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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 11,554 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 1632 reviewsTripAdvisor (1632)
    $ - $$ | Bar, Mediterranean, Sushi, European, Asian
    Rixos Premium Dubai JBR, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #5
    Al Sarab Rooftop Lounge
    #5 of 11,554 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 936 reviewsTripAdvisor (936)
    $ - $$ | Lebanese, Mediterranean, Asian, Middle Eastern
    Al Qudra Rd Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #6
    Fish Hut Seafood Restaurant - Al Barsha
    #6 of 11,554 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 658 reviewsTripAdvisor (658)
    $ | Seafood, International
    Umm Suqeim Road Al Barsha 2, Dubai 120730 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #7
    Purani Dilli Dubai
    #7 of 11,554 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 340 reviewsTripAdvisor (340)
    $ - $$ | Indian
    Mankhool, Street 4C, Bur Dubai, Dubai Ground Floor/ lobby level, Dubai 116162 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #8
    Maiden Shanghai
    #8 of 11,554 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 843 reviewsTripAdvisor (843)
    $$ | Chinese
    No.1, Palm Jumeirah FIVE Palm Jumeirah, Dubai 502077 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #9
    Al Dawaar Revolving Restaurant
    #9 of 11,554 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 2312 reviewsTripAdvisor (2312)
    $$ | Mediterranean, Sushi, Middle Eastern, International
    Hyatt Regency Dubai Hotel Al Khaleej Road, Deira Corniche, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #10
    BLVD on One
    #10 of 11,554 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 427 reviewsTripAdvisor (427)
    $ - $$ | Italian, International
    No 1, Palm Jumeirah FIVE Palm Jumeirah, Dubai 6438 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #12
    Cara
    #12 of 11,554 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 335 reviewsTripAdvisor (335)
    $ - $$ | Japanese, Asian
    The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre Gate Village, Dubai 482032 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #13
    Doors Freestyle Grill
    #13 of 11,554 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 369 reviewsTripAdvisor (369)
    $$ | Steakhouse, Seafood, International, Grill
    8/5 - 314 Al Seef St, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #15
    Beef Bistro
    #15 of 11,554 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 542 reviewsTripAdvisor (542)
    $ - $$ | Steakhouse, European, Grill
    Le Meridien Dubai Airport Road, Dubai 10001 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #16
    Little Miss India
    #16 of 11,554 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 420 reviewsTripAdvisor (420)
    $$ | Indian, Asian
    Fairmont The Palm Palm Jumeirah, Dubai 72413 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #17
    Amaseena
    #17 of 11,554 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 625 reviewsTripAdvisor (625)
    $$ | Lebanese, Barbecue, Middle Eastern, Arabic
    The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai - Jbr, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #18
    Flair No.5
    #18 of 11,554 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 171 reviewsTripAdvisor (171)
    $ - $$ | Bar, International, Mediterranean, Wine Bar
    Sheikh Zayed Road The Ritz-Carlton, DIFC, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #19
    Eve Penthouse & Lounge
    #19 of 11,554 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 125 reviewsTripAdvisor (125)
    $ - $$ | Japanese, Indian, Latin, Bar, Mediterranean, Spanish, Asian, Korean, Pub
    Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights Dubai Healthcare City, Dubai 5668 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #20
    Tribes Carnivore
    #20 of 11,554 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 368 reviewsTripAdvisor (368)
    $ - $$ | Steakhouse, African, Barbecue, International
    Shikh Mohamed bin rashid Blvd Dubai Mall, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #21
    The Talk Restaurant
    #21 of 11,554 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 1055 reviewsTripAdvisor (1055)
    $ - $$ | European, Asian, International
    Movenpick Hotel, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai Marina, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #22
    Miyako
    #22 of 11,554 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 301 reviewsTripAdvisor (301)
    $$ | Japanese, Sushi, Asian
    Lobby Level, Hyatt Regency Hotel, Al Khaleej Road, Corniche Deira Al Khaleej Road, Deira Corniche, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #23
    Ba Restaurant & Lounge
    #23 of 11,554 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 423 reviewsTripAdvisor (423)
    $$ | Asian, Chinese
    Palm Jumeirah Fairmont The Palm Hotel, Dubai 72413 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #24
    Al Grissino
    #24 of 11,554 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 592 reviewsTripAdvisor (592)
    $ - $$ | Seafood, Italian, Mediterranean, Northern-Italian, Southern-Italian
    312th ST 16th Floor Emirates Financial Towers - DIFC, Dubai 116344 United Arab Emirates
    Read More »
  • #26
    Feast - Sheraton Grand Hotel
    #26 of 11,554 Places to Eat in Dubai
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 1201 reviewsTripAdvisor (1201)
    $ - $$ | Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, European, Asian, Middle Eastern, International
    3 Sheikh Zayed Road Sheraton Grand Hotel, Dubai United Arab Emirates
    Read More »

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