Review: 3 Fils is Dubai’s Unfussy Culinary Wonder

By Alex Marxsen
20 August 2020
Contemporary Asian restaurant, 3 Fils, DUBAI, Best Asian Restaurant winner, Fishing Harbour Jumeirah, Japanese food, Sushi
Dizzyingly good Japanese sings in an unpretentious setting

Jumeirah’s Fishing Village isn’t many things after dark. Boats sit idle in the lazy waterfront against the glittering backdrop of Dubai’s downtown skyline – home to some of the city’s most rave-worthy restaurants. But it's this sleepy harbour that sets the scene for Time Out’s four-time Best Asian Restaurant winner, 3 Fils.

This is a hole in the wall with a welcoming and wholly unpretentious vibe. Seating no more than 30, the Emirati-owned hotspot is, in a city so glamorous, unapologetically casual. There’s a frequent turnover of tables as a mix of families, regulars and locals blitz through their favourites. At the centre of the restaurant, the bustling open kitchen is made more laid-back by a menu of unfussy, made-to-share dishes. It’s a breath of fresh air.

The largely Japanese-inspired fare sees a mix of standard dishes alongside a flurry of signature showstoppers. Thanks to the modest prices, you’ll be at ease with exploring a range of starters. We opted for nigiri (fresh, expertly prepared), charcoal (a squid-ink surprise) and the special of the day: snapper ceviche (simple, refreshing, citrusy). Our standout? The ever-lauded Dragon Sushi – a savoury/sweet/spicy play featuring crisp shrimp tempura. Continuing a surf-and-turf love affair, main plates like the Fremantle octopus and butter-soft cod were topped only by the juicy, falling-off-the-bone barbecued lamb ribs. A-plus.

For dessert, you might choose to stroll next door to 3 Fils’ sister concept, BRIX, a moody 10-seater dessert bar. Us? We chose to stay at our increasingly coveted table (there was a line forming outside – careful, they don’t take reservations) and enjoyed a truly magnificent Thai mango sweet ending.

One thing will be glaringly clear after your meal – the team at 3 Fils are uncompromising on quality. The chef tells us that they won’t deviate from procuring the best produce from countries like Australia and Japan. They’ll scratch any item off the menu when their handpicked produce runs out – sooner upsetting some regulars than swap-out their prime cuts for inferior substitutes. You won’t find them serving their classics on Deliveroo anytime soon either: there’s an unwavering belief that the best (and therefore only) 3 Fils experience is enjoyed by the harbour. We tend to agree.