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Restaurants in Dubai

Few places on earth are as compactly cosmopolitan as Dubai, and that translates into an astonishingly varied food scene for diners. Visitors can find everything from shawarma joints serving delicious kebabs for under US$1, to seven-course tasting menus prepared by Michelin-starred chefs. Seafood is typically good value and the sushi frequently excellent.

Those keen for an aperitif or wine with their meal will need to eat at one the big hotels as no independent restaurants can serve alcohol. Friday brunch has become something of a ritual for both expats and locals, so booking ahead is essential. During the Islamic holy month of Ramadan only the big hotels will serve food between sunrise and sunset. However once the cannon fires to signal the official sundown people flood into the cafés and restaurants to break their fast. A festive and convivial atmosphere prevails making this a great time to meet the locals.

$$$$$ | Italian

Casa Mia

Located within the Le Méridien complex, Casa Mia is thought by many to be the best Italian restaurant in the city, known for its home-cooked Italian cuisine. The menu also includes delicious wood-fired pizzas, and in 2007 the restaurant was also honoured with an 'Award of Excellence' for its unique and extensive wine list. Open for lunch and dinner daily.

Address: Le Meridien Hotel
Telephone: (0)4 282 4040

$$$$$ | Asian

The Noodle House

This laid-back venue offers delicious, contemporary South East Asian fare at surprisingly affordable prices. Diners sit at long communal tables and don't need to wait very long for the region's usual favourites to appear, such as spring rolls, noodle soup, or vegetable, chicken and meat dishes served with noodles or rice. The open show kitchen allows diners to watch the food being prepared. Reservations are not accepted, and the place is busy, but the turnover of diners is high so the wait shouldn't be long. Open daily for lunch and dinner.

Address: Souk Madinat Jumeirah

$$$$$ | Fish

Al Mahara

The signature restaurant of the Burj Al Arab, one of the top 10 hotel restaurants in the world, gives diners a unique experience. A mock submarine ride takes guests to the dining area, where tables are situated around a huge floor-to-ceiling aquarium full of fish. Al Mahara specialises in unforgettable first impressions and fresh seafood and was voted one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. Dinner guests will also be serenaded by harpists, adding to the underwater atmosphere. Jackets are required for men, and reservations essential. Open daily for lunch and dinner.

Address: Burj Al Arab
Telephone: (0)4 301 7600

$$$$$ | International

Al Dawaar

Situated on the 25th floor of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Al Dawaar Revolving Restaurant boasts the best views in the city while guests dine. The restaurant revolves giving diners spectacular views of the Arabian Gulf, the Creek and the city of Dubai while enjoying a variety of international cuisines. The buffet is the most popular option, including Chinese stir-fries, spring rolls, sushi and local dishes. Open daily for lunch and dinner.

Address: Hyatt Regency
Telephone: (0)4 209 1100

$$$$$ | International

The Meat Co.

The Meat Co. at the Madinat Jumeirah is the place to go for top quality steak in Dubai. So far this South-African chain has just the one restaurant in the Emirate but it's never short of patrons and booking is essential on Friday and Saturday evenings. The restaurant prides itself on delivering A Grade Angus beef, 'wet-aged to perfection' and basted to create succulent melt in the mouth steak. The menu doesn't cater solely for meat lovers, with other highlights including the skewered grilled salmon and flame-grilled king prawns. In winter the best tables are outside alongside the Madinat's man-made canals, where diners can watch the boats transporting guests along the water.

Address: Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Shop 148, Jumeirah Beach Road
Telephone: +971 4 368 6040

$$$$$ | Contemporary European Buffet

Al Muntaha at The Burj Al Arab

The Friday Brunch has become synonymous with the expat lifestyle in Dubai in the last few years. Endless platters of seafood, meat, salads and deserts are offered at restaurants across the Emirate but, for really exclusive dining, foodies can't beat the famous Burj Al Arab Hotel. On Friday 10.00 to 14.30, guests can dine two hundred metres above sea level in the Al Muntaha restaurant whilst taking in the stunning view of the coastline. With spectacular views over the new Palm Islands and a plethora of mouth-watering dishes 'Brunch at the Burj' is fast becoming the most sought after venue. The dress code in the restaurant is smart casual. Gentlemen are requested to wear a shirt with collar, long trousers or smart jeans and closed shoes (no trainers). UAE national dress is welcomed. Guests are advised to book well in advance.

Address: Burj Al Arab, Beach Road, Dubai
Telephone: (4) 3017600

$$$$$ | Local


For shisha and cocktails QD's (Quarterdeck's) at Dubai Golf & Yacht Club is the place to be seen. This super chilled out, funky venue is hugely popular, particularly with young Emiratis who flock here on Friday and Saturday night to enjoy the vibe. Guests can choose to sit on the raised deck by the waters edge or to occupy their own personal shisha tent, complete with couches and beanbags, and order their favourite flavoured 'hubbly bubbly' from the menu. Flavours include apple, grape, strawberry and mint. Shisha waiters are constantly on hand with more hot coals to keep the pipes bubbling and the air filled with the sweet smoky smell that has become synonymous with Dubai at night. Guests can also buy shisha pipes and tobaccos to take home as a memento.

Address: Dubai Creek Golf Course, Deira, Dubai
Telephone: (0)4 2956000

$$$$$ | Creole

Trader Vic's

Trader Vic's has become something of an institution among expats in Dubai. The vibrant atmosphere, exotic menu and interesting cocktails remain popular with diners, making 'TV's' one of the Emirates best-loved eateries. Guests can feast on a wide variety of dishes including the famous Trader Vic's fish and chips, succulent duck wantons and delicious platters. The potent TV Mai Tai is also something of a legend in Dubai. There are currently two Trader Vic's outlets in Dubai the original branch at the Crowne Plaza and the immensely popular Souk Madinat Jumeriah location.

Address: Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Al Sufouh Road
Telephone: (0) 4 366 5646 (Souk Madinat) (0) 4 3056 399 (Crowne Plaza)

$$$$$ | Gastropubs

Carters @ Wafi Mall

One of the best-loved restaurants at the Wafi Mall, Carters offers diners great food in a relaxed cosmopolitan atmosphere with fantastic, friendly service. The decor is classic and stylish, reminiscent of a smoking lounge, and in winter months the ambience extends out onto the large terrace. The menu features old standards such as Chicken Caesar salad, Chargrilled US Angus Rib Eye steak and hand cut fries, alongside alternatives to traditional dishes; marinated duck satay with honey glaze. The mouth watering Mars bar cheesecake is a firm favourite. Carters also offers a good selection of wines.

Address: Wafi Mall
Telephone: (0) 4 324 4100

$$$$$ | Asian


For Asian tapas with a twist the popular choice in Dubai is Ginseng at Wafi City Mall. Nasi Goreng, Pandan Leaf Chicken and Duck Satay are firm favourites, as are the platters, which are perfect to share. The speciality cocktails are hugely popular at this funky hangout thanks to the fantastic deals on offer most nights; firm favourites are the Lychee Martini, Envy Champagne Cocktail and the Gingseng Summer Punch.

Address: Wafi City Mall
Telephone: (0)4 324 8200

$$$$$ | Pakistani


This popular Pakistani restaurant in Dubai is famous for its good food and relaxed atmosphere. This cheap and cheerful takeaway with outdoor tables attracts both locals and tourists, rich and poor for its excellent slow-cooked beef nihari, lamb haleem, and fresh, buttery naan bread. There's also a family room and cafeteria. Ravi is open daily from 5am to 3am.

Address: Al-Satwa Road, Satwa
Telephone: 04 331 5353

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