Navigating through Dubai’s Restaurants


I learnt a lot of things the first time I travelled to Dubai for a vacation. I realized a little bit too late that there is much more to preparation than having a stash of cash. Everything was in check, or so I thought, except for one thing. Where was I going to eat? Upon returning, I decided to research some of the best restaurants in Dubai, and I got interesting findings, which I have compiled in this article.

What are the best restaurants in Dubai? The best restaurants in Dubai include Buddha Bar, Brasserie, BOCA, Nirala Darbar Restaurant, La Petite Maison, Aprons and Hammers, Terato, and several others.

There are several factors to take into consideration when selecting the best restaurants. When it comes to food, there is no one-size-fits-all. For some people, restaurants that offer excellent customer service qualify as the best. For others, the quality of food is the primary determinant of how an eatery is rated. I know a few, I included, who rate a restaurant depending on the quantity of food served. Serve me a big portion, however bland it may be, and you get my vote for the best restaurant of the year.

Best Restaurants in Dubai

Fine Dining

  • Buddha-Bar
  • Doors FreeStyle Grill
  • Maiden Shanghai
  • Al Dawaar revolving restaurant

Local Cuisines

  • Brasserie
  • Al Hadheerah,
  • Sufra Restaurant,
  • Al Sarab Rooftop Longue

Moderately Priced

  • BOCA
  • Azure Beach
  • BLVD One
  • Purani Dilli Dubai

Lunch

  • Stars ‘N’ Bars
  • Feast- Sheraton Grand
  • Andiamol
  • Yalumba

Cheap Eats

  • Nirala Darbar Restaurant
  • Fish Hut Sea Food Restaurant
  • Wokyo Noodle Bar
  • Ravi’s

Best Restaurants in Dubai For Fine Dining

Buddha-Bar

Buddha-bar has the ultimate dining experience for those who are after fine dining. The re-innovated interior design, coupled with their excellent service, transforms an ordinary meal into an exhilarating experience.

The restaurant is set on a meticulously constructed two-story building with an excellent finish and accompanying décor. It has large windows, which you can use to enjoy the spectacular view of the marina while enjoying your meal.

A variety of cuisines are served, which include flavors from the Far East and Asia. Their menu is specially prepared and has several dishes that have been inspired by Japanese and Chinese cuisines. You can also enjoy a drink after your meal while being entertained with electric tunes from Buddha’s resident DJ.

Warning: By visiting the restaurant only once, your definition of a fine restaurant will have been altered. They have set the bar for fine dining too high.  

Doors FreeStyle Grill

The restaurant was opened first in Guangzhou and Shenzhen in China. Following its massive success in these two cities, the management decided to spread its wings to the Enigmatic city, Dubai.

Doors FreeStyle Grill prides itself for being the first restaurant to introduce the freestyle grill concept, and the foods they serve definitely awaken all the five senses, or are they six. Their unique menu consists of a mix of traditional dishes with a twist of modernity.

Some of their common delicacies include premium beef cuts, seafood, and fresh salads prepared by inspiration from the internationally acclaimed Chef Ceylan. Apart from that, they have an exciting cocktail menu, The Mocktail, which consists of drinks and blends specially prepared to intrigue.

What sets it apart from other restaurants is the fact that they have an ultramodern Mixology lab, an outdoor terrace seating, and a Sheesha lounge.

Maiden Shanghai

Maiden Shanghai has fantastic food, and the ambiance of the place is top-notch. The restaurant has a specialty in preparing traditional dishes with a modern audience in mind.

It is set right at the heart of FIVE palm and offers several magnificent views of the busy city life. The design of the structure is inviting, thanks to the playful décor, with a touch of modernity. It gives the ideal atmosphere where you can feel connected with your food.

Maiden Shanghai is open seven days a week, and you can visit them for a chance of enjoying a variety of dishes at different dining areas. Additionally, they have a delightful cocktail menu that is undoubtedly going to leave you positively unstoppable.

The highlight of the restaurant is usually Wednesday’s lady’s night. For the ladies, this is your chance to enjoy a three-course menu, and finish it with free complimentary drinks and sing to the tune of live bands through the night. Men are also allowed to the ladies’ night. Don’t worry about losing gangster points (read appearing effeminate). However, for the gents, the three drinks will be going for AED100, so free. What is not to love about the restaurant?

Al Dawaar Revolving Restaurant

How about enjoying a meal at the only rooftop restaurant in Dubai? It is the ultimate destination if you are after vibes of happiness and luxury. Add to that, the well-trained staff who are very attentive to detail, and you surely won’t regret visiting the restaurant.

The location of Al Dawaar revolving restaurant is ideal for first-time visitors. While you are enjoying your expertly prepared delicacy, which has been served with excellence, you also get to enjoy the view of the skyline. Trust me on this; it is beautiful, more so with the gleaming night light from the skyscrapers. Worth noting is the fact that you can get a unique view of Burj Khalifa.

Take advantage of the sky branch offer every Friday. For only AED 249, you will get to enjoy your meal served with a free flow of beverages. Add another AED100, and you take all the house beverages you want and another AED100 on top if you want to satisfy your thirst with Champagne.

The unique dining experience in the restaurant is second to none.

Best Restaurants in Dubai For Local Cuisines

Mina Brasserie

Mina Brasserie is one of the top restaurants that prides itself on preparing local cuisines. There, you will find a wide variety of dishes specially prepared with the award-winning and infamous chef, Michael Mina.

The interior design offers a refreshing ambience, which makes it a fun and dynamic environment for sharing delicious plates with friends and family. Additionally, it is compartmentalized into sections, which can be sufficient to offer group meal plans without people being crammed close together as they devour their meals.

Their menu features the classics and local cuisines, all prepared using indigenous ingredients and condiments with the integration of modern technology, which ensures the intricate meals are cooked to perfection.

Also, the restaurant has an exemplary outdoor terrace and lounge, with lush green trees where you can relax after your meals.

Al Hadheerah

The party doesn’t stop at Al Hadheera. The mid-sized restaurant has been receiving a lot of positive reviews on different trip advisory forums. Their secret? The nonstop Arabic cultural entertainment.

Those who have had some of the best experiences in the restaurants are vegetarians. Two particular chefs, who I secretly think are vegetarians, will go out their way to ensure that your unique dishes will surpass your expectations. Tasting their vegetarian Biryani is a sure way to denounce your carnivore feeding habits for a fully-fledged vegetarian diet.

Another distinguishing feature that makes it a must-visit the next time you are in Dubai is the live-in cooking stations. In addition to that, you will be left in awe with the ancient wood-fired ovens. Enjoy all this magic while being entertained with the classical cultural Arabic dances, skits, and other performances.

Sufra Restaurant

Sufra is yet another restaurant that offers local cuisines and specialty dishes inspired by selected international cuisines. The restaurant also has a live-in kitchen, where you can be amazed at the sight of your food being prepared in the theatrical kitchen.

The bright interior and the orientation of the structure in which the restaurant is located offers a perfect view for the Dubai Greek, thanks to the full-sized windows. The décor attenuates the large windows, which creates an inside-out illusion by watching the lush garden while eating.

Their cuisines are vegetarian-friendly, and special consideration is given to guests who may have particular dietary restrictions, such as gluten or lactose intolerance. The sumptuous meals are attributed to the excellent work of their executive chef, Jose Rocha.

Al Sarab Rooftop Lounge

The Al Sarab Rooftop Lounge is the ideal out of town restaurant where you can enjoy your dinner in peace, away from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets of the city. It is perfect for the few people who sunset means much more than just marking the end of a day; I’m referring to those looking for the perfect eatery where they can go for a romantic date. The rest of us, worry not, the list of restaurants is still long.

The restaurant is spacious, and you have the option of selecting a zone that tickles your fancy to form a lounging spot. Their cuisines consist of traditional Arabic foods, and for those who have never tasted a pizza made with Arabic ingredients and toppings, this is a must-visit place

Furthermore, the restaurant has live musical bands which sing Arabic musical tones as you enjoy your delicacies. Even though you will not be able to listen to the song or sing to the tunes of the song, the melodies in such a serene environment sets the tone for a perfect evening.

The Best Moderately Priced Restaurants in Dubai

I know those on a lean budget have been wondering when their time would come. Now it is your turn. The following restaurants are perfect for those who are on a lean budget, yet they still want to have a delightful dining experience.

BOCA

BOCA is a bar and restaurant facility that is celebrated for having a menu with an excellent combination of Mediterranean cuisines from the coastal regions of France, Spain, and Italy. It is located at the heart of Dubai’s financial district, which makes it accessible for those who do not have a private means of transport.

A distinguishing feature of this restaurant is the fact that they prepare 100% organic food and have a high ethical code of practice in service delivery. Also, they source all their ingredients from local farmers and fishermen. It is one of five restaurants in the Arabian gulf that guarantees you a supreme food quality.

It is intriguing to know that the restaurant has bagged over 18 international awards since 2014. It has been among the finalist restaurant in Time Out Dubai awards, and severally in Highly Commended European Restaurant.

Azure Beach Restaurant

Azure has stood to its word of offering a social paradise. It is the perfect escape from city life, where you can still have good times. The beach, white sands and glistening blue waters set the scene for the delicious meal. Additionally, the first thing that you will realize is the background music that attenuates the décor of the restaurant. Add this to the full window view of the beach, and you have it all, even when on a lean budget.

Their menu consists of Asian cuisines with a wide selection of fresh seafood. What is striking about the restaurant is the fact that you can get a packed picnic basket for two, and take it anywhere within the beach. Additionally, there are several light foods such as sandwiches and burgers for those who cannot stomach a full meal.

Those who have visited the restaurants always have positive feedback, especially on the responsiveness of the staff. Their customer service is exemplary.

BLVD On One

Variety is the spice of life. Who knows the significance of the phrase better than BLVD on One restaurant’s management? The restaurant has one of the longest menus in the United Arab Emirates, consisting of top cuisines form most parts of the world. 

The expert cooks working in these restaurants value good memories. For this reason, their dishes are inspired by the classics, most of which transcend beyond the traditions and incorporate cooking techniques from several cultures to give a unique twist of flavors.

They have a unique fun themed buffet, in which each day, different cuisine is prepared as follows

  • Mexican Monday
  • Arabic Tuesday
  • Thai Wednesday
  • French Friday
  • Saturday Roast

It is, therefore, an excellent place for adding spice to your life- by trying out a variety of dishes. You should cross-check with their evening’s specials, which are served at AED 170 per person.

It gets even better with the themed cocktail drinks, which you can at AED 62 per person.

Purani Dilli Dubai

You can have the perfect evening by indulging in one of their signature dishes. They have specialized in Indian cuisines. Those who have had an opportunity to visit their restaurant agree that their buffet is not a typical full-blown buffet; the items you can serve are limited. Nonetheless, whatever you serve, you have a guarantee that it is good.

In the restaurant, traditional Indian food is prepared using ingredients sourced directly from Asiatic markets in India. Additionally, you get to enjoy your meal with live Indian performances on the background.

For a taste of flavors of Old Delhi, you should seriously consider visiting the restaurant. It is the only place that exclusively serves Indian dishes.

Best Restaurants in Dubai for Lunches

Lunch is the most important meal of the day for a traveler. While common knowledge dictates that breakfast should be given priority over any other meal, a power lunch is essential for travelers since it ensures that you have sufficient energy to power you through the activities in your itinerary in the afternoon. Restaurants that offer good lunch options include:

Stars ‘N’ Bars

The infamous and legendary Stars ‘N’ Bars restaurant is now in Dubai. The joint is known for common American fast foods ranging from burgers to Nachos, pizzas, chicken wings, deep-fried mozzarella, fried potato, and onion rings. You should have already deduced why it is the top choice for lunches. A few minutes is all it takes to get your meal ready.

It is noteworthy that the restaurant in Abu Dhabi is more food-focused than its sisters in other parts of the globe.

However, there have been a few complaints online that the restaurant is no longer family-friendly, and such people complain about a good reason. Those who are under 21 years are not allowed to dine at upper floors, without any reasonable explanation.

That means that if you have a family, you may be forced to eat on the ground floor, even if it is not conducive.

Feast- Sheraton Grand

Feast-Sheraton Grand is considered the “market place” for lunches and dinners in Dubai. The restaurant offers a variety of tastes and flavors from the Middle East, China, India, the Western world and South East Asia. Their foods are seasoned using ingredients fresh from the market.

The restaurant has an open kitchen design, and exclusive private dining areas to ensure that visitors have an assortment of dining experiences.  Apart from that, it is known for significantly short meal preparation time, which is ideal for lunches.

Also, they have an internationally recognized selection of cold and hot beverages and cocktails from different parts of the world.

Yalumba Le Meridien

Yalumba Le Meridien is an award-winning restaurant in Dubai. Its name “Yalumba” originates from the infamous south Australian wine region, Yalumba. Just like the wine region, the restaurant is a symbol of peace and warmth.

The restaurant is home to Brunchology, a lively afternoon branch. Visitors enjoy the meal with a unique treat of various forms of entertainment, such as live music.

What makes the restaurant the best for lunches is its international lunch buffet, which consists of a wide variety of soups, delicacies of Asiatic origin, and unique dessert options.

Best Restaurants in Dubai for Cheap Eats

Nirala Darbar Restaurant

For those who fancy Pakistani dishes, then Nirala Darbar Restaurant should be on top of your list. Their food choices, ranging from Mutton Biriani, Roti, and Chana Dhal, are amazing and up to mark. Other cuisines offered are Indian and Balti. You can also get excellently prepared Barbecue and Grill.

 It is one of the very cost-effective restaurants that has friendly and very accommodative staff members. Apart from that, the ambience is peaceful, and the menu can accommodate everyone. On average, a meal for two goes for 75 AED only.

Fish Hut Sea Food Restaurant

The restaurant was established mainly for those who wanted to have a real treat with seafood delicacies. Their menu consists of a wide range of seafood ranging from Sheri, Hamour, Sea breams, crabs, shrimps, kofer, and many more.

The main selling point of the restaurant is that it doesn’t dent your bank accounts.

Also, the restaurant offers special diets such as vegan, gluten-free options, Halal, and any other particular dietary restriction or recommendation a customer can have.

This is the place for money conservatives; you get to save money, without compromising on the quality of food. There are food options that are as little as 18 AED.

Wokyo Noodle Bar

Wokyo is a fast-growing casual noodle bar that offers Asian and Japanese cuisines. If you ever wonder why noodles are a staple in Asia, then you need to visit the restaurant. It will revolutionize your perspective on noodles, with their healthy meal options.

Treat yourself to an exciting new adventure by creating your own meal combination consisting of a sauce, base and the protein. In addition to that, the restaurant offers several kinds of ramen, soups, and desserts, which are surely going to please you.

It may also interest you to know that vegan meal plans are also offered in the restaurant.

Worth noting is the fact that breakfast is not offered in the restaurant. That is because it is opened at 11 am. However, they compensate for the late opening hours, by operating till late at night.

Ravi’s

Ravi is one of the most economical restaurants which can only be described as an extension of the home. There, you can get comfort food, and those who have had a taste of the delicacies offered, believe that the fondness one develops when taking the food is cult-like. The best part is that they have retained the same cooking technique for over 40 years now.

The brains behind the brilliant restaurant, Abdul Hameed, is one of the most exciting restaurant owners you will ever find. Despite being the owner of the restaurant, he manages to pull two shifts every single day, working an average of 18 hours each day, to ensure that you get a fantastic dining experience.  

At Ravi’s, you will find a variety of foods ranging from local cuisines, Asian cuisines, Indian dishes, and Pakistani cuisines. Additionally, the restaurant places high regard to dietary restrictions such as vegans, and those with different allergies. You can never get tired of their signature dish, chicken thikka. Other meal options that you can take while celebrating your lesser dreams in the restaurant include biriyani and sweet lassi. The list cannot be complete without mentioning their mutton kebabs.  

With that list, you can select the perfect restaurant to dine while visiting Dubai. However, I’m aware that the list would be incomplete without including one or two restaurants for the contenders of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), for lack of a better word. If you feel that you may be missing out on the restaurants which are trending even as you are seated now, this is for you

Trending Restaurants in Dubai

The Dubliner’s

The Dubliner’s is the place for those seeking a memorable night. The restaurant’s central cuisine is Irish and has several themed evenings with impressive happy hours and dinners. Their brunches are also remarkable. Worth noting is the fact that there is a pub section, where you can have a drink or two as you unwind after a long day.

The selling point is that the restaurant is its location, which is close to Dubai International Airport. Why not make dining at the restaurant your first experience in the magical city?

The Loft, Dubai Opera

The loft is home for the caviar brunch. The restaurant was opened to replace the infamous Sean Connolly. While at the restaurant, you get to enjoy a variety of European dining experiences while being dazzled with the magnificent view of Burj Khalifa in the background. The serenity offered by the rooftop design of the restaurant is immeasurable.

Le Petit Belge

Le Petit Belge offers an unmistakable Belgian treat fused with international charm. There, you will find all there is regarding Belgian cuisines. Most preferred dishes served in the restaurant, more so for the first time, visitors are mussels and Belgian waffles. The best part is that the meals have been prepared with an Emirati’s touch, with a few local ingredients, which adds to the unique assortment of tastes and flavors.

Also, it is the best place to learn the pairing of food and complementary beverages. You can never go wrong with the list of dishes on their menu.

Related Questions

What is the traditional Dubai food?

The traditional dishes are Khuzi and AL Machboos. However, the typical national foods you should expect to find in most restaurants are fish and meat served with rice.

Is dining in Dubai expensive?

While Dubai is known for having internationally recognized restaurants, having world-renowned cooks, it doesn’t necessarily mean that eating at the Emirates is expensive. You can find yourself a restaurant which offers equally good food and ambiance with cost considerations in mind.

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