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February 28, 2024

Jara by Martín Berasategui Opens in The Lana Hotel, Dubai

Restaurant of the Week: Martín Berasategui brings classic Basque Country flavors to the UAE.

By Kim Ayling

Last month, The Lana opened in Dubai. The shiniest, newest jewel in The Dorchester Collection’s portfolio (and its first property in the United Arab Emirates), the hotel ushers in a new era for the heritage hotel group – and with it opens the Jara by Martín Berasategui restaurant.

Named for the Spanish chef’s granddaughter, Jara is a refreshing alternative to the glitz and glamour for which Dubai is now known, with a focus on family-style eating and traditional Basque Country recipes.

Brought to the city by one of Spain’s – if not the world’s – most decorated chefs, Jara is a new brand of Dubai restaurant, encased within what is set to become one of its finest hotels.

[See also: The Best Restaurants in Dubai]


chef Martín Berasategui
Berasategui was born in San Sebastian / ©Dorchester Collection

Berasategui was born in San Sebastian – a city in Spain’s northern Basque region which is widely known as one of Europe’s culinary capitals – but underwent much of his professional training in neighboring France.

Here, he trained with the likes of Jean-Paul Heinard, André Mandion, François Brouchican, Bernard Lacarrau, Didier Oudill, and Michel Guerard before eventually heading to Monaco to work under the incomparable Alain Ducasse at Louis XV. 

[See also: Martell Releases World’s Most Expensive Cognac]

In 1993, now back in his native Basque Country, Berasategui and his wife Oneka Arregui opened Martín Berasategui Restaurant. This would go on to be the start of a great culinary legacy. Berasategui’s first restaurant went on to achieve the maximum three Michelin stars; his current restaurant count in Spain alone stands at 13, with 12 Michelin stars spread across the lot.

Yet, while Berasategui has proudly made his mark on the modern Spanish culinary scene, his influence is yet to infiltrate Dubai – Jara marks his first Middle East outpost.

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[See also: The Chefs with the Most Michelin-starred Restaurants]


the lana dubai meat dish
A clay-pit oven is used to pull rich, smoky flavors out of the most prime cuts of meat / ©Dorchester Collection

Berasategui might have made the leap over to the UAE, but his culinary style remains firmly in the Basque region. The menu is crafted around bold sharing plates – things kick off with hot and cold starters such as oysters with Berasategui’s signature gazpacho, but the real highlight is the grilled main dishes.

A clay-pit oven is used to pull rich, smoky flavors out of the most prime cuts of meat and fresh seafood. Highlights include Spanish lamb shoulder, wagyu T-bone and whole blue lobster – order a mix to share.

[See also: The Most Significant Restaurant Openings of 2023]

jara Martín Berasategui lobster with caviar
Lobster with caviar / ©Dorchester Collection

Desserts promise a suitably indulgent end to the meal. The traditional Basque cheesecake, known for its burnt edges and irresistibly soft custardy middle, is a must but don’t overlook the warm chocolate cake with caramel ice cream nor the caramelized brioche with milk ice cream.

“I’m inspired every day by the ingredients I’m able to use and discovering new ways of cooking with them,” Berasategui says. “There are so many incredible elements in Dubai; the sheer quantity and variety of cuisine here is mind-blowing.”

[See also: The Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings of 2024]


jara by Martín Berasategui at the lana dubai
The restaurant is a vision of deep browns, greens and gold / ©Dorchester Collection

This is the Dorchester Collection so you can expect a touch of class at every turn but the opulence dial has been turned way up (we are in Dubai, after all). Moody and atmospheric, the restaurant is a vision of deep browns, greens and gold with warm lighting casting an inviting glow across the space.

The adjacent Jara Bar is equally as decadent, with intimate tables arranged around a central 360-degree bar, lined high with premium bottles.

And, thanks to its excellent location perched way up on the 18th floor of the hotel, Jara’s city views are second to none – get the very best of them from out on the al fresco terrace.

[See also: How the Prestigious Michelin Star System Works]

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