Top mall food

We check out the food at Dubai's mall food courts to see which is best for families

New York Fries
New York Fries
Fish Supper
Fish Supper
Indian Pavillion
Indian Pavillion
La CrêParis
La CrêParis
Pastamania
Pastamania
Aunt Anie's
Aunt Anie's
Aunt Anie's
Aunt Anie's
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts
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Let’s face it, if you’re in Dubai over the summer, chances are you and the kids are going to end up in a mall at some point, quite possibly around mealtimes.

Unless you know where to eat – and fast – tears and tantrums could ensue (the young ’uns could get a bit restless, too). Never fear, though, forewarned is forearmed thanks to these reader tips for foolproof fodder.

American

New York Fries: On the surface, a carton of fries smothered in devilishly delicious toppings doesn’t strike us as the healthiest option for family eating, and this is certainly no place to head if you’re watching your waistline. That said, this global chain leaves its ’tatties chunky and with the skin on, and cooks them in non-hydrogenated sunflower oil, so it is possible to convince yourself you’re eating healthily – kind of. Anyway, show us a kid who says, ‘No thank you, mummy,’ to New York Fries and we’ll show you an alien.

Dani, Umm Sequim: ‘NY Fries is the best because they put this amazing cheese sauce on. Plus there are tons of options. And the name has “New York” in it, which reminds us of home.’
Arabian Centre, Deira City Centre, Dubai Festival Centre, Dubai Outlet Mall, Mall of the Emirates, Lamcy Plaza.

Arabic

Al Hallab: Not your typical fast-food joint, this is in fact an offshoot of the family-owned Al Hallab restaurant in Garhoud (a Time Out Kids lunchtime favourite). Specialising in traditional Lebanese cuisine, its houmous and falafel are definitely worth a punt if you’re craving a tasty – and reasonably healthy – bite.

Caroline, Garhoud: ‘I wanted our little ones to get a taste of Arabic cuisine while we’re living out here – and it sure tastes yummy!’
Mall of the Emirates.

British

Fish Supper: So amazing, Time Out staff trotted back three times in two days. The lightly battered John Dory with homemade chunky chips is the real deal, although the rug rats may balk at the jars of pickled gherkins and onions.

Bonnie, Mirdif: ‘The whole family loves Fish Supper. It’s as close to a British chip shop as you’ll get.’
Arabian Centre.

Chinese

Magic Wok: Packed to the rafters around noon and early evening – often, tellingly, with Asian expats – this Chinese eatery serves the usual suspects in all sorts of combinations
and sizes.

Lesley, Al Safa: ‘Magic Wok is wonderful. The food is always fresh – not from a microwave – and piping hot. The girls love the chicken and rice.’
Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates.

Crêperie

La CrêParis: The most delicious crêpes we’ve tasted in Dubai, freshly made to order and custom-made for even the fussiest of palates. La CrêParis is conveniently located near Magic Planet, so if your brood has worked up a healthy appetite, it’s just one more hop, skip and jump before munchies.

Patricia, Al Barsha: ‘We love the fact we can choose our own fillings and the crêpes are made before our eyes. Our toddler wolfs down the crêpe with cheese and, believe it or not, spinach.’
Mall of the Emirates.

Indian

Indian Pavillion: Perhaps not the most bona fide Indian grub in town, but it certainly suits young palates just getting to grips with spicy flavours, and there are plenty of mild, kid-style options such as stuffed potato patties and masala fish fingers.

Helen, Springs: ‘Our kids love the dosas or “potato pyramids” as they call them, particularly after they’ve been skiing.’
Mall of the Emirates, Spinneys Centre.


International

Extreme Freshies: Healthy and wholesome, this sports-style café serves up sandwiches, gourmet grills and tramazzinis (filled pittas) washed down with ‘Extreme’-style smoothies or carrot juice.

Lucy, Jumeirah: ‘I managed to feed the entire family a healthy, filling meal, which they ate and enjoyed for less than Dhs100. We would make a special trip to Times Square just for lunch.’
Times Square Mall, Dubai Outlet Mall.

Italian

Pastamania: Cheap, cheerful and of surprisingly good quality for a food court eatery, Pastamania prides itself on fresh and fast food and kids can choose exactly what goes into their saucy toppings.

Deborah, Al Sufouh: ‘When you’ve got a girl who will eat red peppers but not green peppers, turkey ham but not beef, it’s great that they can pick what goes in. I can see what they’re eating too.’
Mall of the Emirates.

Juice

Pulp: If it’s tropical, zesty, thirst-quenching fruits you’re looking for, indulge in a fresh, healthy smoothie from Pulp. Kids will love energising flavours such as berry babe, passion crush and strawberry heaven, and they’re good for you, too.

Nicole, Mirdif: ‘The juices are really fun and fresh. The whole family loves them and they’re a great way to sneak fruit into the kids’ systems without them knowing it.’
Deira City Centre, Mall of the Emirates.

Snacks

Auntie Anne’s: Not your run-of-the-mill pretzels, these are warm and fresh, and a great pit-stop to satisfy hunger pangs. Mix an original pretzel with hot salsa, cheese dip or indulge in a cinnamon-flavoured treat.

Cath, The Meadows: ‘The kids are lured in by the heavenly smell and there are often enticing freebies on the counter.’
Deira City Centre, Mall of the Emirates.

Thai

Thai Express: This simple, surprisingly authentic, Thai fare served in hefty portions is perfect for sharing and a good way to introduce kids to Asian food. Just be careful to ask about the spices – the helpful staff will make sure you don’t blow your nipper’s head off.

James, Garhoud: ‘The pad Thai was very authentic, perfectly cooked and with generous portions of ingredients of your choice with a tiger prawn, chicken, beef and veggie option.’
Lamcy Plaza, Mall of the Emirates.


… and something sweet to finish

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts: Even the strictest nutritionist wouldn’t begrudge the occasional visit to Krispy Kreme, would they? A handy pit-stop if you need to placate an emotional child (or stressed-out mum) with a quick dose of sugary naughtiness.

Marit, Bur Dubai: ‘I resolve to pop in for five donuts (we have three kids) but I usually end up buying a box of 12, which is only two and a bit each, I guess. I’m partial to the glazed doughnuts, while my son loves the apple and cinnamon variety.’
Arabian Plaza, Deira City Centre, Dubai Festival City, Dubai Mall, Ibn Battuta Mall, Mall of the Emirates, Oasis Centre.

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