However it has taken time for Dubai to acquire its current soaraway reputation as a top class entrepot of gourmet dining at its most exciting - one which takes in many of the great cuisines of the world.

That incomparable leisure offer clearly needs a dining offer to match, and the problem for anybody seeking “the best” is simply knowing where to start.

Online reviews are an obvious opener, along with magazines, word of mouth and, sometimes, plain common sense - for example it’s hardly surprising to find that Armani Hotel has one of Dubai’s most highly rated Japanese restaurants, or that Dubai Marine Beach Resort and Spa plays host to another star of the Far East scene, Sho Cho.

The French restaurants alone need long and careful appraisal, as at their best they can be virtually unbeatable, but the important thing to appreciate about this vibrant dining out milieu is that while “regional” restaurant sectors are simply superb, whether we’re talking Arab cuisine, Persian, or the dishes of the Levant, this is a place where people are still continually amazed by the quality and versatility of the offer.

It is unfair to single out particular restaurants in any short overview, because in each category - Indian, Chinese and so on - there are many which deserve to be sought out and sampled.

However while great restaurants aren’t always linked to hotels, some of the most famous hotel names make fine dining a central part of the offer - as for example with Beachcombers south-east Asian restaurant at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel.

Closer inspection of the scene reveals a rich tapestry of dining possibilities covering everything from diners in great romantic locations to open air and beach-side restaurants where the location can be an important element of the whole experience.

Dubai restaurant reviews are typically written by people who expect to be thrilled, not merely satisfied, by a special meal in a supposedly special restaurant, and even when a place may have won several awards that doesn’t mean it will necessarily escape all criticism.

Nor is all the best dining action necessarily “up town” in the most expensive locations, as the concept of “getting away from it all” is well established in a place which makes the most of its location.

Take a hotel resort such as Bab Al Shams, for example It’s a desert hideaway just outside Dubai and while it has “only” 113 rooms (making it practically “boutique” in Dubai terms) it has many of the attractive extras you might expect from a full scale resort - no less than eight restaurants and bars, for example, along with three swimming pools and a stellar spa.

Its rooms survey the empty vastness of the eternal desert in one direction, and wonderfully landscaped gardens in another, while the leisure offer features everything from a classic Arab soukh to live music and sumptuous dining under the stars.

Customer reviews are arguably the best way of getting an overall impression of how any particular restaurant shapes up to the dizzyingly high standards of the best hotels and the best resorts.

In a state where quality is the most important single defining characteristic of every top operator, it has to be worth the trouble to seek out the best.