There was a time I’d pass by the colorfully quirky facade of Sugar Factory and mistaken it to be a candy store. The rainbow of candy options are enough to make Willie Wonka go green with envy, and for my little girl to get a major sugar high with just one look.

And then I discovered their soulfully delicious Laksa. Very few menus in Dubai offer this coconut milk based noodle soup, and who would have thought an American chain (in the guise of a candy store) could do such a good job?

That was in their Dubai Festival City branch, and they have since opened up in La Mer Dubai. I was invited for a review there, and took it as a great opportunity to catch up with a friend.

If you are looking out for an All-American style diner, Clinton Street Baking Company is the real deal. Conceptualized and created by a husband-wife duo in New York, the restaurant’s iconic blueberry pancakes have won the accolade of ‘best in the city’ by New York Magazine, twice in a row! However, they are not just about baking… I raved about their life-changing 15-hour smoked beef ribs here before, and I was recently invited back, a gap of nearly a year since my last visit.

The interiors haven’t changed much, but the lighting has been dimmed down for a more cozier ambiance for the evenings. The only downside with this is that my photography skills were greatly challenged with the lack of light!

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Manhattan Fish Market is Dubai’s newest seafood chain to be imported from the United States. The restaurant concept may be new to our city, but it already has a huge fan following from across the globe, with more than 67 chains spread across Asia and the Middle East, including Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Oman, India, Bangladesh and Qatar.

Inspired by the fish markets of Fulton Street that served up the freshest catch of the day right under Manhattan’s iconic Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Fish Market is a restaurant concept with over 180 years of history in the making!

Dubai’s very first branch is located in Festival City Mall, and I had the pleasure of trying out quite a few of their iconic, ‘fin-tastic’ dishes last week.

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“Are we really going to drive that far just to have hotdogs?!” This was my husband whining for the umpteenth time as we took yet another turn that got us lost into the urban jungle of Dubai Marina.

The Hotdog Stand is relatively easy to find with the help of our trusty GPS (the coordinates are 25.069795, 55.133140), but when we found no parking in the vicinity, we ended up on the highway towards Abu Dhabi!

When we finally got to the restaurant, flustered and half an hour late, the staff tell us they have parking! You just need to honk at the front or call them on 800 HOTDOG, and they will have you sorted. Lesson learnt; always ask about the parking facilities when trying out a new restaurant!

When husband-wife duo Neil Kleinberg and DeDe Lahman opened their very first Clinton Street Baking Company in New York City, little did they know of the phenomenal success that was awaiting their simple yet scrumptious creation. Neil’s blueberry pancakes have been voted the best in the city twice over by New York Magazine, and it was only a matter of time before they hit the Dubai foodie scene.

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Clinton Street Baking Company is tucked away in the residential nook of Burj Views, Dubai and has created some serious noise in the foodie scene. Zomato reviews rave about their all-day breakfast menus, and when I saw images of their 15-hour smoked beef ribs, I was at their table in no time!