Eating at Dubai’s Top Michelin Restaurant: Tasca by Jose Avillez (from a Local Foodie Resident)
Dubai is a heaven for food lovers like myself. There are so many amazing food venues and nice restaurants that it is seriously hard to keep up at times. That said, I am a self proclaimed foodie and there is nothing that I love more than dressing up and spoiling myself with some world food.
Which brings us to this review of Tasca by Jose Avillez. I’ve heard so many great things about about that restaurant that I quickly made it a priority to go eat there.
Without further ado, let’s dive in, shall we?
What’s the fuss about Tasca?
Tasca is a new restaurant opened in Dubai by the world renowned chef José Alvillez. He is globally acclaimed to the point that the Tasca at the Mandarin Oriental has already been awarded one Michelin star. Their plate is proudly displayed at the entrance, welcoming you the second you step out of the elevators.
Where is “Tasca by José Avillez” Restaurant located?
Oh my goodness!
There’s no way they could have picked a better location to host the restaurant in. It is located in the gorgeous Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Jumeirah Beach Dubai. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, it’s not just in any spot but on the 6th floor with the most expansive views overlooking the clear blue waters of the Arabian Gulf.
Are Reservations needed?
Yes, you should definitely make reservations at least 1 week in advance. I kept trying to show up last minute and it was not happening. They always seemed booked. Just save yourself any potential headache and book before going. You can also see the full menu on the same page, to further help build the anticipation.
Of course, if you’re visiting and short on time, you can always call to check for last minute openings. I also have a feeling that the chairs at the bar could also be a good last minute option for those who don’t mind.
Remember when I just mentioned that Tasca was located on the 6th floor?
Yes, of course you do!
Now I just was not expecting it to be directly facing such beautiful turquoise waters. The expansive views along with the crystal blue hues will definitely sweep you off your feet. The infinity pool is quite a show stopper. I recommend asking for a nice table in the center in front of the pool. That’s where my table was and I really believe it was the best one in the house.
That said it also depends on your taste. They have an open kitchen concept. So you can choose to sit at the bar in a high chair. I say at the bar but I should really say at “the kitchen” to be more accurate.
When I took a tour, I was also quite surprised to see they had another terrace at the other side of the restaurant. To be clear, on one side, you have the oceanfront view whereas the other side is facing the beautiful Italian Renaissance style “Mercato shopping Mall”. If you choose to sit there, you will also have an open view of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Dubai.
I also recommend the 6pm dining window because it allows you to soak in the views during the day but also enjoy the magical sunset hues.
How’s the Ambiance at Tasca Dubai Restaurant?
Honestly regardless of where you sit, you can rest assure that you will have a good time. I also expected it to be a little bit more uptight. Although the venue is still considered to be fine dining, the atmosphere was very laid back. I don’t like when things are too loud, so I think it was the perfect unpretentious setting.
Ok so what about the food I hear you ask?
At the beginning, you’re greeted with table starters such as mini breads and olives. I always get slightly annoyed when I’m served stale bread at fancy restaurants. So I am very happy to report this was not the case here. The breads were fresh out of the oven, exactly how it should be at any self respecting establishment.
On the other hand, whenever the bread is that good, I always struggle and have to pace myself.
Either way, it’s a pleasant lose-lose 🙂
Algarve Prawn Ceviche
Not your typical ceviche. This prawn ceviche is served on a lime and you’re supposed to squeeze the entire thing in your mouth to devour this masterpiece. A very unique experience and I was not ready for that explosive taste at all.
Tempura Cod Cake
These cod cakes were the ultimate underdogs. They could easily go unnoticed but funnily enough, they are what I often find myself dreaming about. The entire meal was outstanding but I cannot wait to eat these again at my next visit.
If you’ve read some of my other restaurant reviews, you will know that I’m a major sea food aficionado. Those jumbo prawns were some of the freshest and were served in this so-called “fragrant chili oil”. Yes it was spicy so if you don’t like hot food you might struggle with it a bit. Otherwise, I would say definitely give this one a go. You won’t be disappointed.
I also noticed that there was an outstanding sauce concoction that accompanied the meal and it was EVERYTHING!
No shame but I originally came for the Octopus.
All my friends know that I am totally OBSESSED with octopus. Yes I am a seafood lover but the octopus is always the holy grail, the piece de resistance if you will. It was extremely tender and I was a happy camper with a full belly at the end.
I think our star chef José Avillez must have had a lot of fun creating this dish.
I like to think of it as an ode to Dubai and our stereotypical over-the-top grandiose way of life. Initially, I was not convinced about this one. Of course, the wagyu tenderloin steak was sounding very enticing. I’m happy that I gave it a chance.
This one is a classic and part of the traditional section of their menu. They take the classic and get creative with smoked avocado cream and spicy mayo all served with a tomato salad.
Ok, I’m not going to lie but at first I was not too excited about this one because I don’t really like mayo. I tend to find it overpowering most dishes. That said, I still gave it a try and this dish ended up being the best piri-piri chicken I’ve had so far.
Everything worked perfectly well together. The chicken was cooked to perfection. I swear each bite melted in my mouth.
Desserts for the sweet tooth-havers
I got to taste the Tasca cheesecake which was simply amazing. I am always intrigued to see how each chef adapts this classic. The cheesecake was very rich and had a nice fruity hint which I found to be a welcomed twist. The strawberry and lime flavors worked well with everything and were delightful.
Then of course, I had to have the classic Portuguese dessert. The Pasteis de Nata were oh so scrumptious and creamy. They served it with some ice cream which I found really complemented the creaminess of the pasteis de nata.
I didn’t get to try the wine list this time. Next time I go, I will make sure to explore that side. This time, I really was in a mood for a sangria. It was perfectly fruity and strong. They served it in that cute crystal glass which made me feel like I was in a Game of Throne wedding at King’s landing.
They hold a Portuguese style brunch every Saturday from 12;30pm- to 4pm.
I went to a regular a la carte sitting right after the brunch at 6pm. So I can’t tell you more things about the brunch yet. That said, I’m pretty sure it would be a good option and will allow you to taste some of their popular dishes. The brunch includes a five-course menu with live music. Which sounds nice for a change compared to the typical Dubai brunches with louder DJs.
Service is always a break it or make point for me.
In this day and age, It always baffles me when establishments come short there. Because after all, a focal point of luxury dining is the service.
People want an experience.
And I’m happy to report that the crew at Tasca nailed it. There was so much attention to details. From the little Tasca imprinted butter all the way to the waiter’s undivided attention.
Not only that but the staff was so friendly and really involved into providing great recommendations and guiding you through the whole eating experience.
Customer service can be so hit and miss in the city sometimes. As a result, the amazing service wasn’t lost on me and wholeheartedly appreciated.
This all depends on what you pick on the menu of course. Although what is seen as expensive or not is relative to each person, I didn’t think anything was crazy. I’d say it was comparable to other similar fine dining .
Final Thoughts on Tasca by Jose
Dining at Tasca is 100% worth it and yes I recommend it. I’ve been raving about it to all my friends. You should definitely check it out, especially if you are a seafood lover.
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