Indian, Chinese, Arabic, pizza and more of the best food home delivery
Time Out Dubai staff
Get ready for summer with Dubai’s definitive list of 116 home delivery options.
With summer heat now upon us, and Ramadan on its way, dinner at home has never been so appealing. But are you going to cook? With Dubai takeaways such as NKD sending out up to 150 delivery bikers across the city (each delivering an average of 2.5 orders per hour), we suspect the answer is no. Home-grown takeaway concepts are also on the rise, and expanding; this month Rosso Vivo opens a branch in Dubai Media City, Kcal opens three new branches in July, while Best Burgers Forever opens a second venue in August in TECOM. This week, we’ve put together Dubai’s biggest takeaway guide, with 116 venues listed by cuisine type, including the city’s most popular takeaways, plus plenty of indie options, rating each on the speed of delivery (dividing the distance travelled by time taken to find the kph, in fairness to more removed outlets), value for money and food quality on arrival.
Arabic Just Falafel We ordered the Japanese meal, which came with a falafel wrap, fries and a soft drink. The wrap, which contained avocado, ginger and sesame, was fresh and flavoursome, although the fries were undercooked. We also ordered a lentil side salad, which was decent. Speed of delivery: 8kph Average price of a meal for two: Less than Dhs50 Score: 3/5 Dhs29. Al Barsha (04 395 1559), Deira City Centre (04 294 1190), Festival City (04 232 9992), Dubai Marina (04 452 9966), Mizhar (04 255 9099), Mankhool (04 379 9003), Business Bay (04 457 2198), Ibn Battuta Mall (04 451 7676), JLT (04 453 9175), Mall of the Emirates (04 409 9000), The Dubai Mall (04 325 3838).
Man2ooshe As it’s pretty greasy, traditionally manakish doesn’t travel very well. Fortunately, speedy delivery means we didn’t have to worry about our akawi cheese seeping through the paper. It arrived warm, with the cheese perfectly stringy and salty, while the bread was not a bit soggy. The accompanying cheeki chicken wrap was also fresh, and the salad free of any wilting. Speed of delivery: 9.65kph Average price of a meal for two: Less than Dhs50 Score: 5/5 Dhs32. TECOM (04 457 9456), Al Barsha Mall (04 325 5543), Sheikh Zayed Road (04 379 9945), Al Mizhar (04 283 9660).
Zaatar W Zeit We simply had to try the manakeesh topped with cheese and the seasoning for which the restaurant is named. We also opted for a side of fattoush salad and a warming spicy chicken ‘speciality’ wrap, all of which arrived in a fraction of the minimum 40-minute delivery time quoted, arriving 15 minutes after the order was placed. Speed of delivery: 10.8kph Average price of a meal for two: Less than Dhs100 Score: 4/5 Dhs65. Dubai Marina, Mall of the Emirates, Sheikh Zayed Road, Festival City, JBR, The Dubai Mall, The Meadows, Ibn Battuta Mall, Motor City (600 522 231).
Burgers BurgerFuel Our bio-fuel burger arrived fast and fresh, layered with beetroot, egg, and oozing with sauces, while the pumpkin motobites were a refreshing change to fries. High points for speed: despite quoting a delivery time of 45 minutes, our meal arrived in less than 25. Average price of a meal for two: Less than Dhs100 Speed of delivery: 8.5kph Score: 4/5 Dhs64. JBR (04 445 8220), The Dubai Mall (04 325 3416), Mirdif City Centre (04 445 8220), Dubai World Trade Centre (04 331 8336), Mall of the Emirates (04 354 9691), Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard (04 438 5056), Al Barsha Mall (04 354 9314).
Gourmet Burger Kitchen The American classic burger was cooked medium as requested and the meat and bun were good quality and not too greasy. It was also generously proportioned. We were less taken with the disappointing skin-on fries. Speed of delivery: 1.9kph Average price: Less than Dhs100 Score: 3/5 Dhs51. Dubai Marina Mall, Mirdif City Centre, DIFC (800 287437).
Chinese and Pan Asian Homey Chinese Restaurant We opted for the shrimp spring rolls, Yangzhou fried rice and a sweet and delicately spiced kung po chicken, none of which could have gone particularly wrong in transit considering the short delivery journey from Cluster V JLT to Cluster Y. We were told our meal would arrive in 10-20 minutes and it arrived piping hot within 15. Speed of delivery: 1.6kph Average price of a meal for two: Less than Dhs100 Score: 4/5 Dhs89. JLT (04 431 7106).
Noodle House The ordering process tested our patience: we had to answer a multitude of questions before getting to order, although the data-entry should mean more speed next time. The moreish pad Thai works better as an evening meal – the portions sizes are huge and sleep-inducing – while the prawn Hacao dumplings are pleasant, and large enough alone to satisfy you for lunch. Speed of delivery: 5kph Average price of a meal for two: More than Dhs100 Score: 3.5/5 Dh81. Dubai Media City (04 381 8065), Jumeirah Emirates Towers (04 319 8088), Souk Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 6730), DIFC (04 363 7093) Burjuman (04 352 6615) The Dubai Mall (04 388 4825).
Wagamama We opted for three chicken gyozas and the yaki soba noodles with prawns, chicken and veggies. The gyozas were flavoursome with a soy dipping sauce, though the noodles were slightly soggy and overdone. Speed of delivery: 4.78kph Average price: Less than Dhs100 Score: 2/5 Dhs62. The Greens (04 361 5757), Sheikh Zayed Road (04 331 1111), JBR (04 399 5900).
Healthy KCal The salmon teriyaki was a little overcooked, though this was alleviated by a delicate sauce that enhanced the dish. Brown rice provided a healthy side along with nicely al dente steam vegetables. The sweet banana sushi dessert (made with rice) had just enough dark chocolate sauce to satisfy a sweet tooth, without undoing the good work of the mains. Speed of delivery: 9kph Average price: More than Dhs100 Score: 3/5 Dhs65. KCal, JLT (04 447 3844), Tecom (04 450 3695) The Dubai Mall (04 422 7093, 04 423 2602) Business Bay (04 421 3848).
Little More Little is not the word we’d use to describe its beef lasagne. Vast and comforting, the dish was like a warm culinary cuddle: the meat to cheese to pesto ratios were all spot on, and the lime and mint mocktail was zesty and sugary. We were told the delivery would take more than an hour so cancelled our first attempt. However, second time around (earlier, at 11.30am) the food arrived in 15 minutes. Speed of delivery: 14kph Average price of a meal for two: More than Dhs100 Score: 3.5/5 Dhs80. Dubai Marina Mall, (04 432 4608), Dubai Media City (04 420 0100).
Potato Hut We ordered a baked potato with ‘chicken fajita’ filling, which arrived with relative speed. Unfortunately, the meal itself was a little dry, possibly due to the advertised tomato not being included. Speed of delivery: 10.4kph Average price of a meal for two: Less than Dhs50 Score: 2/5 Dhs19. Dubai Marina (04 448 3377), Mercato Mall (04 342 2963), The Dubai Mall (no number), Dragon Mart (no number).
Richy’s The wasabi VIP salad was a delicious and colourful mixture of sweet and tender beef chunks, cashew nuts, asparagus, mushrooms and bell peppers, with a creamy and peppery wasabi mayo dressing. We also tried the soup of the day, which was a thick, rich, nutty and sweet carrot soup. Speed of delivery: 6.4kph. Average price of a meal for two: Less than Dhs100 Score: 4/5 Dhs59. JLT (800 742 497).
Indian 800 Thali The signature Golden Thali arrived well packaged in an amusing box, branded with a colloquial life lesson which basically told us to calm down if it was late – which it was, taking more than an hour. Sadly the dishes were rather cold and bland on this occasion, though regular customers tell us it is usually delivered on time and extremely tasty. Speed of delivery: 3.3kph Average price of a meal for two: Less than Dhs50 Score: 2.5/5 Dhs22. JLT (800 84254).
Brick Lane The curries at this Barsha takeaway are from the British rather than Indian tradition. Expect them to be very sloppy, brightly coloured and on the milder side of the chili spectrum – although a mind-blowing phall is available. Will delight British expats familiar with this style of cooking. Speed of delivery: 1.9kph Average price of a meal for two: Less than Dhs100 Score: 3.5/5 Dhs120. Al Barsha (04 399 6786).
Curry Box Served with a small starter and sweet, and accompanied by rice, tawa, roti and dal, the lunch combo presented great value, and we were impressed with the mutton achari we chose. The salty fresh lime juice, however, wasn’t to our taste. Speed of delivery: 8.8kph Average price of a meal for two: Less than Dhs100 Score: 3/5 Dhs40. Discovery Gardens (04 434 3043), Business Bay (04 457 2288).
Flames While the food looked relatively appetising and arrived hot, we were disappointed with the size of the chicken shish kebab for the price. Turning up without any bread or pita (which is what we’d expect with a kebab), the food was tasty enough but slightly overcooked and dry. The tomato salad was also a disappointment and lacked any sophistication. Speed of delivery: 5.4kph Average price of a meal for two: Less than Dhs100 Score: 2.5/5 Dhs45. Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 452 6664).
Rupee Room The British-Indian style takeout delivers quality food at restaurant prices. Our kadhai chicken was generously laden with meat, tomato, garlic and ginger and came with a buttery naan and peas pulau. But at almost Dhs100 we find it one of the most expensive takeouts in town. That said the enormous platter was easily enough for two, so consider sharing to appreciate the quality. Speed of delivery: 2.1kph Average price of a meal for two: More than Dhs100 Score: 3/5 Dhs96 Dubai Marina Walk. www.therupeeroom.com (04 390 5755)
Italian 800 Pizza We ordered the meat rich pizza and the crostini con le alici – garlic bread with cheese and anchovies for a mighty lunchtime feast. Our food arrived piping hot and perfectly presented, 15 minutes earlier than the earliest delivery time we were quoted, taking a total of 30 minutes. Speed of delivery: 7kph Average price of a meal for two: Less than Dhs100 Score: 4.5/5 Dhs72. Dubai Marina, Al Barsha, Motor City, Downtown Dubai, Ibn Battuta Mall (800 74992).
Il Taglio Opting for the Stagioni 4 Classic pizza, with tomato sauce, cheese, mushrooms, anchovies and artichokes, we weren’t disappointed. It was still hot on arrival, nice and thin with a good balance of crunch and softness, and toppings proved generous. The salty anchovies won’t be for everyone, but there’s always the option of ordering this particular pizza without them. Speed of delivery: 3kph Average price of a meal for two: Less than Dhs50 Score: 4/5 Dhs43. The Greens (04 431 5759).
Nais Italian Kitchen Unlike stablemate pizza, pasta, unfortunately, does not travel well. Our beef ragout with penne arrived slightly ‘sweaty’ in its plastic container so that a dish we normally enjoy was a disappointment. Both the penne and the ragout had dried up to the extent it was unrecognisable from the dine-in equivalent. The tiramisu fared better. Speed of delivery: 4.7kph Average price of a meal for two: Less than Dhs100 Score: 2/5 Dhs70. JLT (04 452 9991).
NKD NKD is ever reliable and consistently tasty. We love that they always state they have change for Dhs200 on the phone, and how the delivery people tell you the time they took to reach you (21 minutes on this occasion). With all the organic ingredients, it’s good to know (or at least feel) you’re being healthy, too. Our tip? The Sonaran with extra pineapple. Speed of delivery: 3kph Average price: Less than Dhs100 Score: 4/5 Dhs50. Dubai Marina (04 453 4313), Mirdif (04 251 5866), Downtown Dubai (04 342 5755), Barsha (04 369 9396), Studio City (04 457 2533).
Papa John’s Our medium Mexican Ole pizza arrived sooner than expected, within 44 minutes of ordering, and despite the fact the driver first took it to the wrong location, the meal was still warm when we hungrily snatched it from his apologetic arms. Speed of delivery: 4kph Average price of a meal for two: Less than Dhs100 Score: 3/5 Dhs43. Dubai Marina (04 430 9903), Al Ghurair Center (04 228 4001), Festival City (04 232 8838), Mall of the Emirates (04 341 0490), Mirdif City Centre (04 284 3477), Rashidiyah (04 425 9806).
Rossovivo Our pizza arrived fast, fresh and warm, turning up on our doorstep in just 18 minutes. Boasting online about the ‘Forno Tradizionale Napoletano’ – that’s a traditional oven to me and you – we were impressed with the thin, authentic crust, while the simple insalata caprese tasted just as genuine. Among the best delivery pizza we’ve tasted in Dubai. Speed of delivery: 13 kph Average price of a meal for two: Less than Dhs100 Score: 4/5 Dhs81. Business Bay (04 380 5833).
Other Bob’s Fish & Chips We ordered the grilled hake fillet, opting for the side salad instead of the baked potato. Compared to your traditional chippie’s battered fish, this is a relatively healthy option, served with a garlic and lemon sauce. Indeed, the two fillets arrived fresh, tasty and light, if a little oily – and, crucially, still hot. The simple iceberg lettuce, cucumber and tomato salad, though, was nothing to write home about. Speed of delivery: 5kph Average price of a meal for two: Less than Dhs100 Score: 3.5/5 Dhs71. Dubai Marina (04 450 4262).
Nando’s During the ordering process, we were complimented on our name (how nice!) and informed the house of chicken had very recently changed its menu, and our favourite dish was no longer available. We opted for the chicken steak, and a green salad. The former arrived hot, and both tasted fresh despite the transit time of almost an hour. Speed of delivery: 3.5kph Average price of a meal for two: More than Dhs100 Score: 3/5 Dhs58. Al Ghurair, The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, The Greens, Arabian Center, Sheikh Zayed Road (800 54 2525).
Tantuni We ordered the single Tantuni sandwich combo (chicken sandwich, bastan salad and a soft drink). The tasty sandwich was a fresh, crusty French roll with plenty of different herbs and spices. We were very impressed with the salad of fresh tomatoes in salgam (turnip juice), which was refreshing, zesty and light. Speed of delivery: 14kph Average price of a meal for two: Less than Dhs100 Score: 4/5 Dhs29. JLT (04 454 2329).
Sushi Chez Sushi This new sushi spot off Al Wasl Square is an absolute gem, with an easy to navigate menu of delicious dishes. Meticulously packaged, our salmon teriyaki bento box arrived in perfect condition, accompanied by sushi, tempura and greens. Speed of delivery: 8.7kph Average price of a meal for two: More than Dhs100 Score: 5/5 Dhs132. Al Wasl Road (800 78744).
Miyabi Sushi and Bento We ordered a miso soup and chirashi (chef’s selection of sashimi over sushi rice). The selection of sashimi was varied but not great quality, since some slices tasted rubbery and others watery. Speed of delivery: 3.7kph Average price of a meal for two: More than Dhs100 Score: 3/5 Dhs83. Dubai Media City (04 454 2492), Sheikh Zayed Road (04 386 8444).
Sumo Sushi The Salmon Lover’s Combination Box containing spicy salmon rolls, sashimi and nigiri, along with a tiny but elegant side salad was our choice for lunch. The Crunchy Crazy shrimp tempura rolls we also ordered added a bit of bite to our selection. Our tray of sushi arrived still nicely compartmentalised and was super fresh and filling. Sumo Sushi has a maximum delivery time of 90 minutes, but considering the short journey from the restaurant to our location (both in Media City) the 65 minutes it took to arrive seemed unjustifiable. Speed of delivery: 0.46kph Average price: Less than Dhs100 Score: 3/5 Dhs89. Building 10, Dubai Media City (04 390 4746), Dubai Healthcare City (04 438 0661), Garhoud (04 283 0622), Jumeirah (800 7866).
Sushi Counter We ordered the miso soup, salmon sashimi and six California Malibu rolls covered in sesame seeds with a creamy crabstick filling. Having been transported in a cool bag, the items were still fresh when they arrived – crucial when ordering raw fish – while the soup was still warm. Speed of delivery: 0.3kph Average price of a meal for two: More than Dhs100 Score: 4/5 Dhs85. Dubai Media City (04 375 1096), Sheikh Zayed Road (04 388 8065), Motor City (04 420 1108).
Yo! Sushi We ordered one portion of crispy duck futomaki, and one portion of spicy crunchy prawn rolls. Upon arrival 35 minutes later, we were surprised to find only three pieces of each served together in one box, instead of the traditional six that we have come to expect in a portion. Speed of delivery: 6.5kph Average price of a meal for two: More than Dhs100 Score: 2/5 Dhs47. Dubai Marina Mall, The Dubai Mall, Mirdif City Centre, DIFC, Festival City (800 967 8744)
Dubai’s delivery drivers spill the beans.
Kcal’s Felix Castro ‘I once delivered a large order to the 38th floor in JBR, but the lifts weren’t working, and it was the middle of summer. They started working again, but after I had already climbed up the stairs and down again. I’ve had requests to deliver to customers on the beach, and even yachts. Many customers ask me to pick up extra groceries on the way. But the strangest was having Darth Vader open the door to me!’
Noodle House’s Iftikhar Ahmed ‘I once received an Dhs8,000 order for a hotel guest, and another order for 20 Singapore noodles! One customer always requests that I deliver the food personally, even though we have 26 drivers in our team. It can be scary if customers have huge dogs; once I was faced with a dog almost my size. He started to run after me and I ran as fast as I could to my car and shut the door.’
Richy’s Gyanendra Aryal ‘I have often had to wait while friends argue over who will pay for the entire bill. One time I found myself at the doorstep of a customer, who had decided to pick up his order from the shop, so I met him halfway. I was also invited by one customer to share his dinner with him, but unfortunately I had more deliveries to make, so I couldn’t stay.’
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Ceirah Aug 28, 2013 07:18 am
You would never guess there was a whole community of people living and working on the other side of the creek. Pretty annoying that there doesn't seem to be very much choice for the thousands of workers in DAFZA. Especially when you read about all the delights you can get in JLT and Marina!