Dubai’s Culinary Marvels: Top 3 Restaurants You Can’t Miss in 2024

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Whenever I visit Dubai I find myself spoilt for choice whether it comes to shopping, adventurous activities and especially restaurants. While great food is a priority, the vibes really matter to me as well. Here are three restaurants you cannot miss: 

OKKU DUBAI 

First on the list is OKKU, my new favourite a multi award winning japanese restaurant located on the ground floor of the Marriott Resort at the Palm Jumeirah. As soon as you enter, the exquisite interior is a mood changer, with its chic and dimly lit style. The restaurant is spacious and one can choose between the main area seating, the bar or more comfortable lounge style seating in the smoking area. As we were seated, it was hard to miss the DJ playing a set of house music. 

For appetizers we had the ‘O’ Style HuShiHu Salad, with the crispiest duck and blend of flavors you’ll ever have, Salmon Ceviche (Although it wasn’t on the menu, they were kind enough to make it on request), It was made to perfection; simple and succulent. The star of the show was Miso Nasu Shigiyaki, and I promise I have never had such good aubergine in my entire life. Another must try appetizer is Charred Tomato Crispy ‘O’ Style Rice Cake if you’re looking for a zesty vegetarian option. We also got the ‘O’ Style Avocado Kazan, presented exquisitely on fire and the Tuna Tacos to share, both scrumptious and highly pleasant to taste.

For our main course I opted for Wagyu Himalayan Shioyaki (200GR) from the signature menu. With its Wagyu 9+, it was cooked table-side on a hot himalayan salt stone, another exceptionally flavored, buttery and decadent dish, which is a must try at OKKU. I was really full at this point but couldn’t resist the Crispy King Crab California. 

To close off this amazing experience we got the ‘O’ Style Mango Mousse served with feuilletine flakes ,which was rich and smooth and the Bitter Chocolate, which was an intense chocolate mousse served with miso ice cream; flavorful and a perfect ending to this outstanding experience. With its kind servers and extraordinary culinary experience, OKKU Dubai was an unforgettable affair! 

11 WOOD FIRE 

If you’re on the lookout for a great place for lunch, consider checking out 11 Woodfire, a Michelin-starred restaurant by Chef Akmal Anuar. It’s tucked away in a charming villa in Jumeirah, offering a delightful dining experience.

To kick off my culinary journey, I opted for the Beetroot salad. The vibrant colors hinted at the freshness within, and the first bite confirmed it. The combination of earthy beets, crisp greens, and a perfectly balanced vinaigrette created a symphony of flavors that left a lasting impression. The second appetizer was the Yellowfin Tuna; exceptionally fresh, tender, and cooked to perfection. 

For the main course, the Atlantic Sea Bass stole the spotlight,  expertly prepared with a delicate balance of flavors. I also indulged in the renowned Wagyu burger; succulent, indulgent and satisfying  – a decision that instantly elevated my day. 

To conclude this culinary journey, we ordered the Signature Burnt Cheesecake and the Bone Marrow Chocolate, both of which proved to be the perfect sweet finale. 

Beyond the exquisite dishes, the ambiance at 11 Woodfire;  charming villa setting, coupled with attentive service, created a warm and inviting atmosphere. Whether you’re a food enthusiast or someone looking for a memorable lunch, this gem in Jumeirah is a must-visit destination. 

LA MAISON ANI 

Dubai Mall hosts the culinary gem, La Maison Ani, where breathtaking views seamlessly blend with an exceptional dining adventure. We quickly snug a table in the balcony for the amazing weather and the fountain view. Upon arrival, we were graciously invited to explore La Maison Ani’s new and set lunch menu—a decision that unfolded as truly exceptional.

The appetizers kicked off with the beef tartare with chips; zesty and a fresh start that set the stage for the gastronomic journey ahead. My personal favorite was Salade de Quinoa, with its abundance of fresh cranberries and nuts, it was a perfect blend of flavors and textures. The timeless classic, Salade Cesar, maintained its refreshing crispness, while the Crispy Calamari, my guilty pleasure, turned out to be another favorite. 

For the main course, the Margarita Pizza, with a generous amount of cheese and a perfectly balanced sauce, became a standout. The Mushroom Risotto and Potato Gratin stole the spotlight with their cheesy and velvety textures. The grand finale featured a warm Chocolate Mousse with malt ice cream and a decadent Vanilla Crème Brulee. These desserts served as a perfect crescendo, leaving us with satisfied smiles, sweet memories and a perfect ending to our trip! 

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