Many bars in Dubai and restaurants in Dubai are situated in hotels. This is great as you get to have a nosey at the hotels at the same time as visiting the bars or restaurants. You can walk into many of the hotels at any time to visit the restaurants although, with the more upmarket ones, you’ll only get past the reception area if you’ve booked in advance and are smartly dressed.
Major hotels may have up to a dozen in-house eating places ranging from celebrity chef restaurants to beach bar cafés that you are free to use even if you’re not staying there. Our aim in this section is to mention a selection of the Best Restaurants in Dubai, plus other Popular Restaurants, Cafés, and a few Bars that we hope you’ll like. The Dubai food, drink, and entertainment scene is continually increasing in variety and number as the city continues to develop.
Whilst eating out at any popular restaurant is a highlight of life in Dubai for both the ex-pat and the tourist, don’t forget there’s a whole host of other Things to Do in Dubai. Check out our recommendations on our page on Places to Visit and Things to Do in Dubai. For a wider selection of venues than we list on these pages, plus customer reviews, a good tip is to get a copy of the ex-pats bible on all things Dubai, you’ll find huge listings of all the restaurants, bars, spas, nightclubs and places worth a visit in Dubai along with any special offers they’re running.
Many of the venues we list are award-winning. Some we haven’t tried but all are ones we think you’ll find more than acceptable. It would be impossible to mention all the restaurants on the Dubai food scene because they’re ever-changing and increasing in number, and just because one is not mentioned here doesn’t mean it’s not worth a visit – it probably is. By and large, you’ll find restaurant quality in Dubai to be good.
Because of the widespread nature of Dubai, it’s easy to feel marooned in your holiday hotel. Don’t despair. Have a look at our pages on the Best Ways to See Dubai and Getting Around Dubai, they should prove most helpful. Don’t worry about where to eat in Dubai, there are a thousand cafes and restaurants of every imaginable type at every price level – you won’t starve! If in doubt, just head for one of the malls. Every mall has a wide selection of eateries – most are very good and quite affordable.
If you’re based in a residential and small business district, there’s often an area where several retail businesses are grouped together and here you’ll likely find several one-off local Japanese, Lebanese, Italian, and Chinese restaurants not to mention places like Wagamama’s. As they’re more local you may even be able to walk to them. Wherever you eat you’ll usually get excellent service with a smile. The tip may be included as a 10% to 15% service charge. Otherwise, we suggest a tip of around 10%.
Eating out, especially at the more upmarket restaurants, is perhaps the only time you’ll need to ditch the flip-flops for more regular shoes and it’s probably best to think of the smart-casual dress, especially in the evenings in any decent or better restaurant. If you want to book a table anywhere ask your hotel reception to book it for you.