Dubai Fountain

Dubai Food and Drink

Popular Restaurants

We offer, as a starting point for new first time visitors to Dubai, a selection of around a dozen of the most popular Dubai restaurants just to get you started.

Make no mistake, there are literally thousands of more than acceptable popular restaurants in Dubai - as a family we've tried and tested many of them. You certainly won't starve. If in doubt, or a little reticent to venture too far into unknown territory, why not head for one of the main shopping malls where you'll be delighted by the number and variety of restaurants available. I can honestly say I've never had a really bad meal in a Dubai restaurant and the vast majority have been good or better.

If you need further eating suggestions buy a copy of Time Out Dubai magazine, which we recommend as your handy bible on all things Dubai. They list loads of restaurants and comment on their offerings and quality. Online you can find similar but more extensive information on thousands of Dubai restaurants at

With this category of restaurant it's advisable to ring first to book a table if you intend visiting at a predictably busy time. We suggest you wear 'casual to smart casual' clothing and, especially in an evening, proper shoes for all except perhaps the Mall-based restaurants!

The Dubai Food scene is forever expanding with new restaurants springing up as new areas of the city develop. Don't be afraid to try any restaurant, you'll probably be delighted as most restaurants are pretty good. 

Coeliacs - for tips, ideas, guidance and support for gluten-free living in Dubai see or search 'Gluten Free UAE' on Facebook.

Aangan - Excellent award winning Indian fare at the Grand Excelcior Hotel, Bur Dubai. Tel: 359 9992

Bastakiah Nights - Traditional Arabian food, set meal or a la carte, in a wonderful restored Bastakiah house setting. Take the set meal and they'll tell you what you're having and how to eat it. Numerous rooms for private and romantic dinners and in cooler months seating is available on the roof. Friends loved it! Find it near the Rulers Court, off Al-Faheidi Street in Bastakia. Tel: 353 7772

Bateaux Dubai - There's a whole host of dinner cruise dhows lining the Creek, but Bateaux stands out from the crowd for a special, romantic dinner. Built in Paris, with glass walls and ceiling, it's like being in a quality hotel. Four-course dinner cruises start at 8.30pm and offer a quality setting whilst sailing along the Creek in all its night-time illuminated splendour. Oh, and the largely European food's not bad either. Ring to book on 399 4994 and you'll find it on Al Seef Road (opposite the British Embassy) on the Bur Dubai side of the Creek.

Blue Elephant - probably the most refined and some would say romantic Thai dining in Dubai. Alcohol available and sometimes live music. At the Al-Bustan Rotana in Al Garhoud. Tel: 705 4660

On your Dubai holiday...drink plenty of water...stay hydrated!

(The) Butcher Shop & Grill - No frills, no fuss, not just no-nonsense steaks, but also chicken, fish or even South African frikkadels - aka meatballs! Find it on The Walk at JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residence), near Dubai Marina (Go to The Walk, not the Marina!). Tel: 428 1375. Other branches in Mirdif, Satwa and at Mall of the Emirates.

Whilst eating out at any popular restaurant is a highlight of life in Dubai for both the expat and the tourist, don't forget there's a whole host of other Things to Do in Dubai. Check out our recommendations in Places to Visit and Things to Do in Dubai.

Carluccio's - an instant hit with families from all corners of the city, this chain is famed for simple food and a buzzing atmosphere. Various outlets, such as: Dubai Marina Mall (Tel : 399 7844), South Walk, Level 1, Mirdiff City Centre (Tel : 284 3728) and Dubai Mall (Tel : 434 1320)

The Cheesecake Factory - For a great and interesting selection of dishes, with large proportions you'll be full before you even get to the cheesecakes. Try the one in Mall of the Emirates at the bottom of and overlooking Ski Dubai.

China Sea - Possibly the best budget restaurant in Dubai, China Sea has a quite deserved reputation as being the most authentic Chinese restaurant in the city. On Al Maktoum Street in Deira. Tel: 295 9816

Have a look at our pages on the Best Ways to See Dubai and Getting Around Dubai, they should prove most helpful!

More Café- a family and expat favourite. Quality, hearty food at a good price. Increasing number of branches in Dubai, but try the one on the outer edge of Dubai Mall near the lake, Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa.

Ossiano - high quality sub-aquatic seafood dining 'within' the aquarium that surrounds the restaurant. At Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeira. Tel: 426 2626

TGI Friday - Easy eating and fun for all the family. The one at Mall of the Emirates is on the top floor by the massive games area so at busy times expect it to be noisy. Other branches include those in Festival City, Al Garhoud and Deira City Centre Mall. 

(The) Thai Kitchen - With a great setting and delicious Thai fare whilst remaining reasonably affordable this is a place that has had a good reputation for years. Go to the Park Hyatt Dubai, Deira. Tel: 317 2222

Trader Vic's - Award-winning great Polynesian restaurant food, bar food and killer cocktails at the Souk Madinat, Jumeirah. Tel: 366 5646. Various other locations around the city.

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