Food & Drinks

Eat like a local: 6 of the best Emirati restaurants in Dubai

Dubai is a cultural melting pot with an extremely varied culinary scene, including real Italian, Korean, and Japanese restaurants. But when you want to dine like a local, where do you go?

The fragrant tastes of spices like saffron, turmeric, cardamom, and coriander are what define Emirati cuisine. Due to the arid climate, vegetables were not historically employed in cuisine; instead, meat, seafood, rice, and curries with Persian and Indian influences were the mainstays.

Fortunately, Dubai features a good number of national cuisine-focused restaurants, ranging from upscale establishments with views of the Burj Khalifa to casual roadside cafes. We’re discussing a variety of foods, including luquaimat, shakshuka, chicken shawarma, balaleet, and camel burgers. Choose what you want.

Al Fanar

A neighbourhood eatery that doesn’t require any introductionsWith its traditional Emirati food, rustic furnishings, alfresco patio, and even a mini-museum where visitors can learn about the UAE’s rich cultural past, Al Fanar transports guests to 1960s Dubai. Al Fanar, which has seven locations around the United Arab Emirates, has been featured in the Michelin Guide for the past two years and has subsequently extended to Saudi Arabia. Try their famed Legaimat, the real Emirati breakfast tray, or their marinated chicken kebab with Arabic spices if you’re in the mood for something sweet.

There are several locations of Al Fanar Restaurant in Dubai, Al Seef, Expo City, Festival City, and Al Barsha. Every day from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Al Jawareh

Al Jawareh in Al Qusais, Old Dubai, serves real Emirati cuisine in a traditional atmosphere. For a genuinely authentic and unforgettable Emirati experience, guests can opt to sit in the majlis, private family dining spaces, or the restaurant area with tables. A must-try is their enormous Emirati breakfast, which comes with chickpeas, cheese and date syrup, chebabs (Emirati pancakes) and eggs, and sweet noodles topped with an omelette. You can also sip on freshly squeezed fruit juice.

Al Khayma

At the Michelin-starred Al Khayma restaurant, which is situated in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, take a trip down memory lane. Dine in an air-conditioned courtyard surrounded by trees with live Arabic music, friendly personnel dressed in traditional garb, and local food. This establishment is a hybrid of a restaurant and a museum. Don’t leave without sampling the wok-fried luqaimat, the lamb saloona, and of course, the Arabic coffee. For individuals who would like to learn how to make traditional Emirati delicacies like shakshuka and chicken machboos, Al Khayma also offers culinary workshops.

Al Khayma is located in Dubai’s Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood. Every day from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Arabian Tea House

Serving traditional Arabic and Emirati cuisine, Arabian Tea House has been a fixture in Dubai’s cafe scene for over 20 years, welcoming guests to enjoy true Emirati hospitality. The original Arabian Tea House is situated in the famed Al Fahidi neighbourhood. Its original decor, which has turquoise benches, white rattan seats, lace curtains, and lovely flowers, hasn’t altered since it first opened its doors in 1997, adding to its attractiveness. Order a cup of gahwa, or traditional Arabic coffee, and enjoy the scenery. There are currently three locations in the United Arab Emirates, with a third teahouse in Sharjah and another in Jumeirah.

Local House

Have you ever longed to sample a camel burger? Consider some camel ice cream. Local House, a classic Emirati restaurant, is the only place to look. Situated in an ancient structure in the Al Bastakiya neighbourhood, Local House offers a wide variety of Arabian cuisine, including mixed grills, salads, breakfast and sweet treats. Popular Arabian dishes include camel biryani and shark fish platters. The oldest buckthorn tree in Dubai is located at the entryway. Inside, there is a vibrant veranda with wall art and lush vegetation, welcoming tourists with authentic Arabian hospitality and regional cuisines.


Go no farther than Siraj if you’re looking for a fancier Emirati meal. Situated in Souk al Bahar, with a view of the Burj Khalifa, Siraj offers modernised Syrian Emirati cuisine, including camel tenderloin, saffron lobster, karak cake and sticky dates pudding. Royals from the United Arab Emirates, including H.H. Sheikh Mohammed and H.H. Sheikh Hamdan, have also visited the Michelin-starred restaurant.

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