Dubai Restaurants

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.

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  • 1. Khan Murjan

    $$ | The South Bank | Middle Eastern

    It's hard to experience genuine Arabic food and ambience in the depths of the Dubai summer, but this sprawling air-conditioned and covered courtyard...Read More

  • 2. Abshar

    $$ | Jumeirah Beach | Middle Eastern

    The Jumeirah Beach Road is lined with ethnic restaurants—Turkish, Saudi, Lebanese— all inside villas. Most are very good, and Abshar is a favorite...Read More

  • 3. Al Hallab

    $$ | The North Bank | Lebanese

    For some grassroots Middle Eastern cuisine without jumping too far out of the box, Al Hallab is perfect. Their pedigree is supreme—more than...Read More

  • 4. Al Ustad Special Kebab

    $ | The South Bank | Middle Eastern

    For those willing to go out of their comfort zone for a great kebab, Ustad (also known as Ostadi) is definitely worth seeking out. It's a cozy...Read More

  • 5. Aroos Damascus

    $ | The North Bank | Middle Eastern

    If you want an inexpensive feed oozing with local flavor, this heaving establishment is the place to go. Authentic Emirati food might be elusive...Read More

  • 6. Bayt al Wakeel

    $ | The South Bank | Lebanese

    The food isn't amazing, the service is nothing to write home about, but this is one of the most photo-worthy restaurants in the city of Dubai...Read More

  • 7. Biryani Pot

    $ | Jumeirah Beach | Indian

    For a feast costing only around 35 dirhams, this is a great choice in the otherwise pricey Jumeirah district. As the name would suggest, the...Read More

  • 8. Boardwalk

    $$$ | The North Bank | International

    For a long alfresco lunch in Dubai's cooler months, this location is hard to beat. Tables sit on a large wooden deck over the Dubai creek, with...Read More

  • 9. Café Ceramique

    $$ | Jumeirah Beach | Café

    This has been a favorite of expat families for many years. Not only is there a large terrace with Arabian gulf glimpses, but the kids (or young...Read More

  • 10. Calicut Paragon

    $ | The South Bank | Indian

    Close to the Karama shopping district, many like to come here for thali , a south Indian meal involving bottomless refills of vegetarian curries...Read More

  • 11. Lime Tree Cafe

    $ | Jumeirah Beach | Café

    The Lime Tree Cafe was probably the first modern Western café to open in Dubai (2001), and although its popularity paved the way for many other...Read More

  • 12. Milkcow

    $ | Dubai Marina | Café

    We couldn't talk about the beach without mentioning ice cream, and Milkcow has the best available along the JBR stretch. This South Korean chain...Read More

  • 13. Senara

    $$$ | Jumeirah Beach | Modern British

    Senara is not flashy, trendy, or glamorous, but it's a lovely and quiet place to sit and watch the sun go down over million-dollar yachts at...Read More

  • 14. The Hot Dog Stand

    $ | Dubai Marina | Hot Dog

    This hole-in-the-wall mainly offers take-out and home delivery, but it's possible to snag a seat, whether inside or at benches around a grassy...Read More

  • 15. Yum!

    $ | The North Bank | Asian

    It’s a little hard to decide on a favorite in the Radisson Blu Dubai Creek—Shabestan (Iranian), Fish Market (fresh seafood), and Al Mansour...Read More

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