With a diverse food scene featuring world cuisines, and everything from superb street eats to fine dining, there are endless opportunities for foodies to eat their way around Dubai.
Eat like a local in Dubai
Because of Dubai’s international nature, Emirati cuisine can sometimes fly under the radar. However, it’s never been easier to find delicious local food in the city.
An excellent starting point is the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding in Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, where you can enjoy an Emirati meal while hearing about the traditions and cultural nuances of the nation. Nearby at Al Seef is Al Fanar, a popular Emirati restaurant focused on seafood, with stunning views over Dubai Creek.
For an immersive gastronomic experience of local specialities, Culinary Boutique in Jumeirah offers a wholesome blend of European mains and local favourites. Here you can sample dishes reflecting the diverse cultures that call Dubai home, and even try your hand at making some of their signature meals with the restaurant's in-demand cooking classes.
As for food from the wider Middle East, Dubai offers the opportunity to sample food from across the region. Lebanese food is particularly well-served: try Babel in La Mer in Jumeirah, or Abd El Wahab in Souk Al Bahar, with a view of The Dubai Fountain.
Discover an array of global cuisines
As a centuries-old trading hub, Dubai has long been a melting pot for different cultures and nationalities, each of which brought their own culinary style to the city. Now Dubai is more diverse than ever, providing even more ways to experience food from across the world.
For example, Korean food is well served at every level; for an authentic and reasonably-priced Korean BBQ experience, try Hyu in Jumeirah Lakes Towers. Or for a more luxurious setting, visit Sonamu at Asiana Hotel in Deira.
African food is represented by dozens of excellent restaurants – such as Zagol near BurJuman for Ethiopian food, or Bab Al Mansour in Downtown Dubai, not far from The Dubai Mall, for Moroccan.
In short, if you’re looking for food from a particular place, Dubai is an excellent place to find it. Start digging, and you’ll discover delicious food from anywhere in the world.
Dine on the best from Michelin-starred chefs
Dubai has attracted a growing number of the world’s best chefs in recent years, putting the city at the forefront of fine dining. Torno Subito, from Italian superstar Massimo Bottura, frequently appears at the top of the list of Dubai’s best restaurants, with good reason. Located in the W Dubai at The Palm, Torno Subito offers bold Italian cuisine and a 1960s-inspired interior to match, along with terrific views across the sea.
British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay can boast of two restaurants in Dubai: Bread Street Kitchen in Atlantis, The Palm, and Hell’s Kitchen in Caesars Palace at Bluewaters Dubai. The latter offers the same combination of high-stakes theatre and high-end cooking as Hell’s Kitchen in Las Vegas, aiming to both thrill and delight guests night after night.
Other big names with restaurants in Dubai include French legend Alain Ducasse (miX at the Emerald Palace Kempinski), Heinz Beck (Social at Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah) and Masaharu Morimoto (Morimoto at Renaissance Downtown) – among many, many others.
Explore more with culinary tours and food festivals
Along with offering the highest of high-end dining, Dubai also has a vast array of establishments offering excellent food at great prices, from the ubiquitous shawarma, available just about everywhere, to the famed delights of Ravi’s butter chicken, in the heart of Satwa.
One of the most fun ways to find the best street food in Dubai is with a culinary tour of the city, such as those from Frying Pan Adventures. Started by two foodie sisters, the tours see guests not only eat some of the best – and best-value – food in Dubai, but also have a glimpse behind the scenes and hear from the cooks who prepare their meals. With various themes and itineraries, a culinary tour of Dubai is a must-do for any foodie visiting the city.
Another great food experience is a desert safari, such as those from Platinum Heritage. These offer an exciting trip through the dunes of Dubai’s desert, followed by a delicious traditional buffet in the cool of the evening, accompanied by music, entertainment and activities for everyone.
Also on the essential list for foodies, provided you’re in town at the right time, is the Dubai Food Festival. Held every year in March, the festival brings together everything from fine dining to street eats, while restaurants across the city also participate with great offers and special events.
Hungry for more? Discover award-winning restaurants in the city, learn more about authentic Arabian dishes, and embark on a food-themed walking tour of Jumeirah.