Sitting down to a delicious meal, prepared by a top chef, is one of life’s great pleasures. A wonderful way to unwind, a meal out is also an opportunity to share in fine food and good company. Today, health-conscious diners are also looking to ensure the experience is a healthy one by perusing menus with good nutritional choices in mind. Increasingly, guests place a greater emphasis on factors such as where ingredients are sourced from, preparation techniques and any potential health benefits. For restaurateurs this means presenting first-class fare that also appeals to those with healthy eating in mind.
The eclectic nature of Dubai’s thriving dining scene means more and more five-star establishments are effortlessly offering a selection that is both tantalising and healthy. From vegetarian dishes prepared with flair to the clever use of locally available produce, there is a host of ways to satisfy all palates. Some of the city’s finest restaurants are now taking into consideration a host of special requirements, from offering dishes without gluten to options tailored entirely to vegetarians, every inch as mouthwatering as the rest of the menu. Some restaurants even go so far as to raise their own cattle to ensure excellent breeding and care. Concierge samples some of the city’s best restaurants for the diner with a healthy meal in mind.
One of the city’s finest destinations for gourmet Japanese cuisine, Okku is also the restaurant to visit for delicious, healthy options. For vegetarians in particular, the choice is fantastic with a new menu recently introduced that offers a host of exciting signature dishes crafted by chefs who are well-versed in cooking for an A-list clientele. Chefs here have worked in some of the world’s best-known kitchens from the food capitals of New York and Los Angeles to Tokyo. Creations include outstanding truff le teriyaki edamame to start, which is a rich and tasty take on the classic Japanese appetiser. Seaweed salad is also full of f lavour and is served with assorted wakame seaweed, julienne beetroot and sesame seeds in sesame and soy vinaigrette. Presentation here is all-important and, as a result, some of the dishes are simply show-stopping. An absolute highlight for non-meat eaters is the avocado volcano, a fiery asparagus dish presented in a halfshell and drizzled in spicy mayonnaise. The wasabi tofu tempura is also delicious and a revelation for those not familiar with tofu. There’s plenty of healthy options for meat and fish eaters here too, including the seabass mushiyaki which sees the fish steamed in Asian leaves, ginger and leek, while the wagyu Himalayan shioyaki is an innovative take on steak with the meat cooked at the table on a hot Himalayan salt stone to add a fantastic burst of flavour to the dish. To finish, the green tea tart with raspberry sorbet is a wonderful combination of fresh fruit and the detoxifying benefits of zesty green tea.
Traditional Chinese style combines with contemporary cooking know-how at this restaurant at Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa. Atmospheric tea rituals and elegant Asian décor add to the sense of authenticity at this venue where the focus is on fine food. There is a dedicated ‘spicy’ menu for those looking to add plenty of heat while a tea sommelier is on hand to pair Chinese teas to each dish. Styles incorporated here include Cantonese and Szechuan, each offering a combination of ingredients such as garlic, ginger, sesame and chilli, together with healthy cooking methods such as steaming, stir frying and braising. There is a number of dishes created especially with vegetarians in mind that are not only ideal for the health-conscious diner but are full of f lavour. The sautéed Mapo-style tofu consists of red tofu, shitake mushrooms, red chilli, onion and garlic while the doubleboiled winter melon and wild mushroom soup is a delicious take on a traditional vegetable soup. Another must-try dish for those looking for a meat-free option is the steamed crystal vegetable dumpling, filled with celery, carrot, snow peas, baby pak choi and shitake mushrooms. Elsewhere on the menu, there is plenty to entice carnivores, such as the melt-in-the-mouth wok-fried black pepper beef fillet.
Underscoring the importance of good quality ingredients, the team at Seafire restaurant endeavours to ensure its own high standards are maintained throughout, from farm to plate. While red meat is at times not necessarily associated with healthy eating, a premium quality cut from animals who have been well cared for is packed full of iron, minerals and is all the more delicious when cooked by the kitchen’s expert chefs on a flaming charcoal grill. The finest cuts here come from very special ‘Atlantis’ beef, which is nurtured on all-natural grain feed in Australia specifically for the luxury resort. The delicious menu also steps away from meat choices to offer fresh seafood and some excellent vegetarian options.