We couldn't bear the heat, so we decided to order in. Here are the best of our findings
Lets face it, Dubai is an order-in kind of town. With takeaway increasing by double-digit margins every year, ot makes sense that new venues and websites are popping up to deal with the demand (don't worry, we've reviewed them for you). And in this weather, when a trip to the local supermarket is sure to end in tears (or some unsightly sweat patches), is it any wonder? of course, nothing can ruin an evening in like bad delivery. Luckily, we've dug up the city's best and most unusual - finds.
Al Farooj Fresh Ease of ordering: Easy peasy. Delivery time: 45 minutes. Verdict: Plain shawarmas are good and garlicky. Roasted chicken is really just fried. Delivery range: Everywhere (600 522 255). 3/5 Less than Dhs25 per person
Al Hallab Ease of ordering: Fairly dependable. These guys are used to taking orders, so they have it down to a science. Delivery time: 60 minutes. Verdict: Some of the best Lebanese food around. It comes at an adequate temperature and in sizeable portions. Cheese manakish – gooey, salty and dripping slightly – makes for a great early-morning remedy after a rowdy evening out, while the Dhs9 shish taouk sandwich is a bargain lunch. Delivery range: Everywhere. Garhoud (04 282 3388), Mall of the Emirates (04 341 1880), The Dubai Mall (04 330 8828). 4/5 Less than Dhs25 per person
Arz Lebanon Ease of ordering: Easy, as long as you know the menu. Delivery time: 45 minutes. Verdict: We were pleasantly surprised by the tasty shawarma and mezze. Delivery range: Jumeirah (04 394 7736), Bur Dubai (04 396 4466), Internet City (04 367 6680), Mirdif (04 288 0041), Barsha (04 347 2226), Gold Souk (04 273 1300). 3/5 Dhs25-40 per person
Automatic Ease of ordering: Very easy. Delivery time: 60 minutes. Verdict: Offers good, simple Lebanese fare. Our halloumi arrived warm, but the shish taouk was rather dry. Delivery range: From Dubai Marina to Deira (04 321 4465). 3/5 Dhs25-40 per person
Jedoudna Ease of ordering: Easy. Delivery time: 30 minutes. Verdict: Food arrives quickly and is piping hot. Standouts are the zingy tabbouleh (we skipped the fried brain). Delivery range: Jumeirah Beach Residence to Barsha (04 423 0766, www.jedoudnahospitality.com). 4/5 Dhs60+
Labneh wa Zaatar Ease of ordering: We were cut off the first time, but we finally got through. Delivery time: 40 minutes. Verdict: Massive portions of good-quality Arabic food. Delivery range: Everywhere (600 522 293, www.labnehwazaatar.ae). 4/5 Dhs25-40 per person
Wild Peeta Ease of ordering: Expert. Delivery time: 20 minutes. Verdict: These fusion shawarmas are a bit mixed – the bread is a little too doughy. But we like that they come stuffed with veggies. Delivery range: Within 45 minutes of Wafi (800 9453). 4/5 Dhs25-40 per person
Bagels & More Ease of ordering: Satisfactory. There was a language barrier, but the establishment found an English speaker to call us back. Delivery time: 30 minutes. Verdict: We were impressed that everything arrived warm; the pizza bagels are a must and the BLTs are tasty and filling. The menu is wide, and it’s worth checking if there are any specials. The only downside to this New York import is that the beef bacon in the BLT is a little disappointing. Delivery range: Dubai Marina (04 430 8790), International City (04 430 8001; www.bagelsandmore.ae). 4/5 Dhs25-40 per person
Circle Cafe Ease of ordering: Fine. Delivery time: 40 minutes. Verdict: The bagels are tasty, but fillings tend to be greasy. The salads are great. Delivery range: Dubai Media City (04 391 5170), Jumeirah Beach Road (04 342 8177). 3/5 Dhs25-40 per person
French Connection Ease of ordering: Easy. Delivery time: 30 minutes. Verdict: The breakfast is what sets this place apart. You get a lot for your money. Delivery range: Sheikh Zayed Road (04 343 8311), Bur Dubai (04 359 4545), Marina (04 368 9111). 4/5 Dhs25-40 per person
Chin Chin Ease of ordering: Usually fine. Delivery time: 40 minutes. Verdict: Huge portions, and the beef pepper-crush garlic is a marvel, but the quality of the food is inconsistent. Delivery range: Satwa/Jumeirah (04 398 3588). 3/5 Dhs25-40 per person
Zen Restaurant Ease of ordering: Perfect. The restaurant also stores your info for next time. Delivery time: 45 minutes. Verdict: The delivery man gave us a flower with our food – cute! The menu has a Thai and Chinese section, though the Thai dishes stands out (especially the red coconut curry). Seafood and veggie options are also a better bet, as chicken and lamb can disappoint. Still, the ease of ordering and personal touches make it one of our staples. Delivery range: Bur Dubai to Jumeirah (800 936). 3/5 Dhs25-40 per person
Zyng Asian Grill Ease of ordering: Time-consuming. Delivery time: 30 minutes. Verdict: Good for health nuts. The market bowl lets you choose your own ingredients. Delivery range: Everywhere. Festival City (04 375 0580), Ibn Battuta Mall (04 366 9808), Emirates Hills (04 363 9985). 4/5 Dhs25-40 per person
BonChon Chicken Ease of ordering: Great. Delivery time: 45 minutes. Verdict: This Korean chain serves the best fried chicken in all of Dubai. We’re addicted. Delivery range: Garhoud to Dubai Marina (055 266 2466). 5/5 Dhs25-40 per person
The Fish & Chips Room Ease of ordering: Fine. Delivery time: 25 minutes. Verdict: Hit and miss. Sometimes the fish and chips are as good as their British counterparts; sometimes they fall short. Delivery range: JBR (04 427 0443), Green Community (04 885 9533). 3/5 Dhs40-60
Gourmet Burger Kitchen Ease of ordering: Efficient. Delivery time: 30 minutes. Verdict: The massive burgers arrive piping hot. Try the goat’s cheese and eggplant option. Delivery range: Everywhere (04 232 8818). 4/5 Dhs40-60
Nando’s Ease of ordering: There’s a dedicated delivery number that makes the process easy. Delivery time: 65 minutes. Verdict: It arrived cold, but the taste was goooood. Delivery range: Central Dubai (600 542 525). 3/5 Dhs40-60
Brick Lane Ease of ordering: Excellent. Delivery time: 40 minutes. Verdict: Classic British curries (including the infamously hot phall) done to perfection by Scouse-Bangladeshis. Delivery range: Barsha (04 399 6786). 4/5 Dhs25-40 per person British Tandoor Ease of ordering: Very easy. Delivery time: 55 minutes. Verdict: A no-frills British curry house offering great comfort food. Delivery range: Everywhere, although some destinations have a delivery charge (04 321 1778). 3/5 Dhs40-60
Curry Box Ease of ordering: Very easy. Delivery time: 70 minutes. Verdict: Great food – the best jalfrezi (a spicy, tomato-based curry) in town, plus gorgeously fragrant coconut rice. Butter chicken comes with plump chunks of breast and a creamy gravy that feels deceptively light. There is, however, a huge waste of packaging: everything arrives in enormous cardboard boxes that feel like an environmentally costly gimmick. Plus, you don’t get popadoms unless you specifically request them. Delivery range: From Barsha to the Green Community. Minimum orders depend on location. (800 2877 9269/ 04 4343 043, www.curryboxme.com). 4/5 Dhs40-60
Gazebo Ease of ordering: If you know what you’re getting in advance, ordering is easy. The menu, however, explains almost nothing, so be prepared to experiment. Delivery time: 60 minutes, even though our closest outlet is located right across the street. Verdict: The food takes a long time, but when you unpack it, it’s obvious why. The biryani comes in a clay pot covered in a breaded shield (proving its authenticity), and contains a feast of juicy mushrooms and fluffy rice. Food is stunningly good, without exception. Delivery range: Everywhere (04 359 8555, www.gazebo.ae). 5/5 Dhs40-60
India Palace Ease of ordering: The telephone operator is quick, efficient and willing to recommend particular items from the menu. Delivery time: About 60 minutes. Verdict: Food arrives hot – boiling hot. We had to wait 10 minutes for our curry to cool before we could take a bite (okay, we jumped the gun and burned our mouths). Still, this is among the best takeaway curries in the city. Dishes are, without fail, expertly spiced, blissfully nuanced and surprisingly light (there are no puddles of oil to be found). Go in for the kadai gobi – cauliflower in a fragrant tomato gravy. Delivery range: Garhoud (04 286 9600). 5/5 Dhs40-60
Kabab Rolls Ease of ordering: Simple (but be a little patient). Delivery time: 35 minutes. Verdict: Chicken tandoori is succulent and well flavoured. Delivery range: Everywhere, with minimum charges. Barsha (04 325 6166), Jumeirah (04 349 3936), BurJuman (04 396 0755). 5/5 Dhs40-60
Karachi Darbar Ease of ordering: Good, if you stick to simple dishes. Delivery time: 25 minutes. Verdict: Fast, huge portions and darn cheap. Just shy of Ravi’s. Delivery range: Karama (04 334 7272), Bur Dubai (04 353 3177), Deira (04 272 3755). 3/5 Less than Dhs25 per person
Paratha King Ease of ordering: A little tricky. Delivery time: 60 minutes. Verdict: This place serves every type of paratha (stuffed bread) imaginable. Yum. Delivery range: Karama (04 397 9110), Bur Dubai (04 351 5121). 4/5 Less than Dhs25 per person Royal Kebab Ease of ordering: Be sure to enunciate clearly. Delivery time: 40 minutes. Verdict: Simple curry at its best. The butter chicken is rich and creamy. Delivery range: International City (04 362 3800). 3/5 Dhs25-40 per person
Rupee Room Ease of ordering: Very easy. Delivery time: 40 minutes. Verdict: Overpriced, but great quality if you want a treat. Delivery range: Dubai Marina (04 390 5755, www.rupeeroom.com). 4/5 Dhs60+
Student Biriyani Ease of ordering: A pleasure. Delivery time: 30 minutes. Verdict: Too much rice and not enough meat with the biryani. Still, the taste isn’t bad. Delivery range: Bur Dubai and Karama (04 336 9992). 3/5 Dhs25-40 per person
Sukh Sagar Ease of ordering: Tricky. Verdict: Large portions of veggie curries. The seasoning is a bit safe. Delivery range: Karama (04 396 7222), Dubai Marina (04 437 0188). 3/5 Dhs25-40 per person
Bento-Ya Ease of ordering: So simple. Delivery time: 35 minutes. Verdict: Great, classic Japanese food – we die for the soft-shell crab roll sushi. Delivery range: Most areas (04 343 0222, www.bentoya.info). 5/5 Dhs40-60 Yo! Sushi Ease of ordering: Fantastic. The staff store your info, know exactly where to deliver to and repeat the order back to you. Delivery time: 45 minutes – on the early side of the estimate. Verdict: It’s not the cheapest takeaway in town, nor is it the most authentic Japanese food you’ll ever experience, but it’s consistent, comforting and dependable, which makes it a happy regular if you feel like a lazy treat. Our favourite dishes are the giant hand rolls that resemble sushi ice cream cones (especially the crispy salmon skin option). Delivery range: Everywhere (800 967 8744). 3/5 Dhs40-60
800 Pizza Ease of ordering: Easy peasy. The phone operators are polite, efficient and know the areas they serve well. Delivery time: 50 minutes. Verdict: You won’t find a more authentic pizza in Dubai – they boast a thin, borderline sloppy base, with crispy crusts and beautifully fresh toppings. Just check the menu before ordering, because several of the pizzas don’t have a tomato-based sauce. Don’t bother with salads – they don’t provide good value for money at all. Delivery range: Barsha (04 341 6101), Dubai Marina (800 74992). 4/5 Dhs25-40 per person
Marzano Ease of ordering: Easy. Delivery time: 20 minutes. Verdict: Easily the best pizza in the city. The lasagne is also great. Delivery range: Old Town (04 420 1136). 5/5 Dhs25-40 per person
Oregano Ease of ordering: Easy. Delivery time: 30 minutes.Verdict: Offers a range of passable pizzas and pastas. Delivery range: Within a 30-minute drive of its branches: Mirdif (04 288 3420), Emaar Business Park (04 360 7700), Dubai Media City (04 434 3010). 3/5 Dhs40-60
Pane Caldo Ease of ordering: There are some language barriers. Delivery time: 30 minutes. Verdict: Beautiful fresh pasta and thin-crust pizza – just like mama used to make. Delivery range: Mirdif (04 288 8319, www.pane-caldo.ae). 5/5 Dhs40-60
Pizza Express Ease of ordering: Good. Staff even rectified our wrong order. Delivery time: 45 minutes. Verdict: Dependable. We love the Soho pizza. Delivery range: From Jebel Ali to Rashidiya (04 394 5616, www.pizzaexpressdubai.com). 4/5 Dhs40-60
Stefano’s Ease of ordering: Easy. Delivery time: 45 minutes. Verdict: The pizza slices fall apart before they leave the box. Still, they’re light and airy. Delivery range: Marina (04 422 2632), Barsha (04 340 3015). 3/5 Dhs40-60
Tiger Pizza Ease of ordering: Very easy. Delivery time: 35 minutes. Verdict: A thin crispy-based pizza with just the right amount of toppings (go for the bolognese). Delivery range: International City (04 374 6059/050 157 5077). 3/5 Dhs25-40 per person
Maria Bonita’s Ease of ordering: It’s a breeze. Delivery time: 45 minutes. Verdict: Delicious, wholesome Mexican food – the chicken fajitas are perfectly seasoned. Delivery range: From Bur Dubai (04 395 5576) to the Green Community (04 885 3188). 5/5 Dhs40-60
Lemongrass Ease of ordering: Lemongrass has a great website with a full menu – you then call your nearest restaurant to order (there are branches across Dubai). The lady we spoke to complimented us on our Thai pronunciations. Delivery time: 38 minutes. Verdict: We’re usually big fans of Lemongrass, but when we last ordered the food was a little disappointing. The curries were rather watery, the chicken was tough and potatoes undercooked. Still, it’s cheap, and the sauce flavours kept us cheerful. Delivery range: Everywhere (04 334 2325, www.lemongrassrestaurants.com). 2/5 Dhs60+
The Royal Orchid Ease of ordering: Good – straightforward and easy. Delivery time: 45 minutes. Verdict: The food is warm, the Pepsis are cold and the portions are huge. Skip the duck. Delivery range: Within a 45-minute drive of Dubai Marina (04 367 4040) and Festival Centre (04 232 8585). 3/5 Dhs60+
Soi 55 Ease of ordering: Friendly, but rather confusing. Delivery time: 40 minutes. Verdict: Fresh and tasty Thai food – the Pad Thai is the best we’ve had. Delivery range: From International City to Jumeirah – some locations have a Dhs100 minimum spend (04 422 1235). 5/5 Dhs25-40 per person
Thai Wok Ease of ordering: Fantastic. Delivery time: 40 minutes. Verdict: This hidden gem offers particularly tasty main courses, which are spiced to our liking and very authentic. It’s also very good value. Delivery range: Jumeirah 2 to Jebel Ali and Arabian Ranches, minimum order Dhs40 (04 430 8119, www.thaiwok.ae) 4/5 Less than Dhs25 per person
On the net We tested two of Dubai’s food delivery websites. Here’s what we found
www.roomservice-uae.com The pros: • Many of Dubai’s best restaurants, such as Long Yin and Shabestan (neither of which offer their own delivery services) are represented on this site.
• Large selection of restaurants.
• Menus available online.
• Food arrives steaming hot.
The cons: • There’s a Dhs30 delivery charge.
• Food takes a long time (think 90 minutes).
• It’s expensive.
• Because you’re dealing with a call centre/website, not the restaurant itself, you can’t ask questions about the menu.
Bottom line: Great if you don’t mind waiting (and paying a premium) for a much higher standard of takeaway.
•There are several cheap restaurants to choose from.
• Menus available online.
The cons: • There are too many cheap options and not enough mid-range choices.
Bottom line: A great service that lists several restaurants we never knew delivered.
It’s in the delivery
We’ve had some ludicrous conversations with takeaway staff. Here are some of the silliest things we heard, or were forced to say ‘What’s your name?’ ‘Nyree.’ ‘Larry?’ ‘No, Nyree – it’s a girl’s name.’ ‘Okay Larry.’
‘Where do you live?’ ‘Behind the Dhow Palace.’ ‘Dhow Tower?’ ‘No, palace. P-A-L…’ ‘T-O-’ ‘No, palace. Like... where sheikhs live.’
‘What’s your name?’ ‘Daisy.’ ‘Baby?’ ‘No, Daisy.’ ‘Baby.’ [Sigh] ‘Yes, Baby – my name is Baby.’
‘Hello, we ordered food over an hour ago – where is it?’ ‘I’m sorry, the driver was in a crash on his motorbike.’ ‘Oh that’s terrible, was anything damaged?’ ‘No, he’s fine, sir.’ ‘Actually, I was referring to my burger.’
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luke Jul 30, 2012 04:14 pm
I have to disagree with your comments on Sukh Sagar, the ordering process is simple - the fella taking my order doing a brilliant job at suggesting some amazing dishes!!! Again, I have to disagree with the price range, for two blokes you are looking at spending 60AED each (if you want some left for breakfast).
Prabhu Nov 24, 2010 06:31 am
Chin Chin has the largest portions and is one of the cheapest Chinese food in town !! But I do agree their food is not very consistent ... at times a bit salty but when you order make sure to tell your waiter ... less oil and no MSG ... you'll be fine.
James Aug 11, 2010 10:38 am
I can't believe that Royal Kitchen Kuisine in the Marina didn't get a mention. It is some of the best food i have ever had. The menu is a bit of childish looking joke, but the food is immense! and a bargain to boot. 59aed for all you can eat, and its cooked to order, so no sub standard fire and forget buffet rubbish. Its in the Zen tower at the Abu Dhabi end of the Marina. Check it out, i'll be there again tonight!
Anil Aug 10, 2010 06:40 am
China Town located next to Al Mussala Towers serve pretty decent Chinese food and the food has always been delivered 'piping hot' within 20 minutes of ordering.
Rituu Jul 25, 2010 05:15 am
Yes I agree Chin Chin food quality/taste is never consistent