Potbelly Sandwich Shop

US sandwich chain arrives in Dubai Reviews

© ITP Images

The name of this Chicago-based sandwich franchise immediately evokes images of a truffle-hunting creature and the meat that derives from it. At least it does for me, which made me wonder how Potbelly in Dubai would fare without its essential ingredient. Regardless, Potbelly outlets are popping up all over town, and even though the brand is very much a chain, I decided it was still worth a visit simply because there are so few places where you can get a good sub in Dubai.

My date had ditched me for the night (there’s something decidedly unromantic about eating sandwiches in a mall), so I was obliged to put my body on the line and eat for two. After surveying the faux-blackboard menu at the far end of the restaurant, I sidled up to the long mahogany counter and ordered an Italian (complete with beef substitutes for everything from ham to salami) and a ‘Wreck’ on account of it sounding like a car-crash of ingredients and therefore, most importantly, very unhealthy. I also ordered a chocolate milkshake, just to be sure I fulfilled my carb quota for the next three millennia.

The lady behind the counter nodded approvingly at my heroic order and ushered me onto the next stage of the production line, where I was asked what toppings I’d like with each sandwich. As Potbelly positions itself as a higher class of sandwich shop, there were no pictures to help me decide, so I sought the recommendations of the helpful man behind the counter.

‘No problem,’ he chirped. ‘I like these sandwiches. I like working here. And I like eating them.’ He was a small man, which boded well considering I was about to consume two subs and a chocolate milkshake in the next 15 minutes.

Once I’d paid and found a table, I unwrapped my two-person feast to find two very similar-looking sandwiches. Granted, I don’t know how different one sandwich can look from another, though I was hoping for the Wreck to be a little more, well, ‘wreck-like’ – spilling out over my hands and onto my lap the minute I picked it up. As it happened, the Wreck was a most orderly sandwich filled with farmyard favourites: turkey (smoked and turkey breast) and cow (beef salami and roast beef). A lot of meat, yes, but the fact that Potbelly can’t serve a certain curly-tailed creature limits the taste and texture of the sandwich.

While the Italian featured as many meats (beef salami, pepperoni, turkey capicola and beef mortadella), the taste was more diverse, aided by the provolone cheese and the smattering of hot peppers and mustard that was added by my friend behind the counter. The pièce de résistance had to be the milkshake – so thick, so creamy, and so sinful, it was virtually solid.

While Potbelly sandwiches are certainly of a higher calibre than most of their fast-food rivals, they are fast food nonetheless. Eating the curiously cured turkey, beef ham and tasty wholemeal bread baguette was a lot of fun, yet the feeling I had afterwards was the same guilt I’d have after consuming a Subway sandwich. Luckily, guilt is not a problem for me and I’d be happy to visit again – at least until Dubai gets a sandwich shop it can be proud of.

The bill (for two)
1x Original Wreck Dhs19
1x Original Italian Dhs19
1x Chocolate shake Dhs14
Total (excluding service) Dhs52

By Oliver Robinson
Time Out Dubai,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.


  • Location: The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, Dubai
  • Tel: 04 325 3090
  • Travel: Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard
  • Website
  • Cuisine: Cafés
  • Times: Open Sun-Wed 10am-11pm; Thu-Sat 10am-midnight
  • Price: Dhs50-200

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Potbelly Sandwich Shop On The Map

User reviews

  • Users voted this restaurant most suitable for: Family friendly

User reviews:

Posted by: Zam on 01 Jan ' 14 at 14:01
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Potbelly ACTUALLY has the BEST cookies in the world. Mini-oatmeal-chocolate-chip. I was SO happy when I saw that they opened one here!!!

Posted by: Yahya Ismail on 12 Mar ' 12 at 05:58
  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Had the pleasure of visiting Potbelly at DIFC today.

Have reduced the size of the Uptown Salad by 40% without reduction in Price. No balsamic vinegar either. The place is a chaos.
And looks like now is out there to cheat consumers.

I have also posted a complaint on their global website.

Posted by: Greg on 21 Sep ' 11 at 12:41
  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I absolutely LOVE Potbelly's. Since it opened a few of the colleagues in our office refuse to go to Subway. For a few dirhams more you can be eating quality food at Potbelly's. I get my sandwich (The Clubby) with everything. A truly unique sandwich. Appropriate for a truly unique city.

Posted by: ROY on 18 Sep ' 11 at 06:05
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes


Posted by: Rebecca on 20 Apr ' 11 at 07:03
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I liked the sandwich however, the music was really loud especially at 3 p.m. when there were only about 5 customers max.

Posted by: nico on 19 Apr ' 11 at 19:18
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Posted by: Edez on 19 Apr ' 11 at 11:25

did you miss the live country music? they usually have a singer or 2 who sings and plays the guitar live! but I guess it was just Thu night when we had our potbelly. I had the tuna sandwich and I loved the bread itself, so fresh and yum. didn't feel guilty though- since it was tuna ;)

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