Dubai is laden with fancy restaurants boasting a variety of international dishes and specialties, but what we often forget are the many Arabic restaurants which remind us that we are in the Middle East. Restaurants offering Emirati cuisine are few and hard to find. We’ve nevertheless spotted the best places for you to get a taste of local cuisine and other regional specialties.
Bait Al Wakeel
Located on the platform hovering over the Dubai Creek, the Bait Al Wakeel was once the first office building in Dubai. Erected in 1934 by the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum it was restored in 1995 and is now a wonderful heritage restaurant. You can enjoy gorgeous views of bustling creek life while nibbling on delicious Arabic and local dishes with regular side dishes of moutabal, tabouleh, falafel and meat entrees such as shish tawouk and lamp chops served with warm Arabic bread. You can’t order any alcohol but you will be able to retrace Dubai’s past while eating a wonderful authentic Arabic meal.
Bur Dubai, 04 353 0530
Take a little trip to Bab Al Shams Desert Resort for some classy Emirati food at Al Hadheerah. Found amidst a fortified Arabic desert village built to resemble centuries old Arabic architecture, upon entering you will be quickly enraptured by the wonderful scents and smells signaling the lavish outdoor buffet with dozens of delicious dishes. Rice and lamb are staple to Emirati cuisine. You can choose from a variety of rice dishes which include everything from barberries and pine nuts to lamp chops. Journey to the dessert counter to round off the meal and choose from a dozen of sweet selections. Al Hadeerah is a delightful Arabic feast, a way to experience local culture and cuisine in the finest way possible.
Bab Al Shams, Desert Resort & Spa 04 809 6100
This popular Arabic restaurant presents a range of Levant and locally-inspired dishes in a majlis style tent. Enjoy an authentic Arabic feast with everything from mixed pickles, hummus, tabouleh, fattoush and more filling entries such as kibbe, lamb, and various other specialties. A typical hang-out, you can smoke shisha, play cards, and other games. Al Khayma is eating Arabic style popular among Dubai’s Arabic community. For more entertainment go over to the nearby Al Qasr for some live belly dancing.
Dubai Marine Resort & Spa, Jumeirah Beach Road 04 346 1111
Lovely al fresco dining near the water’s edge surrounded by palm trees and private majlis tents with live oud players, Al Khaima is one of the best outdoor Arabic restaurants in town. The food is predominantly Lebanese serving delicious specialties such as zataar salad and Lebanese grills. Quite the romantic spot for an evening outing, the scenery and the food are worth the price.
Le Royal Meridian Beach Resort & Spa 04 399 5555
This elegant restaurant tucked away in the Emirates Towers is renowned for its mezze ( Middle Eastern appetizers) platters. Try the kibbeh nayyeh, a specialty dish of raw minced lamb ground with bulgur wheat, onion and spices and served with olive oil and fresh mint. To finish the meal taste the ashta bil asal, a dessert made with honey, cream and pistachio nuts. A sophisticated Lebanese eatery which will not fail to impress.
Jumeirah Emirates Towers, 04 319 8088