Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2013 details - Timeoutdubai.com

China Sea

Nominated for Best Chinese 18 Comments

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With its fish tanks, fluorescent lighting and simple, kitsch decor (think curtains made of plastic chillies and peanuts and red paper lanterns), this loud, no-frills restaurant is as genuine as it gets. Seeing the cooks and waiting staff wolf down their dinner around a circular table at the rear will transport anyone who’s been before, back to China. The place even smells like an everyday Beijing or Shanghai eatery. It’s great to learn that this authenticity also extends to the food, which is listed in well-thumbed menus complete with pictures. As the name suggests, seafood reigns supreme here, and the crab (you’ll be asked if you want frozen or fresh) is a fine way to test the skills of the chefs seen working away in the kitchen. The homemade jiao zi dumplings are another treat, and as long as you don’t mind the no-fuss presentation and approach of the staff, you’ll love this easygoing, unpretentious place.
Open daily 11am-2am. Al Maktoum Road, near Clock Tower, Deira (04 295 9816).

By Time Out Dubai staff
Time Out Dubai,

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Posted by: YOYO jiang on 12 Jun ' 13 at 16:13
  • Best for: Family friendly

As a Chinese ,i have tried all the Chinese restaurants in Dubai ,China Sea is on of the best ,from the location ,the price and environment,it;s amazing !

Posted by: Aaron on 15 Mar ' 13 at 09:12
  • Best for: Family friendly

Cash only. Most authentic Chinese in the city.

I have been going to this restaurant for years now. It isn't the fanciest place, and price reflects it. The staff is attentive and courteous, without being overbearing. The food is genuine Chinese, so if you are expecting Indo-China or American Chinese food, you will be in for a surprise. All of the food is very fresh (might have been alive when you walked in the door), and cooked just as it is in China.

The low prices for the food means that I generally go with a group of friends for parties. The private rooms are great for this purpose, as it keeps the hustle of the main restaurant outside, so you can enjoy talking business, watching TV and relaxing, or even singing karaoke with your friends.

One thing to keep in mind is that they only accept cash.

Posted by: RKT on 08 Apr ' 12 at 06:20

I decided to try the restaurant ont he basis of the good reviews it had here.. I went there, was amazed at the prices.. wasnt sure what to order... finally ordered for fried rice, diced chicken with peanuts and sweet and sour prawns. All a disaster! Was expecting much better food, but what we got was boiled bland food, At the end of it, they dont even accept cards, only cash!
Basically, ii believe it is typical chinese food not like the Indo-Chinese food, so Indians - Definitely not your kind of food!

Posted by: Shahid Khan on 31 Aug ' 11 at 19:38

We were a party of Ten and chose a private dining room. The staff was courteous and very friendly..... when one of our party called to ask for directions, one of the staff received the car at the main entrance and parked it for them.
The food we ordered was served piping hot and was perfect. It was a delight to be able to eat authentic Chinese food in Dubai.... something that we could only have done in mainland China. In true Chinese style, the table was 'flooded' with dishes of vegetables, fish, chicken, duck, dumplings etc. etc. Everyone loved the experience which was a first for many in our party.
Highly recommend it to everyone. Great value for money.

Posted by: Carla on 07 Feb ' 11 at 10:46
  • Best for: Family friendly

it was only by chance we dine in this resto thats because china dragon located in abu hail was closed for Chinese new year for two days. It was my sons 10th month and we always celebrate it. We are already disappointed after seing the resto was close so we tried to find another chinese restaurant with doubts that it might be close for the same occassion. we headed to al maktoum road where another chinese resto is located and we are happy to see that the lights are on and people are dining. I have heard from friends about this resto but never had the chance to dine. So basically this is the first time and we i in particular was impressed by the taste of the food we ordered. We played safe ordered food that are familiar. We had chicken corn and hot and sour soup (not very fab though) prawn steamed damplings, egg fired rice, chicken noodle fry, chicken spring roll, sweet and sour chicken (with extra for take away), duck with pancakes. The food was good and I am satisfied to the point that I will come back for the food and the food alone. The service wasnt that bad, the guy was who serve on our table make sure everything was served and was very friendly. My verdict I will be back with friends and more friends and definitely with my family.

Posted by: Dubai lover on 12 Jan ' 11 at 09:19
  • Best for: Family friendly

Love this restaurant. I've been visiting Dubai every year for the past 5 years and this is the restaurant I always look forward to the most! It's one of the best Chinese restaurants I've ever eaten at, both here and in the US. The waitstaff is very friendly too.

Posted by: lian on 15 Dec ' 10 at 20:39
  • Best for: Family friendly

Where shall I start? We overlooked the odd location and exterior and persevered as someone recommended the place. As soon as we entered we really had to struggle to feel confident in our choice. The ridiculous amount of bored looking staff made no effort to notice us as we walked in and had to hassle a few people before we were 'seated' (i.e. pointed towards a table). The next hurdle was obtaining a menu from one of the miserable waiters who eventually dropped one on the table (between 5!) Ordering was near impossible but eventually we made some contact.

We plumped for the crispy duck, a beef and chicken dish noodles, rice and spring rolls....trying to play it safe. Whilst waiting for the food we had time to stick to the table cloth, appreciate the awful tacky decor and watch the waiters see who could kill the most flies next to the customers, with their fly swats poised at all times!

The food (we were still open minded at this stage and hoping for a miracle) was dismal, all very oily, bland and indistinguishable. The waiter didn’t know what was pork, chicken or beef and frankly we couldn’t tell either.

All I know is that I won’t be going back....I also have a feeling that all the dead flies end up in the black bean sauce.

Posted by: John on 25 Jul ' 10 at 04:51
  • Best for: Family friendly

Fantastic place, wonderful food, great service, amazing prices. The only quibble is that it doesn't serve pork but the range of other food is tremendous so that's no hardship. Best in Dubai? Hard to imagine better than China Sea, I have certainly paid far more for far less in this town. Feichang hao!

Posted by: Ene on 09 Jul ' 10 at 20:59
  • Best for: Family friendly

The food was good, the servers friendly and accommodating. Value for money.

I'd definitely go back to this place.

Posted by: brenda tan on 23 Feb ' 10 at 07:44

did not get the food we ordered but was still charged in the bill. Pointed out to the staff and it took some time to sort it out. Last 2 menu ordered were tasteless. One of the staffs spilled the gravy from an empty plate onto the table, into my drink as well as my face and hair. Without any word of apology or service recovery action to clear the spill. It was total;ly unacceptable. Worse was the fact that the manager was actually sitting behind our table and he saw the whole scene! YET there was not any follow up from him! It was not an excuse for the busy hours (7-9pm). It happened after 9pm+ when the restaurant was only half accupied. I will not recommend this restaurant to any of my family friends and clients in future. I patronized because i read about the good reviews but what i had experienced from China Sea did not make it up to any decent expectation.

Posted by: Daniel Hicks on 14 Feb ' 10 at 14:08

I have been going here for years and to me it is the best Chinese restuarant in Dubai. I've only been there with my Chinese friends, and so I'm not quite sure sometimes what I am eating because they do the ordering! But it is always a fantastic and delicious surprise when the food arrives. We once had a birthday party with 12 people in a private room upstairs and we had everything from crab to lobster, two ot three different different kinds of fish (don't ask me which species, I've no idea), prawns, duck and beautiful vegetable dishes. There was a Karoake machine in the room so there was a good old sing-song afterwards - and a great time had by all. The bill for this banquet-like feast for 12 was an amazing Dh700 only. Fantastic food and great value.

Posted by: oliver on 04 Nov ' 09 at 07:39

simply the best, freshest chinese food in town! i love going to china sea.

Posted by: Pursnickitty on 11 Oct ' 09 at 19:34

What a refreshing experience! The food was excellent; the service was speedy, the servers were attentive and available without being overly intrusive or annoyingly fawning (very unusual for Dubai). Great bang for your buck. The food was authentic and very fresh. We had the seafood steamed dumplings (8 dumplings for Dh18!), cuttlefish in chili sauce with peanuts, Chinese broccoli leaves, 1 sweet & sour soup (not fab, but cheap at Dh4 and extra soy sauce and vinegar at the table), 2 orders of steamed white rice, a coke and a kettle of jasmine tea. Plenty left over for lunch the next day. All for around Dh120 (excluding the tip). I'm looking forward to trying the hot-pot dishes next time. The only draw-back is the parking, which is limited, unless you're willing to pay Dh10 for a semi-private parking lot. (I say semi, b/c it appears to be a city lot, but with some dude who put up a shack at the entrance charging you to park). Thanks for the previous review about cash only. Definitely good to know. And yeah, the decor is decidedly Chinese-kitch, but at least it looks clean and is not overly cluttered; no loud annoying music either. We had a nice table by the floor-to-ceiling glass window, which looked out onto the street with pleasant lighting from the red Chinese lanterns overhead. You gotta a hankering for real Chinese food with badda-bing, badda-bang service? Then check this place out

Posted by: Georgina on 14 Sep ' 09 at 12:36

This is truly the real Macoy - Chinese food at its best. The decor is simple but clean, staff are very friendly and more than happy to teach you Chinese phrases if you want them. Watching the chefs in the kitchen is a bonus and we saw a well known Chinese TV personality being interviewed for a Chinese food programme one evening. If its good for him, its good enough for me and its affordable.

Posted by: Hussain on 30 May ' 09 at 16:18
  • Best for: Family friendly

This is a no nonsense authentic chinese restaurant with a wide ranging menu. The food is served fresh, you have the pleasure of watching it being cooked live with large windows overlooking the kitchen. Seafood dishes are a must and highly recommeded is the steamed dumplings for starters and chicken wth cashew nuts as main entry. By far this is a great place for quality chinese food at the best value for money in Dubai!

Posted by: toto on 06 Apr ' 09 at 11:24

good overall. Extensive menu. Very reasonable prices.
You can book a private room on the 1st floor with a minimum order of 316 dhs or sit in the open space restaurant.
Be careful, they do not take credit cards!! only cash.

Posted by: Chris Mullinger on 17 Mar ' 09 at 05:51
  • Best for: Family friendly

There are others that don't make Time Out, but this is one of the most authentic provincial Chinese restaurant in Dubai at reasonable prices. The Chinese tourist parties eating there virtually every night as well as locally based Chinese is testament to that. If you know your Chinese food, they will even prepare dishes for you. Also good value Chinese breakfasts.

Posted by: Dazz King on 17 Mar ' 09 at 05:06
  • Best for: Family friendly

Quite simply a no bells and whistles Chinese eatery for the Chinese community but for everyone.
Combine this with the freshest and most authentic ingredients possible
and your onto a winner.


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