Dubai can now add Michelin stars to its glitzy appeal. The restaurant guide awarded its coveted stars to Dubai restaurants for the first time, releasing this week a list of 11 restaurants that received at least one star.
Another 14 places were honored with a Bib Gourmand award, which is given to high-quality food at lower prices. In Dubai, that means an average of 250 dirhams (US$68) for a three-course meal, according to the guide.
The French restaurant-rating company has been expanding in recent years, despite the pandemic interruption, to award stars in new regions, sometimes in partnership with local tourism agencies.
It published its first guide to restaurants in Florida – focused on Tampa, Orlando and Miami – earlier this month, after getting paid a reported US$1.5 million by various tourism agencies there. This fall, the first Canada-based guide will be released for Toronto.
Michelin is also including new categories for recognition. In 2020, the guide started awarding “green stars” for restaurants with a sustainable focus; one restaurant in Dubai received a green star this year, LOWE.
The two Dubai restaurants selected for two stars are, like many top restaurants in the emirate, housed within hotels. Il Ristorante - Niko Romito is at the Bulgari Hotel, while the second, STAY by Yannick Alléno, is at the One&Only hotel on the Palm Jumeirah.
Il Ristorante features a selection of homemade pastas, as well as tasting menu for 750 dirhams, or 1,100 dirhams with the alcohol pairing, that includes glazed eggplant, homemade tagliolini with mussels, steamed cod and veal tenderloin.
The ratings’ arrival in Dubai marks another step up for the United Arab Emirates’ culinary scene, which has evolved beyond the cliche of the absent celebrity chef.
Notably, 11 Woodfire, which received one star, is the second acclaimed restaurant in Dubai from chef Akmal Anuar, who also started the popular 3Fils.
Unlike most on the Michelin honors list, 11 Woodfire doesn’t serve booze. Alcohol consumption is restricted in the UAE, but it’s allowed at restaurants and bars in many parts of Dubai. Some of the city’s best restaurants are often overlooked by tourists because they don’t have a wine list.
The guide noted the mix of cuisines that can be found in a city that is populated almost entirely by expats. Notably, however, the two restaurants rated highest were Italian and French cuisine.
“What makes Dubai’s culinary landscape so distinctive is its refection of the more than 200 nationalities that call the city home, delivering an epicurean kaleidoscope,” Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guides, said in a release.
“Today, Dubai is settled as an inspiring gastronomic destination, and we have no doubts that gourmets from all over the world will be seduced by its very unique energy.”
The United Arab Emirates’s move this year to switch its weekend from Friday-Saturday to Saturday-Sunday has led to more restaurant reservations, according to industry publication Caterer Middle East.
Here’s the full list:
Two Michelin stars
- Il Ristorante – Niko Romito
- STAY by Yannick Alléno
One Michelin star
- 11 Woodfire
- Al Muntaha
- Armani Ristorante
- Tasca by José Avillez
- Torno Subito
- Trèsind Studio
- Al Khayma
- Bait Maryam
- Brasserie Boulud
- Ibn Albahr
- Indya by Vineet
- Orfali Bros
- REIF Japanese Kushiyaki
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