Bayt Al Wakeel
Tourist-friendly restaurant is one of Dubai's gems 10 Reviews
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Time Out has long championed Bur Dubai tourist traps such as the Basta Art Café and the gone-but-not-forgotten Fatafeet restaurant. But for some reason Bait Al Wakeel, down by the Textile Souk, has always gone under our, and the city’s, radar. Quite why that should be the case is something of a mystery because, as we can attest after a recent visit, this should really be a staple of any guest tour around the city.
There’s the suroundings for starters. You’re not so much by the Creek as hovering right over it on a platform extending out from one of Dubai’s few genuinely old buildings. That makes for spectacular views, smells and spectacles as abras, dhows and water taxis – yes they do exist – crisscross the busy waterway. It’s another pleasant surprise that this picturesque area is a thriving hub of commercial enterprise that has grown organically over the decades.
‘Does Dubai have soul?’ you might hear your guests ask after multiple trips to malls, hotel restaurants and pretend souks. Come down here to show them – and remind yourself of – the answer. What about the food? Well, if you don’t do Arabic, you’re in the wrong place. But if perfectly passable and reasonably priced – especially given the location – dishes of moutabal, tabouleh, hummus and falafel are to your taste, then you can’t go wrong.
Order a spread of dishes along with zesty Arabic salad and some very good meat dishes – the shish tawouk and lamb chops are delightfully spiced and marinated – tear off strips of warm bread, and dig in.
There’s no alcohol to be had, but console yourself with an excellent avocado, guava, mango and strawberry cocktail and if you still need a vice, take some mint tea and a shisha pipe when you’ve wiped the last traces of dips, meat juices and salad from your plate. In fact, come to think of it, we’re doing BAW a disservice by calling this a tourist hangout. Long-time residents of the city should break their obsession with overpriced hotel joints and make this a regular dinner spot. It’s that good.By James Brennan
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