Say Kon’nichiwa to Akiba Dori D3. The brainchild of Samer Hamadeh (the guy behind Stereo Arcade in Dubai’s beachside JBR neighbourhood), which opened its doors in D3 in April 2018…
Located within the Dubai Design District (D3), Akiba Dori is a pretty unique addition to the city’s culinary scene. This licensed restaurant and bar is inspired by Akihabara in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo, which is known as ‘Electric Town’. As such, the interiors here are filled with dark, nightlife vibes and bright, neon lights and signs. There’s a little nook dedicated to ‘Ava’ Akiba Video Arcade’ and you almost feel as if you’re sitting in a backstreet in Tokyo… Almost. Drinks-wise, Akiba Dori proudly serves up 99AED bottles of vino (alongside more expensive options), a plethora of cocktails and the like, teas, coffees and soft drinks. Food-wise, it’s all about ‘New Wave’ Japanese and the menu is broken down into ‘Salads’, ‘Street Food’ (sliders, rock shrimp, edamame and more), ‘Specials’ (including udon, soba, teriyaki, sushi and sashimi), ‘Baked Goods’. Plus at the ‘restaurant within a restaurant’ – Tokyopolitan – you can choose from an intriguing selection of Tokyo-style Neapolitan pizzas, which are cooked fresh from the authentic wood-fired pizza oven.
To start, we sampled the Crispy Shrimp Salad (57AED), which features crispy, panko-coated shrimps, orange slices, mixed green leaves, asparagus, red radish, tempura flakes and a wasabi dressing that really packs a punch. From the street food section of the menu, we opted for the Wagyu Katsu Sando (77AED). Grade A5 Wagyu beef is coated in panko, deep fried and served between two slices of toasted bread with honey kayos sauce. It’s such a unique dish and we highly recommend you try it. From the specials section, we ordered the Chicken Katsu Curry (57AED), which is comprised of a mild curry sauce, rice, dried seaweed, Japanese pickles and crispy, breaded chicken. Comfort food at its finest. Naturally, we couldn’t resist ordering from the Tokyopolitan kitchen, and decided to try the bestselling pizza – the 5 Formagi (71AED). This creation is topped with mascarpone, semi-soft Italian tallegio cheese, 24 month aged reggiano parmesan, gorgonzola, smoked provola cheese and basil. What’s so unique about this pizza is that it is topped with acacia honey right before it is served. Wow. Don’t miss it.
To end a delightful, Tokyo-inspired culinary journey on a sweet note, we opted for the Taiyaki (17AED for 1 piece), this speciality is cooked right in front of you at the Kashi Pan and you can fill it with mozzarella and Nutella, Nutella, or custard. It’s named Taiyaki after the Japanese Red seabream fish – Tai – that it is shaped after. We opted for the mozzarella and Nutella and strongly advise you do the same. Divine.
From the bar, we chose the Wasabi Margaritas (65AED) – a margarita base with a wasabi and yuzu twist. There are also a wide variety of drinks on offer, including very reasonably priced Italian reds and whites at 99AED per bottle, sake (there’s also a 99AED bottle option on this part of the menu),
The team at Akiba Dori are welcoming, food savvy, and friendly and all and all this a spot not to miss if you are looking for something different, find yourself in D3 or have a hankering to visit Tokyo…
Insider tip: Strictly 13-years+ from 7pm onwards. As a pretty hyped hotspot right now, expect it to be busy, and expect to wait for a table during peak times.