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.
A venue that proudly serves up proper pub grub such as fish and chips, all-day breakfasts, pies and burgers and does them all very well, with little fuss or fanfare. Portions are huge, especially the steak pie, which has an enormous puff pastry top hiding rich, slow cooked beef underneath. Breakfasts are excellent (and available throughout the day) and the cheeseburger is another monster. Not one where Dubai’s glamour set will be heading, but all the better for it.
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.
If you want shawarma at 4am, Zaroob is the place to come. This long-time favourite on the Sheikh Zayed Road is open 24 hours a day and shines brightly when all of its neighbours are closed for the night. Of course, you can come here during more sociable hours, but the charm of Zaroob is being able to dine while the rest of Dubai is sleeping. Its menu is a collection of classic Lebanese dishes with a few other regional favourites thrown in. Piping-hot breads such as manakish and saj, impress the most, served to the table fresh from the huge ovens. Hummus and foul make great accompaniments, or you can fill up on the Egyptian dish of koshari – an amalgamation of rice, pasta, lentils, garlic, tomato sauce, chickpeas and onions. Zaroob has been around for years but it still looks cool with its graffiti-covered décor and communal benches. It has gained a well-worn charm over the years and feels authentic. The staff have a bit of a reputation for being somewhat surly, but in our experience they’ve been efficient and friendly. So if hunger strikes in the middle of the night, you know exactly where to head.