Son of market vendors now runs top seafood resto in UAE

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Dubai-based entrepreneur Rolly Brucales arrived in the UAE in 2004 and head already this mindset that he will not be an employee forever. 

The 46-year-old Filipino is the managing director of the Off The Hook (OTH) Seafood Restaurant. He opened the first branch of the seafood restaurant in 2016 in the capital which eventually became a popular dining destination not only among Filipinos but for locals and tourists as well.  Currently, it has eight branches set to open the ninth in April this year. 

“Nung pumunta ako dito, nasa mindset ko nang hindi ako magiging empleyado forever,” he told Rappler. 

Born fifth among nine siblings, Brucales’ parents were both merchants who own a meat stall in Albay. “I was raised sa palengke. Karnehan… may puwesto parents ko. Bukas po yun hanggang ngayon,” he added. 

An accounting graduate, the businessman has also worked in a medical company in Abu Dhabi where he learned the ropes of the trade and started selling medical supplies at hospitals across the city. 

“I got bored staying in the office the whole day, so I tried to learn about doing sales and soon I was going out selling supplies,” he said. 


Brucales recalled opening the first branch in 2016 through the help of six other Filipino partners, including his wife. Two years after, the second branch has been opened in Deira; and the third and fourth branches were opened in Al Ain and in Abu Dhabi’s tourist club district in the same year. In 2019, the fifth branch was unveiled in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Mall. 

Despite the negative impact of the pandemic on businesses across the world, three branches were still opened in March and December: two in Abu Dhabi and one in Dubai Mall. 

According to Brucales, the ninth branch will be opened in the first week of April this year. 

This story has been featured on the 9th issue of The Global Filipino Magazine. To get a copy, you may contact Mr Orli Gayeta at +971503196856. If you have an inspiring story or know someone with one, please send an email at