REVIEW: OKKU shines with its grand yet funky ambiance and exquisite cuisine

A rather upscale Japanese restaurant in Dubai

Arriving at the Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah, the glamorous entrance teems with Dubai’s glitterati, setting the stage for a lavish dining experience at OKKU.

The upscale and modern Japanese restaurant, a beloved original since 2009, effortlessly serves grandeur on an unprecedented scale.

Dressed in our finest attire as befits OKKU’s sophisticated ambiance, we enter through a dedicated corridor lined with a sake barrel light show, perfect for those Instagrammable moments.

Okku Dubai Interior, Tables Well Set Up With Candles, Glasses And Cutleries, A Stacked Bar In The Middle And Aquarium At The End Of The Room

The gracious host shows us to a dining space that yields sultry décor with exposed brickwork and an iconic ‘aquarium,’ featuring digital jellyfish and other sea life that floats on by, a clever touch that creates the fantastic illusion of a real aquarium.

Despite its size, having 195 covers, the restaurant maintains an intimate feel with ample spacing, ensuring privacy.

On our Sunday evening visit, the mix of glamorous ladies, romantic couples, and even families with kids added to the lively yet sophisticated atmosphere. A chilled, soulful retro playlist sets the perfect backdrop.

We are greeted warmly and given the liberty to choose our table, opting for one that affords privacy yet allows us to view the entire restaurant but from behind a semi-transparent curtain that can be closed, as we choose.

Embracing a family-style concept, dishes are served in the centre of the table for sharing. The chef recommends starting with lighter dishes, moving to bold savoury plates, and finishing with sushi, though diner preferences are always considered.

We followed the chef ’s advice and our selections included Wagyu Gyoza, Crispy Duck Salad, the signature Wagyu Beef & Foie Gras, Seabass Ceviche with a spicy and citrusy kick, Seaweed Salad, Edamame, and Scallops.

Mocktails served and while we await our order, we survey our surroundings which yield an expansive space spanning two tiers with a sleek black theme, neon lights, and anchored by a central bar.

There is also an open sushi bar that is no less than 32 metres long, adding a dynamic element to the dining experience, while the plush interior with neon lights contributes to an overall funky yet elegant atmosphere.

The design, of which the materials have been locally sourced, speak of a fusion of New York style loft and modern Japanese design.

The lighter dishes and savoury plates demolished, we are served the OKKU Platter, a chef ’s selection of nigiri, sashimi, and maki that transcends mere sustenance to become a work of art.

As it arrives at the table to the sounds of oohs and ahhs, the platter is nothing short of a visual feast.


A Variety Of Sushi, Nigiri And Sashimi Well Plated On A Bamboo Crate And Mat. The Variety Includes Tuna, Salmon, Yellowfin, Wagyu Nigiri, Avocado Roll. Octopus Roll, Vegetable Roll, California Roll Well Garnished With Microgreens, Lemon And Vegetables Only At Okku Dubai

Set atop a majestic mountain of ice, it evokes he serene grandeur of Mount Fuji, adorned with delicate flowers that add a splash of natural colour and elegance.

The meticulous arrangement and the icy pedestal make it a standout centrepiece, drawing appreciative glances from every corner of the room.

The taste? Equally impressive. Each piece of nigiri, sashimi, and maki is crafted with precision, showcasing the freshness of the ingredients and the chef ’s impeccable skill. The harmonious balance of flavours and textures makes every bite a delight, leaving a lasting impression on the palate.

Is there room for dessert? Of course there is.

The Raspberry and Lychee Crémeux, consisting of rose macaroon and lychee sorbet, was nothing less than a symphony of sweetness with the flavours dancing harmoniously on the palate, offering a perfect balance of sweetness and zest.

More than a dessert; it’s a decadent finale to a memorable dining experience, leaving us yearning for just one more bite.


For bookings, call 04 666 1566

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Image credit Okku Dubai

Derek Issacs

A Brit in the Middle East for 25 years and counting, Derek loves scouring the streets for those under-the-radar cultural gems. And when he’s not putting Yalla – Abu Dhabi magazine to bed, you’ll find him working out at the gym.