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Food & Drink

Taste global cuisine in Dubai at these restaurants

Fri, July 14, 2023

Dubai is home to 200 nationalities, so it's no surprise there are great global dining options and restaurants from all over the world here – here are some favourites.

Dubai is home to 200 nationalities, so it's no surprise there are great global dining options and restaurants from all over the world here – here are some favourites.

Get stuck into delicious West African dishes at Catfish DXB

Founded by fitness and nutrition professional Gbemi Giwa, Catfish’s West African cuisine manages to hit all the boxes of joyful, authentic, satisfying – and yes, even healthy. Catfish’s presentation is unpretentious and its menu is relatively small, but diners rave about its jollof rice and the Dancing Waist featuring sticky and tangy peri peri chicken, as well as its great vegan dishes. Enjoy Catfish’s Nigerian-influenced dishes in-person at Jumeirah Lakes Towers or Arjan Dubailand, or order delivery throughout most of New Dubai via Careem’s delivery service – and try these fantastic African dishes for yourself.

Head to Kishmish for amazing Afghan cuisine


Kishmish offers an authentic taste of the “heart of Asia” through its traditional Afghan dishes at its two branches, located at Dar Al Wasl in Jumeirah and Avenue Mall in Mirdif. Get stuck into glorious meaty mains such as emerald palao with spinach lamb stew, bawardi or mantu dumplings stuffed with beef, or ashak – ravioli filled with leek, and topped with beef and yoghurt. There are plenty of delicious veggie starters and sides, including the sumptuous aubergine sauteed in tomato and topped with yoghurt, fried okra, aash noodle soup and deep-fried vegetables, tempura-style. Don’t forget desserts, which include Afghan cream puffs, traditional sheer yakh Afghan ice cream and delectable halwa.

You’ll say ‘jättegod’ to Smorrebrod’s Scandinavian delicacies

Smorrebrod are traditional Scandinavian open-faced sandwiches, and Dubai’s Smorrebrod restaurant, with branches near Dubai Butterfly Garden and in Al Quoz,  serves them up alongside a wide variety of other Nordic nibbles. Enjoy toppings including smoked salmon, shrimp, roast beef, cheese, falafel, pickled or fried fish and many more, served on delicious rye bread. Smorrebrod also offers Scandinavian stews and soups, along with pasta dishes – but the highlight for many will be the Swedish fika, or coffee and cakes, with brownies, almond tarts and cinnamon buns available, and beautifully presented. And yes, they do have meatballs: choose from Swedish or Danish.

Be charmed by the family-run Thai favourite Sticky Rice

Sticky Rice Dubai offers fantastic Thai food in a cosy atmosphere

It might be a bit out of the way, but for those who know Thai food in Dubai, Sticky Rice is always right at the top of the list. This cosy, family-run restaurant, which features the adorable duck Kew as its cuddly yellow mascot, prides itself on putting passion and love into every meal. And it shows, with every meal a spicy, flavourful treat, and a celebration of Sticky Rice's founder, affectionately known as Mama. Don't miss the chicken wings or the classic tom yum soup, and leave room for Mama’s famous mango sticky rice, which is served with lashings of ice cream.

Sample authentic Uzbek food at Osh

Explore the flavours of Central Asia at Osh, located in the beachside La Mer development. The restaurant prides itself on the authenticity of its Uzbek dishes, not altering the traditional recipes – but presenting them in a modern way. Enjoy Uzbek vegetables including tomatoes and cucumbers, either pickled or fresh, along with dishes such as shurpa, a traditional Uzbek lamb soup, or khinkali dumplings. The main event is Osh’s range of Uzbek plov (think pilaf) dishes, famous for bringing out the flavours of the ingredients, including the special Uzbek rice Osh uses.

Tuck into Ethiopian injera at Zagol

Hidden away on a side street in Al Karama, just around the corner from BurJuman, Zagol has a steady stream of hungry visitors. This is thanks to its reputation as one of the best Ethiopian restaurants in Dubai; it serves up traditional stews, grilled and slow-cooked meat, and a great range of vegetarian dishes – all accompanied by injera, the flatbread which serves as table, cutlery and starchy accompaniment all in one. Ethiopian food has a habit of converting those who try it for the first time, so make sure you return to get your next delicious helping.

Be blown away by Hashmi Barbeque’s Indian-African fusion

 Originally from the Kenyan capital Nairobi, Hashmi Barbeque blends Indian flavours with east African grilling and barbecue techniques. The result is a menu packed with dishes which would be right at home in any northern Indian restaurant, such as chicken, fish or paneer tikka, lamb chops, chili-lemon prawns and more – all featuring Hashmi Barbeque’s special twist. This popular Al Barsha restaurant doesn’t take bookings, so you might wait for a table at peak times – but it’s sure to be worth it. Alternatively order for delivery or collection, and enjoy Hashmi’s fusion at home.

Try stunning Japanese food at the unassuming WAWA Dining

WAWA Dining Dubai

Tucked away on the ground floor of the Golden Tulip Hotel in Al Barsha, WAWA Dining's entrance is straight out of Tokyo and designed to resemble a traditional Japanese izakaya storefront with lanterns, handwritten signs and warm colours – an unexpected sight in Dubai to say the least. The food is just as authentic, with some of the best sushi and sashimi you’ll have the pleasure to taste in the city – and don't miss the signature mountain galbi beef short-rib, or its highly slurpable range of ramen.

Get a taste of the Philippines and beyond at Hot Palayok

With its large Filipino population, Dubai boasts a lot of restaurants from the archipelago – but Hot Palayok in Al Karama is often cited as one of the best. Head there any evening for a sumptuous buffet, offering favourites such as batchoy, stir-fried kangkong, totsong bangus, vermicelli crab, barbequed chicken, honey-lemon shrimp and more. Hot Palayok also offers dishes from across the rest of Asia, including sushi, beef kare kare and Thai green curry. Make sure to leave room for the sweets, with delicacies such as buko pandan and maja blanca regularly on offer.

Take a culinary tour at Innlay Asia

Offering authentic cuisines from across South-East Asia, including Thai, Vietnamese, Malay, Singaporean, Burmese and more, Innlay Asia can show you all around the region from the comfort of its site in Jumeirah Lakes Towers. Enjoy kyay ohe, a noodle soup from Myanmar, Singapore-style chili crab, Malaysian dry chicken curry and the universally popular crispy duck. There’s also tomyum and luksa soup, Malay char kway teow noodles, and delicate Vietnamese spring rolls. Desserts include traditional Myanmar pancakes and chilled sago pudding from Malaysia.

Experience home-grown Dubai gastronomy at BOCA

BOCA in Dubai

Sustainability is a key focus at BOCA, based in DIFC, and the restaurant goes out of its way to source locally produced ingredients wherever possible, when creating its high-end European cuisine. The results can be astonishing, with signature dishes including the Garden in the Desert: five-day-aged beetroot, native desert plants, local veggies and pickled watermelon skin – with almost all ingredients coming from the UAE. BOCA has plenty of other dishes to enjoy, but make a point to try their only-in-Dubai creations.

Sample vegetarian delights at Rasoi Ghar

Just over the road from BurJuman shopping mall, Rasoi Ghar is an institution in Dubai’s vegetarian dining scene – and a great place to explore how delicious meat-free meals can be. The restaurant specialises in thali-style meals offering a little of everything, with a different theme for every day of the week. Enjoy unlimited starters, then the staff will bring small samples of each dish available that day, and you can choose your favourites. Rasoi Ghar also has a great dessert selection, and altogether should be enough to satisfy even the most ardent of meat eaters.

Pop into Korea at Romantic Baka

On the outside it’s just a restaurant in Al Ghurair Centre. On the inside, Romantic Baka is a slice of Korea, complete with jaunty K-pop tunes, fun décor, soft drinks served in Korean tea kettles – and of course, absolutely authentic Korean food. The highlight is the Korean barbeque, where you can cook your meat directly over an open grill, getting it exactly as tender (or as well-done) as you like. Romantic Baka’s atmosphere is also a one-off experience in Dubai, with the highly enthusiastic staff ready to help you out with anything – and prepared to burst into their signature birthday song at a moment’s notice.

Savour sizzling Jamaican vibes at Ting Irie

Ting Irie, Dubai

The proprietors of Ting Irie in Downtown Dubai have gone out of their way to recreate an authentic Jamaican atmosphere in the restaurant, from the décor to the music (expect dancehall, reggae and hip-hop from live DJs) and especially to the food. Jamaican cuisine is the result of a unique blend of cultures, and Ting Irie sources key ingredients such as chilis and spices direct from the Caribbean island. So for some of the best jerk chicken and goat curry this side of Kingston, or a distinctively Jamaican take on nachos, with slow-braised oxtail, don’t miss this authentic eatery.

Revel in Rajasthani food at Chokhi Dhani

Occupying a prime Creekside position in the redeveloped Al Seef district, Chokhi Dhani has a self-appointed mission to serve the finest authentic Rajasthani food in Dubai. Originating in north-west India, Rajasthani cuisine has a focus on pulses, daal and tandoor dishes, with rich flavours and luxurious textures – and plenty for vegetarians to enjoy as well. Try the maharani thali for a one-meal tour of Rajasthan, or Chokhi Dhani’s acclaimed Rajasthani Kadhi, a yoghurt-based curry with a sumptuous texture, deeply flavoured with garlic, cumin and chili.

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