Eat like a local: 8 of the best Emirati restaurants in Dubai
For an authentic taste of Dubai…
Dubai is a melting pot of cultures and a hugely diverse culinary capital, from authentic Italian, Korean, and Japanese restaurants. But where do you go when you want to eat like a local?
Emirati cuisine is characterised by its aromatic flavours from spices like saffron, turmeric, cardamom, and coriander. Being a desert, vegetables weren’t traditionally used in recipes, instead, you can expect a lot of meat, seafood, rice, and curries, with Persian and Indian influences.
Luckily, Dubai has its fair share of restaurants dedicated to national cuisine, from fancy Burj Khalifa-facing restaurants to rustic roadside eateries. We’re talking camel burgers, Emirati pancakes, shakshuka, chicken shawarma, balaleet, luquaimat, and more. Take your pick…
Here are 8 of the best Emirati restaurants to book in Dubai right now:
A local restaurant that needs no introduction…Al Fanar transports guests back to 1960s Dubai with authentic Emirati cuisine, rustic interiors, an alfresco courtyard, and even a mini-museum where guests can learn about the UAE’s rich cultural heritage. With seven locations across the UAE, Al Fanar has made it in the Michelin Guide for two years running and has since expanded to Saudi Arabia. Try their chicken kebab marinated in Arabic spices, the authentic Emirati breakfast tray, or if you’re craving something sweet, the famous Legaimat.
Al Fanar Restaurant, multiple locations in Dubai, Al Seef, Expo City, Festival City, and Al Barsha. Daily 10am to 11pm. Tel:(0)4 3966669. @alfanarrestaurant
For authentic Emirati food in a traditional setting, Al Jawareh is located in Al Qusais, Old Dubai. Guests can choose to sit in the restaurant area with tables, private family dining areas, or in the majlis for a truly authentic and memorable Emirati experience. A must-try is their huge Emirati breakfast complete with eggs and tomato, chebab (Emirati pancakes) with cheese and date syrup, balaleet (sweet noodles served with an omelette), and chickpeas, washed down with one of the freshly made fruit juices.
Al Jawareh, Al Qusais Industrial Area, Dubai. Daily 7am to 10pm. Tel:(0)4 2679559. @aljawarehrest
View this post on Instagram
Step back in time at Michelin Bib Gourmand-awarded restaurant Al Khayma, located in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood. Part restaurant, part museum, guests can dine in an air-conditioned courtyard surrounded by trees with live Arabic music, welcoming staff dressed in traditional attire, and local food. Don’t leave without trying the lamb saloona, the wok-fried luqaimat, and of course Arabic coffee. Al Khayma also hosts cooking classes for those who’d like to learn how to master classic Emirati dishes from shakshuka to chicken machboos.
Al Khayma, Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, Dubai. Daily 8am to 11pm. Tel:(0)55 180 2080. @alkhayma.ae
Arabian Tea House
Having welcomed visitors to experience true Emirati hospitality for more than 20 years, Arabian Tea House is firmly established on Dubai’s cafe scene and serves authentic Emirati and Arabic dishes. The original Arabian Tea House is located in the historic Al Fahidi district, and its design hasn’t changed since it opened in 1997, which only adds to the allure: think turquoise benches, white rattan chairs, lace curtains and beautiful flowers. Be sure to order a cup of gahwa (traditional Arabic coffee) as you soak up the surroundings. There’s now three branches across the UAE: with another teahouse in Jumeirah and a third in Sharjah.
Arabian Tea House, Al Fahidi Street, Bur Dubai, 7am to 11pm daily. Tel: (04) 353 5071, arabianteahouse.com
Ever wanted to try a camel burger? How about camel ice cream? Look no further than the traditional Emirati restaurant, Local House. Located in one of the oldest buildings in the Al Bastakiya district, Local House serves popular Arabian delicacies from camel biryani to shark fish platters as well as mixed grills, salads, breakfast, and sweet treats. At the entrance sits the oldest buckthorn tree in Dubai, and inside, a colourful veranda surrounded by greenery and wall art where guests are met with genuine Arabian hospitality and flavours of the land.
Local House, The Majlis Gallery, Al Bastakiya, Dubai. Daily 9am to 10pm. Tel:(0)50 652 3032. @localhousedxb
For traditional Emirati flavours with a modern twist, Logma is all about making Emirati and Khaleeji cuisine more accessible for locals, expats, and tourists alike. Located in Fashion Avenue, Dubai Mall, guests can enjoy traditional breakfast dishes like chebab and balaleet to Logma’s signature dishes like the chicken shawarma paratha and butter chicken. Combining authentic Khaleeji designs with a contemporary flair, Logma is the perfect spot to introduce family and friends to local culture with stunning views of the iconic Dubai Fountain.
Logma, Fashion Avenue, Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai. Daily 10am to 12am. @logma
Built around a sacred tree, Neem Tree Lounge is a licensed restaurant that combines Emirati heritage and modern design to bring stories of the past back to life. Located in the heart of DIFC, guests can enjoy traditional Emirati dishes such as saffron seafood soup, lamb harees, margoga, and finish on a sweet note with luquaimat (traditional dumplings topped with a sweet date syrup and sesame seeds). There’s also daily live music and outdoor seating with a large screen so you can catch up with your favourite sports.
Neem, DIFC Gate Avenue South, Dubai. 12pm to 5am daily. Tel:(0)4 5875575. neem.ae
View this post on Instagram
For a more upscale Emirati dining experience, look no further than Siraj. Located in Souk al Bahar overlooking Burj Khalifa, Siraj serves Syrian Emirati flavours with a contemporary twist including camel tenderloin, saffron lobster, karak cake, and sticky dates pudding. The Michelin-guide restaurant has also been visited by the likes of UAE royals, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed and H.H Sheikh Hamdan.
Siraj, Souk al Bahar, Downtown Dubai. Daily 12pm to 1am. Tel:(0)4 5136207. @sirajrestaurant