Time Out Dubai guide to Sheikh Zayed Road restaurants; best places to eat on Sheikh Zayed Road by price/cuisine, with reviews, hours and deals.
Here futuristic skyscrapers line an eight-lane highway with a multitude of cafés popping into sight as you drive on Dubai’s most central road. The many hotels along this highway - which links Dubai to the UAE’s capital city Abu Dhabi - have all the facilities you’d expect, including some of the most vibrant restaurants in the city. It’s popular because it’s relatively easy to get a taxi, and you never have to travel far for eating cheap or five-star dining. Views of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, World Trade Centre and other architectural triumphs can be seen when feasting at some of the awesome restaurants SZR has to offer.
In its long and colourful history on the Dubai culinary scene, nobody has ever gone to Fibber’s looking for fine dining and a subtly-flavoured amuse-bouche. This is a venue that proudly serves up proper pub grub such as fish and chips, all-day breakfasts, pies and burgers. That said, the enormous menu perhaps surprisingly stretches to quinoa salad and a passion fruit brûlée, but you’re best of sticking to the staples. Portions are huge, especially with the steak and mushroom pie, which features chunky lumps of meat in a rich gravy under a puff pastry topping. The cheeseburger, meanwhile, puts its rivals around the city to shame through its sheer size. While Fibber Magee’s might not be the most stylish destination in town, if you’re coming for the football, quiz night or just drinks, you shouldn’t feel the need to eat anywhere else.
There are a number of reasons to love Rodeo Drive. Firstly, there’s the spit-and-sawdust style that sets it apart from the usual swanky venues you find in Dubai. Then there’s a bucking bronco. There’s also a jukebox, bar games, a live band and proper American style bar food like enchiladas, surf and turf and sliders, with names like “Jack Jones” and “Lone Ranger”. If you’re hankering after a little deep-fried southern goodness with a beverage, then there’s no better spot in the area. There’s certainly nothing fancy about Rodeo Drive or its food – it’s just honest, down-to-earth grub that’s basic in presentation but tasty in flavour. It certainly isn’t going to win any awards, but it does the job of satisfying your cravings and lining your stomach. This is the kind of place you go for a fun night out with friends, where the atmosphere is buzzing – particularly on weekends – and the beverages are reasonably priced, while the servers are very friendly. The food is secondary to all that.
A no-frills but typically bustling restaurant facing busy Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Safadi has long been popular for its reliable Lebanese fare and patio serving shisha. Service is infamously abysmal, but it doesn’t seem to stop the punters pouring in, and even late on a Tuesday night, you’re likely to spot nearby residents, groups of friends and sweaty amateur basketball teams tucking into piles of meaty shawarmas, crisp falafel and mountains of freshly chopped tabbouleh. If you’re food’s taking a while, patience is not necessarily a virtue – it’s not unheard of for the staff to have forgotten about an order, so best to keep asking or risk not getting fed. Many stop in here solely for the people-watching opportunities and a slice of street life, away from the more sanitised likes of The Beach and JBR – just make sure you’ve got one of Safadi’s famous juices in your hand while you’re doing it. You want to look the part, don’t you?
The restaurant is split into two areas – a family-friendly non-smoking area and a shisha area. Traditional Egyptian street food is served, but prices are a little steep, though you’re guaranteed quality and authenticity. Try the koshari – a carb-fest of rice, brown lentils and pasta topped with onion and a tomato sauce – and the tagen roz muammar, meat topped with rice and cooked in the oven with milk until a crisp top forms. These, as the staff will tell you, should be washed down with sugar cane juice or fakhfakhina, which is a glass of fruit cocktail juice and chunks of chopped fresh fruit. But save room for the traditional umm ali, an enticing bread pudding-like mix of sweet layered pastry soaked in milk. Hadootah Masreya offers a fine example of Egyptian food within a relaxed and inviting setting.
You’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve walked into a Japanese eatery given the decor at this Sheikh Zayed Road eatery. Graffiti is sprayed on corrugated iron adorning the walls and manga-style cartoon characters decorate the ceiling. Thanks to the delectable dishes on offer for astoundingly low prices, this cool comic book-style Lebanese street food restaurant is perennially packed with all kinds of patrons, from businessmen and women in suits to expats and students from around the world. Zaroob offers outstanding, fresh and juicy shawarmas for a nominal Dhs10 as well as other light bites and sandwiches. Zaroob is well worth a visit, even if you have to wait a little while for a table. Staff are friendly and keep their cool despite the vast numbers already dining, milling around both inside and out waiting for and to be seated and waiting for takeaway. But the good service, great prices and undoubtedly delicious food makes all the waiting worth it.