After some time mimicking dining scenes in other cities, importing chef names and restaurant chains, Dubai has developed quite a complex and singular dining culture with more and more regional influences. Expats, trade, and tourism has brought all corners of the world to Dubai's doorstep, and there is something for any budget in almost every conceivable cuisine.
There is no Michelin guide in Dubai, but dine on the upper-end and you'll find establishments of the highest quality. Restaurants here get worldwide recognition, and the greatest chefs on the planet often pop up for unexpected residencies.
Middle-of-the-road dining will take you beach-side for gourmet burgers, into gastropubs and speakeasies, out to the desert for pizza on a rooftop, or sampling some very fine regional cuisine within particularly decadent spaces.
Some may argue that the most exciting element of Dubai’s cuisine culture is the budget sector, which provides a tantalizing and authentic array of cultural choices, sometimes just for loose change. Examples can be found at the rising number of food trucks around the city, but the originals will tend to be holes-in-the wall around the older parts of Dubai.
Even though Dubai is a Muslim country, pork products and alcohol are still available. Licences for both are restricted to restaurants and bars in large hotels and clubs. The prices at licensed premises tend to hover a little higher than elsewhere, and the venues sometimes suffer from blandness that can come with hotel restaurants, so it might be worth considering if you really need that drink; some of the greatest cuisine in the region is found in simple roadside ethnic eateries.