Step off the beaten path and you’ll discover some of Dubai’s lesser-known culinary treasures.

Every foodie worth their gourmet sea salt knows restaurants don’t have to be flashy or expensive to offer a sensational dining experience.

Which is why the Dubai Food Festival has come up with Hidden Gems, a competition designed to raise awareness of the unsung heroes of Dubai’s food scene.

After an initial shortlist of 50 eateries was selected by local food influencers like Muna Al Shamsi and Talal Al Rashed, the general food-loving public was called upon to select the top 10 outlets.

*The food trucks you’ll find at this year’s Eat The World DXB*
*These are the 23 best curry houses in Dubai*

Now, after two weeks of online polling from more than 3000 voters, the final list can be be revealed.

From legendary Iranian kebab joints to Japanese bakeries, here are the favourites…


Ka’ak Al Manara (Lebanese)

Kaak Al Manara

Famous for its traditional sesame bread (ka’ak) stuffed with a variety of sweet and savoury fillings, you’ll find this Lebanese canteen on Level 1 of Mercato Mall, Jumeirah 1.

Desi Adda (Indian & Pakistani)


Offering a trendy take on street food from Pakistan and India, Desi Adda is located on Damascus Street in Qusais and is open daily until midnight.

Tuk Tuk Thai 


Unassumingly located in the food court of Uptown Mirdiff Mall, this Thai restaurant offers incredible cuisine that won’t put a dent in your wallet.

The Smokin’ 9 (Mini Burgers)

The Smokin' 9

This JLT joint is the perfect spot for those who can never decide on a burger – you can mix and match all of your favourite fillings.

Yakitate (Japanese)



Tucked away in the Al Ghurair Centre Extension, Al Rigga, this Japanese bakery serves all kinds of tasty treats from sushi to ramen burgers, as well as a whole host of delicious baked goods.

Rasoi Ghar (Indian)

Rasoi Ghar

Serving only vegetarian Indian cuisine, Rasoi Ghar is quickly becoming something of an institution in Al Karama, with diners enjoying everything from thali platters to desserts.

Aroos Damascus (Middle Eastern)

Aroos Damscus

Offering a wide range of some of the most iconic dishes from the Middle East, and situated in Al Muraqqabat, this restaurant has become a bit of an institution, drawing in a large local crowd.

The Acai Spot (Brazilian)

The Acai Spot

With strong Brazilian influences, this clean-eating spot is located in Deira and offers a range of healthy juices, shakes, and salads.

Al Ustadi Special Kabab (Iranian)


One of Dubai’s oldest restaurants, previously called Special Ostadi, this eatery is famed for its authentic kebabs which the team has been serving up from the Meena Bazaar location near Al Fahidi metro station since 1978.

Singapore Deli Cafe (Singaporean/Malaysian)


Located opposite the Burjuman Centre, this restaurant has won fans for its authentic dishes heralding from Singapore and Malaysia. 

 – For more about Dubai straight to your newsfeed, follow us on Facebook.