WHETHER you want to sample dishes from the hippest chefs, drop in on the coolest restaurants, discover global cuisine or just enjoy the tastiest cheap eats, Dubai has it all.
This is a city where you can eat well just about anywhere, from food trucks to fine dining and beachfront to streetside.
Here’s what’s on the menu.
Salt was one of the first food trucks in Dubai, a silver Airstream next to Kite Beach serving the best wagyu burgers in town. It’s grown up a bit since its launch but still has a laidback beach vibe. Lebanese fast food chain Zaatar W Zeit is also something of a local legend – try the Mighty Kafta or Famous Chicken flatbread wraps to see why it’s such a hit. And if your stay coincides with the Dubai Food Festival (February 25 to March 13, 2021), head to the pop-up Beach Canteen and look out for dining deals across the city.
Insta-perfect Fish Beach Taverna serves Greek and Turkish delights: feast on meze and grilled fish with your toes in the sand. For sashimi and other Asian-inspired nibbles, don’t miss Sea Fu at the Four Seasons Resort’s private beach – bliss. Koko Bay, just opened on Palm West Beach, brings Bali-inspired beach chic right onto the sand. Stay late into the evening as the lights of Dubai Marina twinkle on the water.
Cheap as chips
Everyone in town, from taxi drivers to hungry locals and expats, knows Ravi’s, a cheap-and-cheerful hole-in-the-wall where you can fill up on delicious Pakistani curries and kebabs. For dosas as long as your arm at unbelievably reasonable prices, head to Saarangaa Bhojan Shala: their huge lunchtime thali cost less than a fiver. For a cheap quick bite, grab a shwarma sandwich at Al Mallah, a streetside Lebanese cafe in Satwa that’s been operating for 40 years.
A journey of flavours
For authentic Japanese izakaya food, Fujiya is the best. Don’t miss the outdoor Japanese barbecue – also their fried chicken karaage, so good you’ll probably order two. Time Out Dubai voted casual Café Isan the Best Thai Restaurant 2020 and its highlights include som tam papaya salad, massaman curry or The Hustler stir-fry with Thai basil, garlic and chili. Filipino food may not be as well known as some other Asian cuisines but in Dubai you have plenty of places to try it. At Dampa Seafood Grill, order the Dump-A-Seafood set – a bucket of prawns, clams, fish, mussels and corn is dumped onto the table – and you dive right in.
Live the high life with caviar, oysters and lobster at At.mosphere on the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa, the highest restaurant in the world. Or for views of the Burj Khalifa, book a terrace table at the recently opened Cé La Vi on the 54th floor of the Address Sky View Hotel for holiday snaps like no other. Located in the top of the pyramid that’s home to Raffles Dubai, Japanese restaurant Tomo’s terrace has views of the entire Dubai skyline. Time it right and you’ll see the sun setting behind it all.
Don’t miss the lovely Arabian Tea House in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, where you can sit in the tree-shaded courtyard of an old pearl trader’s home. The breakfast trays are loaded up with Middle Eastern flavours like falafel, halloumi and rose jam. In the souk area around Dubai Creek you’ll find tiny tea shops serving cups of steaming karak, the local spiced milk tea. At AED1 a cup, it’s one of Dubai’s best bargains. Also by the Creek, stop at waterside Mazmi Café and treat yourself to a scoop of gelato with local flavours such as date and saffron.
There’s no more dramatic setting than Sal, a southern Mediterranean-style restaurant housed in a spectacular mirrored cube on the pool terrace of the Burj Al Arab. Sitting by the seaside infinity pool with the sail-shaped building towering above you is definitely worth a splurge. Book a window-side table at “underwater” restaurant Ossiano at Atlantis, The Palm, and you’ll be joined by sharks, rays and hundreds of tropical fish as they glide by in the adjacent Lost Chambers aquarium. Or head to Flamingo Room by Tashas, next to the turtle rescue lagoon at Jumeirah Al Naseem, where interiors are inspired by African glamour with rose gold details, zebra-stripe chairs and fish-scale wall tiles that combine to make one of the prettiest restaurants in the city.
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