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Dubai: Dubai’s top-notch restaurants will soon be vying to get officially certified as “elite” as Dubai Municipality (DM) will be honouring “elite” eateries in the emirate in a new annual restaurant food safety rating programme from 2024.

The “DM Food Elite” title will be awarded to top three restaurants in three categories, a senior official told Gulf News.

“This will be a unique recognition of excellence for restaurants that do a remarkable job in various aspects,” said Sultan Ali Al Taher, director of the Food Safety Department at DM.

Dawoud Al Hajri, director general of Dubai Municipality, had announced the initiative to the food industry at the opening ceremony of the 17th edition of the Dubai International Food Safety Conference that took place last month.


The elite restaurants will be those that adhere to the highest levels of food safety and nutrition standards and implement environmental sustainability, social responsibility, innovation, and digitalisation in their operations.

Sultan Ali Al Taher

Al Taher said elite restaurants must have a well-established food safety culture as an integral part of the wider organisational culture that integrates into its vision and mission and a food systems approach inclusive of nutrition and sustainability.

“To qualify, restaurants must not only meet the highest standards in terms of food safety and nutrition but also demonstrate a commitment to environmental sustainability, social responsibility, innovation, and digitalisation in their operations. It is not just excellence in culinary aspects that we are looking at, but also in promoting ethical and responsible practices across various dimensions of their business.”

Once the winners are declared, consumers will be able to opt to patronise the elite restaurants that commit themselves to the highest standards in all these aspects.

Highlighting certain aspects of evaluation, Al Taher said these restaurants should be declaring the nutritional values and calorie content of the dishes. They should be following a sustainable system to minimise food wastage and support recycling. They should ensure accessibility for the people of determination, digitise their operations to track sources and implement food safety and come up with innovative methods to ensure world-class services.

The initiative comes in line with the sustainability efforts of the UAE and Dubai Municipality’s strategic framework for creating a sustainable food system.

“Our focus is on guaranteeing the safety and sustainability of food systems, and improving Dubai’s sustainability commitment every day,” said Al Taher.


Three categories of restaurants can vie for achieving the DM Food Elite title. These are restaurants that are  standalone, that operate within hotels or as part of fast food chains.

  • standalone,
  • operate within hotels, or
  • as part of fast food chains.

“The operations of these categories of restaurants are different. Hence, we decided to have three different categories for the judges to evaluate them. In total, there will be nine winners. We expect the restaurants to compete and raise the bar in standards for achieving this title,” Al Taher explained.

The municipality will be setting up a website for DM Food Elite through which restaurants can nominate themselves. A special committee including representatives from various government departments will be formed to evaluate the restaurants. The winners will be declared at the next edition of the Dubai International Food Safety Conference.