By Mario Ng
Dubai is an international city that connects millions of travellers between America, Europe, and Asia, each year. Naturally, there are plenty of food options for all types of visitors. Whether you prefer American cuisine, Middle Eastern cuisine, or some Asian cuisine, you will be satisfied with the various options. While the prices are indeed on the higher side, this has to be expected considering the cost of living in Dubai. However, the quality is also correspondingly high.
In all the restaurants we went to, we left feeling satisfied with the food served. We enjoyed some Middle Eastern fare, American fast food, American brunch, and even Vietnamese cuisine. We are happy to say we loved all of them. Check out our review below to see where you should have your meals when in Dubai!
For your convenience, refer to this list of places you should head to for a meal while in Dubai!
1. Arabian Tea House Restaurant and Cafe
3. Baker and Spice
4. Cafe Blanc
6. Entrecote Cafe de Paris
7. Five Guys
9. London Dairy Bistro
10. Shake Shack
1. Arabian Tea House Restaurant and Cafe
Arabian Tea House has a few outlets in Dubai, although one stands out in our opinion. Located in Old Dubai by Al Fahidi Street, the restaurant is housed in a traditional Arabic house, and you get a small sense of what it must have been like years ago. It is also a great place to have breakfast or lunch, before or after visiting the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood!
Arabian Tea House Restaurant and Cafe within the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
When it comes to Arabic food, we have to admit we do not know much about it. However, the food at Arabian Tea House Restaurant and Cafe taste really good! For appetisers, you cannot do any wrong with the hummus. It is really creamy and taste fantastic when eaten together with the fresh and warm tandoor bread. Having it opens up your appetite for the main course.
A good main course to recommend is the lamb kebab. Minced together before grilling it over charcoal, the Arabic spices are perfectly stored in the meat, and in our opinion, goes well with the hummus as well. Mix it with the tandoor bread and you are getting it.
Lamb kebabs at Arabian Tea House Restaurant and Cafe
To complete your meal at an Arabian tea house, you have to try some authentic desserts. We went with the Luqaimat, which is quite synonymous with Arabic cuisine. Shaped like mini dough balls, it is doused with date syrup. Crunchy and sweet, it is the perfect way to end your Arabic meal. The portion is quite big too, so it will be wise to share it with your friends and family.
Luqaimat at Arabian Tea House Restaurant and Cafe
The nice thing about this restaurant is the decor and where it is housed in. As you eat your food and enjoy some local tea, you look around and realise you are in a traditional Arabic house, having some Arabic cuisine. It is quite amazing how such houses have been kept intact for so long, and is even more amazing that we can have a meal in this house, in air-conditioned comfort!
For sure, this place is a great way to introduce yourself to Arabic cuisine and culture. Make sure you head down at least once to try out some Arabic food!
Website (includes menu): https://arabianteahouse.net/
Address: Al Fahidi Street, Bur Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Opening hours: 7.30am to 10pm daily
Cost: 148.05 AED (inclusive of taxes)
Afternoon tea in Dubai is bound to be an extravagant affair, since there are so many five-star hotels competing with each other to attract customers. So, what is even better than having an afternoon tea session at any five-star hotel in Dubai? By having afternoon tea right at the top of Dubai!
We had the privilege of enjoying afternoon tea at AT.MOSPHERE, the highest restaurant in the world! Located on the 122nd floor at 422m above ground level, AT.MOSPHERE has a restaurant and a lounge, which is where afternoon tea sessions are located at. Within the premises of Armani Hotel Dubai (the highest hotel in the world!) in Burj Khalifa, the restaurant also serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, we are here today for afternoon tea, and what an experience it was!
Having champagne at AT.MOSPHERE
Afternoon tea at AT.MOSPHERE starts off with a glass of either sparkling wine or champagne. After informing the server of your choice, a bottle of your favoured drink is brought to you and poured into your glass. The bottle is then placed near you, so the server can come top it up whenever he sees that your glass needs filling.
The first course comes in the form of an Amuse-bouche. It was just the right size to whet our appetite, and we could not wait for the next course. Six types of the chef’s favourite homemade sandwiches and sweet treats were presented to us. Cucumber and egg mayonnaise sandwiches were on offer, while an eclair and tart were provided as the sweet treats. One highlight was the mini smoked salmon sandwich with caviar. Generous with the smoked salmon, the caviar gave a luxurious feeling to the sandwich.
Starting off our afternoon tea at AT.MOSPHERE
What happened next was not the presence of scones or macarons, although those appeared later. Instead, we were offered either a chicken or fish dish as our main course. That is right. At AT.MOSPHERE, a main course is part of their afternoon tea. That is why they have the honour being the highest restaurant in the world. The chicken roast was just fantastic. With a broccoli puree with mashed potatoes, it tasted delicious yet clean. It was just the right dish after enjoying some mini sandwiches. The fish tasted great as well, and we enjoyed sharing each other’s dish.
By this time, we were arguably a little full by now. However, this is when the traditional star of afternoon tea appears. A skyscraper-shaped five-tier dessert stand filled with various pastries and scones was placed on our table for our enjoyment. The scones come with the standard clotted cream, strawberry jam, and passionfruit jam. We enjoyed the passionfruit jam, which provided the nice citrus-like flavour to the scones. Delicious!
The traditional afternoon tea set in a tower setting
A further highlight of this meal was the free-flow non-alcoholic beverages available to us. We love coffee and tea, so it was really great that we could order different types of coffee and tea while enjoying the different courses. We had an espresso, espresso con Panna, Mochachino, and different teas by TWG. Besides tasting great, the visual beauty of those drinks meant we enjoyed posting the pictures on Instagram!
While afternoon tea at AT.MOSPHERE is relatively pricey, at AED 503 per person for a window table, bear in mind that you are really paying for more than just a meal. You are eating at the highest restaurant in the world. Not only that, you get amazing views of the city, where you will be seated facing new Dubai. In fact, the views from the bathroom is equally spectacular, if not more so! You will be able to see Dubai Mall, Souk Al Bahar, and the famed Dubai Fountain. Be prepared to spend some time in the bathroom taking pictures!
View of The Dubai Mall and Souk Al Bahar from AT.MOSPHERE
There is no time limit on your meal as well. So, you can actually head there at 1pm and slowly enjoy your afternoon tea until they close at 4.30pm. They will completely understand why, since there are so many courses to finish, and you do have an entire bottle of champagne to drink!
If you feel you are likely to head to Dubai only once in your lifetime, make sure you have a meal at AT.MOSPHERE. You will not regret it!
Website (includes menu): http://www.atmosphereburjkhalifa.com/
Address: Burj Khalifa (entry via Armani Hotel Dubai only)
Opening hours: Afternoon Tea served daily between 12pm and 4.30pm
AED 503 per person including sparkling wine (Window table)
AED 430 per person including sparkling wine (Non-window table)
AED 664 per person including champagne
3. Baker and Spice
First opened in Dubai in 2008, Baker and Spice has since grown from strength to strength, and now has outlets across the Middle East, with stores throughout United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.
While Baker and Spice has five outlets in Dubai, we went to the one at Souk Al Bahar for breakfast. It is worth noting that this branch is really convenient and accessible, especially if you are staying in the vicinity.
Entrance to Baker and Spice
What we enjoyed about Baker and Spice is the healthy feeling to its breakfast choices. We had poached eggs with a side of the homemade Boston-style baked beans and home cured smoked salmon. The eggs tasted really fresh and clean, without any artificial dressing. We had it with the bread and salad, and felt like it was a good start to our breakfast. The sides of their home cured smoked salmon and homemade Boston-style baked beans were also good additions to our eggs. The flavours in the baked beans were fantastic, while the smoked salmon provided a refreshing take to our meal.
Healthy and fresh options at Baker and Spice
Besides the options in the menu, they also have freshly made pastries available, and you would do well to walk to the front area to see what they have on offer! Take a look at their almond croissants, cupcakes, and meringue tarts! Or, look at their salads made fresh daily and that should whet your appetite!
With any meal, there has to be at least one course of sweets. We ordered the blueberry pancakes, and were we satisfied! The blueberry pancakes were quite unique, and came with some whipped mascarpone and fruit compote. It really was a good way to end our breakfast. Simple and delicious!
Some delicious pastries for sale at Baker and Spice
If you are around Dubai Mall or Souk Al Bahar and wish to have some breakfast in the morning, we highly recommend you head over to Baker and Spice for some tasty treats!
Website (includes menu): https://bakerandspice.me/
Address: Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Opening hours: 8am to 11pm (Souk Al Bahar branch)
Cost: AED 180.20
4. Cafe Blanc
Being in the United Arab Emirates, one has to enjoy some Middle Eastern cuisine, and Cafe Blanc is a good way to enjoy some Lebanese cuisine, all within the comfort of Dubai Mall. The restaurant itself is spacious, and has some beautiful decor to give just a hint of Lebanon.
To start, we highly recommend the lentil soup. It tasted absolutely delicious and goes very well with the fresh tandoor bread. In fact, our lentil soup was finished in no time at all!
For mains to share, we suggest getting the Shakshouka Bayd and Mawzet Ghanam. The Shakshouka Bayd is essentially an egg dish, cooked with onions and tomatoes. Whether you eat it on its own or with some tandoor bread, it tastes great. The Mawzet Ghanam is a lamb shank dish, where it was slow cooked to perfection, before being served with some tasty basmati rice. The meat was tender and pulls away from the bone easily. The spices also made the lamb shank that much tastier, and went well with the basmati rice.
Mawzet Ghanam served at Cafe Blanc
Of course, being in UAE means you have to try some local coffee, and we did. We had the opportunity to try some authentic Arabic coffee and Lebanese coffee. Served with dates, it is the way to enjoy some Arabic coffee with. The Lebanese coffee was also great, which was brewed in the traditional way.
If you require something sweeter to complete your meal, look no further. Have some of their tiramisu affogato. Really a dessert with an espresso shot, they are separated, so you can pour the shot in when you are ready to do so. Or you could have the dessert first, before enjoying an espresso shot. Either way, it makes for a yummy dessert!
Arabic and Lebanese coffee at Cafe Blanc
If you are in the vicinity of Dubai Mall and crave for some middle eastern cuisine, be sure to head over to Cafe Blanc for some authentic Lebanese food!
Address: Lower Ground, 107, The Dubai Mall, 282668 Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Opening hours: 9am to 1am
Cost: 255 AED (inclusive of taxes)
Coya is a Peruvian fine-dining restaurant that has outlets in London, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Paris, and Monte Carlo. Located within Four Seasons Resort at its Dubai branch, the exterior of the restaurant looks simply stunning, and blends in perfectly with the resort, as with the different luxury cars parked around the restaurants. Think Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and Prosches, and you get an idea of the type of crowd Coya attract.
Coya at Four Seasons Resort in Dubai
For appetisers, we, and the restaurant, strongly recommend the guacamole. Essentially Coya’s signature appetiser, most customers ordered this special dish. The server will head to your table, crave out the fresh avocado onto the pounder, and mash it into guacamole. A plate of corn tortillas and shrimp crackers is provided for you to enjoy with the guacamole. It is really fresh and absolutely delicious. We finished the appetiser in no time, and waited eagerly for our mains.
Coya's signature starter
We opted to order some small dishes to share, since we are quite small eaters. We got the Baos con Res Wagyu, which is essentially wagyu shortribs stuffed in chinese buns. Once again, absolutely delicious. The fact that we are of a chinese heritage points to the fact how well this Peruvian restaurant cooked Wagyu shortribs in buns. We also ordered the Pulpo Rostizado, or octopus with mashed potatoes, ají amarillo, bottarga, and botija olives. The dish is way more complex than what our English translation simply states. Expertly created, the octopus was crunchy yet not too crunchy, so your gums will not be sore. Mix it with the mashed potatoes and you realise they go so well together. The bottarga gives the dish a nice taste that really complements well with the rest of the ingredients.
The Baos con Res Wagyu at Coya
For our main, we were suggested to order the Arroz Nikkei, which is a Chilean sea bass fillet with rice. Served in an iron pot, this is one of Coya’s signature dishes, and we were encouraged to order this. Our server could do no wrong, as every dish he recommended tasted just great. The sea bass was really tender, while the rice was filled with a nice sauce that most certainly came from the fish. Tasting naturally sweet with hints of some lime, the dish and a nice end to our meal, and it came at perfect timing too since we were completely full by then.
There are so many other dishes that we were not able to try, because we were too full. We have heard wonderful things about their Tiraditos (Peruvian sashimi) and Cazuelas (Iron pot) dishes. We had the Arroz Nikkei, which is a type of iron pot dish. However, there are other types available, including those that use the lobster or mussels as the main protein. Not to mention, their desserts were also said to be fantastic! For sure, we will be back at Coya the next time we are in Dubai. You should definitely head to Coya if you get the chance to do so!
Website (includes menu): https://www.coyarestaurant.com/dubai/
Address: Restaurant Village, Four Seasons Resort, Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 2, PO Box 71384, Dubai
Dress code: Smart casual
Brunch: Fridays: 12.30pm – 4pm
Lunch: Monday – Sunday: 12:30pm – 4pm
Dinner: Saturday – Tuesday: 7pm – 12pm; Wednesday – Friday: 7pm – 12:30am
Cost: AED 506.67 (inclusive of taxes)
6. Entrecote Cafe de Paris
Entrecote Cafe de Paris is essentially a steak restaurant, and has only one outlet in Dubai, situated at Dubai Mall. The famous sauce for an entrecote, the Cafe de Paris, is said to have been airflown from Geneva all the way to Dubai. This means you are actually getting the real deal by enjoying a Faux Filet (or Sirloin) steak at this restaurant.
Its menu boasts various types of steaks available, from the New Zealand beef to the Black Wagyu beef. Australian Angus lovers will not be disappointed as well. In fact, the menu is designed for the beef to be shared, so you will be pleased to enjoy the meal with your family and friends.
Entrecote Cafe de Paris
While we were there, we did not get the chance to enjoy the steak (due to having had a meal immediately prior), but did get to try out their desserts. Upon the server’s recommendations, we had the Pain Perdu and Fondant au Chocolat, which are the french toast and chocolate fondant cake respectively. Both tasted great, and went well with vanilla ice cream. Of course, coffee is a must with desserts and their coffee choices were quite standard and tasted delicious.
Some delicious desserts served at Entrecote Cafe de Paris
While you are in Dubai, you have to try out this restaurant. If like us, you are not able to enjoy their steaks, be sure to try out their desserts, which to us, are fantastic in their own right!
View of the famous fountain at The Dubai Mall from Entrecote Cafe de Paris
Address: Lower Ground, The Dubai Mall, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Opening hours: 11am to 1am daily
Cost: AED 114 for 2 desserts and 2 cups of coffee
7. Five Guys
Five Guys, the classic American fast-food chain, grew from a small eatery in Washington D.C. in 1986, to a huge international business. Yet, they are still in the midst of expanding, and thus explains why it is not yet available throughout the world. Fortunately, UAE is one key market and right in Dubai, are 6 outlets for customers to head to.
While most Americans and indeed, Europeans, already know about Five Guys, many folks outside these two areas have not had the chance to try out this burger chain. And this is why Five Guys come highly recommended when you are in Dubai.
What we like about Five Guys is its relatively simple menu. Choose from a sandwich, burger, or hotdog. We chose a cheeseburger (classic, of course!) and had “All the Way”, which is to get a selection of toppings together with the burger. The toppings you get consist of mayonnaise, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, ketchup, and mustard. If it sounds like a handful, that is because it is! You get one huge burger, which is simply wonderful really. Their fries are sold separately, and you must try it. Freshly cut and cooked in peanut oil, it is just tasty!
A simple yet awesome burger meal at Five Guys
When you are at Five Guys, you must simply get their milkshake. A fan of strawberries, we had the strawberry milkshake and it was just pure happiness. Mix it with some fries and you get what we mean.
One unique thing about Five Guys is the complimentary peanuts customers get to enjoy when eating at the premises. Scoop some up and have some while waiting for your burgers and shakes. While you chat with your friends, have more peanuts! It’s really a great way to enjoy a burger with some fries and a shake!
The menu at Five Guys
Address: Lower Ground Unit 102, The Dubai Mall, Financial Center Road, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Opening hours: 10am to 1am daily
Cost: 87 AED (inclusive of taxes)
Lao is a Vietnamese restaurant located within the premises of the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah. It is a fantastic restaurant, where it provides some comfort to homesick Asians, and also acts as a good introduction of Asian food to western travellers.
It is worth noting that this restaurant is extremely popular, so it would be wise to make your reservations well before you head over to Dubai. If you are able to, you should definitely try out their bespoke cooking class, which is only available on Mondays, between 11.30am and 2.30pm. In this class, you will be joining Chef de Cuisine Mai and Sous Chef Trang and learn as you watch how Vietnamese cuisine is perfected.
Lao at Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
For dinner options, you should definitely start with some rolls. We had the traditional Hanoi rolls and were not disappointed. The crispy roll was great with the fish sauce, and really opens up your appetite. We next had steamed rice crepes, which was another fantastic introduction to Vietnamese cuisine. Moist and ready to be eaten, the ingredients were fresh and once again went well with the ubiquitous fish sauce.
An authentic Vietnamese meal at Lao at Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
The beef pho was also great, a standard fare of Vietnamese cuisine. The beef slices were thick and was great when eaten with the herbs. To end the meal, we had some noodles, much like how you end any eight course meal you have been to in Southeast Asia. The Vietnamese Lobster Noodles was flavourful, while the sliced up lobster bits added to the crunchiness of the noodles. The stir-fried vegetables within the noodles also made you feel like you are back home in Asia. It gave one the sense of having home cooked food, even though we were thousands of miles away from home. This is certainly not easy at Asian restaurants outside Asia!
A fresh bowl of pho at Lao at Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
If you are enjoying yourself at The Palm, or are staying in the area, be sure to head over to Lao if you want to have some authentic Vietnamese food. You won’t regret it!
Address: Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, Crescent Road, The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Opening hours: 6.30pm to 11pm daily
Cost: AED 256 (excluding taxes)
9. London Dairy Bistro
London Dairy Bistro is a nice restaurant that serves western fare throughout the day, and night. Located by Sheikh Zayed Road near Shangri-la hotel, it is open 24 hours a day, which promises customers something special regardless of the time you head in.
One of the best reasons to head over is of course due to its brunch options. You can choose from the usual Full English or get something sweet, like the french toast. The Full English is probably the majority’s favourite brunch choice, and London Dairy Bistro does not disappoint. Eggs, hash browns, mushrooms, veal bacon, sausage, and warm baked beans, which is always welcome, are on your plate.
London Dairy Bistro
They also offer vegetarian options, which comes in the form of an Eggs Benedict with grilled asparagus and avocado.
For sweets, you cannot do wrong with the french toast, where you get the option of adding a scoop of ice cream as well. Obviously, it is never too early for ice cream, and you get your early morning energy boost, which is essential to start the day with!
Brunch at London Dairy Bistro
Lunch and dinner options look good as well, with many Italian choices like your pizza and pasta. Those preferring something else can also look forward to the salmon or sea bream fillet. We have heard great things about these choices!
Delicious pastries at London Dairy Bistro
If you are in the area of Sheikh Zayed Road or indeed, near Shangri-la, and want some brunch, or late night snack, be sure to try out London Dairy Bistro!
Website (includes menu): https://www.londondairycafe.com/
Address: London Dairy Bistro, Aspin Tower, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Opening hours: 24 hours a day
Cost: 141 AED (inclusive of taxes)
10. Shake Shack
Shake Shack, the American fast food restaurant, has grown tremendously since its early days as a hot dog cart in New York City, back in 2001. It is amazing to see how much it has grown in such a short span of time. Nevertheless, while it has multiple outlets in the States, not every country has Shake Shack, and in some countries that do, the queue for a burger can be crazy. Thankfully, Dubai has six outlets, so customers need not fear long queues just to get a burger, regardless of how tasty it is.
If you have not eaten Shake Shack before, this article is really for you. To start off, you should select a burger of your choosing. You can go for either the ShackBurger, which is the classic American cheeseburger but with their ShackSauce, or get the Shack Stack, which is good for hungry people, coming with a cheeseburger and Shroom burger. Fries are also a classic here, with their crinkle-cut fries a firm favourite for people of all ages. Mix it up with some ketchup and it brings you back to NYC.
Shake Shack's signature burger, fries, and milkshake
They also have other tasty offerings, including the New York-style hot dog, and Chick’n Shack, which is basically a chicken burger. The names do sound cool and make you want to try them, which is probably necessary since there are so many fast food chains around.
The main thing Shake Shack is famous for is of course the shakes. Be sure to grab one of their signature shakes. We had the strawberry shake and it was simply delicious. Granted, it was just a milkshake, but boy does Shake Shack make a good milkshake!
If you have not tried Shake Shack yet, be sure to head down to an outlet in Dubai and try it!
Shake Shack at Souk Al Bahar
Address: Souk Al Bahar, Fountain View, OCTI, Downtown, Dubai , United Arab Emirates
Opening hours: Sundays to Wednesdays (12pm to 12am); Thursdays to Fridays (12pm to 1am)
Cost: 73 AED (inclusive of taxes)
Google Maps: List of attractions and food places in Dubai!
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