My Favourite Things to Eat in Dubai
With around 200 nationalities living in Dubai it’s no surprise that the choice of things to eat here is diverse.
This exciting city, as I found out earlier in the year at the Emirate’s annual food festival, is fast becoming a popular gastronomic destination. There’s a plethora of first-rate restaurants, serving a huge range of cuisines and catering for every budget too; not every meal will leave you in your credit card’s bad books (although some most definitely will).
Having met with a number of chefs, talked to locals and visited a wide range of venues, here’s my guide to all my edible favourites in this exciting city.
Things to Do in Dubai
Camel burger with halloumi and date and lime jam
As part of Dubai’s food festival the popular Kite Beach in Jumeirah was transformed into a street food market named the Beach Canteen. Featuring local bands, DJs and beach sports as well as the 11 food stalls in colourful shipping containers, it was a huge success. I noticed camel burgers on the menu from Asselah, The Radisson Blu – a modern twist on this low fat, traditional favourite. Not having tried camel before, I was curious and it didn’t disappoint. The burger was very tasty and tender, not gamey and tough as I had heard camel could be. Since coming back from Dubai I’ve not been able to find out anything about Asselah online but camel burgers are available in a number of restaurants so if you find a good one please do let me know.
Serving a fabulous range of exquisite breakfasts, brunches, light bites and lunches, cakes and pastries, Angelina’s is so much more than just a tea room in the heart of the city’s famous Dubai Mall.
Perhaps you’ll tempted by the Old-fashioned Hot Chocolate ‘L’Africain’ and Eggs Benedict or perhaps the Millefeuille of Crab and Granny Smith Apple or the Truffle, Porcini, Portobello Ravioli. Whatever the time of day and whatever you choose, it’s sure to delight. Service can be a little slow when it’s busy, but why rush a good thing? Enjoy the atmosphere and take your time. But if you don’t have time to linger grab a sweet treat from the adjacent shop.
Iranian Kababs at Al Fareej
For inexpensive, authentic Arabic street food check out Al Fareej Restaurant and Bakery. Try the tasty kababs koobideh (twice minced lamb kebabs), lemon lamb or chicken tikka (meaning small bites) wrapped up with salad, rice and a yoghurt dressing in freshly baked tanoor bread (a type of flat bread) or have the rice with zereshk (barberries) and the flat bread on the side.
Popular with locals, you’ll find Al Fareej in the quiet, middle class neighbourhood of Al Twar – this is well off the radar for most tourists. (map).
Reputed to be the best in the world, honey from bees fed on the nectar of the Sidr tree in Yemen is high in taste as well as nutritional and medicinal value. It’s only available in limited quantities so it isn’t surprising that it is also the most expensive in the world. Balqees Honey is said to sell the best raw Yemeni Sidr Honey there is. Unprocessed and unrefined, raw sidr honey is one of nature’s richest super food sugar substitutes. High in antioxidants, antibacterial and antifungal, it is said to strengthen the immune system and help to reduce allergies. All that aside sidr honey tastes sublime – aromatic, smooth and sweet with butterscotch and caramel notes.
I tried Balqees Honey at The Farmers’ Market On The Terrace, hosted by Jumeirah Emirates Towers. Now closed for the summer, I’m sure it will be back for its seventh season this coming winter. It’s well worth checking out if you are interested in organic, fresh, locally, sustainably and ethically produced food.
You can also find Balqees Honey at the Dubai Mall.
Friday Brunch at the Ritz-Carlton
During my visit to Dubai, I was staying at the Ritz-Carlton Dubai Jumeirah Beach. Come Friday I was advised to skip breakfast and save myself for the hotel’s famous Friday Rotisserie Brunch.
With my tummy rumbling, I walked into the restaurant and could hardly believe my eyes as I took in every mouth-watering, eyes popping dish, after dish, after ‘that much temptation cannot be good for you’, lip-smacking dish on display. A feeding frenzy verging on the obscene ensued.
We were told to dress to impress, put on our heels and dive into the expat lifestyle. The only pair of heels I had with me, had nearly broken my ankles earlier in the week and were now where they belonged in the bin. While the expat life here wouldn’t be for me and some of the ladies outfits had my eyes popping as much as the food did, it really was a superb meal. I couldn’t pick out just one dish as a favourite as it was all so good from the whole roasted lamb to the sushi corner to the Arabic delicacies to the delightful mini desserts to the waffles, the..
Friday Brunch at the Ritz-Carlton isn’t cheap but it is impressive and the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion.
Afternoon Tea in The Lobby Lounge
The spacious Lobby Lounge within the Ritz-Carlton is bright and elegant, with a stunning, high, wooden ceiling bedecked with glittering chandeliers.
The setting is ideal for a classic afternoon tea including beef and salmon sandwiches which look like mini-burgers, petite goat’s cheese tarts, chocolate-covered strawberries and not forgetting scones with clotted cream and a choice of jams and preserves.
Sit inside and enjoy the live harp music or outside on the terrace overlooking the gardens.
Find out more about The Ritz-Carlton and the range fo dining options there in my review on Boutique Travel Blog.
Breakfast by the creek
My absolute favourite meal of the week, however, was without doubt the breakfast I had at Creekside, Bur Dubai Textile Souk, (map). Selecting from a delightfully creative menu featuring Emirate fusion cuisine using regionally inspired ingredients, I opted for French Toast. To be more precise – Arabic coffee custard French toast with hickory smoked fig jam, pistachio, whipped cream, sour pomegranate syrup, strawberries and blueberries. I honestly couldn’t believe just how good it tasted. I’ve tried re-creating it back home but my attempts, while nice, fade in comparison. A refreshing glass of rose iced tea, made from dried rose buds, a popular Middle Eastern ingredient, completed my morning treat.
With a view across Deira Creek, where you can watch the traditional abras (boat taxis) coming and going, Creekside is a laidback, casual eatery and so much more besides. Having opened just last year, it has already proved to be an exciting venue for cultural workshops celebrating the area’s heritage in the very heart of Old Dubai. Follow Creekside on Tumbler CreeksideDubai.me and Facebook.
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