Omakase - A Unique Japanese Dining Experience
Japanese cuisine offers several different ways to enjoy a meal. You could opt for a casual sit-down or takeaway at a sushi bar, enjoy elaborate contemporary dishes prepared by celebrity chefs, or settle in for something far more complex. Omakase, short for ‘omakase shisu’, is a style of dining that takes the form of a multi-course meal made from the freshest ingredients available that day. The name literally translates to ‘I leave it upto you’ and puts the entire dining experience in the chef’s hands. It is similar to a tasting menu in some ways, except that there is a high level of interactivity between the chef and the diners - with each course, the chef imparts information about the main ingredients used, and answers questions about the food. This is also an opportunity for the chef to get direct feedback on each dish and to understand the tastes and preferences of the diners. An omakase meal can last several hours, and is akin to a performance or an art form.
Several Japanese restaurants in Dubai offer omakase style menus, and the concept has even been combined with the ubiquitous Friday brunch in some cases. If you want to have a truly authentic omakase experience, however, these are some of the best places to enjoy it.
Nobu, Atlantis the Palm
Image Credit: Nobu Dubai
Michelin-starred masterchef Nobu Matsuhisa is known for his exquisite fusion of Japanese and Latin cuisines, which has helped to launch his eponymous restaurant onto several ‘best of’ lists around the world. The Dubai outpost, located in the stunning Atlantis resort, is among the top restaurants in the city. And fittingly, it offers a special omakase menu, available in six-course or seven-course options and presented by Head Chef Damien Duviau. If you’re lucky, you might even get to experience an exclusive menu from Chef Nobu himself, who drops by the Dubai restaurant a few times a year.
Hoseki, Bulgari Resort
Image Credit: Hoseki Dubai
Meaning ‘gemstone’ in Japanese, Hoseki is a culinary jewel that only offers an omakase menu. Located on the 4th floor of the stunning Bulgari resort, the restaurant features just nine seats set around a central show kitchen and enjoys incredible views of the Dubai skyline. Chef Masahiro Sugiyama takes some time to get to know his diner and to understand their tastes, so he can factor that into his preparations to craft a meal that is truly unforgettable. A private dining room for 12 is also available, to accommodate a slightly larger group without losing the intimate ambience of the restaurant.
Netsu, Mandarin Oriental
Image Credit: Netsu
Netsu, located close to the famous Jumeirah beachfront, provides a fantastic coastal dining experience. The modern steakhouse is known for its theatricality, with an open kitchen that give diners a full view of the action.The omakase menu, a seven-course meal with a strong focus on seasonal seafood and Wagyu beef, is specially crafted by head chef Ross Shonhan and the restaurant even has its own Sake sommelier on hand to recommend the best pairings with your food.
Image Credit: Clap DIFC
One of the newest additions to Dubai’s fine dining lineup, Clap has been open for just over a month and holds the distinction of being the largest rooftop and bar in DIFC. It features a very contemporary aesthetic, with a vibrant play of light and colour inspired by the bustling streets of Tokyo. The omakase menu is billed as the ‘true Clap dining experience’ and crafts a more intimate experience than you might normally expect at a restaurant with such a dynamic atmosphere.
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