I am often asked for restaurant recommendations and a lot of the times, local and homegrown are key factors, apart from the good food of course. Just last year alone over a 1000 new F&B establishments opened in Dubai. Yup! In the middle of a pandemic! Pretty impressive. Here is a round-up of my favorite homegrown restaurants in Dubai (opened their doors in 2020-2021) that I really like. Let me know if there is anything that you would add to this list?
Located on Al Wasl Road, Lana Lusa serves up classic Portuguese dishes and you are going to want to try everything on the menu. The chic yet cosy dining spot will transport you away from the hustle and bustle of the city, be it for just a couple of hours. Everything from the colourful ceramic plates, to the copper light fixtures and cork-fashioned menus add to the dining experience. Lana Lusa serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner. Whatever you may order, make sure you leave place for the Portuguese custard tarts. You don’t want to leave without having a few of those!
Open daily from 8am-11pm. Wasl 51, Al Wasl Road (04 380 1515).
The Pangolin, open in The Els Club in Dubai Sports City, comes from Sergio Lopez, of Tom&Serg fame, alongside Australian chef Troy Payne. The Pangolin prides itself on serving home-grown and locally-sourced produce. We had gone for breakfast and some of the dishes we had were delish! The menu includes items like hot smoked salmon with pull-apart bread soldiers, caper-berry mascarpone, soft boiled eggs with dill dressing, crumpets with poached eggs, halloumi croquettes and local tomato salsa on grilled sourdough.
Open Sun-Sat 8am-12am, Thu-Fri 8am-1am. The Els Club, Dubai Sports City (054 4438 288).
This two-storey licensed food hall located in the The Pointe on The Palm is a dining destination you need to add to your list! It is the perfect spot to have some great food, sip on a cocktail or two, hang out with family and friends (and pets too) and enjoy the amazing views and weather. Food District is home to 13 of Dubai’s best homegrown concepts including Reif Japanese Kushiyaki, Sticky Rice, Boon Coffee, Smol by The Lighthouse and Bite Me Burger & Get Plucked. You’ll also find Fujairah’s very own oyster farm, Dibba Bay Oysters. Doesn’t get any better than this.
It is all self service. Order, pay and grab a buzzer! The extremely talented Sandy Hayek of Depachika (at Nakheel Mall) fame, is at the helm of it all. It has definitely become a hang out spot for many in Dubai and I for one cannot wait to go back.
Food District, The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah, First floor: Sat to Wed 12pm to 10pm, Thur & Fri 12pm to 12am, Ground floor: daily 9am to 10pm, (052) 509 4783.
Terra Eatery is a gorgeous space, created with natural materials to create a very earthy interior. Makes you feel like you have escaped the city for a bit. You’ll find the hidden gem tucked away in Al Safa. The food is really delicious but I personally feel it is a bit pricey for the portion sizes. However it is the perfect spot if you watch to catch up with a friend over coffee or just head there with a book and enjoy some alone time. Given how beautiful the weather is right now, Terra is a great spot to enjoy it.
Terra, Umm Al Sheif, Al Safa, daily 11am to 11pm
Goldfish Sushi & Yakitori
Located at The Galleria Mall on Al Wasl Road, this new restaurant serves up some really authentic Japanese flavors. You can indulge in plenty of super-fresh sushi and tasty grills, with a lot of amazing ingredients sourced from Japan. Goldfish Sushi & Yakitori is Akmal Anuar and Inez Tantyanna’s brainchild. As most of you already probably know Chef Anuar as the chef who founded the Time Out award-winning restaurant 3 Fils at Jumeirah Fishing Harbour. So you know you are in for a treat here. Add this one to the list folks!
Open daily noon-midnight. The Galleria, Al Wasl Road (04 886 4966).
You can also check out http://www.onelatteplease.com/lets-eat/five-favorite-casual-dining-restaurants/ for some of my other favorite homegrown restaurants in town.
Note: Apart from Food District, none of the above mentioned restaurants serve alcohol.
Reservations are recommended (if they are taken) just so you don’t have to wait to get a table especially on the weekends.
Disclaimer: All photos and opinions are my own unless stated otherwise.