Seven places to sample the surprisingly underrepresented cuisine
Time Out Dubai staff
Contrary to popular belief, there are in fact some interesting Emirati eateries in Dubai, the problem is there’s just not enough of them! Here’s our picks for local cuisine.
Al Fanar Cute, kitsch and quirky, the vintage ambience and theme park worthy decor at this canal-side Emirati restaurant is just as worthy of a visit as the menu, which is packed with classics. A hot spot to take visitors to. Dubai Festival City Mall, Canal Walk Festival City (04 232 9966).
Bait 1971 Bait Al Bahar is a multi-concept townhouse, popular with the local crowd, and with the ambience of an exclusive yet accessible secret find. The middle level is dedicated to a more formal dining and traditional Emirati restaurant. Bait Al Bahar, Offshore Sailing Club, behind Jumeirah Beach Road (04 394 4441).
Klayya Bakery and Sweets A Time Out Dubai favourite, Klayya charms with its young, fresh and forward-thinking reimagining of classic Emirati breakfast dishes, a great cup of karak chai and freshly baked breads and sweets. Highly recommended. Barsha Mall, Al Barsha (04 325 5335).
Laylati Café Although Laylati Café is a reasonably longstanding Emirati option on the scene, it stills slides under the wire and seems to be little known. Head here for a classic selection of Emirati dishes. Grand Hyatt Dubai, Oud Metha (04 317 1234).
Local Bites Café The latest addition to a scene that has (proportionally) grown considerably in the past year, this casual dining spot is a fun and funky-designed café, serving Emirati bites. Jumeirah Beach Road (04 338 5855).
Mama Tani Another sign of fresh ideas triggering an emerging Emirati scene, Mama Tani serves Emirati khameer breads, stuffed with any manner of sweet, savoury or bespoke fillings, but with a touch of modernised flair. You can even get hot drinks made with camel milk. Town Centre Mall, next to Mercato, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 385 4437).
Milas While not fine dining, Milas makes Emirati cuisine modern and accessible for diners, with plenty of other classics from across the region supplementing the menu, excellent service and even a touch of dining theatre with a final course of perfume to finish the experience. The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 388 2313).