Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be moving to a foreign country to live, let alone a country in the Middle East. Over the 2009 Christmas and New Year’s holidays, my husband Roger and I discussed what we wanted the next part of our life to be like. He thought that before retiring, he would like to do one more airport project but only if he could find something very interesting. I half-jokingly agreed that would be fine but could he try for an exotic location? As usual, Roger came through and soon we were headed to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. This blog is a recap of our "leap-of- faith" wanderings around the Middle East and beyond. We joyfully share these expat experiences.

Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Best Restaurant Experiences In and Around Dubai

One of life's great pleasures is a perfectly prepared meal enjoyed at a nice restaurant. It doesn't matter how fancy or how expensive the restaurant is but it is the ambiance of the setting, the care taken with the foods and flavors plus the graciousness of the staff that makes it memorable.

As we approach the new year, Roger and I reflected on the past year’s dining adventures. For those of you who live in Dubai, or will be visiting, we hope that our list helps you to pare down the overwhelming dining choices in Dubai. It is not an all inclusive list for we know there are many more excellent restaurants in Dubai that we haven’t yet discovered, but here are our favorite dinners from 2012. You may want to try them in 2013.

2012  Best Restaurant Experiences In and Around Dubai

photo courtesy of Pierchic
Our top pick  for 2012 is Pierchic at the Al Qsar Hotel Resort on Al Sufouh Street just south of the Madinat Jumeirah. 

On Christmas Eve we enjoyed the best meal of the year. The stunningly romantic open-air restaurant is situated at the end of a long pier jutting out into the Persian Gulf with the Burj Al Arab framing our view.  

Christmas Eve was a set menu and for appetizers I selected Pan Fried Diver Scottish Scallops with curried cauliflower, raisin puree and fried shallots. Roger enjoyed a Pumpkin Veloute with a mushroom tortellini, spiced pumpkin seeds and chestnut foam.  Each were quite good but the pumpkin soup was so delicious it quite frankly took our breath away. 

My entree of Halibut with Norwegian King Crab Ravioli in thermidor sauce and Roger's poached Turkey Breast with a cranberry and apricot stuffed Turkey Leg, Brussels sprouts and roasted chestnuts were divine. And the perfect ending to this glorious feast are Christmas pudding with Armagnac sabayon with clotted cream ice cream and and an amazing concoction of Candied Chestnut Chiboust with spice Clementine jelly, soft ginger cake and mince pie ice cream. Roger treated me to one of my favorite wines, a 2009 Meerlust Rubicon Stellenbosch, and the evening was complete! 

The evening’s price is not for the faint-hearted but, for a special occasion, worth every dirham. For reservations call 04 366 8888.

A relaxing lunch beach side at the Westin
A surprise find discovered by Roger is the poolside cafe at the WestinMina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina on Al Sufough Street just north of Dubai Marina. Located on the vast groundsof the Westin just below the Bussola Restaurant, it casually overlooks the grassy lawn and beach. 

Our cozy umbrella covered table was, thank goodness, well shielded from any noisy pool happenings. We were quite surprised at the simple but interesting menu.  A big bonus to the outdoor dining was NO flies!

The refreshing Asian Salmon & Mango Salad made with sashimi quality salmon, mangos, mint, shallots, tomatoes cilantro and cashew nuts all tossed with an Asian dressing was just delightful. Roger relished one of his all-time favorites – a Hawaiian Pizza - and declared it one of the best ever. 

For beverages I sipped on an Orange Drop – a fresh concoction of orange juice, vodka, Cointreau and shot of grenadine, while Roger nursed a simple Cape Cod of vodka and cranberry. All of this was savored on a brisk Dubai winter afternoon - pure relaxation! The price here does not break the wallet so we plan to return here often. No reservations taken. Cafe is open from 9 am – 6 pm.  

Le Petite Maison in Gate Village 8 in the DIFC was an accidental find while Robin Loving and I were checking out the Dubai Metro for an assignment I took with Trip Advisor

The diminutive size of this “white-tablecloth” restaurant is a welcome relief from the big brash restaurants one finds in Dubai.  The staff is exceptional and very astute in helping you choose just the right meal. 

Le Petite Maison features Cuisine Nicoise and dishes are served family style so you can share. Ingredients are sourced from a local organic farm or imported to insure they are of top quality flavor. 

Robin and I shared a decadently creamy Burrata et Tomatoes and a Fines de Tranches de Saumon Marinés, marinated Salmon with Pink Peppercorns.  The flavors were so expertly matched that each morsel brought “oohs and ahs!” We left the wine selection to the waiter who did not disappoint.  

Price wise this also is little on the high side but how can you complain when the food is simply wonderful.  Roger and I have put it on the dinner must do list for 2013. Le Petite is open every day for lunch from 12 Noon – 3:30pm and for dinner 7pm to 11:30pm. The Bar is open every day from 1pm – 12am. For reservations call 04 439 0505.  

We celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary at Medzo in the Wafi Mall.  Sadly, in June it is too hot to sit outside on the beautiful terrace overlooking the Pyramid Rooftop Gardens. However, the cozy inside trattoria style dining area is graceful and casually elegant and sooo romantic!  

Livia Lisinicchai, Medzo's Nonna (Grandmother) Host/Chef is a charming woman who most solicitously saw to our every need. There was even a piano player “tinkling the ivories” in the background. 

Roger’s seafood pasta was so very fresh with just the right touch of spice. My lamb was expertly cooked to my taste – medium rare – and dripping with delicious au jus. The crowning glory was the tiramisu – THE one dessert that is worth the calories. Medzo is open for lunch from 12:30pm – 3:00pm and for dinner from 7:30pm – 11:30pm. For reservations call: 04 324 4100

Arva serving up Egyptian falafel 
Frying Pan Adventures is a last minute entry but one which was so awesome it had to be on the list. 

Arva Ahmen, I Live in a Frying Pan” food blogger, just launched her Dubai food adventure tours. I was lucky to get in one of the very first. 

The Arabian Foodie Pilgrimage took us on a walking tour of Diera (old Dubai) to five different restaurants to sample Iranian, Jordanian, Palestinian, Egyptian, Turkish, Lebanese, and my favorite, Yemen cuisine.  I was just blown away by the flavors and Arva’s vivid and animated explanations of the food and its history.

I am not revealing anymore here. Stay tuned. This one warrants its own blog post!

      NUMBER 6 
Roger and Russell relax at the Beach House
      Park Hyatt Saadiyat Island Beach House in Abu Dhabi was first discovered when our oldest son Russell visited. It had just opened and was delicious. We revisited again last June when we spend a delightful long weekend at the Park Hyatt.
      The Beach House is perched on the pristine sands of Saadiyat Island overlooking the Persian Gulf. The patio dining allows you to enjoy the soft gulf  breezes  as you feast on really fresh seafood. The casual elegance of the dark wood accents in the open air restaurant is complimented by various seating choices; table and chairs, bar tables, even beach chairs. 
      The menu features homemade dishes from the Mediterranean coastline. Russell, brave man, stepped up to my challenge to try the octopus and loved it! The Beach House is open for lunch from 12:30pm – 4:00pm and for dinner from 6:30pm – 12 Midnight. The rooftop Terrace is open from 6pm – 1am. For reservations call +971 02 407 1138

The Beach Restaurant at The Chedi Muscat in Oman is where I had my first taste of Omani lobster. These are robust tails with big knuckles of juicy lobster meat.

Once again we were enchanted by a romantic beach side restaurant. It is decorated in dark woods with low lighting that warms the room as you are cooled by the gentle Gulf breezes. The skillful arrangement of tables and dividing panels creates the illusion that this is your own private dining room.  

Our weekend at The Chedi was glorious and I am now a devoted Omani lobster fan! Simply prepared on the grill, you know that it just came out of the water - fresh! fresh! fresh!  The restaurant is only serves dinner and is only open from Mid-September till May. Make your reservation well in advance at 009 682 452 4400.


La Parrilla, the Latin American restaurant at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel compliments it juicy steaks with amazing tango dancing.

Situated on the 25th floor of the hotel the combination of the view, the well prepared food and the entertainment makes for a very delightful evening.

Open from 6:30pm - 12 Midnight. For reservations call 04 406 8999.     

Katie with Chef Gulshan (2nd from left) and
his Award winning culinary team.
Battle of the Chefs at The Address Montgomerie was a delightful experience thanks to Theresa Demmott's  invitation.

Where else can you sample interesting dishes prepared by Dubai's top Chefs? Each chef is challenged to create an interesting three-course meal from a selection of provided ingredients and you get to be the judge.

We participate in two delightful evenings - one a semi final round in the Montgomerie's Nineteen Restaurant and then the Grand Finale poolside where we watched and tasted creations from Chef Gulshan of The Address Dubai Marina who clinched the title as the Champion of the Battle of the Chefs 2012.

Stay tuned . . . there is a special posting coming for this great event.

Roger and I are working on our 2013 restaurant wish list and look forward to exploring and discovering more of Dubai's culinary stars! If you have any suggestions for us please leave me a comment.

Bel-hanā' wa ash-shifā' (Bon Apetite)!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Dubai Desert Safari you guys must have enjoyed a lot. i am also planning to have a visit to Dubai then i will definitely try this.

  3. Yes, we do agree on many! Although I didn't mention Pier Chic and Bussola, I'd agree, they are right up there for Dubai's best

  4. Wow, I can't believe Frying Pan made this list, I am so flattered!! So excited to see it up there, thank you Katie, there can be no better way for Frying Pan Adventures to start 2013 than on this positive, reassuring note. It was amazing to have you on the tour; you and the others were very willing listeners and adventurous tasters. Many more food tours to come, and look forward to being your food tour guide and explorer in 2013 :)

    1. Your food tour is absolutely amazing. One of the best times I have had in Dubai! You are brilliant to have put it together so nicely. Getting a girl friend group to join me on the next one. Will be in touch!

  5. Going to Muscat and putting in my list your suggestion. Thanks Katie! Happy New Years and waiting for your dinning list next year. Klaudja.

    1. Have you read my blog about our trip to Muscat? It was a wonderful trip and may offer you some additional suggestions. The Chedi Muscat


  6. Dear Katie, you must have done some mighty wonderful things in your life to be enjoying this beauty and luxury :-) Happy New Year!

    1. Sometimes Roger and I just shake our heads in wonderment at our good fortune of having this incredible opportunity drop into our laps! God has certainly blessed us!

  7. Wow... my mouth is watering. I always loved doing lunch at Medzo when I lived in Dubai and enjoyed chatting with Livia too!

    Happy New Year to you and Roger!
    Anne :)

  8. People can get everything in Dubai what they want. It's luxury high rise buildings, hotels and resorts and restaurants attract more visitors towards. It's best restaurant provides different types of multi cuisine food and so many types of drinks also.

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  10. Arabian advenuture is kind of craze. every one love to get this crazy enjoyment.
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  12. CioccolatItaliani Restaurant Dubai is one of the best place where you can enjoy delicious desserts, Italian food, drinks, cakes. Visit Steak House in Dubai today..!!

  13. I really appreciated this blog... I got the very best information from your site..... I really impressed to read all this awesome information.... your blog is really very helpful to us.... I am very glad to visit here... I want to be visit here again and I w hope I got the much better information from your site by this this time....thanks for sharing all this awesome information.,......

  14. Hi
    Katie and Roger Foster...
    Do you guys have been around the whole of Dubai. It was the adventure you guys have accomplished. Enjoyed it very much and would have to see and hear new things. I'm proud of you all.

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  16. Thanks for a very useful information.

  17. Last year, a survey was held to check out the best dinning. After the announcement of the result I was shocked because the dining in Dubai ranked first all around the World.

  18. If you are in the Dubai Marina area and good quality Thai seafood in nice atmosphere with friendly service, look no further. You can visit