Dubai Restaurants and Dining

(Dubai, United Arab Emirates, UAE)

Photo of al fresco restaurant area at hotel resortDining out is a celebrated aspect of life in Dubai. The restaurants here serve food of an exceptionally high quality and it is possible to find something to suit every brand of diner. As there is no set Dubai cuisine, the city has borrowed and perfected regional Middle Eastern dishes from its neighbours.

Five-star hotels spare no expense in bringing the finest gourmet dishes to its tables, so it is no surprise that dining in Dubai is often a pricey affair. There is no question that the food and service is worth it, however. Across the board, there are countless local restaurants, inexpensive eateries and food stalls, all serving delicious, highly affordable regional cuisine all over the city.

Further picture of open-air restaurant tables

What to Eat

It is hard to pinpoint a specific type of cuisine that defines Dubai. Most of the regional dishes on hand have a lot in common with those found in Persia and Lebanon.

For a fast bite to eat, visit one of the many corner 'shwarma' stands, where you can order marinated and roasted meats (usually mutton or chicken) cut into strips, wrapped in pita-like bread and dressed with a tahini sauce. Of course, international fare is also well done in this cosmopolitan city. Since restrictions on alcohol are in force, locals gather well into the post-midnight hours in local coffee shops.

Waterfront cafe view

Where to Eat

Visitors to Dubai will find that there's a restaurant to suit every taste here. The finest, international restaurants are found in the city's plentiful five-star hotels. Service in these establishments is second-to-none and menus include popular gourmet dishes from across the world.

Western-style fast-food dining establishments are also on hand in Dubai. Visitors yearning for a taste of home will find McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, Starbucks and many other chain establishments in the city centre. Shwarma and falafel are quick and inexpensive meals available from street vendors across town.

Image of outdoor cafe tables in the sunshineAlcohol is forbidden under Islam, but Dubai maintains a progressive stance on this subject. Any establishment selling alcohol must have a special licence, and these are relatively hard to come by. All of the large, international hotel chains are permitted to sell alcoholic beverages on their premises and for this reason, most of these hotels operate their own dance clubs and bars. Clubs are required to shut down at 03:00.

While local Emirati restaurants do not offer alcohol, they remain an important part of tourists' dining rounds. Excellent Middle Eastern fusion is available at competitive prices at these casual eateries and they also provide an ideal window into the local culture.

The weather in Dubai is perfect for al fresco dining. Days are typically sunny, and evenings are ideal for stargazing. Look for upscale, local and international restaurants situated along the inlet (Dubai Creek). Since the city's nightlife is precariously balanced across the city's backbone of hotels, many mid-range restaurants can afford to stay open into the late hours. Less expensive coffee shops also make excellent outdoor dining venues after sunset.