In Dubai, the lavish lifestyle is a must-see attraction. The city offers a plethora of options, ranging from elegant dining spots to opulent hotels, where you can experience the epitome of luxury. But what enhances the prestige of these upscale eateries? Factors such as word of mouth, ratings and reviews, and the fame of the chef play significant roles. However, the inclusion of Michelin awards truly solidifies their status. Restaurants can earn one, two, or three Michelin stars, the pinnacle of industry recognition, or receive the Bib Gourmand accolade, or be listed in the Michelin Guide. While Michelin stars hold the highest value, the other honors are also considered top-tier.

What criteria are used to select these distinguished restaurants? With numerous restaurants in Dubai, choosing the best is a daunting task. At the recently held third edition of the Michelin Guide Ceremony 2024 in Dubai, several restaurants were awarded top honors, including one and two Michelin stars, Bib Gourmand, and inclusion in the Michelin Guide list. During the event, City Times had the opportunity to interview a Michelin inspector, who chose to remain anonymous. The inspector, under the alias John, shared details of the selection process during a Zoom conference with journalists and food bloggers. This process involves multiple inspectors visiting various fine-dining establishments, possibly incognito, throughout the year, evaluating factors such as taste, ingredients, quality, service, and value for money.

The inspector explained that the inspectors sometimes dine alone and other times in pairs, with no fixed formula. They often have multiple meals at the same restaurant within a year, trying different dishes and menus to gather contrasting experiences. The number of meals required to decide on a Michelin Star varies, with instances where the number of meals reached double figures to ensure the right decision is made and consistency and quality are maintained throughout the year. The inspector emphasized the importance of maintaining standards over the entire year, not just for a month or two.

Returning to the event, the third edition of The Michelin Guide Dubai, held at One&Only One Za'abeel on July 4, introduced a new two-star restaurant, Row on 45, making it the fourth restaurant in Dubai to receive two Michelin Stars. Additionally, four new restaurants, including Orfali Bros, were awarded one Michelin Star, and six new restaurants received the Bib Gourmand award. The Michelin Guide now features a total of 106 restaurants, offering 35 different types of cuisines.