It’s official. I’ve picked my numero uno for this year. The restaurant I have been back to time and time again, and impressed with impossibly more on each visit.
Disclaimer: That is a skin-coloured serviette, not a belly roll….
A series of refined Mediterranean and Asian inspired dishes that are not only artistic and beautiful in presentation, but have flavours that surprise and indulge. Not to mention, a guaranteed spirited atmosphere to put the cherry on top of what always proves to be a memorable evening. It comes with a hefty price tag, but as do most fine-dining restaurants in Dubai, so take comfort in knowing it’s up there with the best …. if not the best.
Say a warm welcome to PLAY restaurant and lounge.
The only slight improvement PLAY could make to tick the ‘perfection box’ is the service. Truth be told, I really am picking at the finer details here because the service is without a doubt top notch in terms of menu, dish and wine knowledge, and there are plenty of people on hand to help – however, it tends to be without a warm smile or personal touch. Sometimes with a hint of arrogance.
It’s not that bad in the sense it would take anything away from an incredible dining experience there, it just certainly doesn’t add to it like some restaurant’s waiters and waitresses can. Even more of a shame given the man behind the whole concept, Chef Reif Othman, is one of the friendliest and warmest chefs I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. (Side note: the gentleman I had on this occasion was fantastic, it just hasn’t been that way every time).
As for logistics, PLAY is located in the H Dubai, a stunning hotel on the downtown side. Watch out for traffic coming from Marina at peak times, but don’t let that put you off as this will be a dining experience to remember!
It’s no secret that restaurants open up every month here in Dubai, and so 2018 may well bring welcome new additions, but for the people who email and message me asking for my best restaurant recommendations … this Ladies and Gents, is currently my official choice for Dubai’s best restaurant. The perfect spot for a special occasion and to be wowed by spectacular dishes.
I normally don’t get too far into trying the menu choices before finding something that isn’t quite right (in most restaurant’s defence – I tend to order quite a few dishes!) but PLAY is an exception, and has been so time and time again.
From the ‘Pita Surprise’ to shrimp and lobster tempura, raw wagyu beef tartare atop seaweed crackers and hamachi ceviche – the world is your oyster, and rest assured any choice is a safe bet.
It certainly put a smile on these two’s faces! <3
This was the first time I’d tried PLAY’s ‘risotto barrel’, with seasonal wild mushrooms and freshly shaved seasonal truffle. My gosh does this pack a punch and if you’re a truffle lover like myself, it’s hard not to devour the entire ‘for 2’ dish.
Poured into a barrel of 2 year-aged parmesan cheese, the heat of the risotto melts away at the cheese as it’s mixed in front of you.
Truffle plays a big roll in all of Chef Reif Othman’s creations … music to my ears!
The risotto, paired with the “76 hours Stanbroke Angus Beef Ribs” and hokkaido sweet corn are the perfect choices for a sharing style main course menu items.
And if you still have room, their desserts are some of the rare few I won’t miss.
“Sneaker bar” and a raspberry ‘8 ways’ new addition to the menu – rather dreamy! Perfect textures, sweetness, fruitiness and everything in between.
I hope this has given you a great insight into why I’ve picked PLAY as my top Dubai restaurant this year. I get to experience a fair few of Dubai’s hotspots with work so it wasn’t an easy decision to make. However, I’m super confident in saying I know you’ll have an incredibly special evening with sensational food here!
It’s also worth checking out “The Experience with Chef Reif Othman” which is upstairs in a more private setting, arranged to be just like Chef’s own home. It’s intimate but you are around one square table with other guests joining for the evening which I quite like the special aspect of. The menu is prepared by Chef himself and the dishes are equally exquisite.
Please do comment below if you have any thoughts on PLAY, or questions about this restaurant and others in Dubai!
As an add on to that review, I can honestly say I have been all over the world and been very fortunate in dining in some of the most stunning places. However this restaurant’s food is out of this world and by far the very best that both my partner and myself have ever experienced. The chef is a genius !!!
Thank you for an amazing culinary experience!
Kimberly and Colin
Hello and welcome! I'm Carly, originally from London but currently enjoying a little adventure in Dubai. A travel and wellness blogger exploring the world one step at a time. Think fabulous food at undiscovered gems, unique destinations, skin care obsessions and so much more. This is my life, I hope you enjoy the ride!