Dubai restaurants earn Middle East’s 1st Michelin stars

DUBAI • Eleven Dubai restaurants were awarded the first Michelin stars in the Middle East on Tuesday as dozens of the city’s eateries made it into the prestigious gastronomic guide.

Two restaurants were given two-star ratings, another nine gained one star and 14 received the Bib Gourmand for value-for-money gourmet fare.

Dubai, the United Arab Emirates’ commercial hub, joins a growing number of cities worldwide covered by the coveted French listings.

Inspectors spent months visiting eateries “from the most elegant and luxurious restaurants run by globally renowned chefs to the simple bistro operated by friendly locals”, Michelin guide international director Gwendal Poullennec said at the announcement event at Dubai Opera.

“It’s a historic moment for Dubai and the Michelin guide,” he told AFP.

Sixty-nine restaurants serving 21 types of cuisine were listed, including Italian, Japanese, Arabic, French and Indian. 

Il Ristorante — Niko Romito and STAY by Yannick Alleno, which is on Dubai’s Palm development of man-made islands, were the two-star winners.

“This I believe should be a game-changer,” Firas Fawaz, founder and managing partner of featured restaurant The Artisan, told AFP. “You have the international standard…that pushes us to go the extra mile to deliver something different from the norm.” 

Created in 1900 by the brothers Andre and Edouard Michelin of tyre company Michelin for motorists, the guide has become a reference for food lovers and has been known to make or break careers.

Poullenec said Dubai’s 90% expat population, of 200 nationalities, had created an “epicurean kaleidoscope” in the desert city.

Dubai’s inclusion is a recognition of the different nationalities “bringing their experience, their background and culture into every single bite”, Issam Kazem, CEO of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce, told AFP. — AFP / Pic by AFP