A new dining guide for Dubai, plus musings on restaurant concepts
Dubai; My passion and business of reviewing restaurants may be primarily online, but I still like to delve into print reviews and guides. There’s something reassuring about leafing through a book that my ipad’s Kindle reader will never replicate. If you think so too, you may like to check out a new dining guide book for Dubai launched by the talented yet humble folks at Zomato, a website dedicated to sharing diners’ opinions on restaurants. I should disclose that FooDiva provided some consultancy with impartial restaurant recommendations for this new insightful resource now on Dubai’s shelves – along with fellow food bloggers The Hedonista and Discover Spice.
In the first Zomato Connoisseur’s Guide to Eating Out in Dubai, 202 handpicked restaurants are grouped into 19 categories (20 would be too predictable, wouldn’t it) mainly according to occasion, but also cuisine and location. A 1 to 5 user rating is assigned for each outlet based on votes by what Zomato calls ‘Top Connoisseurs’ and ‘Super Foodies’ – in some cases food bloggers like us included, who are deemed trustworthy because of their genuine, informative reviews. Each restaurant shortlisted in the guide is accompanied by one of these online reviews, with the idea that we know a thing or two about what makes or breaks a dining experience.
Talking of which, the panel discussion I participated in at Zomato’s restaurant industry summit last week (along with the head honchos from Gaucho, Kcal, Sheikh & Shake and Idea Spice Design) where this guide was unwrapped, was exactly that, and developing restaurant concepts. Whilst researching discussion points for the latter, the most interesting aspect I always find is identifying global trends and gaps in the local market for new restaurant concepts, something I’ve blogged about before. So what are the biggest potentials in the restaurant industry right now in Dubai, apart from creating more home-grown concepts which has been discussed to death? Here’s a snapshot of the top five opportunities garnered from my insights and yours, my lovely readers, when I posed that question on my social media channels.
- Fine dining Emirati cuisine – not just restricted to the odd café around town.
- Immersive dining and underground supper clubs for paying customers – similar to Paul Pairet’s Ultraviolet in Shanghai and Gingerline in London. Taking what Lime & Tonic is already doing one step further or one step under rather.
- Pop-up restaurants and food trucks – coming soon I hear.
- Casual sea-facing restaurants – Dubai has a fantastic shoreline but hardly any cafes and restaurants by the beach unless you go to a fancy hotel. We need more than Bu’Qtair.
- Deli-style restaurants – to eat in, or take out a really good quality meal worthy of heating up at home.
The list could and will go on but I’ll save that for another post. What do you reckon? Any more to add?
The Zomato 2014 Connoisseur’s Guide To Eating Out in Dubai is priced at AED 50 and is available across all leading bookstores and supermarkets in the Emirate. Zomato handpicks some of FooDiva’s restaurant reviews for its website here.
P.S – for another blogger’s perspective on Zomato, check out IshitaUnblogged’s post.