Food In Dubai Everyone Should Try

Visiting Dubai is easy when it comes to world-class attractions and high-end shopping venues, but things might be a little more tricky with food. For most European and American tourists, Arabic food is confusing at first, so it is surely worth looking into the cuisine before your trip.

Get Offer

If you’re planning a trip, don’t miss our previous article about the best places to visit in Dubai to help you plan your perfect trip. In the article, we will go through some of the most popular establishments with famous restaurant cooks, explain the main traditional dishes in Dubai, and provide some street food suggestions.

Dubai Luxury Restaurants

Before going over popular Dubai dishes, it seems reasonable to cover the restaurants first. And even though there are hundreds of well-rated establishments in the emirate, some of the restaurants manage to stand out.

Food In Dubai Everyone Should Try

Tresind Studio

The first dining experience on our list is the Tresind Studio, a restaurant that has managed to claim two Michelin stars and multiple other awards such as The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2023. Everything about the place screams luxury: its location on the famous Palm Jumeirah, its polished and minimalist interiors, its approach to serving, and its award-winning chef.

It should be noted that the prices are corresponding to the status of this restaurant. A dinner for two would cost around 1700 AED which is slightly more than 450 USD. Counter to what you might expect, Tresind Studio is an Indian cuisine restaurant, meaning you won’t find any local dishes there.


Next on the list we have another Michelin star restaurant, but unlike the previous one, this establishment feels like a much more personal and natural dining experience. As it is suggested in the name, the place is run by three brothers, who clearly have a passion for cooking.

The menu is fairly diverse and rather unique, offering a variety of beef and chicken dishes as well as a small selection of vegan dishes. There are not so many options on the menu, but every single dish is polished to perfection, and won’t leave the guest unsatisfied.

As for the prices, Orfali Bros Bistro Restaurant is on the affordable end of the Michelin spectrum. Hot dishes start from as low as 30 AED, while the most expensive item on the menu is a ribs dish that costs 135 AED.


While the previous place offered a cozy setting of a family dinner, Ossiano sets a very different and otherworldly atmosphere. Located in the famous Atlantis Resort, this world-class restaurant takes a new approach to windows. Instead of leading outside of the building, they provide a view to a massive aquarium, creating a very distinct setting for the place.

Ossiano is a Michelin-awarded restaurant, so the prices are expectedly high. At the time of writing, there is an event showcasing the chefs’ talents in a special 10-course tasting menu, which costs 1,600 AED. On a regular day, you should expect to pay around 1200 AED or 300 USD per person.


Moonrise is another restaurant with a Michelin star in Dubai. It is located on a rooftop in the Al Satwa neighborhood right next to the Emirates Towers and the Museum of the Future. This luxury establishment has only twelve seats, and every dish served is curated by an award-winning chef Solemann Haddad.

The reservations can be made on the website, and considering the limited number of tables, it is better to look for available slots way in advance. As for the prices, Moonrise charges a fixed 950 AED per person, which equals around 260 USD.


Before we get into traditional Emirati cuisine in the next section, we have to mention Alici, a top-tier Italian restaurant located in the Dubai Marina neighborhood, right next to the Dubai Eye entrance.

Thanks to its location, it offers an unparalleled view of the bay and the neighborhood, enabling the guests to not only enjoy the exquisite dishes, but also admire the views and take in the cool breeze.

With its main focus being on seafood, Alici is easily one of the best places to try such dishes as oysters, Risotto gamberi di Mazara, grilled salmon, and others. The variance in prices is rather significant between different menu options, so an average bill may range between $40 and $110 per person.

Traditional Emirati Cuisine

Food In Dubai Everyone Should Try

Some of the most luxurious places that we have just described are doing what Dubai is famous for – collecting the best options from all around the world. Nevertheless, there is a rich traditional dish selection for those who want to experience the dining culture of locals.

Iranian Sangak – One Of The Most Popular Dishes

First on the list we have Iranian sangak, which is leavened flatbread that might be baked in multiple shapes. It is usually offered as an appetizer before the main courses and served with cheese, yogurt, or even jam.

You won’t have to inquire about sangak or even ask for it: the majority of places offering local cuisine will have it on the menu, while some restaurants serve it free of charge as a starter.

Al Harees – Taste The Tradition

Harees is a popular national dish among Dubai locals. It is essentially a porridge made of wheat mixed with meat and topped with a bazaar spice mix.

It might not be so trending throughout the year, but during the month of Ramadan, it becomes one of the most common dishes in the United Arab Emirates and many other countries of the Persian Gulf.

Al Machboos – Surprising Delicacy of Dubai Cuisine

While the previous dishes are starters and even fasting options, Al machboos can easily go as a main course. Served in a large plate, muchboos offers some interesting taste combinations that you won’t find with European cuisine.

At its foundation, Al machboos has some spiced basmati rice, onions, and roasted nuts, while the main ingredients may vary. It is easy to find chicken, meat, or even seafood versions of this machboos, as the side dish that is built into it is rather universal.

Mandi – Tradition On A Platter

Mandi is another traditional rice dish that has originated from Yemen, but has become widely popular in Dubai as well. The concept might sound similar to machboos, as both these dishes offer meat mixed with rice, but the different set of spices and cooking in a pit give Mandi a unique taste.

Much like with the previous dish, Mandi may be cooked with lamb, chicken, or seafood. Some restaurants serve it with a variety of exotic toppings, which allows the guests to experience all sides of this unusual dining option.

Oozie – Ramadan Special Food

Oozie or Ouzi is another traditional food that is especially popular during Ramadan. Just like the previous options, it is essentially meat served with spiced rice.

There are several parameters, however, that make this particular dish stand out from all the other Dubai food. Firstly, it is almost always served with tender lamb or beef that are very rarely substituted for chicken.

Secondly, the way the rice is cooked and mixed with the meat is different from machboos or Mandi. Last but not least, there are peas, carrots, and a special set of spices added to the mix, giving the dish its signature taste.

Shirin Polow – The Authentic Dubai Cuisine

Shirin Polow, also known as the Persian sweet rice, is another great option to try traditional Dubai food. And while the original name of the dish is confusing, the second one pretty much explains its main idea: it is a plate of rice mixed with some sweet toppings.

Different variations of the dish might include carrots, peas, sesame seeds, or tons of other ingredients. The common parameters between most of these variations are rice, orange, and sugar.

Kousa Mahshi – Taste The Classic Spices

The last item on the list of traditional food in Dubai is Kousa Mahshi, which is essentially a stuffed zucchini. Most commonly, it includes minced lamb or beef, onions, tomatoes, mint leaves, and a variety of spices.

Much like with most other items of the delicious Dubai cuisine, Kousa Mahshi might come in dozens of variants with different ingredients or their proportions.

Healthy Food in Dubai

Food In Dubai Everyone Should Try

While most items of Dubai’s national food that we have covered can be made in a vegan or at least a healthy way, some dishes are exclusively available in that format. There are two options that particularly stand out, and if you’re a healthy eater, you should not miss out on a chance to try them during your visit to the United Arab Emirates.


First on the list we have tabbouleh, which is a traditional salad made of parsley, tomatoes, onions, lemon juice, and a variety of other ingredients. The majority of local restaurants and cafes serve this salad, although it might be spelled as tabouli or taboulah on the menu.


The second dish is a very unusual experience that is hard to match against anything from European cuisine. Madrouba consists of rice, chicken, and a rich selection of spices, and it may have a consistency similar to either soup or porridge, depending on the variation you’re trying.

Street Food In Dubai

Food In Dubai Everyone Should Try

While traditional Dubai cuisines offer a more authentic experience, street food is not less popular, and much easier to access for tourists. In this section, we will go through some of the most popular Emirati food options you can grab on the go.


Kebabs are easily the most iconic Middle Eastern street food option, so it makes sense we start with them. As you probably already know, kebabs are long chunks of grilled meat prepared with a range of spices. The taste might seem too unusual for those who prefer European meals, but it is definitely worth trying out.

Shish Tawook – Have It Like The Locals

Even though the name of Shish Tawook is far from being as recognizable as with the previous option, these are essentially chicken kebabs. Even though the spices are almost identical to regular kebabs, Shish Tawook will seem less unfamiliar to tourists.

Food In Dubai Everyone Should Try

Lahem Bl Ajin – The Arab Pizza

Lahem Bl Ajin is known as the Arab pizza, although the similarities are mostly visual. This dish is usually a mixture of meat and species topped on a piece of flatbread, and even though it might look similar to Italian pizzas, the taste could not have been any more distant.

Shawarma – The Popular Street Food Item

Shawarma is a street food dish that has taken over the world, and considering its Middle Eastern origins, there is no surprise it is also one of the most popular Dubai food items on the streets. A shawarma consists of thin-cut grilled meat wrapped into flatbread with a variety of additional ingredients, and you will find a place to get it on almost every street of Dubai.

Knafeh – Cheese Pastry Redefined

Next on the list we have Knafeh, which, unlike all the previous dishes, is a desert rather than a main course. It is a unique mixture of dough, cheese, almonds, and other ingredients, soaked into a special sweet sauce. If made traditionally, these deserts are hard to miss on the streets, as they are cooked on massive round stoves.

Baba Ganoush – An Epic Starter

Baba Ganoush is a popular appetizer made out of roasted eggplant and includes tahini, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and many other ingredients. It is traditionally served with flatbread that is dipped into the mixture in order to dial down its strong taste.

Fatteh – All Things Good In One

Fatteh is another item of Dubai food that consists of layers of flatbread, chickpeas, creamy yogurt, and various spices, topped with a drizzle of olive oil and garnished with fresh herbs. As always, the recipes may differ, so you should expect a variance in ingredients when purchasing it in different places.

Gahwa (Arabic Coffee)

Gahwa is also known as Arabic coffee, and the latter term is pretty much self-explanatory. The two features that make it different from your average European or American coffee are the arabica beans and the addition of cardamom.

Kellaj – A Cheesy Delight

Kellaj is an unusual desert made of buttery pastry and filled with cheese. It is usually topped with sweet syrup or honey, and even though cheesy deserts aren’t meant for everyone, it is definitely worth trying.

Falafel – Prepared With Love

Last but not least, we have falafel, another massively popular item of the Dubai cuisine. These deep-fried balls may be made of broad beans or ground chickpeas, and come with an addition of some interesting herbs and spices. It is common to serve falafel in a pita along with some fresh vegetables and tahini sauce.


What are the cheapest traditional Dubai foods?

If you’re looking to have some cheap Dubai food, the best options are small cafes with local Dubai cuisine, or street food venues with kebab, shawarma, falafel, or other spicy food. Street food is easily the cheapest option to try out some local cuisine.

Are Michelin-star restaurants worth it?

While every Michelin-awarded restaurant we have covered today offers an exceptional dining experience, it is only worth it if you can afford it. Of course, treating your taste buds with the best Dubai cuisine is great, but when it comes with worries about the prices, it stops being worth it.

Are Arabic desserts tasty?

Middle Eastern desserts will all seem rather unusual to first-time visitors from Europe, the United States, or other Western parts of the world. But considering desserts like knafeh or kellaj are considered some of the best Dubai foods by locals, they are surely worth trying.