Greek restaurants are very much in vogue in Dubai, with a bounty of new openings. Beyond the elsewhere mentioned Gaia (Foodie District: DIFC) and Ena (Foodie District: The Pointe), which both offer refined Greek fare, there are some traditional taverna types which are truly excellent.Locals will point you towards Elia (+971 4 359 8888), a cosy restaurant with a lovely glass terrace surrounded by greenery in the somewhat incongruous setting of the Majestic Hotel in Bur Dubai. It's headed by chef Yiannis Baxevanis, while charming restaurant manager (and fellow Crete local) Margianna Mavridou heads up the front-of-house team. The menu is divided into Greek classics – the cheese saganaki and chicken souvlaki are standouts – and more contemporary interpretations such as slow-cooked veal cheeks with eggplant purée. Don’t leave without trying the freshly baked carob bread.
From the same team, Mythos Kouzina & Grill (+971 4 399 8166) feels like a little slice of Santorini hidden away in JLT’s Armada Bay Hotel. Kitted out like a traditional seaside taverna with whitewashed walls, rustic furniture and light blue banquettes, the simple menu is a mix of traditional dishes such as keftedakia (meatballs) and grilled calamari, together with home-style favourites like moussaka and gigandes (butter beans).
It's also whitewashed walls all the way at Opa (+971 4 357 0557), housed within Fairmont Dubai, where the traditions extend to plate-smashing and Zorba dancing and the homely dishes are executed to perfection.