From Il Borro to The Maine, here are the homegrown restaurants that have achieved success abroad.
Dubai is truly an international city when it comes to restaurants. Sure, it imports celebrity chefs and MICHELIN awarded concepts, but it also exports homegrown brands that have achieved global success. So, if you’re heading home for the holidays or just a jet setter, you can enjoy a taste of Dubai around the world. Just remember: you ate it here first. Here are the best restaurants in Dubai that have gone global.
Critically acclaimed Japanese street-food concept, Akiba Dori is now open in Saudi Arabia. Expect Japanese street-food favourites and the only Tokyo-style Neapolitan Pizzeria in Jeddah. Taking inspiration from Tokyo’s neon-filled district, Akihabara, the venue boasts vibrant interiors, including an arcade, café, bar and pizzeria, all tied together with a modern storefront aesthetic. Diners will be able to choose from a selection of redefined Japanese dishes, sharing-style appetizers, and a unique pizza experience that is set in a lively, neon-filled atmosphere in Jeddah’s City Yard Community.
Al Fanar Restaurant & Café
There aren’t many Emirati restaurants outside of the UAE, but Al Fanar Restaurant & Café has helped put Dubai dining on the map. Located on Gloucester Road in London, Al Fanar celebrates Dubai’s culture and cuisine. If you thought an Emirati restaurant would be all about gold flakes, think again. Hashem Al Marzouqi, the man behind the restaurant, is on a mission to showcase Emirati history through food and places an emphasis firmly on authenticity. The rustic chic venue is inspired by old-school mud homes, and there are black and white pictures of the UAE rulers on the wall. Plus, the menu includes shakshuka, BBQ dishes, curries and machboos.
Ammos Greek Restaurant
Sunset Hospitality Group has opened Ammos Greek restaurant at the Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel in the Balearic archipelago. Drawing inspiration from its flagship venue in Dubai, the restaurant will offer an authentic Greek dining experience within a chic yet traditional interior. Ammos Greek restaurant is also set to open in Marbella, Spain and at Qetaifan Island in Doha, Qatar in the coming months.
Arabian Tea House
With more than 150 different types of tea, Arabian Tea House is a cute spot to enjoy a cuppa in Dubai’s historic Al Fahidi district. Whether you’re after herbal, fruity or straight-up Arabic tea, this much-loved spot knows its blends. The authentic Emirati breakfast includes khameer halloumi zaatar, balaleet with an omelette, and tanoor cheese. Now, new brances of mirati businessman Ali Al Rais’ concept will open in Egypt and Montenegro.
Sunset Hospitality Group continues its worldwide restaurant domination with the news that ATTIKO has opened in Bodrum, with Bali and Vietnam following soon. Designed to resemble an Asian garden sleek design is likely to echo the Dubai flagship that features earthy elements to create a seductive yet vibrant atmosphere. With a curated menu of Asian dishes designed for sharing, guests can expect shrimp tempura, yellow tail carpaccio, beef tataki, black pepper chicken, Chilian seabass, lobster with lime butter, and spicy waygu beef striploin. For dessert, ATTIKO offers mochi ice cream, passion fruit cheesecake, and dark chocolate cake.
Rixos Qetaifan Island in Doha will open Azure Beach this November. The concept from Dubai-based lifestyle brand Sunset Hospitality Group follows hot on the heels of successful openings for Black Tap and Mood in Qatar. Originating in Dubai in 2016, Azure Beach offers a family-friendly hangout for sun-seekers in search of beachfront bliss. The new venue will feature a relaxing pool atmosphere, a pristine beachfront, and a menu infused with Asian flavours. Azure Beach will join Ammos Greek Restaurant at the resort.
GO: Follow @azurebeachdoha on Instagram for more information.
Bar Du Port
Combining the glamour and playfulness of the Côte d’Azur and the subtle simplicity of the Greek islands, this Dubai bar and brasserie is known for its bohemian décor and Mediterranean cuisine. Bar Du Port has now extended its reach to two enchanting international locales: Byblos Village in Lebanon and Sahel in Egypt. BDP Beach is a sun-kissed companion to its Dubai counterpart.
Chef Izu Ani is one of Dubai’s most well-respected chefs, and his DIFC restaurant GAIA has been a firm favourite on Dubai’s dining scene. The chef has fans ranging from Dubai residents to the royal family’s Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and has gained a whole new set of admirers in Doha and Monaco. 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. Taking Europe by storm, GAIA will also be making its London debut very soon.
In its first move overseas, Dubai-born burger brand High Joint has officially launched in Saudi Arabia. Now in Riyadh, High Joint is serving up some of the brand’s best-selling freshly-minced patties, all of which are made using premium Angus that’s free-from antibiotics and hormones. On the menu, expect favourites such as the High Jamz, Double High, Kingshroom, High Burger, High Chicken, Spicy Mango, and Halloumi Katsu. From humble beginnings to international growth, this move represents the brand’s first step outside of the UAE since its inception as a passion project by three Emiratis that began as a hole-in-the-wall in Al Manara.
Il Borro Tuscan Bistro
The FACT award-winning Il Borro Tuscan Bistro can claim roots in Italy and Dubai. Whilst the ingredients come straight from an organic Tuscan farm, the first restaurant was created in Dubai. Those high-quality ingredients and the popular dining concept have now been exported to the new restaurant in Mayfair, London. The stylish venue includes an open kitchen, wood fire pizza oven, Italian marble bar and a cosy fireplace – it is London, after all. A stunning glass display at the main entrance showcases the rich collection of Tuscan grapes. While the menu features some of the restaurant’s signature dishes covering pasta, risottos and pizzas.
It’s official: Kinoya is going global. The Dubai-born ramen restaurant is opening a second branch in London’s luxury department store, Harrods. Kinoya boasts one of Dubai’s most charming restaurant stories. 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. Neha served more than 7,000 happy diners and became well-known for her signature ramen.
La Cantine du Faubourg
La Cantine du Faubourg has gone from Dubai to Mykonos. The Dubai restaurant 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. As for the Mykonos restaurant, which is located on Ornos beach, the Parisian chic vibes are strong. It’s all about relaxed elegance in a way that only Parisians know how. Plus, the menu draws on its waterfront location and includes seafood dishes.
Bringing a vibrant tribute to the diverse culinary traditions of India, Dubai’s Mohalla restaurant has found its home at The Esplanade in Riyadh. This establishment boasts two levels of seating, providing guests with the choice of indoor or al fresco dining, complemented by a striking bar that serves as a centrepiece. Mohalla in Riyadh stays true to the menu of its Dubai counterpart, with a few exclusive kebab creations crafted specifically for diners in the Kingdom The restaurant’s signature dishes are a true delight and include options such as raj kachori, avocado papdi chaat, keema pao, spicy chilli chicken, Rayalaseema prawn curry, tender chicken kebab, raan biryani, and the ever-popular jalebi.
For a smashing good time, look no further than OPA. The Mediterranean restaurant has set out to create a culinary experience that will transport diners to the Cyclades Islands, bringing together the best of its famous Hellenic cuisine and celebratory entertainment. Following the success of the Dubai outpost (and its baklava sundae), OPA has expanded across the globe to Bahrain, Mumbai and St. Tropez.
After launching outposts across Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah, the FACT Award-winning burger joint has opened its doors in Bahrain. Every Pickl location offers a trifecta menu of grain-fed beef, fresh fried chicken, and plant-based burgers – all free from preservatives, hormones and antibiotics. Take your pick from comfort food classics ranging from chicken tenders to spicy fries. We recommend digging into the Impossible Double Cheese Burger with two plant-based patties, cheese, a potato bun and toppings of your choice. When the food is this good, it’s not impossible for us to finish.
Dubai’s much-loved Reif Othman’s Reif Kushiyaki originally opened in Dar Wasl Mall and then expanded with a bakery and breakfast café. He then went one step further, opening a restaurant in Cairo, Egypt. Located in The Waterway, it is aimed at the country’s growing younger demographic, and is the first venue in the location to be licensed. The simple décor includes wooden tables and chairs, as the food remains firmly in the spotlight – in fact, there are sketches of the dishes framed on the wall. The menu includes classics like the goma beef kushiyaki and new dishes ranging from grilled salmon to grilled chicken.
The glitz and glamour of Roberto’s Mare has gone from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, and then Montenegro. The group executive chef Francesco Guarracino has created a menu that celebrates contemporary Italian cuisine, and it includes Sicilian prawns, spiny lobster and fresh oysters. You’ll be wowed by the Porto Montenegro location for Roberto’s Mare, which is by the Adriatic Riviera. Plus, there’s a terrace and music lounge for chilling.
We said goodbye to Rüya in Grosvenor House Dubai, but it got a new lease of life in JW Marriott Grosvenor House London and in AlDabab neighbourhood in the Saudi capital. The sleek restaurant has Middle Eastern touches, from the tiled walls to the decorative plates. The restaurant describes itself as creating Anatolian cuisine, and the menu is inspired by restaurateur Umut Ozkanca’s Istanbul heritage. The dishes range from kofte to kebabs and steaks to seabass. If you have a specific dietary requirement, you don’t have to miss out on the food fun. There are special gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan menus. And, the drinks menu includes an impressive list of Turkish grapes.
Saddle’s equestrian-themed cafe can be found in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and now Cannes in France. In doing so, Saddle Café has positioned itself as the sole Emirati-branded coffee chain within France’s expansive landscape of 3,750 branded coffee shop establishments. Ranking as the fourth largest branded coffee shop market in Europe, France follows behind the UK, Germany, and Russia. Imagine an evening with your family, sipping an iced coffee while enjoying a delicious pastry.
Anchored in Art Deco elegance, Shanghai Me is famed amongst Dubai diners for its delicate East Asian dishes, so it was only a matter of time until Doha got its very own outpost. Situated within the heart of North Beach Corniche, the restaurant showcases the glamour and depth of Shanghai’s history through exquisite interiors designed by renowned architect Michele Bonan. For the uninitiated, renowned chef Izu Ani is at the helm of Shanghai Me’s culinary operations, merging ancient cooking techniques with today’s most well-loved flavours. The menu also features fresh seafood for an increase in prosperity, dim sum for wealth, as well as noodles for happiness and longevity.
The London Project
Given the name, you may be fooled into thinking that The London Project started off in, well, London. Instead, it began life in Dubai’s Bluewaters Island and then moved to its namesake. The brand’s first international outpost will be located in Canary Wharf. The London Project is planned for an overwater location in Water Square, Wood Wharf. This isn’t your average venue – it’s a floating restaurant, there’s an in-house juniper distillery, and a rooftop podcast studio. The menu is expected to include the signature dishes such as steaks, burgers and a classic Sunday roast. In 2023, The London Project will also be expanding to Barcelona and Miami.
This shucking spectacular restaurant is a firm favourite among seafood eaters. The Maine has venues in Business Bay, JBR and Studio City, and now it has opened in Mayfair, London. The opulent new restaurant is spread across multiple areas: drink cocktails in the brick-vaulted cellar, The Tavern; listen to jazz music in The Brasserie; and dine in The Drawing Room & Terrace. The menu includes a selection of caviar, freshly shucked oysters, raw plates and steaks. It’s already popular with the fashion crowd, as it’s within stiletto-walking-distance of Vogue House and British Vogue editor, Edward Enninful, was spotted there. Plus, the venue oozes glamour, from its shimmering chandeliers to its high-end menu. Champagne and oysters, anyone?