Emirati spots for authentic flavours
Often described as soul food, local cuisine promises rich flavours, borrowing ingredients from other countries – from saffron and dried limes to rosewater and dates – the flavour spectrum spans from sweet to savoury. Mutton from goat or sheep, fish and even camel are featured in main courses while breakfasts are often sweet and accompanied with flavoured breads, dips and eggs. Fragrant is the best way to describe Emirati dishes – and that includes the beverages teas and coffees brewed with camel milk – creamy and delicious.
Zaman Awal Restaurant
Step away from the city and travel back in time to the old days of Dubai. This is what dining at Zaman Awal feels like. It gives an authentic vibe in a modern setting. This signature restaurant of Al Boom Tourist Village, offers traditional Emirati cuisine prepared the way locals enjoy their dishes. Head down for a buffet lunch or a la carte dinner anytime of the week, and dine overlooking amazing views of the Creek.
Al Boom Tourist Village Umm Hurair
+971 4 324 2664
Every year, people look forward to breaking their fast during Ramadan (known as Suhoor) at Laylati Café. Nestled in the Grand Hyatt Dubai (not far from the Creek), it is often booked out for company Iftars and always bustling with atmosphere and hungry patrons. This colourful yet contemporary venue is the place to go to for well-presented Emirati eats. The fresh ingredients really make every dish pop with flavour. The grills are tender and come highly recommended, and if you have a sweet tooth, try the kunafah bil jebn for a real treat.
Sheikh Rashid Road, Oud Metha Road
+971 4 317 1234
From light snacks to traditional main courses, every dish comes with a sea breeze and an Emirati welcome. Al Jalboot embraces its fishing heritage with simple seaside interiors that contrast the vibrant blues of the Gulf and the yachts glistening in the marina.
Everything is fresh, from the made-to-order fruit juices to the catch-of-the-day. Try the cuttlefish for a tender, fragrantly spiced seafood treat, known as Nashef Nagar on the menu. Another great dish is the Tahta Fish that comes with seasoned Emirati-style rice. Settle it all with an Arabic tea or coffee brewed over the coals just like in the ol’ days. Located in The Souk – take the elevator up to Level 1.
Fishing Harbour, Jumeirah Road, Umm Suqueim
+971 4 321 5177
Al Fanar feels like a place frozen in time. The rustic interior décor complements the traditional menu with authentic looking details. It’s easy to imagine what Dubai would have felt like in the ol’ days, with local patrons feeling a sense of nostalgia every time they visit. Not only is the venue large enough for big groups, the portions served are equally generous! Even if you tried to taste a little bit of everything your tummy would run out of space, so Al Fanar deserves a return visit.
Canal Walk, Festival City Mall
+971 4 232 9966
First floor, Town Center, Jumeirah
+971 4 344 2141
Prepare for a feast fit for a king as Seven Sands is a place where you dress up for dinner. Mouthwatering presentations make it exciting to go through the menu and imagine what your food will look like. Indoors, the contemporary décor and bright lighting contrast the sun-drenched sea views and add to the overall luxury. Expect fresh ingredients sourced from local farms and a great selection of fresh-caught seafood. From the ouzi to the fouga – you will not be disappointed.
The Beach, Dubai Marina Makani No. 1145374508
If you’re on the hunt for even more Emirati flavours, add the following places to your list:
+971 4 551 6652
Local Bites Café
Bayt Al Wakeel
Bait Al Mandi