Expert recommendations for the best places to eat in four price ranges: budget ($), moderate ($$), expensive ($$$), and luxury ($$$$)


Ashwaq Cafeteria
The local spot to relax after a Gold Souq shopping raid. Tangy lamb or garlicky chicken shawarma; fresh juices (mango is a must); alfresco people-watching. Corner of Al Soorand Sikkat al Khail Streets, Deira. No telephone.

Basta Art Café
“A tranquil courtyard with leafy trees; one of the city’s favorite lunch spots.”—James Brennan, food editor, Time Out Dubai. Elegant, old wind-tower building; fresh, light menu; tasty salads such as haloumi, asparagus, and greens. Try their refreshing “Basta Special” (lime and mint juice). Al Fahidi Street, Bastakiya; tel. 971 4 353 5071.


Almaz by Momo
“Chic yet unpretentious, the most memorable merguez tagine (spicy sausage dish).”—Claire Malcolm, editor, Concierge magazine. Run by Mourad “Momo” Mazouz (owner of Momo and Sketch restaurants in London); tasty mezes (starters) and amazing exotic “mocktails”; elegant restaurant, casual funky “salon,” and atmospheric shisha (water-pipe) café. Harvey Nichols, Mall of the Emirates, Sheikh Zayed Road; tel. 971 4 409 8877.

Emporio Armani Cafè Dubai
Modish, low-lit eatery; creative reinventions of classic Italian cuisine and beautiful presentation courtesy of chef Stefano Rutigliano. Regulars come for the authentic Italian pizzas. Close to swanky Harvey Nichols, it’s popular with the hip post-shopping set. Mall of the Emirates, Sheikh Zayed Road; tel. 971 4 341 0591.

Bastakiah Nights
“Definitely demand a rooftop table for unrivaled views of old Dubai by night.”—Sarah Monaghan, author, DK Eyewitness Travel Top 10 Dubai. In a classic Bastakiya courtyard house with traditional decor; delicious Arabic food with several set menus. Sees tour groups by day, couples at night. No alcohol. Off Al Fahidi Street, Bastakiya; tel. 971 4 353 7772.

Noodle House
“Authentic flavors of Asia in Dubai.”—executive chef Pierrick Cizeron, Le Méridien Dubai Beach Resort and Spa. Contemporary Southeast Asian cuisine served out of a busy open kitchen. Bench-style seating and shared tables; wines by the glass and Asian beers. Locals (including families) lineup at peak times. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road; tel. 971 4 319 8088.


“Upscale Arabic fare.”—Claire Malcolm. Mouth-watering mezes and meat grills; an excellent live band and belly dancer make for an authentic Lebanese night out. Great for hungry groups. Grand Hyatt Dubai, Al Qataiyat Road, Bur Dubai; tel. 971 4 317 1234.

Café Chic
“The chocolate soufflé is decadently rich.”—Claire Malcolm. Elegant French restaurant overseen by Lyon’s two-star Michelin chef Philippe Gauvreau. Expect inventive interpretations of French classics; faultless technique in the kitchen; well-drilled staff; informed wine list. Cigar bar. Le Méridien Dubai, Airport Road; tel. 971 4 217 0000.

“The ultimate spot for a romantic dinner.”—James Brennan. Serene watery setting; low-lit wooden decks appear to float between the tranquil gulf and gleaming pool. Adventurous menu of Euro-fusion with an Asian twist. Enjoy a pre- or post-dinner drink on the poolside deck. Arabian Court, One&Only Royal Mirage, Jumeirah; tel. 971 4 399 9999.

“Feels like a Bollywood film set, be prepared to make a grand entrance.”—Claire Malcolm. Tantalizing orange and purple interior, beaded curtains, and dramatic drapes matched by smooth Oriental fusion sound track. Sophisticated, spicy Euro-Indian fare; spot-on service. Arabian Court, One&Only Royal Mirage, Jumeirah; tel. 971 4 399 9999.

Spectrum on One
“Great open kitchens featuring international cuisines.”—Pierrick Cizeron. Labyrinthine eatery; eight open kitchens creating cuisines from India, Thailand, Japan, China, Europe, and the Middle East; seasonal menu, excellent service and good wines. Friday brunch (like a Western Sunday brunch) is legendary. The Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road; tel. 971 4 332 5555.


“Try Michelin-starred chef Vineet Bhatia’s stunning tandoori salmon starter.”—James Brennan. Elegant Indian-accented space accessed by a dramatic circular walkway. Adventurous starters and more traditional main courses; charming staff; excellent wine list and decadent cocktails. Grosvenor House Dubai, West Marina Beach; tel. 971 4 399 8888.

A contemporary faux-classic restaurant design—backless baroque chairs, neon-lit Mayan relief, and kitsch chandeliers—is the setting for Richard Sandoval’s Dubai vision of modern Mexican cuisine. Authentic flavors, delicate presentation, guacamole made tableside, romantic alfresco bar with sea views. Le Royal Méridien Dubai Beach Resort and Spa, Sheikh Zayed Road, Jumeirah; tel. 971 4 399 5555.

“Traditional Moroccan style, warm, charming, friendly; great Moroccan band.”—Pierrick Cizeron. Faithful re-creations of Moroccan classics served in opulent Marrakech-inspired space; costumed waiters spontaneously break out clapping to the band. Order the mint tea and get your camera out. The Palace, One&Only Royal Mirage, Jumeirah; tel. 971 4 399 9999.

“One of the greatest fine dining experiences in Dubai.”—Pierrick Cizeron. Superstar chef Gordon Ramsay’s first foray outside England still impresses; French technique, sublime ingredients, immaculate presentation, and informed service. One of Dubai’s few qualified sommeliers oversees the city’s most impressive wine list. Hilton Dubai Creek, Beniyas Road, Deira; tel. 971 4 227 1111.


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