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2023 dining trends

Dubai restaurants: 23 chefs and restaurateurs reveal 2023 dining trends

Here’s what we’ll be eating more of in 2023 at Dubai restaurants

New year, new food?

With so many Dubai restaurants opening their doors in 2023, we expect the city’s F&B scene to get even bigger.

Time Out Dubai spoke to chefs and restaurant professionals from all walks of the food and beverage industry to find out what they think the top trends of 2023 will be.

Here’s what they had to say…

Akmal Anuar, Chef Partner 11 Woodfire

Time moves too fast, I just hope everything can slow down a bit. There is an obsession and oversupply of everything these days, I feel. For Dubai restaurants ever since the introduction of big awards, everyone has been thinking about launching a chef’s table in their venue. All of a sudden everyone is working on a tasting menu, four-hand dinners and celebrity collaborations. It’s a very trendy thing right now. I also think that beach clubs and Korean BBQ cuisine will be big in 2023.

Aleix Garcia of TABŪ, Hayal and more

As the world of entertainment has solidified its position within the restaurant industry, I predict that other industries, including fashion, design, and sports, among others will gradually find themselves associated with the restaurant business. This is something we should all be excited about. Moreover, we have all become gradually more conscious about what we eat, which has then boosted the interest in eating healthier options, like ethically sourced foods or vegan options, in all hospitality segments. The future looks bright for Dubai restaurants.

Ben Tobitt, founder of Ben’s Farmhouse

I think more restaurants will be looking at winning awards. I can see hotels possibly introducing more food and beverage package-type offerings to entice customers to stay in-house, there is a lot of competition out there. For online and delivery, I see people trying to achieve higher standards from both a food and service point of view. Healthier food, I believe, will continue to grow in demand and we might see more people taking a break from meat in particular.

Claudio Cardoso, director of culinary at SLS Dubai

For Dubai restaurants and the region in general, we’re seeing a rise in the popularity of non-alcoholic-focused bars and offerings. This is rightfully so, as a large portion of the population in the UAE are non-drinkers. We’re also seeing a bigger focus on local products and produce and sustainable food practices such as local foraging research. Korean barbecues and dessert bars are also something that we should see more of in the next year as their popularity increases.

Technology is becoming more embedded in our daily lives, and we’re seeing a trend in technology-driven services and offerings such as metaverse restaurants and NFT ticketed dinners.

Faisal Naser of Lento

I think that newer restaurants opening in Dubai will be smaller and have minimalistic menus, with monthly specials and the collaborations between chefs increasing even more.

Supporting local producers and suppliers will rise in the upcoming year. I will personally increase my focus on avoiding imported food to reduce the carbon footprint for climate change. This means chefs will be ordering locally as much as possible, especially regarding fish and meat.

Fatima Suliman of Hampstead Bakery and Café

Dubai restaurant and café culture is thriving, thanks to a surge in unique homegrown eateries showcasing cuisines from all over the world. There’s no shortage of great eateries and I think Dubai truly has something for everyone. However, in a city that boasts 13,000 restaurants and cafés, you need a strong theme in addition to a strong menu to stand out in the crowd.

I think there are two trends that will continue to gain traction in 2023. The first one is authentic ethnic food from all over the world that consumers will continue to explore. The second one is the vegan or plant-based movement, especially with the arrival of more options to suit everyone, even the most fervent carnivores.

Hadi Saroufim of Bar Du Port

A trend for 2023 will be the rise of flatbreads. The versatile flatbread is hearty, filling and gaining momentum across restaurants in Dubai. They make perfect items for sharing menus, and bar-food menus and even work well as snacks. At Bar Du Port we offer two flatbreads and the dish has proven to be very popular on our menu and presents a great opportunity to get creative because you can experiment and introduce new flavour combinations. The possibilities are endless.

Hashem Montasser of The Lighthouse

We’re predicting a return to technique whether it’s baking or curing meat.

And of course, the trend of stuffed doughnuts has already begun. Plus, more digitisation from everything including ordering from the smartphone.

Joshua Craddock of 25hours Hotel One Central

I think that Dubai will be more about uber-local, cultivating home-grown talent, and local collaborations whether with F&B operators and brands or fashion brands etc in turn supporting sustainably sourced items and products. Zero percent beverages will grow as a beverage category, way beyond sweet and fruity mocktails. I think a shift to non-alcoholic cocktails featured on menus at full price is perfectly balanced without being overrun with sugar. I also predict an increase in lighter, healthier options across food menus with more plant-based or vegan menu items.

Lorena Guerrero of Isola Ristorante

There is a clear focus on health among the masses as well as a preference for sourcing local produce. Plant-based food has also become exceedingly popular as we see customers expect a more inclusive menu for all. There has also been a rise in meal plans among office workers, both to help keep them on track health-wise as well as for its convenience. Of course, “instagramable” dishes and beverages are here to stay so I believe we will see new unique offerings in Dubai restaurants to further innovate this trend.

Maxime Legeard of Hutong Dubai

A trend that started a few years ago but seems to be gaining momentum is healthy, vegan options. The world is becoming more vegan-friendly and paying more attention to the environment. Some venues have established the position of ‘chief sustainability officer’, it is a very thoughtful and meaningful response to guest demands. The immersive dining experience is also another trend that has become increasingly popular. Guests are on the lookout for a venue that offers more than a delicious meal, they opt for venues that offer an experience and entertainment.

Mohammed Abdulla Al Sahlawi of Flat12 Café

I predict growth in neighbourhood eateries. As the region sees a boom in new and upcoming communities the residents are looking for their new favourite eatery close to home.

Mohammed Ali Yazdi of Slaw

In 2023, I predict an appetite for food pop-ups and food festivals. While festival programmes are hot property no matter what the focus, food will be more of a focal point. I think there will be more niche events, such as a dumpling festival, or festivals created for a certain cuisine. There’s no limit to the number of ways we’re willing to celebrate food it seems.

Mohammad Orfali of Orfali Bros

We don’t really work with trends in mind, rather we believe it’s best to stick to our style of borderless cuisine, cooking dishes that we love to eat. For us, it’s the most authentic way to connect with our guests and share our stories.

Paul Evans of Solutions Leisure Group

In 2023, I see a focus on experience creation – we’ve reached a point of “entertainment”. A dining sector that mixes exceptional skill and experience. It’s about the entity of the brand and concept, not just the food, the performance, or the service. I think we’ll see restaurants stepping into ownership of their concept as a whole.

VIP experiences and private dining will be big in 2023 qas well.This links back to the experience creators, but as a group, we’ve seen exceptional interest rise in the introduction of invite-only or exclusive experiences, elevating those experiences to drive a close-knit ‘if you know, you know’ community.

Advancement in AI – this terrifies yet excites me. Artificial intelligence is more complex and advanced than ever before, and it’s changing the face of the restaurant scene.

Ramie Murray of Dibba Bay Oysters

People are choosing more sustainably sourced foods. They are becoming more interested in where their food comes from and how long it took to get to their plates. Conscious food consumption based on food miles and health benefits was already on the rise as an effect of the pandemic and we will continue to see this trend going up.  The availability of high-quality locally produced foods is also on the rise so we should expect to see an increase in Dubai F&B outlets sourcing more local and sustainable foods in 2023.

Reif Othman of Reif Japanese Kushiyaki

Reif Othman

I think 2023 will see a lot of chefs hosting chef tables and tasting experiences. Trend-wise I think chefs will also focus on conceptual dining. Other than those two aspects, I think restaurants will focus on staying afloat, especially with inflation and I think we will work on sustaining and maintaining what we have now. keep menus fresh and unique to keep our regulars coming back.

Roger Marti of Basko

There are quite a few trends that will be coming up next year. In terms of concepts, beach clubs have been and are very up-and-coming. Some very famous brands will be opening in Dubai in the Jumeirah area, it seems to be a growing hub in terms of location and with the new La Mer development, we will see some well-known concepts emerge. Culinary-wise, the trend will go towards more Mediterranean cuisines, I would see concepts like Barradina from London or even Israeli concepts like Hasalon TLV, do well in Dubai.

Solemann Haddad of Moonrise

I believe zero-percent ABV pairings will not just grow in popularity but will continue to become more sophisticated, with a focus on nuanced flavours from botanicals, bitters, and herbaceous and vegetal components. We also think that diners will continue to seek a greater connection with what we eat, whether it be via emotion, nostalgia, or a personal story.

Stefano Mihalitsianos of Tashas Group

Sustainability and local sourcing are definitely buzzwords and we’re slowly starting to see more brands engage in these practices. Another trend is inclusivity in menu development and offers, meaning that there are more and more plant-based options, vegetarian varieties and dishes that can be amended to suit all lifestyles.

Tamer Elkhayat of PINZA!

In 2023, plant-based diets will continue to be popular amongst health-conscious eaters. These choices focus on whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables while avoiding animal products. Healthy food eating habits will continue as people further prioritise their health and well-being. We plan to adapt and plan for these expected evolutions.

Yunus Emre Aydin of Marea

I believe there will be a lot of focus on tasting menus and local produce. We are very excited about 2023, as we have been working on a new direction, sort of propelling the dining experience at Marea into a new era with an exciting tasting menu, which will be introduced in January and will evolve every few months.

Source: Timeout Dubai

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