The best things to eat in Dubai

·5 min read
Burgers and fries at Salt in Dubai, UAE.
If you're looking for a late-night burger fix, Salt is your answer. Natasha Amar for Insider
  • Dubai is filled with vibrant restaurants, from hidden gems and pastry shops to waterfront bistros.

  • Sample the best cheesecake at Home Bakery, along with chocolate-pistachio kunafa and milk cakes.

  • Brunch at the Arabian Tea House, enjoy a date night at Taverna Kitchen, and grab a burger at Salt.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Although Dubai is famous for having the world's tallest skyscraper, Burj Khalifa, the city in the United Arab Emirates is also home to luxe restaurants, delectable pastry shops, and more.

Here are the restaurants you have to try, according to a local:

The hole-in-the-wall Al Ustad Special Kabab is a Dubai institution

Al Ustad Special Kabab.
Dine in this hidden gem, located in the Al Fahidi neighborhood. Natasha Amar for Insider

You'd never guess that this unassuming restaurant in the Al Fahidi neighborhood of old Dubai has served its legendary kebabs to royals, athletes, diplomats, and celebrities.

It's attracted customers for 42 years thanks to its deliciously juicy chicken and mutton kebabs, affordable prices, and friendly service.

Tip: If you can't decide what to order, ask the staff for a recommendation or choose from one of the combo mixes.

Go to Al Fanar Restaurant and Café for an Emirati feast

Al Fanar restaurant and café in Dubair.
Try the date-filled cakes at Al Fanar. Natasha Amar for Insider

For authentic Emirati fare, head to Al Fanar Restaurant and Café.

The interior is modeled on 1960s Dubai. There are mud-and-coral walls surrounding a central courtyard, traditional lamps, wooden doors, old photos, vintage memorabilia, and lifelike re-creations of souk and village scenes.

The food is tasty and hearty, and the portions are big enough to share.

Tip: Save room for date cake and pumpkin pudding for dessert.

Enjoy a local-approved breakfast at the Arabian Tea House

Hidden away in the shaded courtyard of a traditional house in the historic district, the lovely Arabian Tea House is full of romantic charm, fun design touches, and mouthwatering food.

Stop in for breakfast dishes such as bread served with honey, local cheese, olives, and vegetables and vermicelli cooked with cardamom and saffron and topped with an omelet.

Tip: Order a pot of tea from the wide range available.

Visit La Fabbrica Italiana for some authentic focaccia

Focaccia choices at La Fabbrica Italiana in Dubai, featuring toppings such as black truffle, onions, San Marzano tomatoes, eggplant, salami, and zucchini.
La Fabbrica Italiana offers an abundance of focaccia choices. Natasha Amar for Insider

This cozy, little focacceria is run by an Italian family that keeps things simple with just three menu categories: focaccia, burrata, and tiramisu.

The food here is so good that you should absolutely try all three.

There are over 10 focaccia choices, featuring toppings such as black truffle, onions, San Marzano tomatoes, eggplant, salami, and zucchini.

The burrata is served with figs, tomato salad, beef carpaccio, or gazpacho, and it's perfect for a summer afternoon.

Tip: Wash everything down with a sweet Italian soda or try one of the Italian coffees.

For Lebanese street food, try Zaatar w Zeit

Zaatar w Zeit in Dubai.
For an affordable meal, head to Zaatar w Zeit. Natasha Amar for Insider

For a quick, tasty, and affordable meal, head to Zaatar w Zeit.

There are various locations across Dubai that serve Lebanese street food such as toasted kaakeh sandwiches and wraps stuffed with chicken, beef, turkey, tuna, falafel, kebabs, or avocado.

There are also good salads and soups if you're in the mood for a lighter meal.

Tip: The combo deals include appetizers and salads alongside your meal, and they're a good value for the money.

The burgers at Salt might just be the best in Dubai

Join the locals at Kite Beach in the queue for Salt, one of Dubai's oldest and most popular burger chains.

Even with multiple locations around the city, the original one on the beach continues to see hungry customers into the wee hours of the morning until it closes at 3 a.m.

The Wagyu beef sliders with jalapeño and the fried-chicken sliders with Cheetos are intensely satisfying. The popular lotus-flavored shake or softy is also a must-try.

During the cooler months, you'll even find live performances by indie artists and bands on the weekends.

Tip: If you're visiting on a weekend, don't be deterred by the long lines. They move quickly, and the wait is worth it.

For Dubai's best cheesecake, go to Home Bakery

Cheesecake at Home Bakery.
Enjoy cheesecake and coffee at Home Bakery. Natasha Amar for Insider

This Emirati-owned bakery specializes in cakes, pastries, and other baked goods.

In addition to Middle Eastern-inspired desserts, such as chocolate-pistachio kunafa and milk cake, it serves what could easily be Dubai's best cheesecake with a burnt top and soft center.

Tip: The coffee here is also good.

Taverna Greek Kitchen is great for a date night

Taverna Greek Kitchen in Dubai.
Try authentic Greek food and cocktails at Taverna. Natasha Amar for Insider

With a fantastic waterfront location, authentic Greek food, and friendly service, Taverna Greek Kitchen is a safe choice for a good time.

The white, wooden interior, twinkling outdoor terrace, and Greek music transport you to a seaside Mediterranean village.

The restaurant is helmed by Greek chef Theo Rouvas, and the Greek salad, flaming cheese saganaki, sea bass carpaccio, wood-fire-grilled octopus, and kadaifi prawns won't disappoint.

It also serves Greek-inspired cocktails, such as the Kalamata martini with lavender gin and Kalamata olives.

Tip: This place gets busy on weekends, so it's best to make a reservation at least a couple of days in advance.

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