Le Cirque Dubai: The iconic NYC eatery opens its doors in the UAE

Calling all foodies: Le Cirque Dubai is open and needs to be added to your Huntr hitlist, stat. And if you haven’t tried the original in the Big Apple (or indeed any other of its 10 locations), know this: if you love the likes of La Serre and La Petite Maison, you are going to love love love Le Cirque…

It all started with a chap called Sirio Maccioni who worked on a transatlantic cruise liner and later in the Sixties as maitre d’hotel at the iconic Colony Club in NYC. It was here that Maccioni cut his teeth in the notoriously competitive Big Apple restaurant business. In 1974 the ambitious Maccioni opened what is now a New York landmark – Le Cirque (‘The Circus’ in French). What started out as a humble restaurant in the Mayfair Hotel in the mid-Seventies is now a whopping 16,000 square-foot jewel in the hip Bloomberg building “where food art and fashion converge”. Maccioni also helped accelerate the careers of many famed chefs over the years including Daniel Boulud, David Bouley, Terrance Brennan, Alain Sailhac, Rick Moonen, Jacques Torres, Sottha Khun, Sylvain Portay, Christophe Bellanca, Michael Lomonaco, Alain Allegretti, Pierre Schaedelin, Bill Telepan, Alex Stratta and Geoffrey Zakarian. And Le Cirque is now managed by his two sons Marco and Mauro: Making Le Cirque very much a family affair…

This new Ritz Carlton location in Dubai’s International Financial District marks Le Cirque’s 11th eatery and The Huntr visited for dinner on a bustling Saturday night…

The restaurant itself is every bit as chic as one might hope – with artsy elements and subtle nods to the circus theme peppering the room, including paintings of abstract flowers, clowns and satin fabrics. A beautiful chandelier sparkles in the reflection of a distressed mirror and sumptuous velvet seats beg to be sat on and flank the dining tables, which are covered with pristine tablecloths cloths. The hustle and bustle of the kitchen can also be glimpsed at from the beautiful windows – a nice touch that makes you feel part of the action.

And what about the food? It’s spectacular. Our only gripe was the menu is a little limited (there are only 5-6 options for each course) however, everything is done perfectly: It’s French cuisine with an Italian twist – fresh, finest quality ingredients and gorgeously presented. The Huntr sampled the burrata (80AED) and recommends you do the same: It melts in the mouth and is served with a perfectly tart accompaniment of heirloom tomatoes and pesto. We also tried the ‘Salade de Saison’ (45AED) – a light and fresh summer salad with avocado, grapefruit, croutons and a mustard dressing. For the main event, we opted for the roasted lamb rack (150AED), which was perfectly cooked, tender and served with a simple sauce and mashed potato. Divine. We also had the slow-cooked salmon that comes with a stunning grilled artichoke, tiny carrots and sauce vierge.

The perfect meal needs a sweet ending and we finished ours at Le Cirque with a classic dessert called Bomboloni (45AED), which features fried dough balls filled with mascarpone and coffee and topped with sugar and cardamon. Totally yummy and perfect with a coffee. We also sampled the cheesecake (45AED) which was pretty good too and had a lovely tangy orange marmalade and candied orange pieces.

Service-wise we can’t really fault Le Cirque either. From the reception to the waiting staff – every one made us feel very welcome, especially a chap called Renato. We loved how passionate the staff were about the food and how knowledgeable they were too. And we sampled some delightful cocktails and mocktails – including a gorgeously refreshing lavender based cocktail and citrusy cucumber mocktail.

All and all we wholeheartedly recommend a visit to Le Cirque and this upscale DIFC eatery will no doubt be as popular as La Serre and La Petite Maison in no time. Beautiful surroundings, fantastic food and great music: What more could you want? It’s quickly shot to the top of our favourite Dubai restaurants list and we are already planning our return…

Insider tip: Lunch runs 12noon until 3pm. Dinner 7–11pm and the bar from 12noon until 1am. Order the burrata! Dress to impress. Book in advance to avoid disappointment. 

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