Zuma is another chain restaurant that found itself on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list. The restaurant has locations in London, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Dubai, Miami, Bangkok, Abu Dhabi, Datca Peninsula, New York, Rome, and Las Vegas. However, the Dubai location is the one with the awards.
- #77 on the 2014 World’s 50 Best Restaurant List
- #88 on the 2015 World’s 50 Best Restaurant List
- #89 on the 2016 World’s 50 Best Restaurant List
Chef Rainer Becker is the mastermind behind the Zuma empire. He spent six years in Japanese learning about Japanese food and culture; he was inspired by Japan’s izakaya culture. He opened his first restaurant in London then has been slowly expanding around the world. He has worked at other chain restaurants in hotels around the world, a few Michelin rated restaurants and the most notable restaurant would be Hakkasan. Zuma Dubai
Zuma is located a few doors down from La Petite Maison in Dubai’s International Financial Centre. I arrived a little early for my lunch reservations and the restaurant was still opening up for the day. I was asked to return when they opened which was in 30 minutes. I decided to take a stroll around Dubai’s International Financial Centre since it was on my itinerary. The area would define the infrastructure investment the government is doing for its country. I lounged around after a few pictures then I made my way back. Zuma Dubai
I was the first in the restaurant. The host greeted me. He informed me they require pants in the restaurant, but they would make an exception for me and my shorts. I was requested to be seated at the sushi bar. The server came by with the menu and asked if I would like to start with something to drink. The typical procedure at any sit down restaurant. Zuma Dubai
I scrolled through the menu and noticed they didn’t offer an omakase option for lunch. However, the server informed me it was due to the short period for lunch and people don’t usually order it. She suggested the Ebisu option for me to try different items on the menu. It was a bit disappointing but I went with it. The Ebisu menu included a soup, choice of two appetizers and a main course. Zuma Dubai
Now, the food. Zuma isn’t a traditional Japanese restaurant. Far from it. It serves contemporary Japanese cuisine developed for Western palates. I’m not a huge fan of contemporary Asian cuisines; I have an old soul and enjoy the traditions of past times. I’m going to highlight the two dishes I thought was fairly decent. Zuma Dubai
- Wagyu Rolls – The Wagyu rolls was one of their specialties. The raw beef sat on time of rice wrapped in seaweed then topped with a garlic and caviar. The ingredients gave it different flavors and taste on my palate. It’s definitely contemporary Japanese cuisine compared to the edomae style I most admire. It was decent.
- Chilean Sea Bass – The Chilean Sea Bass served with red yuzu peppers. It seared on the outside and laid in a pool of citrus sauce; it was topped with fried onions and other crispy vegetables. The citrus sauce lightened the dish and the yuzu peppers brought an added spice to it. It was a vibrant dish and perfect option for lunch.
Dubai is filled with expats. Expats flock to the UAE cause there are no taxes on personal income. With a diverse city, Zuma provides an alternative to Dubai’s multi-cultural culinary scene. The old Emirate restaurants are still around but the city is started to fill with Western and Eastern restaurants. It’s becoming the financial hub of the Middle East. Zuma Dubai
However, with such a movement, the culinary scene becomes engulfed with water down restaurants catering to tourists and expats. Zuma barely makes the World’s 50 Best restaurant list in 2016. After dining here, I don’t see myself returning to it unless its for dinner for its omakase menu. The food was a bit of a disappointment. Zuma Dubai
Check out our other United Arab Emirates articles here.
- Service - 6.5/106.5/10
- Presentation - 5/105/10
- Flavors - 5/105/10
- Decor - 7/107/10
- Ambiance - 6.5/106.5/10
Zuma is another chain restaurant that found itself on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list. The restaurant has locations in London, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Dubai, Miami, Bangkok, Abu Dhabi, Datca Peninsula, New York, Rome, and Las Vegas. Zuma barely makes the World’s 50 Best restaurant list in 2016. After dining here, I don’t see myself returning to it unless its for dinner for its omakase menu. The food was a bit of a disappointment.