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. Enigma

    $$$$ | The South Bank | Eclectic

    You know that saying about the mountain and Mohammad? Dubai's first pop-up only restaurant opened in January 2016, and brings the world's best...Read More

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. Elia

    $$$ | The South Bank | Greek

    This part of town is not known for romantic fine-dining restaurants, but Elia gets very close to the more sophisticated offerings in newer parts...Read More

  • 7. Qbara

    $$$$ | The South Bank | Middle Eastern

    When Qbara opened in late 2013, it filled an enormous gap in the Dubai restaurant scene. Its superfluous interior fulfilled all the fairy-tale...Read More

  • 8. Zagol

    $ | The South Bank | Ethiopian

    Although it's in the sleepy end of Karama, it's best to make a reservation as Zagol only fits about 20 people. The food is authentically Ethiopian...Read More

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