What to Know about Dining in Dubai

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What to Know about Dining in Dubai
Dubai is a foodie oasis in a desert of shawarma and falafel. You can find both those dishes in abundance, of course, but Dubai is full of diverse gastronomic surprises and cuisine from all around the world.
By Baxter Jackson, AFAR Local Expert
Photo by Jochen Tack/age fotostock
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    Dinner with a View
    Restauranteurs in Dubai take their dinner aesthetics very seriously. Housed in Dubai Mall's oriental Souq Al Bahar, don't miss a Levantine evening at Abd El Wahab with front-row seats to Dubai Mall's water fountains. For a more nautical experience, the city's popular Dhow Cruise's meals come with a panoramic view of the glitzy city.
    Photo by Jochen Tack/age fotostock
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    Dubai’s Café Scene
    The Middle East is famous for its café culture, and Dubai is no exception. Check out the Sum of Us, one of Dubai's artisan cafés, that is perfumed with the scent of almond lattes and salted caramel french toasts. For a wildly different atmosphere, pay a visit to Reem Al Bawadi for slightly kitschy Arabic décor, excellent fruity shisha, and an array of backgammon tables for customers to play.
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    Traditional Emirati Cuisine
    Emirati cuisine is a growing market in Dubai that connects residents with traditional cuisine. If camel milk isn't enough you can try camel meat—either as a burger or curried—in Arabic style dining rooms at Local House Restaurant in Al Bastakiya; locals are few and far between. Popular traditional Emirati cafés and restaurants include Khameer and Dough and Logma with their modern take on traditional foods. 

    Photo by age fotostock
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    Tantalizing Indian Food
    Indians represent more than 30 percent of the population of Dubai and as such there are plenty of Indian restaurants. While there are many high end options for Indian cuisine, some humble Indian restaurants provide more bang for your buck and an experience alongside a wider variety of Indian residents. For fish lovers, Bu Qtair is not to be missed with flavors that will endure in your memory and mouth for a while. 


    Photo by Jan Baldwin/age fotostock
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    Persian Delights
    Iranian influences in Dubai are palpable; you can taste them at the unassuming Special Ostadi Restaurant (SOR). The characters lining the walls—celebrities, singers, and pretty girls—testify to the fact that SOR has been cranking out the best kebabs this side of Tehran since 1978.
    Photo by Andre Baranowski/age fotostock
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    Americana in the City
    American influences on Dubai's taste in food is visible in the city's growing number of burger joints. Join many Emiratis and burger lovers at the benches of Salt in Kite Beach for juicy sliders. And, for food truck lovers, check out the Last Exit with its fried goodies and American-style decor.