Saturday, June 15, 2024

Our pick of the best restaurants at Expo 2020 Dubai

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Food, glorious food…

Expo 2020 is a dining destination in its own right, where globally celebrated chefs, local favourites, brand-new dining concepts, and exciting country pavilion restaurants collide.

Here’s a look at the highlights…

David Myers

david myers

Californian Michelin chef David Myers, better known as the Gypsy Chef, is bringing a slice of LA’s Abbot Kinney Blvd to Dubai with his hugely popular ADRIFT Burger Bar.

Rohit Ghai

One of the culinary world’s most in-demand chefs, Rohit Ghai brings his acclaimed restaurant Kutir from London’s Chelsea to Expo 2020. Expect an authentic yet highly experimental menu.

Matthew Kenney

Recognised as one of the leaders in plant-based cuisine, American celebrity chef Matthew Kenney brings three of his restaurant concepts from the US to Expo 2020.

David Thompson

David thompson expo 2020

Joining the heavy hitters at Expo 2020 is David Thompson, who has made cooking Thai food his life’s work, famous particularly for his Thai street food chain Long Chim.

Geoffrey Zakarian

The celebrated Armenian-American chef is set to debut The National Bar & Dining Rooms – his vision of a grand café, offering modern bistro cuisine from breakfast to dinner.

Baron expo 2020

Other tasty arrivals include British concept – and bakery school – Bread Ahead, specialising in doughnuts and gluten-free and sourdough breads; Beirut’s neighbourhood joint, BARON, bringing passion to the plate with fresh ingredients from farm and sea and Kojaki, a fusion concept that melds Japanese and Korean cuisines, with signature dishes such as Korean barbecue and Japanese robata.

A host of homegrown talent will feature heavily in the line-up of eateries at Expo 2020, spanning cuisines from India to Ireland, and include classic UAE brands such as Arabian Tea House, Indian gem and biryani specialists Al Farwania, Filipino hotspot Dampa Seafood Grill, Lebanese stalwart Al Reef Bakery; and Hanon Feras Sweets, renowned for its traditional Middle Eastern dessert, kanafa.

The six-month spectacle also features Pakistani street food go-to, Ravi Restaurant, Maraheb Yemeni Restaurant, and Sarouja Restaurant & Café, a popular Syrian and Mediterranean spot.

experimental dining expo 2020

If you like your meals with a side of immersive theatrics, be sure to purchase tickets to The Future of Food: Epochal Banquet, a never-before-seen multi-course experience cooked up by UK-based multi-sensory experience design studio Bompas & Parr.

Diners will have the opportunity to taste super-light delicacies formed using the same technique that NASA uses to collect comet dust, where edible creations glow in the dark, and desserts change flavours. The two-hour dining experience costs from Dhs550 and tickets can be purchased via @bompasandparr

Alkebulan African dining hall

Curated by former opera singer-turned-restauranteur, Alexander Smalls, Alkebulan is a celebration of African cuisine and features almost a dozen chef-led concepts from across the African continent.

Each counter and concept has its own unique design that honours the individuality of the region, cuisine and chef. Highlights include Afro Street Eatery, which champions West African street food, Penja, the award-winning pop-up concept, and Seven Seafood offering a contemporary look at East African seafood.


talabat Kitchen

Food delivery superstars talabat have been named the Official Food Delivery Provider for Expo 2020 and will be showcasing more than 30 brands inside talabat kichen, an innovative, sustainable two-storey cloud kitchen. talabat will cater to both dine-in and delivery customers, with talabat riders delivering to fixed locations throughout Expo’s site using safe, sustainably responsible e-scooters.

Look out for its autonomous delivery vehicles, and the innovative robotic ice-cream confectioner and barista ready to wow visitors at Expo 2020.

Rising Flavours dining hall

rising flavours expo 2020

Inspired by the countries of the GCC, Rising Flavours’ three-storey dining hall – decorated by GCC artists – highlights the range and creativity of the Gulf region’s ever-evolving food scene. The ground floor features a rotating line-up of chefs from the UAE, Oman, KSA and beyond, including Douha Abdullah Al Otaishan, Saudi Arabia’s first female executive chef, Bahraini restaurateur Roaya Saleh, Hattem Mattar, the Arab world’s first pitmaster; Emirati Musabbeh Al Kaabi, and many more.

The first-floor restaurant is a licensed fine-dining venue hosting a chef’s table and a theatrical cooking show. You’ll also find live performances,
from the traditional to the contemporary.

Meanwhile, Expo 2020 Dubai’s three Thematic Pavilions are each home to custom-made eateries and cafes giving visitors a delicious taste of its subthemes.


alif expo 2020

The Mobility Pavilion hosts Alif Café by farm2table, a casual eatery from Abu Dhabi-based chef Jessica Queitsch, shining a light on the heritage of key ingredients from the silk route such as coffee, rice, pasta and spices.


The Sustainability Pavilion has a number of plant-based venues, largely manned by plant-based celebrity chef Matthew Kenny, including Veg’d, an all-day vegan restaurant focusing on sustainable dishes, XYST, which places emphasis on the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine and Mudrá,
a beautiful rooftop bar – with amazing views over the Expo site – featuring exciting cocktails and plant-based cuisine.

Mission Possible

The Opportunity Pavilion aims to place significant emphasis on food and drink producers. One of its highlights is the dedicated working space where visitors will find top Emirati coffee roastery, Canvas by Coffee Culture.

Images: Expo 2020 Dubai 

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