Dubai restaurants

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#1/40
expert-rated restaurants in Dubai
Best for Gourmets -
Expert overall rating:4.8 (out of 5)

Experience a tastebud revolution from the man who invented molecular gastronomy.

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Rhodes Mezzanine

Price guide: Expensive
#2/40
expert-rated restaurants in Dubai
Best for Trendiness -
Expert overall rating:4.8 (out of 5)

Gary Rhodes brings some Michelin-starred excellence to town.

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Nobu

Price guide: Expensive
#3/40
expert-rated restaurants in Dubai
Expert overall rating:4.6 (out of 5)

Dubai's outpost of the famed Japanese is pricey but incredible.

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Thai Kitchen

Price guide: Mid-range
#4/40
expert-rated restaurants in Dubai
Best for Outdoor dining -
Expert overall rating:4.5 (out of 5)

An outstandingly chilled setting and perhaps the best brunch in town.

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Zuma

Price guide: Expensive
#5/40
expert-rated restaurants in Dubai
Expert overall rating:4.5 (out of 5)

The internationally adored Japanese restaurant and bar strikes a hearty chord in Dubai.

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BiCE

Price guide: Expensive
#7/40
expert-rated restaurants in Dubai
Expert overall rating:4.5 (out of 5)

The Milanese outpost has been delighting Dubai's Italian fans for some time.

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Rivington Grill

Price guide: Expensive
#8/40
expert-rated restaurants in Dubai
Expert overall rating:4.4 (out of 5)

A brilliant British outpost with an excellent view to boot.

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Verre by Gordon Ramsay

Price guide: Expensive
#9/40
expert-rated restaurants in Dubai
Expert overall rating:4.4 (out of 5)

He's been here a while now, but Ramsay still has the consistent quality to amaze Dubai foodies.

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The Exchange Grill

Price guide: Expensive
#10/40
expert-rated restaurants in Dubai
Expert overall rating:4.4 (out of 5)

Exquisitely prepared steaks in comfortable, leather-armchaired sophistication.

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Bait Al Wakeel

Price guide: Budget
#11/40
expert-rated restaurants in Dubai
Best for Value for money -
Expert overall rating:4.3 (out of 5)

Nestled in heart of old Dubai and overlooking the creek, this isn't to be missed.

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Pierchic

Price guide: Expensive
#12/40
expert-rated restaurants in Dubai
Expert overall rating:4.3 (out of 5)

Sat at the end of a pier, this seafood spot is perhaps the best located restaurant in Dubai.

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Pai Thai

Price guide: Expensive
#15/40
expert-rated restaurants in Dubai
Best for Romance -
Expert overall rating:4.2 (out of 5)

The most romantic Thai in town? Probably.

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Buddha Bar

Price guide: Expensive
#16/40
expert-rated restaurants in Dubai
Expert overall rating:4.2 (out of 5)

A hugely popular and extremely stylish bar/restaurant in the Dubai Marina.

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Belgian Beer Cafe

Price guide: Mid-range
#17/40
expert-rated restaurants in Dubai
Expert overall rating:4.2 (out of 5)

Good beers, bowls of steaming mussels and the Dubai Creek for a view.

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Hoi An

Price guide: Mid-range
#18/40
expert-rated restaurants in Dubai
Expert overall rating:4.2 (out of 5)

Dubai's only Vietnamese restaurant is - logically - also the best. Thankfully, it's fantastic.

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Magnolia

Price guide: Expensive
#19/40
expert-rated restaurants in Dubai
Expert overall rating:4.1 (out of 5)

Dubai's best vegetarian is a world away from your average nut roasts.

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Zheng He's

Price guide: Expensive
#20/40
expert-rated restaurants in Dubai
Expert overall rating:4.1 (out of 5)

A wonderful setting for a truly excellent Chinese.

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Teatro

Price guide: Mid-range
#21/40
expert-rated restaurants in Dubai
Expert overall rating:4.1 (out of 5)

A vibrant and well-priced international eatery that has built up a huge Dubai fanbase.

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Indego by Vineet

Price guide: Expensive
#23/40
expert-rated restaurants in Dubai
Expert overall rating:4.1 (out of 5)

India's first Michelin star drops in on Dubai with some unique fusion (and a price to boot).

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Armani/Ristorante

Price guide: Expensive
#24/40
expert-rated restaurants in Dubai
Expert overall rating:4.0 (out of 5)

High-end Armani-endorsed Italian, in the Armani Hotel, in the world's tallest tower. How Dubai.

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Showing 1-20 of 32 results
Set focus

I’ve often thought that if there weren’t such a ludicrous supply of restaurants in Dubai, most people here would have nothing to talk about. Conversations in this city seem always to drift towards food, whether it be the constant stream of new openings, recommended brunches (more on these institutions later) or hidden out-of-the-way finds. There are restaurants everywhere; in hotel complexes, in the malls and lining the roads. Unfortunately, with much of Dubai's tourist scene being based in a hotel complex or in a sprawling mall, you're unlikely to stumble across a small rustic family-run affair without a great deal of effort. But a large amount of the restaurants are of excellent quality and are continually trying to up their game as the competition heats up. Prices range from the astronomical to the frighteningly cheap, and cover almost every single gastronomic scene on the planet. Dubai has often been considered a shopper's paradise. I think it's now far more a destination for the foodie.

Rules to remember

  • Despite common perceptions, alcohol is definitely allowed in Dubai. However, due to licensing laws it’s only available within hotels, or bars attached to hotels (with a few exceptions). Generally speaking, it costs a fortune. A pint of lager can sometimes reach £9, depending on where you’re drinking, and rarely dips below £5. Wine isn’t cheap either, with most ‘house’ bottles costing well into the £20-£30 range.
  • There really is no ‘standard’ local food in Dubai. While Arabic cooking, generally shawarmas (like a chicken kebab sandwich), salads and hummous are available almost everywhere, there’s such a proficiency of international cuisine that it’s considered just as popular as, say, pizza or curries.
  • If someone invites you to a ‘brunch’, don’t think it’ll be a light snack with a few cups of tea thrown in. Dubai’s Friday brunch scene has developed something of an international notoriety. Most restaurants offer some sort of a ‘Friday Brunch’, usually a vast all-you-can-eat buffet with the (popular) option of an all-you-can-drink accompaniment, and usually running between noon and 4pm. The quality varies across the restaurants, but is generally excellent and the prices range from the £15 mark all the way up to £100 (which will probably included unlimited Champagne). However, the amount of alcohol consumed in such a short space of time often results in some rather rowdy behaviour, some seriously drunken souls stumbling into the afternoon and quite a few sore heads the next day.
  • Seafood is generally excellent across Dubai, most plucked from the regional waters. The most popular fish is Hammour, which is the local name for the Grouper, but apparently stocks are starting to run low.
  • Generally speaking, most restaurants open noon-3pm and then 7pm-midnight, give or take an hour either side. The local Arabic community eats later than most others.
  • There isn’t a huge culture of tipping, and you certainly won’t get hounded out of the restaurant if you don’t. But, taking into account that many of the waiters are on rather pitiful salaries, it’s recommended to leave 10-15 per cent.
  • You shouldn’t have any issues bringing children into restaurants. Many are part of hotels and are well-catered to serving families.
Set focus

Through a combination of my work and being a truly abysmal cook, I've managed to slurp, chomp and munch my way through the menus of a large majority of Dubai's eateries over the past five years. As such, I think I've got a decent grasp of the local food scene and think I know where visitors would enjoy eating. In my list, I've tried to pick a healthy portion of places that have consistently succeeded in excelling, a few options in out-of-the-way locations should you find yourself there, a decent sprinkling of restaurants doing something interesting or unusual, some fine examples of local Arabic cooking and a few personal favourites.