Wasl 51 is an up-and-coming complex in the heart of Jumeirah 1 that is home to a collection of luxurious yet laid-back eateries, including newly opened Portuguese restaurant Lana Lusa. Opened just six months ago by the team behind La Cantine Du Faubourg and Twiggy by La Cantine, the Portuguese restaurant has been serving up authentic dishes to neighbourhood foodies and travellers (as in, the other side of SZR) alike. We heard great things so, naturally, we had to see for ourselves. Upon entering Lana Lusa, you would be forgiven for thinking you had just walked into DIFC; the stunning interiors are oh-so-chic without losing its intimate, homey feel. Currant-coloured walls are adorned with artwork while airy linen curtains and lush greenery complete the space.
Once we grabbed our seat, the friendly and knowledgeable – and actually Portuguese – manager Ruben drove our culinary experience, recommending an abundance of authentic dishes. For starters we decided on the marinated octopus; salted codfish with seabass and avocado; sautéed clams in olive oil and garlic; codfish croquette; tempura green beans; and rump cap sautéed in mustard and pickles. The starters are on the smaller side which means you can sample multiple dishes without being overwhelmed and can share with the table (as much as you won’t want to). Our stand-outs were the salted codfish with seabass and avocado which was bright and bursting with refreshing citrus, as well as the marinated octopus in a rich tomato sauce (made even more delicious when piled atop freshly baked bread) and the unbelievably moreish tempura green beans. We complimented our dishes with the signature Lusa Spritz mocktail – if you have never had cucumber water before then it is a must-try – and a Maçā Salgada: a blackcurrant hibiscus iced tea with lemongrass.
For mains we ordered the gratinated codfish with potatoes and the signature braised monkfish with rice, peppers and tomatoes. While the codfish was pleasant, the braised monkfish was the winner here; a hearty, feel-good stew that will definitely be our go-to dish come winter.
Of course, no visit to Lana Lusa is complete without the Dubai-famous pastéis de natas; Portuguese tarts with a flaky golden crust, decadent custard filling and brûléed top. Throughout the evening, hungry pastry-lovers frequented the counter and picked up pastries to go, worrying us that we may miss out. Needless to say, we subsequently ordered six in a to-go box.
Whether you choose to visit for breakfast on the terrace, a cosy date night or leisurely lunch – or even a pastéis de nata and a cuppa – Lana Lusa is a low-key all-rounder that will have you leaving happy (with a slightly tighter waistband) every time. The homey ambiance and spectacular family style cuisine makes Lana Lusa one to watch – we see wonderful things in the already award-winning restaurant’s future.
Lana Lusa, Wasl 51, Dubai. BOOK NOW