Croissants; luxury fashion brands like Chanel and Dior; the Louvre; The Little Prince; Chopin; Edith Piaf; French new-wave cinema; berets; baguettes; ballet; cheese and wine… Ouf! The list of France’s contributions to world culture is longer than the height of the Eiffel Tower. It’s French food though that is par excellence. Lyon is the official gastronomical capital of the world and the Michelin Guide that sets the benchmark for restaurants anywhere else on the planet was born in La France. Need we say more? Luckily, we have some of the best French restaurants in Dubai.
So make a reservation, dare to order escargot (snail), and enjoy a glass of the finest Bordeaux wine. Bon appétit!
For a quintessentially French café experience, this Parisian tearoom and patisserie in The Dubai Mall is the place to go. Don’t believe us? The original 1903 Paris outlet was Coco Chanel’s favourite. Proust was a fan too. Since they arrived in Dubai in 2013, they’ve been a fixture of the city’s food scene thanks to the legendary hot chocolate ‘L’ African’. Don’t leave without trying their signature Mont-Blanc pastry which has a whacky story. The crunchy, dry French meringue covered by a dome of whipped cream and chestnut vermicelli is shaped to resemble the early 1900s’ trending hairstyle – the short bob!
📍Location: Ground floor, The Dubai Mall Fashion Avenue, Next to Zara
2. LPM, DIFC’s Gate Village
Cote D’Azur vibes and Michelin-approved French-Mediterranean delicacies await you at this French restaurant and bar. The international restaurant chain, which also has an Abu Dhabi outlet, is the acronym for Le Petit Maison. But it’s grand on flavour and focuses on cuisine from the South of France that reflects the influences of Italy and other south European neighbours. It’s evident in the pates fraiches (homemade pasta) and Nicoise staple Ratatouille with Feta and the salt-baked seabass with artichokes. Dotted with art by South of France painters, marble-topped tables and fine linen, complete the understated French Rivieria ambiance.
*The restaurant’s closed for summer and will reopen in September.
📍Location: Gate Village No, 8 – DIFC – Dubai
3. Stay by Yannick Alleno, One&Only The Palm
What do we say about a restaurant that’s helmed by a celebrity chef called ‘The King of Sauces’ and has been honoured with two Michelin stars? We say, go and eat your heart out here. Done up in dark colours and burnished metals the modern restaurant has a minimalist opulence. The black-and-white accent wall in particular is a favourite Instagram background but you’ll be too busy snapping pictures of dishes that are culinary art. Chef Alleno’s known for his gimmick-free approach so you’ll be tucking into innovative but minimalistic dishes made using contemporary cooking techniques such as sous vide and traditional French ingredients and bases. Highlights include the langoustine tart and the chef’s reimagined childhood soup.
📍Location: One&Only The Palm, West Crescent, Palm Jumeirah
4. Bagatelle, Fairmont Hotel SZR
This chic-fine dining restaurant is a firm favourite because of its ability to switch between a sophisticated soiree to the boisterous vibes of a streetside fete (party) at the drop of a chapeau. Misconceptions of French food being snooty haute cuisine are put to rest here. They’ve got a dedicated vegetarian menu too – Quelle surprise! Considering French meals are heavily meat-based unless it’s breakfast. Hero dishes here include the French classic, canard à l’orange (tender duck with chicory marmalade and Seville orange puree), and carpaccio de veau (veal topped with Shimeji mushroom and parmesan hazelnut crumb).
Bagatelle’s yearly Bastille Day celebration kicks off on July 14 at 8pm with live music and some surprises that are being kept tightly under wraps. The resident DJ will take to the decks and you can party on until late.
Reservations: Call 04 354 5035
📍Location: 1st floor of The Fairmont Hotel Sheikh Zayed Road, Trade Center Area
The original Parisian restaurant in Paris’ chic fashion avenue – rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré – may have brought down its fer forge (traditional shutters) but its legacy is alive and thriving at this Dubai branch. They’ve not just maintained the 105 address but also the glamorous ambiance and upscale food that’s been La Cantine’s identity. Adding to the allure is a mini restaurant hidden within the restaurant called Gohan. Even after it’s 2021 revamp, the stylish restaurant continues to be a buzzing hotspot of music, art and food and Dubai’s fash pack: their signature mac-and-cheese dish coquilletes des mon enfance (shells of my childhood) and classic foie grass terrine are must-tries.
📍Location: 105 Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel, 1st Floor, Sheikh Zayed Road
6. Bistro Des Arts
Dial it back to the 1970s with this homegrown retro French restaurant that channels the rustic vibes of a Parisian bistro to the last detail, including a terrace garden and waterfront views. Except, instead of the Seine, you’ll be looking at the Dubai Marina’s waters. This quaint bistro’s claim to fame is an array of classic dishes from the “Terroir” French home-style food garden vibe terrace. Freshly baked bread, a hand-selected wine list, and pastries are served up to hungry patrons. Specialities here include moules frites (mussels and fries), hand-cut steak tartar du bistro and – look away, vegans – joue du boeuf (beef cheeks in red wine sauce).
All that’s missing here is an accordion player in a Breton shirt belting out ‘La Vie En Rose’.
📍Location: Dubai Marina Promenade | Marina Mall Area, Near Address Marina Hotel
7. Brasserie Boulud, Sofitel Obelisk
This Michelin Bib Gourmand-awardee is a glamorous Art Deco French dining venue by award-winning NYC chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud. Originally from a small town outside food capital Lyon, the region’s gourmet legacy is evident in Chef Boulud and Exec Chef Leymone’s dishes which are oeuvres. Middle Eastern ingredients are mixed into standouts such as the rillete de canard (pulled duck confit), poulet a la creme (pan-seared chicken breast) crevettes a l’ail (seared Omani shrimps) and the traditional tarte tartin (apple tart). The scrumptious menu and glossy venue of mirrored ceilings and chandeliers will keep you coming back for more.
There’s a special July 14 menu featuring traditional charcuterie and cheeses, BBQ main courses, patisseries, French wines, and Pastis.
Reservations: Call 04 281 4020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
📍Location: 2nd Floor, Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk, WAFI
This Beirut-born casual-dining bistro in JLT proves that the Lebanese capital’s nickname of ‘The Paris of the Middle East’ has a lot of weight. Founder Ziad Kamel is passionate about educating people about snails being a delicacy and Coquely’s escargots are an item that’s converted foodies into loving it. To quote Simba from ‘Lion King’ they are e slimy yet satisfying. Besides snails, the joint is also famous for its steak-frites (steak and French fries) and tuna tartare, and a dedicated wine menu. But it’s the pain perdu (French toast) loaded with caramel sauce and gourmet ice cream that’s a showstopper and is known to have diners lose all sense of time and place as they relish it.
📍Location: Mövenpick Hotel, Cluster A, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai
Named after Chef Izu Ani’s wife, this restaurant embodies all the romance that Paris, the ‘City of Love’ is known for. It also excels at French Mediterranean-inspired dishes, which is Chef Izu’s area of expertise and what’s made found him a fervent following amongst Dubai’s gourmands; H.H Sheikh Hamdan is a big fan. Paired with unique cocktails, should you so choose to order them, the food is served up in a gorgeous sunlit setting with floor-to-ceiling windows offering views of rolling green golf courses. Must-tries are harissa prawns, tarte flambée with sweet smoky onions, and saucy lobster linguini and creme brulee. FYI, cocktails here are region-specific and are infused with herbs, shrubs and bitters.
Reservations: Call 04 417 9885 or email email@example.com
📍Location: Emirates Golf Club, Emirates Hills 2