The world’s best food trucks have flown in, Kite Beach is being set up as a foodie hub and the city’s finest restaurants have prepared affordable three-course menus. Dubai Food Festival starts this weekend! Here’s everything you need to know…

The Beach Canteen


Returning again to Kite Beach, the free mini beachside festival is bigger than ever with restaurants, farmers’ markets and fitness classes vying for your attention. It’s running from February 25 until March 12.

Here are five things to look out for at the beach fest…

1. Pop-up restaurants

Get a real taste for Dubai’s food scene as 15 of the city’s best home-grown restaurants will run pop-ups along the beach (running 10am to 10pm every day).

2. Open mic night

Discover some local music talent at the series of open mic nights. Each evening has its own theme so there’s something for everyone, from jazz (February 29), pop (March 2), Latino (March 7) and rock (March 9). The nights run from 7pm to 10pm. 


3. Storytelling by the sea

Dubai’s own literary café BookMunch will be hosting book readings for children every Tuesday throughout the festival (so starting on March 1). All the books will be inspired by food. Our fingers are crossed for The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The timings for this are 4pm to 5pm. 

4. Food and film

Bring along a blanket and watch a film under the stars every Friday and Saturday. The pop-up restaurants will even be serving movie-inspired dishes for when you get peckish. The movies run from 7.30pm, and on Friday 26 it’s Superhero night, on Sunday 28 it’s Classic Move Night, on March 4 it’s Action night with James Bond, on March 6 it’s Rom Com night and March 11 is Disney night. 

5. Fitness classes

Take part in one of the free fitness classes down on the sand throughout the festival. Work up a serious sweat with an HIIT class, a beach Pilates class or stretch out with early morning and sunset yoga sessions. There will be classes throughout the day, with many running concurrently, so check the Food Festival’s Facebook page for updates closer to the time. 

6. See celeb chefs in action

From 12pm until 5.10pm (that’s specific), Australia’s finest cooks will be grilling, frying, chopping and more at the cooking theatre at The Beach Canteen. There will be George Colambaris, Gary Mehigan, Manu Fieldel, Matt Moran and Shannon Bennett.

7. Go to Market Week

The Beach Canteen will be hosting distinct markets in March, with a food and fashion market on Tuesday 8 and Wednesday 9, an artisanal market on Thursday 10 and a family market on Friday 11. Meanwhile, keen home cooks and health nuts will want to head down on Saturday March 12, as that’s when the ‘best of the best’ farmers’ market will be, bringing together

Beach Canteen runs from February 25 to March 12. Kite Beach, Umm Suqeim, Jumeirah, Dubai, free. Tel: (600) 555559. Taxi: Kite Beach. For more info about timings and details closer to the date, check or Dubai Food Festival’s Facebook.

Dine With The Stars

Matt-Moran-ARIA-kitchen-2Matt Moran

Swanky celeb chefs are flying in for the festival too, and will be hosting nights at Armani Hotel. On Thursday February 25 Arabic celebrity chef Manal Al Alem will be crafting a three-course menu of regional treats, while on Friday February 26 Antipodean culinary maestros will take over the kitchen. The chefs cooking on Friday include Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris from Aussie MasterChef, the lovely Matt Moran and Shannon Bennett, and Frenchman in Australia Manu Feildel (who reality TV fans will know from My Kitchen Rules).

manu feidelManu Feildel 

Tickets for Manal’s night are Dhs549, while the five course Australian-chef dinner on Friday will be Dhs849 per person (each chef is contributing a course).

Shannon-Bennett-Vue-de-monde-high-resShannon Bennett 

Book your tickets here.

Dubai Restaurant Week

Treat yourself to a three-course set menu for Dhs189 at one of 30 fine dining restaurants in Dubai. Here are five of our picks. 

1. Bread Street Kitchen


If you haven’t tried Gordon Ramsay’s latest opening, now’s your chance. Described by Ramsay as a “cool Britannia-esque East End of London mash-up”, Bread Street Kitchen serves flavoursome, seasonal ingredients and its set menu includes a spicy tuna tartar, braised beef and British pub classic warm treacle tart.

Atlantis The Palm, Dubai, daily 12.30pm to 4pm, 6pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 4262626. Taxi: Atlantis, The Palm.

2. Ashiana By Vineet


Renovated and taken over by Michelin-starred chef Vineet Bhatia early last year, Ashiana By Vineet is the place to find inventive cooking. The high-end authentic Indian spot has a packed menu serving creamy chicken tikkas to spicy chettinad prawns. Its Dubai Food Festival menu is channelling a South Indian
vibe, with a salmon tikka starter and herb chicken breast fillet with tomato kut. 

Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel, Baniyas Street, Dubai, Sun to Thur noon until 3pm, 7pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 2071733. Metro: Union.

3. The Hide


There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding the US-style ‘meatery’ The Hide, with a go-big-or-go-home approach to cooking. The real highlights include the super dry aged Spanish loin steak, DIY rose veal steak tartare, and the monstrous belt-busting ‘Manwich’ (turn to p20 for more).

Jumeirah Al Qasr, Al Sufouh Road, Dubai, Mon to Sun noon until 3pm, 7pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 4323232. Taxi: Jumeirah Al Qasr.

4. Seven Sands


Shining a much-needed light on Emirati food, Seven Sands takes its theme to heart; sand from the seven emirates can be found around the restaurant. Its menu offers unusual but delicious dishes, such as the jisheed with turmeric-infused shark meat. Try the lusciously sweet date pudding – you won’t regret it.

The Beach, JBR, Dubai, Sat to Wed 8am to 1am, Thur and Fri 8am to 2am. Tel: (04) 5516652. Metro: JLT.

5. Alta Badia


Taking its name from a ski destination in northern Italy, the dishes at Alta Badia are inspired by the region’s traditional cuisine, which uses fresh ingredients.

The Dubai Food Festival set menu features smoked duck breast and pear salad, and wild mushroom risotto.

Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Dubai, daily noon until 3pm, 6pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 3198771. Metro: Emirates Towers.

February 25 to March 5

Eat The World DXB

London’s best meals on wheels fly in for a special food truck festival this weekend as part of the Dubai Food Festival.

1. Hix’s Fish Dogs


What you’ll find: A posh take on a classic fishfinger sandwich, from British chef Mark Hix.

What to order: The fish dog; breaded Pollock in a hotdog bun with minted mushy peas and tartare sauce.

2. The Crema Caravan


What you’ll find: An award-winning food truck called Florence that specialises in handcrafted crème brûlée.

What to order: Crema Catalana

3. Oli Babas


What you’ll find: Meat-free Levantine dishes.

What to order: Halloumi fries; deep-fried cheese served on za’atar yoghurt, with pomegranate molasses, sumac and Turkish chilli.

4. The Roadery


What you’ll find: Unusual and quality cuts of meat.

What to order: Beef bracos (British taco); low and slow pulled beef cheek in a fresh flatbread with salsa, pickles, crème fraiche and blackberry hot sauce.

5. Bangwok


What you’ll find: A colourful rickshaw bringing the buzz and flavour of Bangkok’s street food scene to Dubai.   

What to order: The classic pad thai served straight from the wok.

6. Big Apple Hot Dogs


What you’ll find: A New York-style cart serving gourmet hot dogs with all the trimmings.

What to order: Beef sausage packed with garlic, paprika and black pepper.

7. The Cheese Truck


What you’ll find: Grilled cheese sandwiches using the best British farmhouse cheeses.

What to order: Keens Cheddar, Ogleshield cheese and onion mix.

8. Happy Maki


What you’ll find: Vegan sushi rolled to order.

What to order: The Thai sweet potato wrap, with sweet potato, roasted coconut, avocado, red pepper and teriyaki sauce.

9. Milo & Hector’s


What you’ll find: A build-your-own ice cream sandwich station.

What to order: A double-decker oatmeal cookie chocolate ice cream sandwich.

February 25 to 27. Burj Park, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, Dhs25, Thur 5pm to 11pm, Fri noon until 5pm, 6pm to 11pm, Sat noon until 5pm, 6pm to 11pm. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall.


The food fiesta continues next month at the annual Taste Of Dubai, with a great line-up of celebrity chef appearances, workshops, live music and restaurants to try. We’ll bring your more on that soon. 

March 10 to 12

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