Gaia (Dubai)




Dive into Gaia, Dubai's culinary jewel, where tantalizing tastes meet an ambiance of pure elegance. Explore the restaurant's allure and legacy.


When you think of ancient Greece, visions of mighty gods and ethereal goddesses might dance in your head — and the formidable Gaia is the life of the celestial party. In Greek mythology, Gaia was the goddess of Earth and the mother to all life.

But in Dubai, it’s a famous Greek-Mediterranean restaurant. It's the talk of the town, serving up divine delights that would make even Zeus nod in approval.

Have you heard of Dubai but can’t quite place it? It’s on the Persian Gulf coast of the United Arab Emirates, in the Southeast of the Arabian Peninsula. (It borders Oman and Saudi Arabia.)

Surrounded by the likes of Oman and Saudi Arabia, this place doesn’t just shimmer with its skyline — it tantalizes taste buds with places like GAIA. Ready to dive deep into the world of Greek flavors? Fasten those chic belts, 'cause you're in for an odyssey!

What’s Behind GAIA?

Well, darling, if Dubai were a show, Chef Izu Ani would undoubtedly be its star. With beginnings in the bustling streets of London, where he honed his skills under the crème de la crème of chefs, this maestro embarked on a culinary journey that led him to Dubai — the city of gold.

And trust, when we say gold, we aren’t just talking about the city's famed skyscrapers or DIFC's hustle and bustle. We're referring to the golden touch of Chef Izu Ani, who has woven a gastronomic tapestry across Dubai.

Chef Izu Ani is the creator of GAIA, who is on record as saying he was inspired to start a Greek restaurant after a conversation with a partner in the Bulldozer Group. Ani has previously worked in Santorini (which is in Greece, if that wasn’t obvious) and fell in love with the culture.  

The who’s who of Dubai, including the adventurous food aficionado Sheikh Hamdan, often finds themselves enchanted by Chef Izu Ani’s establishments. And, sweetie, it's not just a one-time affair.

Spotted not once but twice in the span of a week post a restaurant’s launch? Talk about making an impression! With such royal patronage, including visits from HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid, it’s no wonder Chef Izu's name reverberates through the gilded halls of Dubai's best restaurants.

Yet, beneath the glitter and fame lies the heart of GAIA. A reflection of his passion for Greek cuisine and perhaps a nod to his Grecian escapades in Santorini. The first name they thought of for the restaurant? “OPA.”

Sound familiar? It’s what Greeks traditionally say when they break plates. (Hint: Don’t do that here. You will be escorted out.) But they ultimately decided “GAIA” was more timeless.

From “OPA” to “GAIA,” the journey isn’t just about names or branding. It's a celebration of a culture, of flavors, and of a chef's dream turned into reality. A dream that’s got even royals queuing up!

Next time you're in the mood for a Grecian feast, know you're in for an experience that's got the royal seal of approval.

The Vibes? Immaculate

Honey, if Dubai were a swanky party — which, honestly? It kind of is — GAIA would be that VIP lounge everyone's clamoring to get into. We're talking A-list rendezvous territory here.

With the likes of Brad Pitt and David Beckham calling this city a second home, you bet that establishments like GAIA are sprinkled with a touch of stardust. For those looking to be treated like the true royalty they are (even if it's just for the night), this is your beckoning oasis. This is a place of luxury. And GAIA caters to those who enjoy being pampered.

The outdoor terrace features beautiful vibes. Think majestic views that make you want to sip your wine a tad slower just to soak it all in. But don’t linger out there too long! Because, of course, the inside is also extremely elegant, with Greek decor.

The interiors are whispering seductive tales of ancient Greece, merging classic Hellenic aesthetics with that modern twist we all live for. Marble columns and Grecian motifs? Yes, please!

When it comes to the staff, you’ll get everything you might expect from a restaurant that regularly caters to royals. They also hustle. You’re not going to wait long for your food to arrive.

This place has a fast-paced, energetic vibe. It's like the culinary Olympics in there with the pace they set. Efficient, quick, yet nothing short of exquisite. After indulging your palate, if you've still got room for some retail therapy, descend into their basement.

Want to learn more about the Greek goddess Gaia that we mentioned above? You can purchase books about mythology, along with other Greek-themed items. It's like taking a slice of GAIA and Greece home with you. From mythology books that dive deep into tales of gods and goddesses to alluring Greek artifacts, it's a treasure trove waiting to be explored.

Sound good? Of course, it does! And we haven’t even talked about the food yet.

The Cuisine

Stepping into Gaia is akin to embarking on a trip across the Mediterranean, land and sea. The cuisine features meats, pasta, and fresh seafood. Menu highlights include sea bream carpaccio, prawns saganaki, grilled octopus, and lamb cutlets.

While meats are sourced and prepared with precision, ensuring each bite is a mouthful of heaven, the pasta dances between tradition and innovation, making each forkful a delightful surprise. But the star of the show, undoubtedly, is the fresh seafood.

Those prawns saganaki, with their robust flavors, are nothing short of a revelation — each bite bursting with flavor. As for the grilled octopus and lamb cutlets? It feels as though they've been bestowed with the blessings of the Greek pantheon — robust, flavorful, and cooked to perfection. It’s surf and turf with a difference, and honey, it’s worth every penny.

Yet, the secret ingredient isn’t just the top-tier ingredients or the culinary prowess. It's the heart and soul of the team that crafts these delicacies. Draped in the values of Greek culture, the staff exudes warmth, gracious hospitality, and an infectious zest for life.

This blend of expert culinary skills and heartfelt service transforms a meal at GAIA into a memorable experience. Every interaction, every dish, resonates with the soul of Greece, making Gaia not just a dining spot but a destination for cultural immersion.

Cocktails Inspired by Myth and Majesty

GAIA has weaved the spirit of Ancient Greece into every glass, transporting you on a journey through time and taste. The Greeks have long understood the joy of raising a toast to celebrate life's ebb and flow. The cocktail menu at GAIA is broken into three grounding sections: the sun, the mountain, and the sea.

The Sun offerings bring forth the exuberance of that mighty celestial being. As the Greeks paid homage to the sun, GAIA's sun-inspired cocktails encapsulate warmth, zest, and brightness — think olive oil tequila mingling with the sweet notes of basil and bergamot — the Theo, our personal fave.

The Mountain range of cocktails is nothing short of divine. With tales of gods and myths echoing in every sip, they are stirred to bold perfection, paying homage to the rugged beauty of Grecian highlands.

Finally, let the call of The Sea beckon you. Embodying the vitality and serenity of the vast waters, cocktails such as the refreshing Pithos echo the refreshing whispers of the waves, infusing elements like chamomile rum and Greek mountain tea.

Flavors To Savor

Dubai, the sparkling jewel of the United Arab Emirates, has been long recognized as a melting pot of global flavors. Yet, amidst its glitzy skyline and the hustle of DIFC, GAIA has carved a niche for itself, bringing the heart of the Mediterranean to the desert's embrace.

From the azure depths of the Greek seas to the rustic charm of a taverna, every bite at GAIA is a voyage, one that sings the tales of ancient Greece. Whether it's the tantalizing sea bream carpaccio, the fiery prawns saganaki, or the time-honored lamb cutlets, Chef Izu Ani's magic touch elevates every dish.

The ambiance complements the food, turning every meal into a grand spectacle. And let's not forget the dedicated staff, whose warmth and hustle embody the very essence of Mediterranean culture.

If you are blessed enough to have the resources to enjoy Dubai (or you happen to live there and are reading this), give GAIA a try. Is it worthy of being named after the mythological goddess of the Earth?

You tell us, but we think so.


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