Best Food & Drink in Dubai

Published on: Feb 01, 2021
Jade Lamb
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Dubai's menus are bold, zesty, and above all memorable. With origins in traditional Arabic cuisine and European favourites, the range of tempting dishes in Dubai is a delicious mix of Lebanese, Iranian and Indian influences.


Order fresh seafood caught locally in the Arabian Gulf, or take your taste buds in a different direction with the eclectic vegetarian and vegan options available. Complete your dining experience with a spiced hot beverage – Dubai is famous for them – or a refreshing chilled drink.


And because we know it can be difficult to decide what to eat when presented with so many delicious options, here’s our guide to some of the best food and drink in town.

Best food in Dubai 

Let’s get straight to it! You can’t go wrong when ordering these sumptuous dishes.



Considered the national dish of the United Arab Emirates, machboos (you might also find it spelled majboos or majbous on the menu) is a rice dish served with meat, seafood or vegetables. It has a distinctly spicy and powerful flavour and is often slow cooked – making it so tender that it melts in the mouth.

Where can I try Machboos? 

Head to Al Fanar Restaurant and Cafe in Dubai Festival City Market for traditional machboos.



Shawarma consists of spiced meat – usually chicken or lamb. It’s slow-roasted to infuse it with flavour, wrapped in roti or pitta bread, and smothered in garlic sauce.

Where can I try shawarma?

You'll find this tasty snack at eateries on every corner in Dubai, including:

  • Al Ijaza Cafeteria – Located near Mercato Beach, it's the perfect place to stop for a bite to eat after a day in the sun.
  • Al Mallah, Mr. Shawarma – You'll find this popular spot just a 15-minute walk away from the Etihad Museum, so you can feast on steaming shawarma after learning more about Dubai's rich history.
  • Al Hallab Restaurant & Sweets – This Lebanese restaurant is revered for its shawarma (and its spicy potato sandwiches are also worth a try too!)


A staple during Ramadan, harees is made with wheat and chicken or lamb. It’s then mixed with water and butter, before cumin, salt and onions are added and the dish is left to soak overnight. Once the water has been drained, harees has a similar consistency to porridge.

Where can I try Harees?

Among the best places to sample this traditional dish are Aseelah – located in the Radisson Blu Hotel at Dubai Deira Creek – or Al Barza Restaurant and Cafe. 



Warak enab 

Warak enab consists of vine leaves stuffed with rice and herbs. Pomegranate molasses is usually drizzled on top to provide the finishing touch. This appetiser is perfect for those who follow a plant-based diet.

Where can I try warak enab?

We’d recommend sampling warak enab at Azkadenya, which you’ll find in the Mall of the Emirates.



If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll love this dessert. It’s basically deep-fried balls of pastry – crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside – drizzled in honey or date syrup. It’s not surprising that this dish is so popular during Ramadan.

Where to try luqaimat?

Try luqaimat at Loqmato in Dubai Mall. Top it with caramel and white chocolate sauce and a sprinkling of pistachio, coconut, Oreo, or any of the other dozens of choices.



Also known as fareed, this stew is made with meat – usually chicken or lamb – and roughly cut vegetables. It is served over thin regag bread that’s been soaked in lamb soup.  

Where can I try Thareed?

Al Mallas at Jumeirah Beach is one of the best places in the city to sample this hearty and comforting dish.



Kibbeh is truly delicious. Bite through a crispy crust made from ground beef, onions and bulgur wheat, and let your taste buds lap up the soft centre of toasted pine nuts and spiced beef. It comes deep-fried or baked, and is often served with a yoghurt sauce – perfect for dunking.

Where can I try kibbeh?

Treat yourself and book a table at Ayamna at Atlantis, The Palm – a stunning five-star resort overlooking the Arabian Gulf.

Best drinks in Dubai 

Look out for these refreshing beverages on the menu and be sure to sample a couple during your stay in Dubai. 



Dubai’s national drink is a sweet chai tea served with milk and spices including saffron, cinnamon, and ginger. It’s best served with a sweet treat on the side.

Where can I try karak?

Nestled in Downtown Dubai is Karak House Dubai, where the drink is served with a complimentary butter cookie.


Arabic coffee

Prefer coffee to tea? You’ll love Dubai’s café culture! The region's brews are considered to be some of the best in the world. Better known as gahwa, Arabic coffee is made with spices including cumin and saffron. It’s poured from an Arabian coffee pot known as a dallah and often accompanied by sweet dates.

Where can I try Arabic coffee?

The Coffee Museum in the Al Fahidi District is the place we’d recommend you sample this traditional drink.



If you want something a little more refreshing, try jallab. This popular Arabic drink is formed of grape molasses, dates and rose water – creating a distinctively sweet, perfumed flavour.

Where can I try jallab?

Jallab is served in all cafes and restaurants throughout the city. However, two places you might like to sample it are Mezza House in Downtown Dubai and Al Habbab in The Dubai Mall.


Need to know: Alcohol is available but there are strict rules around drinking in Dubai. Firstly, you must be over 21 to drink alcohol. Secondly, no matter what your age, you can only buy alcohol in licensed venues such as hotels and restaurants. Most importantly, you cannot drink alcohol or appear drunk in public.

Best places to eat and drink in Dubai 

You now know what to eat and drink in Dubai… but where should you wine and dine? With a huge variety of places to dine in this cosmopolitan city, we’ve selected a few of our favourites:


Reem Al Bawadi

Few places dish up a more authentic taste of Arabic cuisine than Reem Al Bawadi. Spread across five different Dubai locations, Reem Al Bawadi serves up Middle Eastern flavours with a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

Open from 6am until 2am in popular districts such as Dubai Marina and Sheikh Zayed Road, this classy restaurant lends itself to all manner of occasions. Enjoy an early morning coffee and breakfast or drop by for grilled kebabs, falafels or lamb chops in the evening. Cap your meal off with a selection of flavoured sheesha.

Hakkasan Dubai

Housed inside the majestic Atlantis, The Palm, Hakkasan Dubai is the perfect place to enjoy a delicious evening meal or Friday brunch.

Here you can indulge in a menu of seafood, poultry, meat and vegetable dishes. Our favourites are the wok-fried chilli mud crab, charcoal-grilled black cod and black truffle roasted duck.

Whether you’re marking a special occasion or you just want to sample local flavours in lavish surroundings, Hakkasan Dubai offers something for every palate. The restaurant’s dark oak floors add an extra layer of elegance to a venue which already oozes sophistication.


This restaurant can be found in the city’s most iconic hotel, the 5-star Burj Al Arab. The world’s tallest hotel houses 10 restaurants and bars, with SAL being the newest addition. 

Expect southern Mediterranean cuisine with plenty of seafood on the menu including crab and sea bass as well as a ‘catch of the day’. 

Dining packages are available that include access to the pool and beach which you can take advantage of all day. 

Once you’ve eaten in the poolside restaurant, why not head up to the observation decks which are situated at the top of the building and offer an incredible bird’s-eye view of the Arabian Gulf. 


Is your mouth watering now? The good news is you're just one flight away from trying all this delicious food and drink. Check out our holidays to Dubai and speak to our travel experts today. You’ll be tucking into this local cuisine in no time.

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