Where to eat traditional food in Dubai?
Dubai is known to many as the city of superlatives and wondrous architectural gems. But, did you know that it is also a culinary hotspot? Being the second home to nationals from over 200 countries, you can expect to dine and drink whatever your taste buds crave for while in the city. Now if it is the bonafide Emirati food or Arabic cuisines you are after, here are some of the top restaurants where you can enjoy traditional food in Dubai.
- Al Fanar Restaurant & Cafe
There is no shortage of Arabic restaurants in Dubai, but very few restaurants in the city offer Emirati cuisines that are as authentic and flavorsome as Al Fanar. But, it is not all about food; everything from its ambience to the stunning décor that recreates an old-world setting, Al Fanar is a great spot to both try local food and relive the region’s good old days. With locations in different parts of the world, it has three locations in Dubai alone at Al Seef, Al Barsha and Dubai Festival City.
Must-Taste Foods: Emirati Breakfast Tray, Laham Nashef, Samak Mashwi, Kebab Emarati, and Harees (traditional Emirati dish with wheat and meat as its key ingredients)
- Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCUU)
This is another definite visit for Emirati food lovers. But, it is more than a place to relish local cuisines as it operates for a bigger cause. As the name indicates, it is where you can taste traditional Emirati food over a pleasant talk with the amicable Emirati presenters, who enlighten you on the region’s culture, traditions, and of course religious beliefs. Dependent on your choice, you can expect to enjoy a cultural breakfast, cultural lunch, or cultural dinner. If you wish to keep your food session short, you can opt for Emirati Fuala (Afternoon Tea) or Cultural Brunch session. There is also exclusive Iftar program for those visiting here during the holy month of Ramadan.
Must-Taste Foods: Arabic coffee, dates, authentic desserts and local foods
- Arabian Tea House Restaurant & Café
Be it for its fantastic outdoor seating, legendary Emirati hospitality or its timeless location at Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, this restaurant is sure to blow you away. Set within a traditional sandstone structure topped off by traditional wind towers, it is handsdown one of the best places to visit for Emirati foods. Its exclusive menu covers Emirati breakfast trays, rich succulent wraps, traditional sweets, barbeque dishes, vegetarian specialties and even a dedicated kids’ menu.
Must-Taste Foods: Arabic Chicken Shawarma, Falafel Wrap, Machboos Deyay, Laham Machboos, Dates and Tahina, Camel Milk Ice Cream and Arabian Tea House Special Afternoon Tea
- Al Jalboot
This restaurant in Umm Suqeim’s Al Souq Mall is another fitting spot to experience the traditional flavors of Arabia. Its ambience, setting and menu all are inspired by the region’s maritime heritage. Not to mention, it is one of the ultimate places to savor local seafood delicacies as well as different types of biryanis and grilled items in an atmospheric environment.
Must-Taste Foods: Stuffed Grape Leaves, Tabullah, Fried Kalamari, Fried Fish Basket, Grilled Sea Bass Fish, Shrimps Biryani and Jasheed
Logma is your go-to destination to delight in traditional Emirati and Khaleeji foods with a refined twist. Located in Dubai’s BoxPark area, it boasts of an enticing location complete with an outdoor patio. The menu is equally appetizing, wherein every dish is prepared fresh using high quality ingredients. There are rice dishes, Khameer sandwiches, and a wide array of Logma parathas.
Must-Taste Foods: Logma Benedict, Seafood Platter, Saffron Risotto, Halloumi, Logma Burger, Roasted Chicken, Logma Chicken Rice, Logma Lamb Biryani, Butter Chicken, and Logma Pasta
- Dhow Cruise
It is unthinkable to compile a list like this without mentioning about this quintessential Dubai experience. Dhow cruise includes a laid-back cruise along Dubai’s water on Dubai Creek or Dubai Marina. Besides allowing you to take in the region’s iconic landmarks from water, it lets you enjoy sumptuous traditional food and amazing folk performances such as Tanura onboard. More than that, this dinner cruise is like going back in time as this wooden sailing vessel was once widely used for pearl farming, fishing etc, before the discovery of oil in the region.
Must-Taste Foods: Dhow cruise menu varies or largely depends on your chosen service provider. Unless otherwise it is not a personalized cruise, it comes with a standard menu with a mix of traditional Arabic food and international cuisines.
Aseelah, within Radisson Blue Hotel at Dubai Deira Creek, serves bonafide Emirati dishes infused with rich Middle Eastern flavors. It is an award-winning restaurant which wins you over with its both delectable foods and marvelous interiors. You can select from its lavish buffet or a la carte menu. That’s not all; you also get to watch live belly dance show and even smoke Shisha during your visit here, especially in the evening.
Must-Taste Foods: Lamb Thareed, Lamb Kebab, Aseelah Trio of Camel Sliders, Traditional Pizza Manakeesh, Seafood Pizza, Grilled Prawns, Chicken Vermicelli Soup, Date Bread and Aseelah Falooda
- Sikka Café
Tucked away in the quaint areas of some of Dubai’s most dynamic hotspots, Sikka Café brings you the authentic Emirati cuisines and traditional Arabic foods imbued with the influences of Indian and Persian flavors. It has three locations in Dubai, such as City Walk, La Mer and Al Khawaneej. Each of them is distinct but has a stylish, tastefully decorated setting, which makes it a perfect spot for casual and family friendly dining.
Must-Taste Foods: Sikka Signature Style Breakfast, Balaleet, Chebab (Emirati pancake with date syrup), Za’atar Manakeesh, Chicken Tikka Manakeesh, Beef Kebab, Sikka Khameer Burger, Saffron Milk Cake and Karak Zafran
It you love combining the classic Emirati flavors with the Dubai’s unequaled beach vibes and breathtaking views, you must definitely drop into HumYum. Located in Kite Beach, this spot is mostly favored for the tasty rice dishes and tempting Emirati snacks such as burgers, samboosas etc. There are also vegetarian specialties made available here.
Must-Taste Foods: Oman Chips Rigag with Cheese, Cheese Egg Rigag, Cheese Za’atar Chappathi, Nutella Cheese Paratha, Shish Tawook Chappathi, Lotus Chebab, Zinker Khameer, HumYum Zinker Burger, and Lotus Kunafah
Whether you are a fan of Arabic food or not, the above list of dining venues deserve to be on your upcoming Dubai packages. They let you enjoy authentic Emirati specialties while giving you a slice of the region’s unique culture and heritage. So, are you off to Dubai? Don’t miss to try the scrumptious Arabic food and of course dine at one or two of these restaurants.