Top 10 Dubai Hidden Gems winners

You voted, they won. Here are Dubai’s best secret foodie hotspots, as chosen by you
Dubai Food Festival celebrates the city’s sprawling selection of gastronomic attractions. As part of the occasion, we sought your help to shine a light on the city’s Hidden Gems – eateries that venture off the beaten track, offer unique dishes and an inimitable atmosphere that makes them stand out from the culinary crowd. Here are the best of the best for 2019.
1

Bait Al Mandi

Al Barsha

Bait Al Mandi

Al Barsha

The meat lover's choice

It’s safe to say no restaurant in Dubai knows local tastes and palettes quite like Bait Al Mandi. This modest restaurant has survived the city’s drastically changing culinary landscape over the last two decades, serving authentic Arabic fare without any pretence or frills. Bait Al Mandi has mastered the art of Yemeni cuisine from its charcoal chicken madhbi to its tender lamb chops. Known for more than just succulent dishes, this restaurant is has a cosy feel with a laidback ambience and friendly staff to greet you with a smile. Trust us – Dubai has spoken.
Contact Details
  G Floor, Metro Building, Behind Mall of Emirates, Al Barsha
  +971 4 330 7777
2

MTR 1924

Al Karama

MTR 1924

Al Karama

Out-of-the-box fun

MTR 1924, or Mavalli Tiffin Rooms, was the brainchild of three brothers from Karnataka in India. Originally launched as the Brahmin Coffee Club in 1924, the little eatery blossomed with time and experience into MTR 1924 – a multi-region gustatory landmark known for quintessential tiffin foods like rava idli, masala dosas and more. Each dish is jam-packed with spices and flavour that come with a side of great history and tradition – the rava idli, for example, was invented by MTR when rice was in short supply during World War 2. This restaurant is loved by locals looking for authentic South Indian food and vegetarian options.
Contact Details
  Ground Floor, Al Shamooq Building, Street 9 A, Al Karama
  +971 50 924 1924
3

Dil Se Desi

Al Mankhool

Dil Se Desi

Al Mankhool

Feast on flavours laced with love

Dil Se Desi, which means ‘Desi at heart,’ promises made-with-love South Asian cuisine right off the bat. Serving Indian and Bengali dishes, this Al Mankhool-based restaurant offers a wide range of vegetarian and meaty classics to satisfy all tastes. It’s a go-to for anyone in search of zesty flavours that keep true to traditional recipes and fresh ingredients with a nostalgic quality. Tandoor, biryani or chaat – get all your cravings sorted under one roof.
Contact Details
  Pearl Residence Hotel Apartments, 18th Street, Mankhool
  +971 4 355 3834
4

The Desi Circle

Al Karama

The Desi Circle

Al Karama

An affordable stop for Indian street food

This cosy spot is tucked away in Dubai’s vibrant neighbourhood, Karama. The Desi Circle knows value for money – there’s no ostentation in the restaurant itself, just serving out of a window with a limited but bright dine-in space in the back. Their menu comprises an array of North and South Indian food at an impressively reasonable price, with snack plates starting for as low as AED4. Their most expensive dish is an AED16 mini combo that comes with masala dosa, two idlis and two additional plates. Its dedicated followers sing praises of its flavour-packed offerings that preserve the authenticity of Indian street food.
Contact Details
  Ground Floor, New Lootah Building, Al Karama
  +971 4 526 0491
5

Asian5

Downtown Dubai

Asian5

Downtown Dubai

Take your taste buds on a tour across Asia

Thai, Singaporean, Chinese, Vietnamese or Indonesian – whatever cuisine you’re craving, Asian5 is serving. Its varied menu, speedy service and rich flavour palette are precisely what makes this eatery a true Hidden Gem. The simple restaurant is popular for its selection of Asian street foods like a hearty bowl of nasi goreng, a shared plate of crispy Peking duck, a mouthwatering spicy prawn burger with dynamite sauce and all kinds of delicious, fusion dishes that have you coming back for more. It also offers a vegan menu packed with zesty flavours.
Contact Details
  Opposite The Dubai Mall near Al Murooj Rotana Complex, Downtown Dubai
  +971 4 325 9955
6

Socialicious

Jumeirah Village

Socialicious

Jumeirah Village

Celebrate the fun of food with friends

Socialicious serves epicurean pan-Asian cuisine in a laidback and chic social setting. Thai Tom Kha soup or Japanese Mizu Taki, Balinese skewers or Chinese bao, the menu travels diverse landscapes and brings the best back to your table. This spot has cultivated a dedicated following thanks to the restaurant's creative, high-quality dishes and friendly staff. The founding principle is to celebrate friendship over delicious foods, and Socialicious does not disappoint.
Contact Details
  Condor Castle Residence, Street-14, District 10, Mu'allaqat Boulevard, Jumeirah Village 2
  +971 4 526 0514
7

Unforgettable Biryani

Jumeirah Lake Towers

Unforgettable Biryani

Jumeirah Lake Towers

Pakistani food worth remembering

The name might give the impression that there’s only one dish on offer, but Unforgettable Biryani is your hub for all kinds of authentic Pakistani food. The biryani is, as per the name, a truly memorable experience, but the restaurant also serves delicious palak paneer, spicy chicken nihari and lip-smacking chicken and veg rolls. For those dining in, the establishment itself is unassuming, focusing all its energy on perfecting the menu at hand. Spicy seasoning, varied flavours and home-style meals – Unforgettable Biryani’s food is as flavourful as it is colourful.
Contact Details
  1 Lake Plaza, Cluster T, Jumeirah Lake Towers
  +971 4 439 0535
8

Sai Dham

Oud Metha

Sai Dham

Oud Metha

Home turf for vegetarian goodies

Sai Dham’s atmosphere has an almost meditative quality. It’s a charming spot that is authentically Indian through and through – from its spread of appetising vegetarian dishes to its vibrant, Rajasthani-inspired interiors. It’s prized for its multi-dish thali platters, a range of paneer-based plates and a refreshingly creative take on an all-vegetarian menu. Head over and enjoy delicious cuisine evocative of India’s time-honoured culinary landscape. The best part is that it's not too hard on the wallet either, making it a favourite spot for a casual night out.
Contact Details
  Ground Floor, Saleh Bin Lahej Building, Oud Metha
  +971 4 5269208
9

Khana Khazana

Al Hudaiba

Khana Khazana

Al Hudaiba

Mughlai-food fit for kings

Feeding Dubai since 2012, this quintessential Indian eatery has stood the test of time, and for good reason. Khana Khazana’s menu is inspired by the gastronomic greatness of the Mughal Empire, whose culinary creativity continues to influence food across the subcontinent. It is a rich blend of old and new, pairing ancient recipes with modern techniques and ingredients for a memorable experience. The restaurant’s chaat snacks balance sweet and savoury, saucy and crunchy, for a playful flavour profile, while a decadent feast of vegetarian and meat delicacies keep the food fiesta rolling.
Contact Details
  Ibis Styles Hotel, 2nd December Street, Al Mina Road, Al Hudaiba
  +971 4 5014477
10

Cedar Tree

Motor City

Cedar Tree

Motor City

Your Lebanese food favourite

Cedar Tree knows a thing or two about good food. This popular restaurant in Motor City has won fans across the city thanks to its spread of flavourful dishes that stay true to traditional Lebanese cuisine extraordinarily well. The menu has something to delight all, with staples such as hummus and shawarmas to sumptuous grilled meat dishes that blend the best of spice and flair. Their scrolling list of finger-licking food at affordable prices is precisely what makes Cedar Tree a Hidden Gem.
Contact Details
  Shop #37, Foxhill 4, Motor City
  +971 4 447 5889
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