We at Time Out spent weeks on the sofa in the evenings, exercising our dialling fingers and calling up for takeaways. Believe it or not, this isn’t because we’re gluttons, but because we wanted to find the best delivery services this town has to offer. For your dining convenience, we’ve listed a couple of options per area (highlighting when outlets also have other locations, or deliver citywide), rated our ordering experience over the phone (in English), noted how long our order took to arrive, what it tasted like, and given each venue a mark out of five. To be sure our round-up is as fair as possible, we ordered from restaurants no further than 20 minutes away. Yes, we’re a few pounds heavier, but we’ve managed to cover more delivery services than ever.
Al Barsha Chi’Zen Chinese Over the phone: The operator was very friendly and helpful. Arrived on time? Our food was ten minutes early! Food on arrival: Good, although the dipping sauce for the dumplings had leaked. Overall quality: The chicken and tofu ‘claypot’ (Dhs46) tasted fantastic, even though the quantity of chicken was measly. The chicken and shrimp hu tip dumplings (Dhs22) were also very enjoyable. 4 Mall of the Emirates (04 354 9288). Other location: Festival City (04 232 9077). Also delivers to…Citywide
Chicken Tikka Inn Pakistani/North Indian Over the phone: Staff made good recommendations when we didn’t have a menu to hand. Arrived on time? 15 minutes late. Food on arrival: All of the hot dishes (a chicken curry, garlic naan, seekh kebab and rice) were piping and dessert (gulab jamun) hadn’t become warm on the journey. Overall quality of the food: The kebabs were succulent, the curry was very tasty and packed with tender chunks of good quality meat, and the portions were substantial. 4 Saleh Bin Lahej Building, Al Barsha 1 (04 4327235). Other locations: Jumeirah Beach Road, Ghusais, Mirdif, Deira (near Baniyas Tower), Al Nasr Square, and International City. Also delivers to... Jumeirah Beach Road, Ghusais, Mirdif, Deira, Al Nasr Square, and International City.
Bur Dubai and Karama Aappa Kadai South Indian/Chinese Over the phone: There was a little confusion as to our address, but otherwise the ordering process was straightforward enough. Arrived on time? Yes. Food on arrival: The chicken curry, sealed in a plastic container, was still piping hot, though the aappam bread had cooled a little. Overall quality: All in all, a very satisfying meal – especially considering the Dhs15 price tag. 3.5 Opposite Lulu Centre, Karama, www.aappakadai.com (04 334 8030). Other locations: Next to Old Grand Mall (04 334 8030), Al Quoz (04 334 8030), Dubai Marina (04 334 8030), Discovery Gardens (04 334 8030).
Chowking American-style Chinese Over the phone: Placing the order was easy, although it took some time before the staff could understand the name of our building. Arrived on time? 20 minutes late. Food on arrival: The food wasn’t piping hot, and it arrived looking pretty disastrous. Note that delivery is free, but there’s a minimum Dhs60 order. Overall quality: The beef siomai steamed dim sum didn’t survive the journey. The chicken spring rolls tasted best and went nicely with the sweet chilli sauce, although the soup was too salty. 2 Al Attar Centre, Karama, www.chowking-me.com (04 335 8737). Other locations include Dubai Airport (04 224 4055), JBR (04 435 5711), Satwa (04 345 8737), Za’abeel (04 357 1877). Also delivers to…Citywide
Noodle House Pan-Asian Over the phone: A long wait on hold, but the phone operator was helpful and easy to understand. Arrived on time? 20 minutes early. Food on arrival: Kept hot and fresh thanks to the cool, retro-styled packaging. Overall quality: Although it was a little expensive (total cost Dhs106), dishes were well-prepared and flavoursome, and tasted lighter and less greasy than typical takeaway noodles. The Shanghai noodles with beef tenderloin were particularly good. 3 Various locations, www.thenoodlehouse.com; (800 666 353). Also delivers to anywhere between Ibn Battuta Mall and Dubai World Trade Centre, plus Bur Dubai, Deira, Arabian Ranches and Motor City.
Deira, Garhoud, Festival City and Mirdif Hardee’s Burgers Over the phone: Hardee’s has a phone number dedicated to UAE deliveries, so placing the order was easy. Arrived on time? Five minutes early. Food on arrival: Not great – it was cold! Overall quality: Meh. Considering Hardee’s is such a guilty pleasure, our burger wasn’t what we’d hoped for. 2 Various locations, www.hardeesarabia.com (600 569 000). Also delivers to…Citywide
N_K_D Pizza Healthy pizza Over the phone: The phone operator was very helpful and articulate. Arrived on time? Yes. Food on arrival: Good, though the pizza wasn’t piping hot. Overall quality: Although the toppings on the superbiotic pizza (Dhs39) were fresh and healthy, the pizza base was ever-so-slightly undercooked. 4 Mirdif, www.nkdpizza.com (04 251 5866). Other locations include: Al Barsha (04 369 9396), Dubailand (04 457 2533), Dubai Marina (04 453 4313), Downtown Dubai (04 342 5755). Also delivers to…Citywide
Al Hallab Levantine Over the phone: Excellent English. They even had a record of our address – even though we haven’t ordered from them for about two years! Arrived on time? Yes Food on arrival: It was lukewarm (our only gripe), though this was easily remedied after a few minutes in the microwave. Overall quality: Very good. They threw in a generous, complimentary serving of pickles, olives and fresh salad – and there was plenty of bread to go with the hummus. The chicken shawarmas, although tasty, were a bit bread-heavy. 4 Al Garhoud, near Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, www.alhallabrestaunt.com (04 282 3388). Other locations: The Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates (takeaway only). Also delivers to... Garhoud, Bur Dubai and Festival City areas.
India Palace Indian Over the phone: We had to repeat ourselves a couple of times, though perhaps owing to our own indecision ... Arrived on time? Ten minutes early. Food on arrival: The curries were securely packaged in plastic containers, so no leakages and the heat was trapped in. Quality of food: If we were being finicky, we might have complained that the chicken kadai was a tad overdone – but this would be unfair since all the other components were vibrant. 4 Near Al Tayer Motors, Garhoud (04 286 9600). Also delivers to…Citywide
DIFC and Downtown Dubai Zataar W Zeit Arabic-style fast-food Over the phone: A stress-free ordering experience. Arrived on time? Ten minutes early. Food on arrival: Food was hot and in perfect condition. They even remembered our request not to slice the ‘hot dog speciality’ wrap (Dhs28). Overall quality: No complaints whatsoever. The food isn’t gourmet, but was tasty, filling and did the job. The halloumi salad (Dhs36) offered a healthy respite to the slightly more calorific wrap. 4 Various locations, www.zaatarwzeit.net (600 522 231). Also delivers to everywhere but Jumeirah Village, Motor City, Jebel Ali, Al Quoz, Al Qusais, Arabian Ranches, Sports City, Deira and Bur Dubai.
Gourmet Burger Kitchen Burgers Over the phone: The staff understood everything we said, making for a stress-free order. Arrived on time? Ten minutes early. Food on arrival: The classic burger (Dhs32) was lukewarm but otherwise in perfect condition. Overall quality: Food was good and cooked precisely to our specifications. 4 DIFC (800 287 437). Other locations: Mirdif and Dubai Marina Mall. Also delivers to everywhere but Arabian Ranches, Al Quoz, Al Qusais, Silicon Oasis, Al Nadha, Motor City and International City.
Jumeirah, Satwa and Umm Suqeim Johnny Rockets Burgers Over the phone: When asked about the ingredients of particular products, the staff seemed to know their stuff. Arrived on time? Ten minutes early. Food on arrival: The Original Burger (Dhs37) was hot, but the American fries (Dhs19) didn’t travel well. Note: there’s a Dhs10 delivery charge. Overall quality: The burger would satisfy even the most insatiable carnivore and the quality was good – it was cooked as requested and was huge. The chips suffered in transit and weren’t great. 3 Jumeirah Beach Road, www.johnnyrockets.com (800 564669). Other locations: The Dubai Mall, Mirdif City Centre, Mall of the Emirates, Marina Walk, Sheikh Zayed Road.
Reem Al Bawadi Levantine Over the phone: The first person seemed to be coping with the call well, but then handed us over to another person, who repeated all the same questions and whose English wasn’t as good as the first. We got there eventually. Arrived on time? No – It was 15 minutes late. Food on arrival: Our delivery was only lukewarm and the fattoush salad had leaked, causing the paper bag in which it was delivered to tear. Overall quality: Portions were generous and flavoursome. Leakages aside, the fattoush salad (Dhs20) was zingy and just how you’d expect it to be, while the chicken shish taouk (Dhs45) was equally tasty, albeit a little dry, with the chips a touch soggy. 3.5 Al Manara Street, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.reemalbawadi.com (04 330 6663). Also delivers to Jumeirah Beach Road and Dubai Marina.
Wrap & Roll Haandi Pakistani Over the phone: Halfway through the call, our server said, ‘Wait – I have a customer,’ and handed the phone to someone else. We had to repeat our details and then the order. Delivery time: Ten minutes late. Food on arrival: Hot and well-presented. Overall quality: The chicken masala (Dhs34) was tasty and the accompanying roti bread was excellent, but unfortunately there was too much rice in contrast to the small portion of curry. 3 Behind Lulu supermarket, Al Barsha, www.haandi.ae (04 432 8564). Also delivers to Al Barsha, Al Quoz, Sheikh Zayed Road, Umm Suqeim, TECOM, Media City, Dubai Marina and Jumeirah.
Bazerkan Levantine Over the phone: A bit unsure (‘Is Media City the same as Internet City?’), but otherwise fine. Arrived on time? 15 minutes late. Food on arrival: Not great. Soggy chips and tepid chicken, chewy, soft falafel had lost its crisp edge. The salad was so soaked in lemon juice that the leaves had an almost cooked consistency. Overall quality of the food: Not great. A shame because the food’s fantastic when eaten in the restaurant. 2 Capitol Hotel, Satwa (04 346 0111). Other locations: JBR, Dubai Marina; Oasis Centre Mall, Sheikh Zayed Road. Also delivers to... Dubai Marina and around Oasis Centre Mall (Sheikh Zayed Road).
Saladicious Salads and sandwiches Over the phone: We had to repeat ourselves several times, and yet still the delivery address was noted down incorrectly. Arrived on time? 20 minutes late. Food on arrival: The tuna tataki Salad arrived in good condition, but the side of chips was only lukewarm and a tad soggy. Overall quality: The salad was disappointingly small, especially considering the Dhs42 price tag, and the tuna could have benefitted from less mayonnaise. The chips would have been great, as they still had their skin on, but were limp due to the long delivery time. 2.5 Jumeirah Beach Road, http://saladicious.com (800 SALAD). Other location: The Walk at JBR (no delivery). Also delivers to… ‘Anywhere in the city’, but places further away (from Jumeirah to JBR was the example given) are subject to a minimum order of Dhs100.
Dubai Marina, JLT, Media City 800 Pizza Italian-style pizza Over the phone: The lady we spoke to was knowledgeable about the ingredients and also offered several different types of pizza base. Arrived on time? Yes. Food on arrival: Nice and hot. Overall quality: Pretty good – especially in terms of value. The pecorino pizza (mozzarella, pecorino and ricotta, Dhs43) boasted a thin and crispy base, and we could tell it had been wood-fired. However, the topping could have done with a few more fresh herbs and more seasoning. 3.5 Marina Hotel Apartments, Marina Walk (800 74992). Other locations: Al Barsha, Downtown Dubai and Motor City, www.800pizza.ae.
Just Falafel Levantine fast food Over the phone: Staff were efficient, polite and very speedy. Delivery time: The delivery driver arrived bang on time. Food on arrival: Falafel travels well: fact. Our choice, the ‘Italian’ meal (Dhs51 in total), came with hummus and grilled veg salad, and featured wraps that were sturdy and complete. Overall quality: Everything was crisp, fresh and enjoyable. 4 Park Island, Dubai Marina, www.justfalafel.com/shops.ph (04 452 9966). Also delivers to…Citywide
Circle Café Salads, sandwiches, wraps Over the phone: The ordering process was a little confusing at first, but once the staff had noted our mobile number it was fairly straightforward. Arrived on time? Even better: it was 15 minutes early. Food on arrival: Our only quibble is that our order of quinoa and pumpkin salad, fudge cake and coffee (Dhs88) came with an awful lot of plastic packaging, which we imagine isn’t very environmentally friendly. Overall quality: Great (and they’d honoured our request to swap the feta in the salad for goat’s cheese). 4 Dubai Media City, www.circle-cafe.com (04 391 5170). Other locations: Beach Park Plaza Centre, Jumeirah (04 342 8177). Also delivers to Downtown DIFC, Jumeirah 1, 2, 3, Umm Suqeim 1, 2, Satwa, Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Barsha, Al Quoz, Arabian Ranches, Dubai Internet City, Dubai Marina, Dubai Media City, Emirates Hills, JBR, JLT, Park Islands, Palm Jumeirah, TECOM, The Greens, The Meadows and The Springs.
K-Cal Health food Over the phone: Easy. Arrived on time? Our delivery was a forgivable five minutes late. Food on arrival: It required a minute or so in the microwave to reheat. Overall quality? Good – and the portion size of the salmon ragôut (Dhs46) was very generous. 3 Jumeirah Lakes Towers, behind JLT Metro, www.kcalhealthyfastfood.com (04 447 3844). Also delivers to. Al Barsha (as far as the Gold & Diamond Park, from 3pm onwards), Discovery Gardens, Internet City, Dubai Marina, Media City, JBR, JLT, Jumeirah Park Islands, Palm Jumeirah, TECOM, The Greens, The Meadows and The Springs.
King Koshari Egyptian-style fast food Over the phone: There are only three options on the meal (Combo El King, Large Combo and Medium Combo), so proceedings were fairly straightforward. Arrived on time? Ten minutes early. Food on arrival: Everything was packaged tightly, so the food was still warm and there was no leakage. Overall quality: Containing pasta, rice and lentils, koshari is a dieter’s nightmare, but it’s a guilty pleasure of ours. We ordered the Dhs20 medium meal, yet we were stuffed before we could eat the rice pudding. 3 Diamond Tower 1, Dubai Marina (80055). Also delivers to Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah, TECOM, The Greens, The Lakes and The Springs.
Noodle Room Pan-Asian Over the phone: The person we spoke to was exceptionally polite, with reasonable English and a good knowledge of the menu. When one item was unavailable, they suggested a sensible alternative. Arrived on time? Ten minutes early. Food on arrival: Food was warm but not hot, and some of it looked a bit tired from the journey. Overall quality: Good, although the more ambitious dishes didn’t translate easily from plate to box. Stick to the classics, as we did – nasi goreng and Chinese greens (Dhs48). 4 Murjan, JBR, Dubai Marina, firstname.lastname@example.org (04 427 0442). Also delivers as far as Al Barsha.
Yo! Sushi Japanese Over the phone: Fine (once we differentiated between the UK and UAE websites). Arrived on time? Yes. Food on arrival: It didn’t look too distressed by the journey. Overall quality: Good: sushi can’t get cold, but it can be too warm, and our maki box (Dhs44) was just right. 3 Various locations, www.yosushi.com/restaurants (04 399 7708). Also delivers to Al Barsha, Al Quoz, Arabian Ranches, Internet City, Dubai Marina, Media City, JBR, JLT, Park Islands, Palm Jumeirah, TECOM, The Greens, The Meadows and The Springs.
Bob’s Fish and Chips British-style fast food Over the phone: Took a few minutes to answer, but ordering was easy when they did. Arrived on time? 20 minutes late. Condition of food on delivery: Not great. Chips were chewy, gravy was congealed and fish was cold. Overall quality: Looks like it might have been good before transit, but it didn’t survive the journey. 2 Dream Tower, Dubai Marina, www.bobsfishandchips.com (04 450 4262). Also delivers to... Dubai Marina, Media City, TECOM, Al Barsha, Emirates Living, Umm Suqeim – most areas in New Dubai. Outlets to open soon in Business Bay and Bay Avenue.
BurgerFuel Burgers Over the phone: Fast, efficient phone manner and speedy, polite delivery Arrived on time? 10 minutes early. Food on arrival: The burger arrived looking slightly weathered and a little cold. Overall quality: The toppings failed to match the mouth-watering descriptions – we’ve had better burgers for sure. 2.5 The Walk at JBR (04 445 8220). Other locations: Dubai Mall (04 325 3416), Mirdif City Centre (04 445 8220) and Dubai World Trade Centre (no number).
Mom’s Food Levantine Over the phone: Staff were helpful and efficient. Arrived on time? 20 minutes early. Food on arrival: Our order was both hot and in good condition. Overall quality of the food: The quality of the grilled shish tawook plate was impressive for a takeaway, though not as good as the restaurant. 3.5 Park Island Building, Dubai Marina, www.800mama.ae (800 6262). Also delivers to… Just the Marina area.
Pompeii Italian Over the phone: Staff seemed dazed – they forget to take our name or number. Driver called back to check details, then got lost. Arrived on time? Five minutes early. Food on arrival: Strong pasta staples arrived in surprisingly perky shape, if not piping hot, making this a solid bet for a good Italian. Overall quality: Good. 3 Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 453 9390). Also delivers to... From Dubai Marina to Barsha.
TECOM, The Greens and The Meadows Lemongrass Express Thai Over the phone: No problems at all – quick to take the order, without any misunderstandings or need to repeat things. Arrived on time? Five minutes late. Food on arrival: The food arrived hot and in good condition. Overall quality: The som tam salad was excellent, with just the right amount of spice (ask for mild if you’re not keen on chillies), the chicken panaeng gai curry was rich and smooth, and the pad Thai noodles were full of flavour, the bean sprouts still crispy and the peanuts adding crunch. No complaints here. 4.5 ENOC Service Station, opposite Emirates International School, Meadows, www.lemongrassrestaurants.com (056 686 5939). Other locations: Ibn Battuta Mall, Mirdif City Centre, The Dubai Mall, Al Wasl, near Lamcy Plaza. Also delivers to… The Meadows, Ibn Battuta Mall, Mirdif City Centre, The Dubai Mall and Al Wasl, and there’s a Lemongrass restaurant near Lamcy Plaza.