Occupying the top three levels of the Pier 7 restaurant complex, Atelier M combines a stylish restaurant, funky lounge and a rooftop terrace with many guests, especially at the weekends, moving between the three as the evening progresses.
The inspiration of chef/patron Mohammad Islam, whose career flourished under Jean-Georges Vongerichten before spells at Chateau Marmont, Versace and The Capital Club, the emphasis is on fresh, quality ingredients treated simply but well.
Strangely the decor is rather at odds with the Californian inspired food and the low-lighting makes even identifying ingredients on the plate difficult. However, staff are unfailingly diligent, the house cocktails excellent and the sommelier extremely knowledgeable. Arriving at 7.30pm, the ambience of the room felt more like 11pm but food arrived quickly and efficiently.
The cooking is West Coast-inspired with an emphasis on clear presentation, quality ingredients and spikes of Asian influence - a sudden sharp burst of flavour from a sweet cardamon seed, for example. A recent delivery of truffles delivered specials such as sweet pumpkin ravioli with a light truffle sauce. Also a standout was a truffle pizza.
Typical entrees are Hamachi tartare (Tokyo hamachi, avocado and yuzu vinaigrette) or ppepper crusted tuna (miso dressing and pickled cucumber) and typical mains are lamb chop (pearl barley risotto, pickled apple and harissa sauce) or slow roasted eggplant (parmesan and basil crust with soy caramel sauce). Desserts tend to be riffs on comfort food favourites and overall the menu is more weighted towards fish than we're used to in Dubai's fine dining scene - again part of the lightness of the cooking.
Service is knowledgeable and efficient. Views are spectacular over the Marina and a separate taxi/valet entrance to Pier 7 means you can avoid the connected Marina Mall completely. And the good news? Expect a one-day brunch to be introduced after the summer.
If you want to go: Around Dhs500 per person including three courses, wine and cocktails. Call 04-4507766.
Best for: Stylish date night, or a treat for visiting relatives.