Azerbaijan One of few Azerbaijani restaurants in the city, Baku Caspian offers a slightly more formal dining spotlight on this cuisine. The central Asia style of cooking is meat, rice and potato focussed, and highlights on this particular menu includes a vast selection of kebabs and ‘plov’ dishes of rice and meat. Baku Caspian, Jumeirah Beach Road, opposite Mercato Mall (04 344 3033).
Italy For an accessible yet excellent version of Italy’s fresh and unfussy pasta culture, Nais Italian Kitchen in JLT is a must. The independent specialists in northern Italian cooking includes on its menu a modest but varied selection of pastas (gnocchi, ravioli, tagliatelle and penne) that are all freshly made in-house. Nais Italian Kitchen, HDS Tower, Cluster F, JLT (04 452 9991).
Iran Since Iran’s answer to the wheat-staple that is pasta and noodles are primarily bread and rice related, Abshar in Deira is an excellent spot to try both. Here, you can order dishes of buttery saffron rice, peppered with Iranian barberries, as well as ‘stone bread’, which is freshly prepared here in a gravel-lined oven (hence the name). Abshar, Al Maktoum Road, Deira (04 223 0555).
Turkey One of our favourite spots in the city for well-made and authentic Turkish cooking can be found in the multi-storey villa, Turkish Village on Jumeirah Beach Road. Sample metre-long pide (Turkish flat breads dressed with tomato, herbs and onion) and Istanbul borek (fluffy fried pastries stuffed with cheese). Turkish Village, Jumeirah Beach Road, near Jumeirah Mosque (04 344 9955).
Uzbekistan At the Uzbegim eatery you can feast on this cuisine’s hearty and meat heavy cooking for very few dirhams. On the menu is laghman, the central Asian staple of pulled noodles, thought to be connected with their better-known Chinese cousins. Here it is served in a meaty broth with slices of beef. Uzbegim, The Zen Tower, Dubai Marina (04 392 7311).