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What to Eat in Dubai

Emirati food, the principal cuisine in Dubai, is all about one thing: spice. Put down the salt and pepper; in Dubai, all the flavor you'll ever need is already sprinkled into the dish from a wider variety of seasonings, few of which you may not be familiar (Is za'atar in your spice cabinet? What about cardamom?). There are so many interesting and exotic dishes to sample in Dubai, the best way to navigate its rich culinary landscape is by starting with the basics.  

Al machboos is the Emirati's staple dish – think what red beans and rice are to New Orleans – and something you can't skip on your tasting tour of the Emirates. A favorite in the home and at restaurants, al machboos appears to be a simple dish – your choice of meat topped with rice – but packs a big punch flavor-wise, because it's seasoned with cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, dried lemon and yellow raisins. Thanks to Dubai's location along the coast, fish is plentiful and widely used as the choice of meat in hardy dishes. M'hammar will satisfy any seafood lover's craving for the taste of the Arabian Peninsula, prepared with locally caught fish and served with sweet yellow rice, caramelized onions and of course, a host of spices. Believe it or not, camel is widely available throughout Dubai, but is typically served on special occasions and often considered a food eaten among VIPs. 

Other traditional fare to look out for are chebab, Emirati pancakes infused with saffron and cardamom and topped with yogurt and date syrup; khameer bread, which is stuffed with sweet or savory fillings, and kunafa, the Middle Eastern take on a cheese Danish. Arabic coffee is an experience in itself, especially for those who often take theirs with only cream and sugar. This coffee features regional lightly roasted beans mixed with saffron and cardamom. The ingredients are ground, boiled then strained and served in small cups. Don't forget to satisfy your sweet tooth here either. Emiratis love their desserts. The most traditional is luqaimat, which is batter deep fried in ghee and served with local date syrup (think doughnut holes with a Middle Eastern twist). Another classic dish is balaleet, which features sweet vermicelli noodles with raisins, saffron, cardamom and other spices. And if you're visiting during Ramadan, try Assidat al-Boubar, a pumpkin pudding made with rosewater that's widely served after the fast is broken. 

A huge part of what has shaped Dubai's food landscape is the melting pot of cultures (more than 200 nationalities) that share the city. Aside from Emirati establishments, you'll find restaurants serving everything from classic French fare to dim sum. If you want flash, definitely go to one of the Burj Al Arab's restaurants. There's also La Petite Maison, a Michelin star-rated French import that sits near the Four Seasons. For beloved (and cheaper) casual eateries, head over to Al Samadi Sweets for Lebanese and Arabic dessert, or kick back and relax at Seven Sands, the oceanfront restaurant at Jumeirah Beach Residence. For more information about where to eat, check out the Dubai tourism board's website.

Find the Best Restaurants in Dubai

  • #1
    Azure Beach
    #1 of 11,889 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 2806 reviewsTripAdvisor (2806)
    $ - $$ | Bar, Mediterranean, Sushi, European, Asian
    Rixos Premium Dubai JBR, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #2
    BLVD on One
    #2 of 11,889 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 1129 reviewsTripAdvisor (1129)
    $ - $$ | European, Central European
    No 1, Palm Jumeirah FIVE Palm Jumeirah, Dubai 6438 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #5
    Turn Up - FIVE Jumeirah Village
    #5 of 11,889 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 306 reviewsTripAdvisor (306)
    $ - $$ | International
    District 14, Street 1, Jumeirah Village Circle, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #6
    Doors Freestyle Grill
    #6 of 11,889 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 1248 reviewsTripAdvisor (1248)
    $$ | Steakhouse, Seafood, International, Grill, Mediterranean, Barbecue
    8/5 - 314 Al Seef St, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #9
    Barefoot Lounge
    #9 of 11,889 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 522 reviewsTripAdvisor (522)
    $ - $$ | Bar, Seafood, Grill, Street Food
    Jumeirah 1 Opp Grand Jumeirah Mosque, Dubai 5182 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #10
    Al Sarab Rooftop Lounge
    #10 of 11,889 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 1213 reviewsTripAdvisor (1213)
    $ - $$ | Lebanese, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
    Al Qudra Rd Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #11
    Purani Dilli Dubai
    #11 of 11,889 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 1224 reviewsTripAdvisor (1224)
    $ - $$ | Indian
    Mankhool, Street 4C, Bur Dubai, Dubai Ground Floor/ lobby level, Dubai 116162 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #12
    Danial Restaurant
    #12 of 11,889 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 404 reviewsTripAdvisor (404)
    $ - $$ | Middle Eastern, Persian, Arabic
    Twin Towers 3rd Flr Baniyas Rd, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #13
    Miramin
    #13 of 11,889 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 125 reviewsTripAdvisor (125)
    $ - $$ | Lebanese, Cafe, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Grill
    Ribbon Mall, Unit 8, R4,Bldg 1 Miramin Motor City, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #14
    Soul Street
    #14 of 11,889 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 236 reviewsTripAdvisor (236)
    $ - $$ | International
    District 14, Street 1, Jumeirah Village Circle, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #15
    Al Dawaar Revolving Restaurant
    #15 of 11,889 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 3030 reviewsTripAdvisor (3030)
    $$ | Mediterranean, Sushi, Middle Eastern, International
    Hyatt Regency Dubai Hotel Al Khaleej Road, Deira Corniche, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #16
    Urban Bar & Kitchen - ubk
    #16 of 11,889 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 862 reviewsTripAdvisor (862)
    $ - $$ | Bar, Pub, International, Gastropub
    Cluster A, Jumeriah Lakes Towers Movenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai 454439 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #17
    Candylicious
    #17 of 11,889 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 413 reviewsTripAdvisor (413)
    $ - $$ |
    Financial Centre Road Level GF, opposite Aquarium, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #18
    Ahlan Lounge @ B
    #18 of 11,889 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 526 reviewsTripAdvisor (526)
    $ - $$ | Bar, International
    Terminal 3, Concourse B, near Gate B26. Dubai International Airport, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #19
    Awtar Restaurant
    #19 of 11,889 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 339 reviewsTripAdvisor (339)
    $$ | Lebanese
    Sheikh Rashid Road Grand Hyatt Dubai, Dubai 7978 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #20
    Tribes Carnivore
    #20 of 11,889 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 768 reviewsTripAdvisor (768)
    $ - $$ | Steakhouse, African, Barbecue, International
    Shikh Mohamed bin rashid Blvd Dubai Mall, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #21
    Bebemos
    #21 of 11,889 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 228 reviewsTripAdvisor (228)
    $ - $$ | Spanish, Catalan
    Airport Road Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #22
    The Grill Shack
    #22 of 11,889 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 471 reviewsTripAdvisor (471)
    $ - $$ | American, Steakhouse, Barbecue, Grill
    The Dubai Mall Second Floor Food Court, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #23
    Khyber
    #23 of 11,889 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 511 reviewsTripAdvisor (511)
    $ - $$ | Indian
    Palm Jumeirah Dukes Dubai Oceana, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #24
    Beef Bistro
    #24 of 11,889 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 676 reviewsTripAdvisor (676)
    $ - $$ | Steakhouse, European, Grill
    Le Meridien Dubai Airport Road, Dubai 10001 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »

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