We’ll kick this list of with the classic club, and where better for a retro treat than Retro Feasts? The Beach eatery from young British chef Luke Thomas boasts a wealth of old-school dishes (think coronation chicken, prawn cocktail and fish finger sandwiches), but this is the best of the bunch. Roasted chicken, turkey bacon, chopped egg mayo and rocket are all sandwiched between toasted sourdough. Mr Thomas, we salute you. Dhs45. Open daily 8am-midnight. The Beach, JBR (052 722 6462).
Another retro offering (who doesn’t secretly love a fish finger sarnie?), Reform Social & Grill takes it up a notch from the sliced white bread and frozen fish finger combo we know and love. Meaty chunks of battered cod are paired with tangy tartar sauce, mushy peas and baby gem lettuce, then all piled into doorstep slices of fresh, crusty white bread. Dhs75. Open daily 8am-midnight. The Lakes, Emirates Living, www.reformsocialgrill.ae (04 454 2638).
Grilled chicken and avocado baguette at The Boutique Kitchen
This delivery-only outlet in Al Quoz is ideal if you’re after a sandwich on your sofa. The grilled chicken and avocado is filling yet relatively healthy, too, making it a fairly guilt-free choice. Marinated chicken is served up alongside avocado, lettuce, tomato and a citrusy mayo, for that extra zing. Dhs42. Open daily 11am-11pm. Al Quoz, www.theboutiquekitchen.com (04 388 3549).
The best sandwich we’ve had the pleasure of eating in a long time, this delightful meatball sub is one you shouldn’t miss. It’s not original, it’s not going to help your diet, but on a day when only something comforting will do, tuck into this beauty. Perfectly seasoned meatballs are nestled in a soft white roll (which is handily divided, so you can tear it into five slider-size portions), smothered with marinara sauce and a spot of provolone cheese. It’s not at all sloppy, and comes with a side of the tangy, tomato-y sauce to dip it into. Perfecto. Dhs65. Open daily 4pm-2am. Bridgewater Tavern, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai (04 414 0000).
Open face tuna melt at Firebird Diner Where else would you find top-quality all-American sandwiches than at a US-style diner? Head to Firebird for a decent selection of carby treats. This open tuna melt is a classic pairing of tuna and aged cheddar, garnished with dill pickles and loaded on to buttery toasted brioche. Dhs75. Open daily 7am-1am. Four Seasons, DIFC, www.firebirddubai.com (04 550 9228).
Philly cheese steak bagel at Bagels & More If you thought bagels were just for breakfast, you thought wrong. The bagel’s ring-shaped dough is first boiled and then baked, lending itself to chewy, satisfying sandwiches. An ideal meal any time of the day, carnivores will love this Philly cheese steak version. Grilled sliced steak, melted cheddar cheese, grilled peppers and onions. A US favourite for a reason. Dhs26. Open daily 8am-6pm. Various locations including Dubai Sports City, www.bagelsandmore.com.
You can’t go wrong with this one. Our favourite lobster roll yet, The Original is a must-order. There are three versions on the ever-expanding menu (including one with avocado, which is pretty good, too), however, stick to The Original and you’ll be one happy diner. Sweet lobster meat is tossed in a light Japanese mayo and bundled into a buttery, soft brioche bun. It’s all served with skinny fries and a small, delicately dressed salad. And it’s delightful. Dhs115.50. Open daily noon-2am. Burj Daman, DIFC, www.burgerandlobster.com (04 514 8838).
The Ultimate BLT at Eggspectations Take a stroll (or a taxi in this heat) down to The Beach, JBR, and order this supersize offering, perfect for weekend mornings. Eggspectation’s BLT comes crammed with a whopping quarter of a pound of beef bacon, plus lettuce and sliced tomatoes. It’s topped with lashings of mayo and placed between toast, and you’re good to go. Dhs55. Open daily 7am-1am. The Beach, JBR, www.eggspectation.com/locations/dubai (04 430 7252).
Buffalo chicken wrap at McGettigan’s DWTC We’ve a penchant for the pies at this Irish pub chain, but if you’re after something a little more lunch-friendly this is the one for you. It also stars on the dinner menu, too, and is paired with lettuce, tomato and onion, smothered in ranch dressing and Buffalo wing sauce. Dhs60. Open daily noon-3am. Dubai World Trade Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.mcgettigans.com (04 378 0801).
Build your own s’wich at S’wich
We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again. S’wch is excellent for wraps (excuse us, gourmet shawarmas). Floury saj, all the fillings you could ever want from veggie to beef, duck and now even lamb. The toughest part is deciding what you want to leave out. From Dhs25. Open daily 11am-midnight. Various locations including Bay Square, Business Bay, uae.myswich.com (800 79424).
Chicken avocado wrap at Urban Bistro This trendy bistro in Dubai Media City is a popular spot for both breakfast and lunch, and does a range of top sandwiches. Our pick is the this classic combination of chicken and avo. It comes with tomatoes and pickled pepper, with cumin chicken and sumac labneh – in a nod to the region – all rolled up together with a light yet creamy avocado mousse. Dhs46. Open Sun-Thu 7.30am-6pm; Fri-Sat 8.30am-6pm. Dubai Media City, www.urbanbistro.ae (04 362 4330).
Chipotle chicken wrap at Friends’ Avenue Café If you’re in the mood for some Tex-Mex cooking, the chipotle chicken wrap at Friends’ Avenue ticks all the boxes. Great at any time of day, tender marinated chicken is wrapped up with cheddar cheese, sweetcorn, coriander and tomato salsa. Plus, there’s a dollop of tasty, fresh guacamole for good measure. Dhs32. Open daily 8am-11pm. Cluster T, JLT, www.friendsavenue.ae (04 554 5813).
Falafel pita at Pita Pit This Canadian company is helping office workers across Dubai stave off those hunger pangs (Time Out team included). The company says it served more than 30 million pitas worldwide in 2015 alone, so they can’t be bad (and we can vouch for that, too). Healthy and satisfying, fill yours up with whatever combo you fancy. We like a traditional Middle Eastern flavour fest of falafel and hummus (with plenty of salad, too). They’re big, so go hungry. From Dhs26. Open Sun-Thu 8am-10pm; Fri-Sat noon-10.30pm. Dubai Media City, www.pitapit.ae.
Gourmet Shawarma at Gourmet by Kcal This 100 percent gluten-free kitchen does sandwiches, too, so you don’t have to miss out just because you’re gluten-intolerant. Our pick is this shawarma, which contains marinated beef tenderloin, tomato, lettuce and onion with a garlic, yoghurt and tahini dressing. It comes in at just 387 calories and the best part? It’s all wrapped up in a gluten-free courgette flatbread. Dhs62. Open Sun-Thu 8am-3pm, 6pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 8am-10pm. Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street, www.gourmetbykcal.com (04 318 1420).
Steakmous wrap at Mantoushe What do you get if you combine steak and hummus? Steakmous, of course. We love manakish in all its guises, but this is up there with the best. Perhaps not your most obvious of pairings, it’s extremely tasty nonetheless and combines steak, spicy potatoes, hummus, pine nuts, tomato and, our favourite, roasted garlic sauce. Dhs34. Open daily 9am-11.30pm. Cluster E, JLT, www.mantoushe.com (04 550 9184).
That’s a Roast Veg Wrap at Tom&Serg There’s a lot in this veggie-friendly wrap. With roasted root vegetables, pumpkin and courgette, marinated raw kale, walnut and rocket pesto, pan-fried halloumi and roasted aubergine paste, it’s a carnival of Middle Eastern flavours (plus definitely more than a couple of your five-a-day in there, too). Dhs46. Open Sun-Thu 8am-3.45pm; Fri-Sat 5.45pm. Al Joud Centre, Al Quoz, www.tomandserg.com (056 474 6812).
If you’ve been keeping up to speed with Time Out Dubai, you’ll have seen us raving about this one before. Gooey cheese, onion jam and chutney make this unmissable. A classic British dish, done exceptionally well, this alone is worth going to Qwerty for. Dhs29. Open Sun-Thu 5pm-1am; Fri-Sat 1pm-1am. Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City (04 427 1000).
Arabic Flatbread at 1762 A Middle Eastern treat, this toasted flatbread is our greasy go-to weekday lunch when a salad just won’t cut it. Perfectly chewy yet crispy Arabic flatbread contains a tasty combination of halloumi, tomatoes, courgettes, Kalamata olives, zaatar and mint pesto. Delish. Dhs34. Open daily 8am-6pm. Various locations including Dubai Media City, www.1762.ae (800 1762).
Cheese and tomato toastie at The Irish Village There are plenty of sarnies to choose from at Time Out Dubai’s Pub of the Year, 2017, however, for a simple snack, we opt for the classic cheese and tomato toastie. Crispy, gooey and perfect with a pint. Winning. From Dhs45. Open Sun-Wed 11am-1am, Fri-Sat 11am-2am. Garhoud (04 282 4750).
Grilled cheese at Five Guys True, if you’re heading to Five Guys you’re most likely after an all-American burger. However, don’t dismiss the humble grilled cheese. This toasted sandwich is satisfying and tasty, without being overly greasy. Dhs22. Open daily noon-2am. Various locations including The Beach, JBR, www.fiveguys.com (04 557 6880).
Grilled chicken mac ’n’ cheese at Catch 22
This is one ginormous sarnie. It’s a bit of a flavour explosion (whether that’s in a good way or not is up to you) and it’s absolutely massive, so hats off if you finish it. Teriyaki chicken is stacked on mac ’n’ cheese, piled up further with cabbage slaw and chilli aioli. Oh, and then put in toasted ciabatta. Carb us up. Dhs45. Open daily noon-2am. The Beach, JBR (04 424 3057).
This behemoth is one of the biggest bread-encased meals you’ll find in town – so bring your appetite (or a mate). Smoked brisket is joined by iberico beef, double fried egg, mustard leaves, dill pickles and vintage red cheddar. Think you can handle it? Dhs95. Open daily from 6pm. Jumeirah Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah (04 432 3232).
Potato sandwich at Mezza Lebanese Kitchen Essentially a Middle Eastern take on a chip butty, this sandwich comprises fries, wrapped in a pita with garlic sauce, ketchup, coleslaw and pickles. Simple, yet effective when it comes to taste and satisfaction. Dhs14. Open daily 10am-10pm. Cluster Y, JLT, www.mezzalebanesekitchen.com/uae (04 554 5872).
Roast beef Yorkshire pudding wrap at 1762 A wrap, but not as you know it. For a taste of Great Britain in sandwich form, this is the one. Tender roast beef, zingy horseradish mustard and caramelised onions are all rolled up in a Yorkshire pud. It’s not just for Sundays, either. Dhs40. Open daily 8am-6pm. Various locations including Dubai Media City, www.1762.ae (800 1762).
Saucy Kid roti at Moti Roti This popular Pakistani eatery started off as one of the first food trucks in Dubai and is one of the city’s favourites. Go for a roti (Pakistani tortilla) and pick your fillings. We love the Spicy Chick, but if you’re after something a little different and more authentic, go for the Saucy Kid with tender pulled goat and potatoes, spiced with cinnamon and cloves. Dhs25. Cluster J, JLT, www.motiroti.me (04 243 2943).
Tuna burger at Sushi Counter Ditch the bread and try a rice burger for a change. On the “street food” section of the menu is a variety of “sandwiches”. However, this is not your average burger. Freshly chopped tuna, salad and guacamole are mixed with anticucho mayo and sandwiched between two rice patties. The top of the “bun’ is crusted with Cheetos, giving it a vibrant look (and taste). Dhs19. Open daily 11am-11pm. Various locations including Dubai Silicon Oasis, www.sushicounter.com (04 333 5337).
Now, these are our kind of sandwiches. The ice cream of your choice is sandwiched between two freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, or fudge brownies if you’re feeling super-decadent. What’s not to like? From Dhs38. Open Sun-Wed 9am-11pm; Thu-Sat 9am-1am. Dubai Festival City, www.sugarfactory.com (04 284 3456). Other location: City Walk, Al Safa Street (04 448 9073).
We find out a few tasty facts about some of the city’s most popular meals since sliced bread
800 Across the globe, from its Dubai outlets to Ireland, New York City and Jakarta, Irish pub chain McGettigan’s’ most popular sandwich is the Buffalo chicken wrap (burgers notwithstanding). Across its bars in the UAE, it sells approximately 800 of them every week.
150,000 Since opening in Dubai in 2016, Burger & Lobster has sold a staggering 150,000 individual lobster rolls at its DIFC location.
530 It might offer a build-your-own option and a community featuring hundreds of different user-generated creations, but gourmet shawarma joint S’wich’s biggest-selling sandwich is the spicy Smoking Chicken Castro. Featuring chicken, lettuce, jalapeño, rocca, hot potato cubes, caramelised onion, truffle sauce and spicy green, all wrapped in a whole wheat saj, S’wich sells around 530 every single week.
6 Food delivery service UberEATS’ current top six most ordered sandwiches in Dubai are (in no particular order), Which Wich?’s TurkeyWich, Gallus Chicken Rotisserie’s Gallus Club Sandwich, French Bakery’s French Bakery Club, Manoushe Street’s Cheeki Chicken Wrap, Café Bateel’s Bateel Club, and The Boutique Kitchen’s Grilled Chicken Avocado Sandwich. Meanwhile, the most popular side is salad, outstripping fries, while avocado has now overtaken cheese as the most popular add-on.
5,000 Popular food collective Truckers DXB is back with the Truckers Summer Warehouse at Dubai World Trade Centre. While you’re there, make sure you hit Ka’ak Al Manara which, in the past year, has sold more than 5,000 of its chicken fajita ka’ak at Truckers DXB events around town.