We stay up to try 12 of the city's best round-the-clock eateries
Over the past month, Dubai’s dining scene has changed significantly. With many restaurants closed during the day and the majority of the population fasting, our dining habits and patterns have altered: most people will have been eating at different times, frequenting different restaurants from their usual haunts, or even eating different styles of cuisine. And now, yet again, the times they are a changing…
Now that the fasting is over, we’re back to heading out of the house (and out of the office) for every meal, pre-meal pitstop and snack imaginable. We’ve returned to a day filled with dining, from breakfast, brunch and lunch, right through to dinner. However, after a month of staying up late to snack at suhoors, the Time Out team seems to have developed a taste for late-night dining. Is anyone else still feeling peckish at midnight, or getting 2am cravings for manakish?
Whether you’re after an early breakfast, an exceedingly late dinner or something in between, 24-hour eateries are the place to be. We’ve stayed up all night, searching out Dubai venues that are open all hours and picking our favourite 12 – so now you have an option for every hour on the clock.
Al Dhiyafa This 24-hour-dining restaurant is located in the lobby of the Habtoor Grand hotel. The menu’s emphasis is certainly Middle Eastern, but it also includes a decent choice of dishes from other parts of the world too. Whether you’re heading here for breakfast, lunch, dinner or something in between, one of the most popular dishes to try is the marinated Thai lamb, an interesting mix of tenderloin with braised sweet potato and glazed shallots. Dhs100 (marinated lamb). Habtoor Grand Beach Resort and Spa, Dubai Marina (04 399 5000).
Al Muna Offering an à la carte menu around the clock, this restaurant serves a selection of dishes from the region, as well as a few international classics. If it’s a bit of midnight grazing, you’re after, the mixed-grill platter is a particularly good bet, offering a variety of tidbits including shish taouk, lamb chops and lamb skewers. While the ambience of the interior is quintessentially Arabic, we’re quite taken with the fact that this venue also offers guests the option of some after-hours al-fresco dining, with lovely views of the Madinat waterways from the large outdoor patio area. Dhs160 (mixed grill). Mina A’ Salam, Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 6730).
Al Reef Bakery This Lebanese venue is something of a Dubai institution for night owls across the city. Whether you’re heading in for an early breakfast of freshly baked local bread or a late-night snack on the way home from an evening out, guests are treated to a rustic setup, bustling atmosphere and speedy service. Al Reef serves a decent selection of mezze, but the bread-based dishes are definitely where it is at. Try the shawarmas and manakish – we particularly like the cheese and zaatar variety. Dhs6 (cheese manakish). Za’abeel Road, Karama (04 396 1980).
Arboretum The imposing palm-like columns and spacious feel make this a grand and glamorous space in which to enjoy a late-night snack. The decor is distinctly Arabian, although the all-day-dining restaurant offers an international selection of dishes that veer beyond the Middle East’s borders. In fact, the signature dish is the classic Indian butter chicken, served with raita, mango chutney and popadoms. You can also take advantage of the al-fresco area and views of the Madinat’s river, and even the sea in the distance. Dhs80 (butter chicken). Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 6730).
Boulvar While guests can enjoy a buffet at set mealtimes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, an internationally flavoured á la carte menu is also available around the clock. Earlier birds (between 7pm and midnight, throughout the week) can try the venue’s globally themed dinner buffets, which features a different cuisine or cooking style each evening. As for the à la carte, ouzi, served on a bed of oriental rice, is a popular choice among locals and expats alike. Dhs48 (club sandwich). Radisson Blu Dubai Deira Creek (04 205 7333).
Cappuccino This little café makes a good spot for a quick coffee and a sweet treat. The focus here is less on having a full-on sit-down dinner or a stodgy late-night bite, and more on a quick refuelling pitstop. The selection on offer is more in line with coffee-shop fare, with a good variety of cakes, pastries, sandwiches and salads, making it a great spot for an extra-early breakfast. Dhs15 (meat and cheese toastie). Crowne Plaza Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (800 276963).
Dusit Deli Slap bang in the middle of Sheikh Zayed Road, the deli on the ground floor of the Dusit Thani hotel is a handy go-to spot at any hour of the day. Breakfast at Dusit Deli is particular popular, whatever time you find yourself eating it, because the dishes are available all day. Also on offer is a daily changing selection of specials on the blackboard, with freshly made Italian-style sandwiches, soups and salads and a pretty little selection of cakes on display at the counter. There’s even complimentary Wi-Fi. Dhs57 (daily special). Dusit Thani, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 317 4515).
Lobby Café This café (in the lobby of the Sheraton Deira, surprisingly) offers typical café fare, including a selection of teas and coffees, pastries and a few international options for a quick meal, such as Angus beef burger or shish taouk. But we particularly like the fact that you can get a continental breakfast here, 24/7. It’s also a fairly tranquil spot in which to take a late-night break – the relaxing vibe is fuelled by the sounds of water cascading from the nearby fountain. Dhs85 (continental breakfast). Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel and Towers, Deira (04 228 1719).
Mistral One of the Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate’s many dining venues, Mistral is a Moroccan-themed restaurant that offers a 24-hour à la carte choice of international dishes. There are live cooking stations and a buffet spread during the day, but at night the options are fairly endless, spanning Indian butter chicken, Italian pizzas made in the wood-fired oven, Cantonese-style roasted duck and the mashawi platter and Arabic-style mixed grills. Dhs168 (mixed grill). Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate (04 444 5613).
Moulin D’Or Bakery and Grill The Za’abeel Road area is something of a 24-hour bakery hotspot, with Lebanese joint Al Reef just across the road – it’s Dubai’s answer to London’s Brick Lane. Unlike Al Reef, Moulin D’Or is a better bet for diners looking for a comfy place to sit down; there’s even a fancier dining room upstairs for those who want a proper sit-down meal. The menu is a similar mix of Lebanese classics, and the manakish and shawarmas are particular favourites. For the sweet-toothed, there’s also a large selection of enticing-looking cakes and Arabic sweets on display. Dhs7 (chicken shawarma). Za’abeel Road, Karama (04 336 9994).
Sloane’s This venue offers a pleasant terrace and some rather nice views of the Marina, which just might occupy your eyes and take your mind off your tiredness if you head there in the middle of the night. The breakfast buffets are particularly popular, and international fare on the 24-hour menu includes fish grills and pasta, as well as dishes made in dedicated tandoor and pizza ovens. Dhs150 (breakfast buffet). Grosvenor House Dubai, Dubai Marina (04 317 6000).
Zaatar W Zeit This Lebanese fast-food joint is perhaps the most popular and certainly the best known of Dubai’s 24-hour eateries. As a result, the Sheikh Zayed Road venue appears to be permanently bustling at almost any hour. Amid the urban décor, dinners can indulge in Lebanese favourites including salads and manakish, but the wraps, stuffed with fresh ingredients, are definitely the main contender. Dhs30 (chicken wrap). Sheikh Zayed Road, near the Shangri-La Hotel (600 522 231).