Dubai is a unique city: a jewel in the desert that attracts people from right across the globe.
Each year, thousands of people flock to this vibrant city to live and work, and many more to enjoy a luxury vacation. Aside from the renowned hotels, beautiful beaches, luxury shopping, and incredible views, Dubai’s fine dining scene is certainly part of the attraction.
If you’ve already been to it, you will have been captivated by the melting pot of cultures from around the world that coexist happily with a traditional Arabian way of life. The food culture of Dubai reflects this diversity beautifully.
The city has also received incredible investment over the last few decades, and the restaurant scene has been no exception. Over this time the scene has exploded with dozens of world-class restaurants. Celebrity chefs such as Gordon Ramsey and Heinz Beck have arrived, and every type of food imaginable can be found to cater to Dubai’s discerning residents.
Dubai is well and truly on the map for the gourmet traveler. Here’s why…
1. It would be worth coming to Dubai for brunch alone
Brunch is quite the thing in Dubai: a huge part of expat life, and something that Dubai is known across the globe for. Brunch is the ultimate way to start a day of fun-packed activities in Dubai.
A classic Dubai brunch involves a buffet of incredible food at an upscale restaurant, which you can enjoy at a leisurely pace alongside friends and family. Often there’s an array of international dishes to suit all tastes, and beverages to match. The experience is the very essence of luxury.
A Dubai brunch is the perfect setting for true foodies: the chance to try so many sumptuous dishes, created by some of the city’s top chefs using the highest quality ingredients.
2. You can savor incredible international cuisine…
Dubai is home to 200+ nationalities, all living and working in Dubai. With this comes an appetite for food from across the globe and the people to prepare it. It’s possible that food in Dubai may actually be the most multicultural on the planet.
It would be a challenge to find a cuisine that is not served somewhere in Dubai. You’ll find the world’s most popular cuisines in abundance, too; you are spoilt for choice with Italian, French, Mexican, Japanese, Chinese and Thai.
3. … or authentic Middle Eastern cuisine
The succulent flavors of Middle Eastern cooking are hard to resist. Dishes are characterized by incredibly fragrant herbs and spices; cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin and coriander are the most-used spices, and parsley and mint herbs are frequently added to dishes, too. The resulting flavors are aromatic, exotic and interesting, mellow and sweet.
Middle Eastern cuisine is varied and spice blends change as you travel from Turkey and Egypt, through Saudi Arabia and into Dubai. However, common ingredients everywhere include grilled lamb, olive oil, chickpeas, grains such as bulgur and couscous, and abundant vegetables. Flatbreads accompany most meals.
Dubai is home to many people from across the Middle Eastern region, and there are many restaurants that cater to people longing for their home cuisine. So as well as being able to try local Emirati dishes, you’ll be able to taste other regional dishes, too. It’s the perfect place to get a snapshot of Middle Eastern food.
Try delicious dips such as hummus and baba ganoush; healthy and flavorsome grain, herb and vegetable mixes such as tabbouleh, spicy grilled lamb; and irresistible toasted flatbreads and pitas.
4. Vegans and vegetarians can rejoice in the choice of food
Veganism and vegetarianism are enjoying a worldwide surge in popularity as people look to eat ethically and healthily. If you are vegan or vegetarian, or enjoy eating this kind of food, Dubai is a fantastic place to be.
Many Middle-Eastern dishes do not contain any meat. Animal products are not as central to the cuisine as they are in many other cultures. Although grilled lamb is popular, many of the Middle East’s most famous dishes are usually prepared the vegan way: hummus, tabbouleh, baba ganoush, and falafel.
Dubai is not a place to let a major food movement pass it by, so there are plenty of international vegan restaurants opening up, too. The Hub 7, with food from around the globe, and One Café-Life N One are local favorites. Many other restaurants are adding more and more vegan and vegetarian options to their menus as well.
5. Sustainable cuisine
Another global food movement — sustainable eating — is well and truly established in Dubai. Surprising perhaps, since this is a desert city. Farming innovations such as hydroponics are making it increasingly possible to grow plants for food in such a climate, however.
Plenty of restaurants and cafes are now committed to using as much local produce as possible. Raw food café Wild & Moon, for instance, delivers 100% local dishes.
Whatever your taste, plan a luxury getaway to Dubai and you’re sure to find several restaurant gems. There’s such an incredible array of dining options, from haute cuisine to café culture, it would be impossible not to.
Thomas Grundner is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for JA Resorts & Hotels. He has more than 20 years of expertise in the hospitality and leisure industry – across international markets including Germany, Egypt and Spain. Grundner oversees all sales, marketing and revenue efforts as the company continues to build on its key growth and development strategies and further cultivates its unique blend of “Heartfelt Hospitality” and “Casual Luxury.”