Credit

Courtesy of Basith Rahman Rahman / EyeEm/Getty Images/EyeEm

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 12,187 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 2481 reviewsTripAdvisor (2481)
    $ - $$ | Bar, Mediterranean, Sushi, European, Asian
    Rixos Premium Dubai JBR, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #2
    BLVD on One
    #2 of 12,187 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 1100 reviewsTripAdvisor (1100)
    $ - $$ | European, Central European
    No 1, Palm Jumeirah FIVE Palm Jumeirah, Dubai 6438 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #3
    Turn Up - FIVE Jumeirah Village
    #3 of 12,187 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 282 reviewsTripAdvisor (282)
    $ - $$ | International
    District 14, Street 1, Jumeirah Village Circle, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #5
    Doors Freestyle Grill
    #5 of 12,187 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 1051 reviewsTripAdvisor (1051)
    $$ | Steakhouse, Seafood, International, Grill, Mediterranean, Barbecue, Middle Eastern
    8/5 - 314 Al Seef St, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #6
    Barefoot Lounge
    #6 of 12,187 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 521 reviewsTripAdvisor (521)
    $ - $$ | Bar, Seafood, Grill, Street Food
    Jumeirah 1 Opp Grand Jumeirah Mosque, Dubai 5182 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #9
    Miramin
    #9 of 12,187 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 116 reviewsTripAdvisor (116)
    $ - $$ | Lebanese, Cafe, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Grill
    Ribbon Mall, Unit 8, R4,Bldg 1 Miramin Motor City, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #10
    Danial Restaurant
    #10 of 12,187 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 381 reviewsTripAdvisor (381)
    $ - $$ | Persian, Middle Eastern, Arabic
    Twin Towers 3rd Flr Baniyas Rd, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #11
    Purani Dilli Dubai
    #11 of 12,187 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 963 reviewsTripAdvisor (963)
    $ - $$ | Indian
    Mankhool, Street 4C, Bur Dubai, Dubai Ground Floor/ lobby level, Dubai 116162 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #12
    Awtar Restaurant
    #12 of 12,187 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 326 reviewsTripAdvisor (326)
    $$ | Lebanese
    Sheikh Rashid Road Grand Hyatt Dubai, Dubai 7978 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #13
    Al Sarab Rooftop Lounge
    #13 of 12,187 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 1162 reviewsTripAdvisor (1162)
    $ - $$ | Lebanese, Bar, Mediterranean, Asian, Middle Eastern
    Al Qudra Rd Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #14
    Al Dawaar Revolving Restaurant
    #14 of 12,187 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 2874 reviewsTripAdvisor (2874)
    $$ | Mediterranean, Sushi, Middle Eastern, International
    Hyatt Regency Dubai Hotel Al Khaleej Road, Deira Corniche, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #16
    Candylicious
    #16 of 12,187 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 399 reviewsTripAdvisor (399)
    $ - $$ |
    Financial Centre Road Level GF, opposite Aquarium, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #17
    Urban Bar & Kitchen - ubk
    #17 of 12,187 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 765 reviewsTripAdvisor (765)
    $ - $$ | Bar, Pub, International, Gastropub
    Cluster A, Jumeriah Lakes Towers Movenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai 454439 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #18
    The Grill Shack
    #18 of 12,187 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 391 reviewsTripAdvisor (391)
    $ - $$ | American, Steakhouse, Grill, Barbecue
    The Dubai Mall Second Floor Food Court, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #19
    Maiden Shanghai
    #19 of 12,187 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 1151 reviewsTripAdvisor (1151)
    $$ | Chinese
    No.1, Palm Jumeirah FIVE Palm Jumeirah, Dubai 502077 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #20
    Khyber
    #20 of 12,187 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 444 reviewsTripAdvisor (444)
    $ - $$ | Indian
    Palm Jumeirah Dukes Dubai Oceana, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #21
    Ahlan Lounge @ B
    #21 of 12,187 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 452 reviewsTripAdvisor (452)
    $ - $$ | Bar, International, Pub, Wine Bar
    Terminal 3, Concourse B, near Gate B26. Dubai International Airport, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #22
    Bebemos
    #22 of 12,187 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 207 reviewsTripAdvisor (207)
    $ - $$ | Spanish, Catalan
    Airport Road Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #23
    Beef Bistro
    #23 of 12,187 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 658 reviewsTripAdvisor (658)
    $ - $$ | Steakhouse, European, Grill
    Le Meridien Dubai Airport Road, Dubai 10001 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #24
    Tribes Carnivore
    #24 of 12,187 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 697 reviewsTripAdvisor (697)
    $ - $$ | Steakhouse, African, Barbecue, International
    Shikh Mohamed bin rashid Blvd Dubai Mall, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »

Explore More of Dubai

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

The 50 Most Beautiful Places in the World

Let these gorgeous destinations inspire you to travel more.

Holly JohnsonJanuary 16, 2020

50 Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

From relaxing weekend getaways to epic adventures, these honeymoon trips will help couples create memories to last a lifetime.

Kyle McCarthyJanuary 8, 2020

The Cheapest Days to Fly: A Guide to the Best (and Worst) Times to Travel

Use these tips and tricks to get the best deal on your next flight.

Lyn MettlerDecember 23, 2019

30 Top Florida Weekend Getaways

Spend sun-filled days exploring Florida's beautiful beaches, cities, parks and small towns.

Gwen PratesiDecember 9, 2019

The Best Travel Backpacks for 2020

U.S. News rated the best travel backpacks using recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerNovember 25, 2019

30 Top Wellness Retreats

Rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit at one of these relaxation-focused properties.

Kyle McCarthyNovember 21, 2019

30 Fun All-Inclusive Family Vacations

Book one of these all-inclusive trips that cover food, accommodations and activities galore.

Holly JohnsonNovember 14, 2019

5 Ways Cruise Lines Are Becoming More Environmentally Friendly

Industry considers impact as it looks to the future.

Gwen PratesiNovember 12, 2019

11 Unique and Quirky Cruise Destinations

Venture off the beaten path for an authentic cruising experience.

Christine SmithNovember 12, 2019

The 2020 Best Cruise Lines for Families

Gather up the gang and head out to sea with one of these six kid-friendly cruise lines.

Nicola WoodNovember 12, 2019