Haute Secrets Dubai: Al Fanar Restaurant and Cafe

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Al Fanar

Al Fanar Restaurant and Cafe is the place to be if you’re looking for truly classic traditional Emirati cuisine. The restaurant bills itself as the “first and only local Emirati cuisine restaurant in Dubai.” Tucked away on the Canal Walk in Festival City Mall, it’s the perfect place for locals to travel back in time with their palates or for tourists to get a taste of what the cuisine was like during the city’s earliest days.

Al Fanar
Samal al tanoor is one of the main courses on Al Fanar’s menu.

Photo Credit: Al Fanar

The atmosphere inside Al Fanar offers a glimpse of what Dubai was like in the 1960s, although some of the dishes date from further back than that. The restaurant’s operators have sought to transport diners back to the days when Dubai was just a small speck on the Arabian Gulf with Bedouin tents and fishermen huts. Al Fanar is truly a place for nostalgia.

Al Fanar
Al Fanar’s casual dining room is a charming spot for a quick bite.

Photo Credit: Al Fanar

Al Fanar
Al Fanar also offers a fine dining setting for those who prefer a bit of a higher class affair.

Photo Credit: Al Fanar

The ambiance isn’t the only delightful thing at Al Fanar, as the food is fabulous as well. The restaurant serves breakfast all day, including classic dishes like dango, kohoz khameer, bajella, and mohalla.

Al Fanar
Al Fanar serves a stunning mohalla for breakfast, which is served all day.

Photo Credit: Al Fanar

The main course menu includes delightful items like um al robyan mashwi and samal al tanoor.

Al Fanar
Try the robyan mashwi as your main course.

Photo Credit: Al Fanar

The Festival City Mall isn’t the only location of Al Fanar. In fact, the restaurant is opening a new location in Abu Dhabi this year. The new location will be able to seat approximately 340 people. Al Fanar’s Abu Dhabi location also has several signature dishes on the menu at the , including asidat al tamor, biryani maleh, and aysh mohammar ma samak magli. While very common in Emirati cuisine long ago, these dishes are no longer cooked in most homes. Al Fanar is one of the few restaurants in the UAE where you can still find them.

There’s also a location in the Jumeirah Town Centre. When the location in the town centre opened in October 2014, it launched to much acclaim, hosting the Museum of Memory, which included a number of old photographs and other documents which were loaned by the UAE National Archive.

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