The first time I went to Dubai I was underwhelmed. It was a quick trip and it was just too much. Too much of everything. However, I have been back several times now and every time I go, I can’t wait to start planning my next trip.
This list is probably going to continuously be growing so if you’re a frequent visitor, make sure to pop back. Deciding where to eat in Dubai is an activity in itself. While some people go shopping (trust me there are things other than shopping to do in Dubai), I go for the food.
The Cost of Food in Dubai
Dubai definitely has a reputation for being over the top and expensive, this reputation extends to food too. However, unless you’re specifically seeking out higher end, luxury experiences, you can still eat very well for a realistic price. Most of my choices are really affordable spots for no more than you’d pay in any big city around the world.
Frying Pan Adventures – Dubai Food Tour
Full credit goes to my friends Arva and Farida for creating this five-star Dubai food tour experience. I count it as one of my best food experiences ever and whenever they’re offering something new, I am thrilled to be a part – if I’m around. If you love food and you want to experience parts of the city you didn’t even know existed – book this.
Don’t even hesitate!
Chocolate making isn’t something native to the UAE but Mirzam makes high-quality, single-origin chocolate products fully on site. They have a roastery and cafe for the beans and while you can get plain flavors what they do really well is incorporate more traditional Middle Eastern flavors and ingredients to their chocolates. It’s truly a treat for yourself or the perfect gift to give someone from your trip to Dubai!
As someone who knows a thing of two about ice cream and gelato, this is a must. The bad news, they don’t have a storefront so you can’t pop in and get a cone but they do deliver. All you need is an address and they’ve got you covered; perfect for late-night movies and ice cream. Flavors change regularly but if you spot pistachio baklava make sure to get it.
Sultan Falafel – Best Falafel in Dubai
When I tell you I dream about the falafel here you might think I’m crazy, but I do. The BEST I’ve ever had and something you must eat immediately hot out of the fryer. This is not only a super affordable Dubai option, it’s worth flying here for. The next time I have to fly through or to Dubai this is where I go first. Get the falafel with chili in the middle and don’t skimp on the fried cauliflower and eggplant.
Qwaider AlNabulsi Sweets
I’m a knafah freak (see my post on Jordan, or Istanbul for context) and when I went here and got to not only see it being made but eat it hot and fresh it was a dream. It’s so so good. You can eat here at the outside tables or you can take it to go. It’s next door to the falafel spot so just hit them both at once – on an empty stomach of course.
Wild and the Moon – Vegan Cafe
I’m not big on vegan food, I don’t seek it out and it’s not my thing – normally. But this cafe is located near Mirzam in an up-and-coming warehouse area of Dubai. So when I popped in I was pleasantly surprised and thing for anyone looking for a more natural vibe without sky-high prices this is a worthy stop.
Baku Cafe – Azeri Brunch
I’ve never been to Azerbaijan so I don’t have a direct comparison but I did head to Baku Cafe for brunch one morning and was blown away by the amount of food and how good it was. There were a few unique things. The curd pancakes and kuku were my favorite. It was overall just a really interesting way to see some familiar foods as well as some things I’d never had before. It comes it just around $20 US per person for a LOT of food – cheaper than most hotel breakfasts – worth it!
Sticky Rice – Thai Treats
This Thai restaurant is a little out of the way in Jumeirah Village but if you’re after really good, really authentic Thai you own’t be disappointed. You also can’t make reservations or get deliveries (you can pick up) and they’ve got a vegan menu if you’re meat-adverse. Stick with dishes you may have heard of (their pad Thai is awesome) or go more adventurous. They usually have special dishes too.