FACT Award worthy, it has an impressive Pan Asian menu that earns it its second FACT Award this year. If you visit, we recommend getting a table on the terrace. The glittering views of the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Fountains and Downtown skyline complement the exceptional chef Howard Ko’s menu perfectly.
Best: LPM Restaurant & Bar – 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.
Favourite: La Cantine du Faubourg – Jumeirah Emirates Towers
La Cantine du Faubourg is famed for its arty décor and French food, from escargots to foie gras terrine. The focus is on simplicity, as the ingredients speak for themselves and the food isn’t over-complicated with unnecessary embellishments. Try it out for yourself – we’d recommend sitting on the elegant garden terrace overlooking DIFC’s top landmarks.
Italian Casual Dining
Best: Bussola – The Westin Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina
Bussola have another FACT Award under its apron. The Italian restaurant serves salads, calzones and pizzas. Priding itself on its pizzas, the signature La Bussola pizza includes mozzarella, datterino tomatoes, beef bresaola, porcini mushrooms, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and truffle oil.
Favourite: Torno Subito – W Dubai – The Palm
Experience a little slice of the 1960s Italian Riviera at W Dubai – The Palm. Chef Massimo Bottura – who already owns the three MICHELIN-starred restaurant, Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy – is the mastermind behind Torno Subito. The menu includes classic pastas and salads, such as a tagliatelle al ragu and spaghetti vongole. Sit back and relax, as the place exudes chilled vibes, thanks to the brightly coloured décor, from lime chairs to orange sofas, and those beachfront tables.
Italian Fine Dining
Best: Il Borro Tuscan Bistro – Jumeirah Al Naseem
As one of the most lauded restaurants in the history of the FACT Dining Awards Dubai – with four awards and counting – Il Borro Tuscan Bistro is a firm FACT favourite, and has done it again. Il Borro Tuscan Bistro can claim roots in Italy and Dubai. While the ingredients come straight from an organic Tuscan farm, the first restaurant was created in Dubai. The venue boasts has a beautiful location overlooking the turtle lagoon, and even more beautiful food spanning pasta, risottos and pizzas.
Favourite: Scalini – Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach
Margherita pizzas, linguine alle vongole and Wagyu beef lasagnes are just some of the gems on Scalini’s menu. The Italian restaurant oozes sophistication, from its white tablecloths to white truffles – it even celebrates White Truffle season. If you’re after a romantic night out, you’ll fall in love with Scalini.
Best: Trèsind Studio – Nakheel Mall
Trèsind Studio is one of Dubai’s most critically acclaimed restaurants, and it was named Restaurant of the Year at the FACT Dining Awards Dubai for the past three years running. Trèsind Studio has bought that same finesse to its new Nakheel Mall location. Chef Himanshu Saini is behind the modern, fine-dining Indian menu. Famed for its dishes, which are a thing of beauty, the food is so elegantly prepared that you’ll want to grab a snap before your spoon.
Favourite: Indya by Vineet – Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa
Celebrated Chef Vineet Bhatia has created modern Indian with a twist – we’re talking elevated street food. The eclectic décor includes bright foliage and vibrant murals – a pink Ganesh, anyone? Bring a group and opt for sharing plates, which have a great mix of meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes.
Japanese Casual Dining
Best: Reif Japanese Kushiyaki – Dar Wasl
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, kushi (skewers) and arguably one of the best sando interpretations in the city.
Favourite: Kinoya – The Onyx Tower 2
This Dubai-born Japanese restaurant is a homegrown success story. Chef Neha Mishra originally started the concept as a supper club entitled A Story of Food, which she ran from her home for nearly three years. After serving more than 7,000 happy diners, she became well-known for her signature ramen. It’s must-try in the city.
Japanese Fine Dining
Best: Mimi Kakushi – 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.
Favourite: Zuma – DIFC
Zuma has notched up the most accolades at this year’s FACT Dining Awards Dubai. If it’s good enough for FACT’s Editor-in-Chief, it’s good enough for you. Follow his lead and order the chutoro tarutaru kyabia zoe of fatty tuna belly adorned with Oscietra caviar and slathered across a buttery miso bun. You won’t regret it.
Dinner & A Show
Best: Q’s Bar & Lounge – 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 himself. Known for its intimate ambience, unmatched acoustics, and innovative cocktails, it is unlike any other music venue in the city.
Favourite: The Theater Dubai – Fairmont Dubai
Let The Theater Dubai entertain you. The show is directed by the Middle East’s very own showman, Lebanese-Armenian musician, composer and pianist, Guy Manoukian. The production draws inspiration from different themes, which have ranged from Alice in Wonderland to the disco era. With aerialists, vocalists and musicians, it is renowned for putting on a world-class show.
Best: Saffron – Atlantis, The Palm
When you want an iconic brunch, head to this iconic location. In the past, it has included 20 live cooking stations, including meat carving, sushi, noodle soup, Korean BBQ, and expansive dessert stations. Alongside live DJs, the Saffron brunch also features dancers, singers, and magicians.
Favourite: Naughty Noodles Brunch at Maiden Shanghai – FIVE Palm Jumeirah
Get transported to 1920s Shanghai at Naughty Noodles Brunch. This brunch from Secret Parties boasts unlimited gourmet Chinese food, specially crafted cocktails and DJs. Spread over three floors, the venue includes a spectacular view of Dubai. Oh, and if you need one more round, there’s an after-party running from 4pm to 7pm.
Saturday Brunch – Casual Dining
Best: Blazin’ Brunch at Miss Lily’s – Sheraton Grand Hotel Dubai
Miss Lily’s Blazin’ Brunch brings Jamaican flavours, upbeat tunes, and island vibes to Saturday afternoons in Dubai. The brunch menu features Jamaican favourites and all-star dishes, including jerk-inspired chicken and waffles, sweetcorn fritters and coconut fried shrimp with jerk yuzu sauce. A Jamaican rum shack with sun-kissed colours and the hottest hits from DJ Crown Prince makes Miss Lily’s Blazin’ Brunch one for the books.
Favourite: La Fiesta Saturday Brunch at Lola Taberna Española – TRYP by Wyndham Dubai
Lola Taberna Española transports diners to the streets of Andalusia, Spain. With food cooked from the heart and music sung from the soul, the venue brings back those long Spanish family brunches that turn into dinners. So get your fiesta on at La Fiesta Saturday Brunch. Guests can indulge in unlimited tapas and drinks, and enjoy live entertainment. Vamos.
Saturday Brunch – Fine Dining
Best: Zuma – DIFC
When the words “Zuma” and “brunch” are in the same sentence, our stomachs start rumbling. This 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 Abu Dhabi, the dishes are served straight to your table and include the famous miso marinated black cod, jumbo tiger prawns and spicy beef tenderloin.
Favourite: Tasca by José Avillez – Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai
The double FACT Award-winner was also a recent recipient of a Michelin star. This Portuguese restaurant with its stunning shoreline views and picturesque infinity pool offers a celebratory brunch every Saturday. Expect signature flavours and live entertainment that bring a taste of Portugal to Dubai, from traditional salads to tempting desserts such as the beloved Pastel de Nata.
Newcomer – Casual Dining
Best: Café Beirut – Al Murooj Complex
Stunning views of Burj Khalifa can be enjoyed from the outside garden at Café Beirut, while a large indoor area is enhanced by a traditional ceramic water fountain and an olive tree, evocative of Beirut in the 1950s. An extensive menu caters for every taste, starting with an all-day breakfast that includes firm favourites such as ballila with pine nuts, eggs and soujouk, fattet hummus, and grilled halloumi. The lunch menu has a wide choice of cold mezza items including mouttabal, warak enab, shanklish, and labneh with garlic. The grilled items section, meanwhile, feature chicken, cutlets, kafta meat, lamb fillet and shawarma. Daily dishes are also available, as is a dedicated children’s menu. Those with a sweet tooth will appreciate knefeh, osmalieh cheesecake, um Ali, qatayef with Nutella, and daaoukyeh.
Favourite: The Crossing – The H Dubai
The sensational Indian restaurant at The H Dubai presents diners with a modern dining space featuring potted greenery, colourful tiled floors, gold accents and leather seating. The Crossing’s appealing menu features food from the Rajput kitchens, hidden gems from northeast India and robust yet straightforward recipes from India’s coastline. In addition to traditional favourites, The Crossing presents a series of unique dishes not usually found in Indian restaurants that spotlight foreign influences from the Caribbean, Portugal, France and Great Britain that have historically found their way into Indian cuisine.
Newcomer – Fine Dining
Best: L’Amo Bistro del Mare – Dubai Harbour Yacht Club
Situated in the heart of Dubai Harbour, L’Amo brings Southern Italian culture, heritage, and charm to Dubai, reflecting the coastal region’s lively seafood restaurants. The restaurant’s extensive seafood menu includes Italian specialities such as Ricci di Mare, Red prawns and fresh catch of the day. The chic décor also features a decidedly nautical feel, with a floor-to-ceiling glass window showcasing the Dubai Marina skyline, while the terrace is ideal for al fresco dining under the stars, against a backdrop of berthed yachts. FACT’s editor-in-chief had this to say in his review of the restaurant “L’Amo Bistro impresses with its winning combination of refined food, excellent service and pleasing atmosphere.”
Favourite: Lucia’s – Address Sky View
Lucia’s at Address Sky View features a Mediterranean aesthetic and boasts an incredible terrace offering unobstructed views of Burj Khalifa. Over on the menu, the dishes are equal parts sophisticated and authentically Italian, each meant to be shared with friends in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. The finest seafood from Sicily is on offer, with the likes of Lucia’s Torre di Crudi di Mare (sliced Mediterranean red snapper with a citrus dressing) big enough to serve up to four. Vibe-wise, a banging post-dinner club set-up makes it one of Dubai’s liveliest restaurants, with each DJ set entirely distinct.
Restaurant of the Year
Ossiano – 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. Grégoire Berger’s latest addition to the menu includes scallop with morel and artichoke.
Food & Beverage PR of the Year
Public Relations is integral to connecting restaurants to the public. The complicated balance of media relations, influencer management, brand collaborations, elaborate events, and brand positioning is a challenging task, especially in Dubai’s competitive hospitality scene.
In the twelve months since the last FACT Dining Awards, Mohammed Zahid has worked with an impressive client roster that includes Bagatelle, Billionaire Dubai and Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai. He has been integral to the success of several of this year’s FACT Award-winners including, Palazzo Versace Dubai, Indochine, SushiSamba and Monkey Bar at 25hours Hotel Dubai One Central.
When assessing the criteria for this specific award the FACT team were looking for a truly regional superstar, and Mohammed has a proven track record, contributing to the opening of the FACT Award-winning Talea at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, as well as his work in Riyadh with the likes of LPM Restaurant & Bar.
Back in the UAE, he is currently heading up PR activities for the city’s most exclusive dining experience with Sublimotion at Mandarin Oriental Dubai, Jumeira. Mohammed who works at HFA Consultancy has a reputation for going above and beyond when it comes to client servicing and has a proven track record with client retention.
Chef of the Year
FACT’s first chef of the year is a homegrown success story. FACT’s editor-in-chief first met chef Reif back in 2017 when featuring his The Experience by Reif Othman as the cover story for the very first issue of FACT Dubai.
Since then, Reif has gone from strength to strength, showcasing his culinary skills to not only Dubai but the world. With stints at Zuma and the Billionaire Group under his belt, Reif is recognised as the city’s first self-funded chef come restaurateur. Reif is building a global restaurant empire, with openings in Dubai, Cairo and even further expansion on the horizon.
In addition to owning and operating his own restaurants, Reif’s culinary touch can be found on menus throughout the UAE. With consultation and menu development for the likes of the FACT Award-winning February 30, Nomani in Sharjah and the recently opened Black Flamingo.
His unconventional Japanese street food has seen recognition from both the Michelin Guide and MENA’s 50 Best, and Reif Othman is now FACT’s first-ever Chef Of The Year.