→ Open Sat-wed 11.30am-11.30pm, Thu-sat 11.30am-midnight. Unlicensed. Behind Al Kawakeb Building, near Dusit Thani, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 343 0222).
GREAT JAPANESE FOOD is well represented in Dubai, but it’s the ne-dining set that tend to dominate hearts, minds and stomachs in this city.
If the occasion doesn’t necessarily call for a trip to DIFC, then set course for longstanding restaurant Bento-ya.
Set over two (tiny) oors, this low-key restaurant round the back of Sheikh Zayed Road’s older builds has stood both the test of time and Dubai’s ever-changing dining scene – and it’s all down to the consistently good food and fair prices.
Here, a meal for two can still set you back less than Dhs200, pretty much regardless of what you order.
Amply sized chicken gyoza come seven to a portion and bursting with avour, while the wide selection of maki feature eight rolls a serving, with top picks including softshell crab and spicy salmon.
During a busy lunch service, you’ll nd diners slurping down quality (very reasonably priced) sashimi and wildly shareable bowls of ramen, alongside generous bentos of sweet, sticky teriyaki or crunchy katsu.
If you’ve become accustomed to Japanese-fusion, or are an ardent vegetarian, you may nd much of the menu a touch too authentic, otherwise it only adds to the restaurant’s oldschool appeal.
Bento-ya has been one of Dubai’s best worst-kept secrets for years now – here’s to many more.
WHAT IS IT... Oft-overlooked, no-frills gem serving great Japanese eats just off Sheikh Zayed Road
WHY GO... The authentic dishes