This Turkish spot from chef Colin Clague serves up consistently excellent food, whether you’re looking for casual snacks (pide et al) or delicious grills. There’s loads of choice and it’s all top-notch. The venue is cool too, with a gorgeous terrace and fun bar.
Open Sun-Wed 6am-1am, Thu 6am-2am, Fri 12.30pm-2am, Sat 12noon-1am. Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina, www.ruyadubai.com (04 399 9123).
Perfectly cooked steak, a tombik döner that puts any vertical rotisserie to shame, a magnificent Fountain-side setting – Günaydin is the authentic (and relaxed) Turkish dining experience you’re looking for. This Downtown Turkish spot is friendly and cheerful, yet undeniably sophisticated, and the team know their meats – we can vouch for that.
Open Sun-Thu noon-1am, Fri-Sat 9am-1am. Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai, www.gunaydindubai.com (04 554 0700).
Sah El Nom
Pulling off delicious budget-friendly dishes with a twist is a challenge in its own right, but Syrian spot Sah El Nom achieves this with ease. If you’re after classics elevated to a high-standard, opt for the cheese kebab with minced lamb mixed with cheese and ouzi lamb chops – you’ll understand why Sah El Nom already has a loyal following. It’s a favourite among families, too.
Open Sun-Thu 9am-2am, Fri-Sat 9am-3am. Bluewaters Dubai, www.sahelnom.com (04 587 7096).
Located within a converted pearl merchant’s house, this Emirati restaurant is charmingly filled with traditions of Old Dubai, with floor cushions, dozens of photographs depicting old Bedoin life and authentic trinkets. Oh, and the food? Homely and comforting. Al Fanar is a brilliant place to experience traditional Emirati cooking, culture and history
Open daily 8.30am-11.30pm. Dubai Festival City Mall, www.alfanarrestaurant.com (04 232 9966).
As Michelin-starred chef Mansour Memarian puts it, cooking is storytelling, and the saga the chefs at Enigma craft is worth, erm, tasting. We’re not sure if the stories that staff tell made the food taste better, but our previous enigmas about why this snazzy venue was always booked out have now been solved. A Persian experience worth a booking.
Open Mon-Sat 7pm-10.30pm. Palazzo Versace Dubai, Jaddaf Waterfront, www.palazzoversace.ae (04 556 8830).
The hummus, lamb cubes, piping hot, freshly made bread and tender, juicy, spicy grills at Kaftan in Umm Suqeim pretty much says it all at this buzzing Turkish restaurant. Mix in its family-friendly vibes, beautiful setting and brilliant service, and Kaftan becomes a place that’s always going to be a sure-fire good time. It also does a cracking breakfast.
Open daily 9am-1am. Jumeirah Street, Umm Suqeim (04 338 9688).
Its famous Logma fries and halloumi sticks? Brilliant. Khameer stuffed with falafel? Large and brings a pleasant crunch. But it’s the traditional Emirati desserts at the Logma branch in The Dubai Mall that you’ll definitely want to stay for. Even if you can’t stand shopping, this is one trip to the mall you won’t regret.
Open daily 10am-midnight. The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, www.logma.ae (800 56462).
Finding an almost tropical oasis in this midst of the towering buildings of Dubai is no easy task, but this al fresco Middle Eastern restaurant does it in its stride. Adopting lounge culture at its finest (shisha and all), relax and tuck into its generous (and delicious) portions of Middle Eastern, Iraqi, Turkish and Moroccan cuisine. And definitely don’t miss out on its manti, with beef ravioli, mint, yoghurt and tomato – it’s a real treat.
Open Sat-Wed 4pm-2am, Thu-Fri 4pm-3am. Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.jumeirah.com (04 326 6105).
A trendy, contemporary restaurant that fuses Arabic, Emirati and Indian cuisine, SIKKA Café brings street food culture from Deira and Bur Dubai and puts a wholesome, family-friendly spin on it. Expect affordable falafel sandwiches, a varied list of naans and rich and creamy hummus to dip them all in, too.
Open Sat-Wed 8am-midnight, Thu-Fri 8am-1am. Al Safa Street, City Walk, Al Safa Street, www.sikkadubai.com (04 385 6524).
While this very popular Turkish-Lebanese spot in La Mer is a top spot to dine at any time of the day, it’s the amazing Arabic breakfast tray, boasting 14 dishes including a sweet and delicious honey with cream, labneh, jam with butter to name a few, that you’ll want to wake up for. The juicy sujuk is one of the best we’ve tasted, while the foul and falafel are marvellous as well.
Open Sat-Wed 9.30am-midnight, Fri-Sat 9.30am-1pm La Mer, Jumeirah 1 (04 3430093).