You’ll struggle to find a dish priced at more than Dhs20 in this South Indian eatery, which makes it a decent place to kick off a budget list. It’s not fancy, but the food is light and tasty. Winner in the Best Budget category at the 2012 Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards, this is certainly one for your shortlist. Try the biryani at Dhs15 or a mixed veg curry for Dhs14.50.
Dubai isn’t overpopulated with Indonesian restaurants, but thankfully there are two branches of this decent value restaurant. It looks pretty basic inside, but don’t be put off. Whether you’re in the Karama or JLT restaurant there’s an authentic menu, which although not long, has some flavoursome soups and traditional dishes including nasi goreng (Dhs32), satay (Dhs32) and Indonesian salad gado gado (Dhs27).
We all know there’s no shortage of choice if you’re after Lebanese fare in Dubai, but with a reputation for tasty, home-style cooking in its native Lebanon, this brasserie is a winner. Open until 4am (in case those late-night hummus cravings get the better of you), you can easily feast on a selection of mezze for less than Dhs100 for two. We recommend the grilled cheese rolls (Dhs32 for four) for oozy, cheesy happiness.
What’s a list of cut-price dining without the victor of Time Out Dubai’s Best Budget restaurant category this year? Based close to the beach near the Burj Al Arab, Bu Qtair is a worthy winner of the accolade. Excellent for those who can’t make a decision (who needs a menu?) you have a choice of what’s been caught that day and it will be served with rice or paratha and an aromatic gravy at Dhs40 for a small portion. Simple, delicious and worth the inevitable wait for a table (there are no reservations, either).
For cuisine from north eastern Thailand, Café Isan is the one to try. The restaurant has a homely, friendly feel and with soups for around Dhs25 and mains at Dhs40, it fits this list perfectly. We recommend the crispy beef (Dhs36) or Thai green curry (Dhs37). However, everything is on the spicy side of the Scoville scale, so if you can’t handle the heat, pre-warn the kitchen.
When you have to queue to eat in Karama you know you’re onto a good thing. Ranking as highly commended in the Best Budget category of our Restaurant Awards this year, the Keralan food at this eatery is delicious and a brilliant choice for cheap eats, with most main courses ringing in at around Dhs25. The menu is varied, but the seafood is a speciality. Don’t be afraid to ditch that cutlery and dig in with your hands.
It’s decked out in bright colours and edamame bean-shaped cushions, but don’t let the kitsch touch put you off. The food is good quality and decently priced, with a selection of sushi, sashimi and maki – the California rolls (Dhs37) and the shrimp gyoza (Dhs32) are well worth a try. The “Let’s Roll” option allows you to customise your own sushi, too, if you’re feeling creative (or just fussy).
Especially popular come lunch-time, this is an authentic Chinese dining experience. However, with that authenticity comes a fair amount of confusion. But navigate your way through the menu successfully and you’ll be in for a treat. One for adventurous diners, it also includes some lesser-spotted options such as fried sea cucumber (warning, it’s not an actual cucumber, it’s a leathery-skinned marine creature) if you’re feeling brave. But if you’re not, there’s always sweet and sour chicken (Dhs42).
These Egyptian street snacks are a much-loved comfort food. And if, like us, you can’t resist cheese, you’ll be in your element here. Roll options start at Dhs17, include those stuffed with Kraft cheese, four cheeses, egg and cheese… (you get the picture). Feteer with toppings also include lots of fromage-based options. For the best deal go for the combo: a wrap or roll plus fries and a soft drink for Dhs40. Just don’t blame us for the cheese-induced dreams afterwards.
Greek food doesn’t always come cheap in Dubai. Thankfully, GRK is addressing that, with its authentic, wallet-friendly options. With a lamb souvlaki setting you back Dhs40, or a range of pitas coming in at under Dhs30, it’s a taste of the Aegean without the airfare.
If you’re looking for a hot dog and you’re on a tight budget, the search is over. The Hot Dog Stand boasts three signature seven-inch Angus beef or chicken renditions: the Cheese Coney (Dhs19), The Monster Hot Dog (Dhs21) and The Mexican (Dhs23). All come loaded with toppings and taste, and at that price, you’ll be able to fork out for some fries, too.
For a healthy(ish) lunch, nip in to jones the grocer. True, some of the mains are more expensive, but if you’re after a swanky sandwich or a snack (think oak-smoked salmon bagel for Dhs36), your bill will still come in within budget.
Famous in its native Lebanon as a fresh and healthy fast food alternative (but with fast food prices) Kababji Grill has an extensive range of mezze within budget. All the classics are there including fattoush (Dhs23), hummus (Dhs22) and halloumi (Dhs26). If you’re after a main course, the kebabs, grilled veal sandwich or grilled chicken are strong choices for under Dhs50.
Who doesn’t love sushi? If you don’t, you should probably skip ahead to the next one. If you do, you’re in luck. Mori Sushi has an extensive range of Asian dishes, and a brand-new healthy menu for summer, including seaweed salad (Dhs32) and a miro platter (Dhs48). Best of all, you can pick a variety of dishes and still spend just Dhs100.
Among the many burger joints on Jumeirah Beach Road lies Moylo’s, an independent restaurant that is certainly worth stopping into. The hole-in-the-wall-style spot has industrial fittings and plenty of colour and character. There isn’t a huge amount of choice (seven options, to be precise) and the signature Moylo’s burger comes stuffed with an onion ring, cheese and “Moylo’s sauce”. We can’t tell you the sauce’s secret, but what we can tell you is that this speciality comes in at a lip-smacking Dhs38.
The brand-new offering from Bull & Roo (the folks behind Tom&Serg and The Sum Of Us) flung open this restaurant’s doors last month, and it boasts a feast-esta (see what we did there?) of Mexican favourites. It prides itself on being “not Tex-Mex” so expect authentic cuisine, such as the grilled flank taco (Dhs29) and the menu focuses on sharing (so don’t be greedy, or just ensure your dining companion has a small appetite).
With plenty of outlets around Dubai it’s easy to tuck into a salad Niçoise (Dhs48) or crêpe chevre tomatoes (Dhs49) for a Parisian-style casual dinner, proving Paul is not simply a go-to for petit dejeuner. That said there are decent deals for under Dhs50 for that too, including a coffee, juice, pastry and bread if you’re a morning person.
Basic veggie Indian food served with no fuss: that pretty much sums up Rangoli. But with most dishes coming in at less than Dhs15, you won’t be disappointed, especially if you taste the bhel puri (you’ll be able to stretch to the Dhs9 for this, we’re sure). Worth a pit-stop on any penny-saving tour.
You’ll find affordable, authentic Pakistani food at Ravi’s. Forget the menu, go on the recommendations of the staff, and you can’t go far wrong. The biryanis are especially popular (Dhs14), as are the chicken or lamb peshawaris (Dhs25) and you’ll certainly leave with plenty of change from Dhs100.
You’ve made the Middle East your home, and when nothing will do but a shawarma, look up S’wich. Go for one of the house selections (we love the Portobello mushroom version, Dhs24) or go wild and create your own. Do pickles go with avocado? Sure they do. Pretend you’re at brunch and mix up the flavours. Round it off with a portion or truffle and Parmesan fries for Dhs15 (or sweet potato, if you’re being, ahem, healthy), and you’re sorted.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: shopping is hungry work. With branches in both The Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates, Taqado has all the standard Mexican fast-food you could want. And despite it being a casual chain the food is flavoursome and filling, without leaving you like you need a lie down. A ten inch burrito (which comes packed with fresh ingredients) will set you back Dhs32. You’re welcome, amigos.
If you’re watching the sport there are plenty of burgers and wraps at good prices here. Or go all out and tuck into a bargain plate of marinated wings and a side order of crispy onion rings for just Dhs30. Grab a napkin. It won’t be pretty.
This Asian eatery has built up a well-deserved reputation for excellent Chinese food at affordable prices. The décor is clean and simple, but the menu is vast, so while it’ll take you longer to choose than it did to get there, service is super swift. Starting with some dim sum (from Dhs19) and then peruse the Malaysian section of the menu, where the highlight, nasi goreng, is just Dhs35.
Although not every item on this menu falls under Dhs50 a head, most do. They include all-day breakfasts (think avocado and eggs at Dhs37 or four-egg omelette at Dhs38), smoothie bowls, salads and sushi platters. Head here for a laid-back weekend morning. An ability to surf is not compulsory.
There’s many a good reason for why this is Time Out Dubai’s Best Café, not least because of its super-fresh ingredients and laid-back warehouse vibe. Granted some of the items weigh in on the pricier side, but if you’re looking for a strong start to the day, the breakfast menu is a must, especially the salted caramel French toast (Dhs43) if you have a sweet tooth. The best news: breakfast dishes aren’t limited to the morning. French toast for lunch, too, you say? We’re in.
You can’t open social media without an eat clean hashtag or a photo of kale: it’s official the health food craze has gone global, and Dubai hasn’t escaped it. If you’re looking for a hit of nutritious, good value food, this spot is for you. Soups, chicken lettuce tacos, chicken basil wraps, lean burgers, salmon and quinoa, protein pasta and super bowls: they’re all delicious and – you guessed it – under 500 calories. They’re under Dhs50, too.
A previous winner in our South East Asian category, Wox may be small (in physical size and in terms of menu offering), but it packs a punch when it comes to food. There’s a central cooking station, so you don’t miss the speedy chefs in action. Portions are also a little on the small side, but with dishes such as the shrimp pad Thai and hot and sour prawn soup, both at Dhs50, you won’t be complaining.
Before we start, in case you’re not au fait with momos, they’re Nepalese dumplings. And very tasty ones at that. Choose to have yours baked or fried and stuffed with either veg, shrimp, beef or chicken (ranging from Dhs12-16 for six) and then dip it in the fiery red chilli dip that comes on the side. Add on some home-made masala fries and you’ve got yourself a tasty meal for under Dhs25 right there. Yalla Momos ranked Highly Commended in the Best Budget section of this year’s Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards. Get there early and nab yourself one of the six seats inside and enjoy.
We love Lebanese street food and we love the prices, and judging by the buzz in Zaroob, we’re not alone. From businessmen in suits to tourists and students, the clientele at this restaurant is as varied as the menu. Plus, it’s open all hours and serves a feast of delectable dishes: we recommend the hummus (Dhs18) with a side of freshly cooked bread, which is baked in-house – a suitable dish at any time of day or night, we’re sure you’ll agree.