She Said’s Top 20 Foods To Try In Dubai

Born and raised in Dubai, we have watched in amazement as the city has transformed itself from a desert to a bustling metropolis with people from all over the world. With that came an impressive influx of dining options catering to all palates. Say what you want about this city but there is one thing you can’t deny – that Dubai does food right. It’s this true blend of the east and west which provides only the best of it all.

As the UAE celebrates its 43rd birthday today, we’d like to give thanks to the heavens for this city which has not only been home, but has also served as the perfect playground for our foodie selves!

From the time that we were growing up here to present day Dubai – we have a few favorites that are our go-to’s. Fail-safe options which we recommend to co-workers, take visitors, and which we treat ourselves to whenever we need pick-me-ups. In our eyes, Dubai’s little treasures! It was extremely hard to pick only 20 but we’ve managed to narrow it down. Obviously we’d have liked to include lots more so hopefully we’ll introduce you to more next time. So here goes – in no particular order – our 20 favourite foods to try in Dubai.

1. Chai at Al Hara Cafeteria

For only AED 1, it doesn’t get any better! This chai spot is very popular with the residents of old Dubai, and for good reason. The parking lot across the street is usually packed and people wait in their cars for their tea to be brought to them. Milky sweet tea, very tasty and quick. In winter, it is a fabulous option to end a quiet night. 

LOCATION – Karama (near the Pyramids building)

2. Buffalo Style Wings at McGettigans

Namrata considers herself a chicken wing enthusiast and will literally order chicken wings anywhere. These wings had her dreaming about them for a week – became a problem, really! A must try, even better with a pint of beer.

LOCATION – Trade Centre roundabout, Shk. Zayed Road.

3. Eggs Benedict at Urban Bistro

The Hollandaise sauce on this is perfect. And they use turkey bacon. Enough said. 

LOCATION – Urban Bistro, Dubai Media City

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4. Spaghetti Carbonara at Carluccio’s

If ever at the mall and looking for a delicious snack, Carluccio’s is one way to go. Their Spaghetti Carbonara is so tasty and most importantly for non-beef eaters, they use turkey bacon. Priced at AED 58, the She Said duo love to share a plate as a mid-shopping snack 🙂

LOCATION – Dubai Mall, Deira City Center, Ibn Battuta, Marina Mall and Deira City Center 

5. Kent at Khan Murjaan

Even if you like your coffee black and with no sugar, this is one drink you want to make an exception for. It’s been tested on several espresso and americano drinkers and it has won. Priced at AED 22 a pop, our only wish would be that it was served in a tumbler rather than this little shot glass. 

LOCATION – Khan Murjaan, Wafi Mall

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6. Burrata et Tomates at La Petite Maison

Everybody knows and loves La Petite Maison and their perfectly creamy mozzarella, served with the sweetest cherry tomatoes. AED 95 a plate but so worth it! Eat slowly.

LOCATION – Dubai International Financial Centre

7. Bhel Puri at Puranmal

One of the most tastiest Indian snacks there is and no one (in our opinion) does it better than Puranmal. Each plate is priced at AED 10 and can be altered to your taste. So if you like extra sweet chutney like Nancy does or extra spicy chutney like Namrata – acha, theek hai!

LOCATION – “Food Street” (diagonal to Bur Juman Center)

8. Laab Gai at Smiling BKK 

We’ve had Laab Gai at a few places and hands down, this one is our favorite. This is how salad should be! 

LOCATION – Smiling BKK has three branches now but the one in Al Wasl Square is our favourite (others are behind Aviation Club – Garhoud and Al Wasl Road – Jumeirah).

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9. Wafu Salad at Bentoya

Speaking of delicious salads, here’s another one. Crunchy, colorful and fresh enough to make you forget that it has crab sticks!

LOCATION – Shk. Zayed Road and Garhoud. The latter has a nicer ambience, complete with manga comics and the occasional Japanese clientele.  

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10. Fatoush at Zaroob

All Middle Eastern restaurants do a version of Fatoush but Zaroob’s is our favourite. Super crunchy and tangy with plenty of pomegranate molasses.

LOCATION – Shk. Zayed Road, opp Crowne Plaza Hotel  

11. Truffle and Mushroom Risotto at Jones the Grocer

When we were first taken to this place, we were told it was going to be the best risotto ever. Couldn’t agree more! For AED 59 (AED 15 added on if you want grilled chicken), it’s definitely worth every push-up you have to do at the gym the next day. 

LOCATION – Al Safa 2, Shk. Zayed Road

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12. Jumbo Prawns at Malabar Paris

We have a confession to make. To this day, we don’t know what these prawns are called. We just explain it to the server – “the really big spicy, masala prawns” we yell over all the noise at this little hole in the wall in Karama. These prawns left us dreamy with delight. But warning – they are spicy so proceed with caution!

LOCATION – Opposite Karama Municipality (on the back road)

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13. Falafel Sandwiches at Foul Abu Al Falafel 

A tiny Sudanese eatery with very tasty falafel sandwiches. You have two options (sometimes only one if they run out) to either have your sandwich in a khubz or you can ask for a hotdog bun. Go with the latter. They also have a very spicy sauce they use (caution – it is very spicy) and feta cheese!

LOCATION –  Karama (near Pyramids building)

14. Shaabiyat at Al Reef Lebanese Bakery

This was a regular treat for us growing up. Then priced at AED 1 a piece, it was SO affordable. These days, it costs a little more but it’s delicious and just as tasty!

LOCATION – Near Karama Fire Station

15. Sitaphal (Custard apple) Ice-cream at Govinda’s

This ice cream is 100% natural and not overly sweet like the others we know (but also love).

LOCATION – Behind Regent Palaca Hotel, Karama

16. Chicken and Leek Pie at Carters

Pie is the ultimate comfort food and Carters does a great version – with crispy filo and a creamy chicken and leek filling. Its a big one and you’ll most probably feel guilty after. Thankfully food coma sets in and you’d be too sleepy to care. 

LOCATION – Carters, Wafi Pyramids

Chicken and leek pie

17. Mango Cream at Haji Ali

Sweetened cream and golden chunks of mango – truly a match made in heaven! Whats not to love? You can also try it with other fruits but mango and maybe sitaphal are divine.

LOCATION – Near Lamcy Plaza, Oud Metha

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{pic courtesy: www.foodspotting.com}

18. Any Mana’eesh at Al Reef Lebanese Bakery 

Al Reef is popular with a large clientele for various reasons. For She saids in high school, it was the place to get a leisurely bite when we dint have enough spending money (AED 5 for one mana’eesh was a treat), or a quick bite in between study group sessions. In college, it was the spot to meet up with friends, or go to at 4am after a big night out. Now that we’re older, its where we get food from when we’re tired from a long day at work and can’t be bothered to cook! Al Reef – one of the many constants in our lives. 

LOCATION – Near Karama Fire Station

19. Chocolate Fondant at Burger Rebel

As part of research and service to the community (tehehe!), we’ve tried out many a chocolate fondants around Dubai. Competition was tough and Burger Rebel emerged a clear winner. Not-sickly-sweet, with a gooey chocolate centre. 

LOCATION – Wafi Mall, 1st floor

Burger Rebel

 

20. Hassan Mattar at Jabal Al Noor 

For those of you who don’t know, Hassan Mattar is a flat shawarma with tabasco sauce and cheese. Umm! We’ll let you think about that one 🙂

LOCATION – Jabal Al Noor, 2nd of December Street (go right after Al Mallah)

We hope you all have a chance to go out and try some of this ridiculously delicious goodness this city offers.

Happy National Day, UAE

Author: Nancy & Namrata

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    • Hey Renita, looking at the pictures makes me hungry each time – especially the chocolate fondant! 🙂 What is your favourite thing to eat in Dubai?

    • Hey Dipika, thanks girl! So glad to hear you’ll try some of these.
      And great suggestion about work lunch. It’s the biggest decision of the day really: what to eat? 🙂 Will keep that on the radar.