1 Egypt - Sultan Ibrahim at Grand Abu Shakra: Get your mouth around an entire fish covered and stuffed with vegetables and lemons. Fit for a pharaoh.
Maktoum Street, Bur Dubai (04 222 9900)
2 Ethiopia - Injera key wot at Pillars: Lamb so tender it slides off the bone, marinated in red chilli and ginger paste. It’s served on traditional Ethiopian injera – a big spongy pancake with a sour tang.
Phoenicia Hotel, Deira (04 222 7191)
3 Morocco - Pigeon pastilla at Almaz by Momo: Warm your cockles with a steaming pigeon pie. Superb for winter – or for surviving arctic air conditioning.
Harvey Nichols, Mall of the Emirates (04 409 8877)
4 South Africa - Steak at The Meat Company: Avoid the cheapest cuts and the rest of the steaks are as tender as the night sky above you (if you sit on the terrace).
Madinat Jumeirah (04 368 6040)
5 Uganda - Matooke at African Restaurant: Visit Uganda for dinner via the steamed green plantain at African Restaurant – it has a similar consistency to rice.
Pacific Hotel, Deira (04 223 6670)
6 China - Steamed dumplings at China Sea: Light, non-oily and pretty to look at – while China Sea serves hundreds of excellent Asian dishes, these delicious dumplings are arguably its best.
Al Maktoum Street, Deira (04 295 9816)
10 Sweet and sour lobster at Dubai Marina Yacht Club: Fluffy, crisp and succulent – you’ll never want lobster served straight again.
Dubai Marina (04 362 7900)
12 Delhi - Bihari kabab at Delhi Darbar: Tender marinated meat with smoky touches imbued by the tandoori oven.
Za’abeel Road, Karama (04 334 7171)
14 Hyderabad - Mutton ka da at Hyderabad House: Don’t let the word ‘mutton’ put you off: this has a scrummy peanut marinade, outshining the usual biryanis.
Opposite Yahala Restaurant, Karama (04 336 9373)
15 Kerala - Meen mangal at Coconut Grove: Kerala got its name from ‘kera’, the Malayalam word for coconut, so it’s no surprise this hammour curry comes thick with coconut milk.
Rydges Plaza, Satwa (04 398 3800)
16 Mumbai - Chilli milli paratha at Paratha King: There are more than 100 varieties of parathas to try, including the Chilli Milli version, which will blow you into next week.
Next to Baskin Robbins, Karama (04 397 9110)
19 Northern India - Dum pukht at Kamat: While there are many veggie delights here, don’t miss the dum pukht. It traps flavours in bread, to escape in your grateful mouth.
Kuwait Street, Bur Dubai (04 359 5441)
20 Punjab - Chicken handi at New Sind Punjab: The succulent chicken handi will ensure you stay here long after you’ve eaten your fill.
Behind fish market, Karama (04 337 5535)
21 Rajasthan - Dahl bati churma at Manvaar: A lentil dish sprinkled with wheat dumplings to tear apart with your hands. Superb.
20B Street, Karama (04 336 8332)
25 Donburi at Yakitori House: Rice with fish or veg and pickles on the side. Sounds simple, tastes sensational.
Ascot Hotel, Bur Dubai (04 352 0900)
28 Malaysia - Nasi goreng at Noodle Bowl: The main cuisine on offer here is Chinese, but the delicious Malaysian nasi goreng kampung is worth tasting: it combines rice, dried fish and onion.
Al Diyafah Street, Satwa (04 345 3381)
29 Pakistan - Butter chicken at Ravi’s: Swathed in a velvety fawn sauce, you can’t call yourself a Dubai resident until you’ve experienced a brief addiction to this sweet dish.
Satwa Road, Satwa (04 331 5353)
30 Biryanis at Karachi Darbar: The huge biryanis are accompanied by ample sides, and each of Karachi Darbar’s 14 outlets bubble with life.
Omin Bin Al Khattab Road, Deira (04 272 3755) Call for other locations
32 The Philippines - Chicken goza at Delmon: Strictly for adventurous foodies: porridge containing a chicken leg and a boiled egg.
Near Lulu, Karama (04 336 9561)
33 Adobong manok at Kabalen Restaurant: This tamarind chicken soup at Kabalen is bursting with flavour, and should easily convince any Filipino food naysayers.
Behind Pizza Hut, Karama (04 396 4937)
34 Sri Lanka - String shoppers at Chef Lanka: This circular steamed red rice meal is a must, or try the kingfish curry, all deliciously spiced.
Al Khazna Centre, Karama (04 335 3040)
35 Thailand - Crab sausage at Thai Terrace: The minced meat has a hard skin and tastes good if you don’t question it too much.
Trade Centre Road, Bur Dubai (04 396 9356)
37 Vietnam - Lobster ravioli at Hoi An: The ‘Hue’ set menu is a particularly attractive option: the mixed starter includes coconut and lobster ravioli and deep-fried pasta.
Shangri-La Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 405 2703)
38 Belgium - Belgian sausage at Belgian Beer Café: Naturally, the BBC’s main draw is its many Belgian beers, but the sausage, served with stoemp and pickles, is a very tasty stomach liner.
Crowne Plaza Dubai, Festival City (04 701 2222)
39 Britain - Braised beef cheeks at Rivington Grill: Discard any preconceptions you have about stodgy Brit bites: this is high-end British fare. Beef cheeks melt on the tongue, soaked in an intensely flavoursome gravy.
Souk Al Bahar (04 423 0903)
44 Italy - Pan-fried saffron risotto at Ronda Locatelli: The service is so soothing and un-Dubai that the restaurant may as well be in Wonderland. Enjoy it while you devour this rich Milanese risotto.
Atlantis (04 426 2626)
45 Malloreddus pasta at Bussola: Grab a spot on the terrace and try the Sardinian malloreddus pasta: it combines saffron sauce, pancetta, rocket and pecorino. You will weep with joy.
Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi (04 399 4141)
47 The Netherlands - Stamppot at More Café: A pool of melted butter sits atop a pile of creamy mashed potato, accompanied by smoky veal sausage. Sinfully satisfying.
The Dubai Mall (04 339 8934). Call for other locations
48 Russia - Riba po-Russki at Nefertiti: Consists of perfectly cooked hammour encased in a potato and omelette-esque cheesy crust. Yum!
Khalid Bin Al Waleed Road, Bur Dubai (04 355 8855)
50 Turkey - Baklava at Mado’s: Mado’s offers what is possibly Dubai’s best version of this Arabic pastry – ethereally light and delightfully dewy.
DIFC (04 370 0377)
51 Afghanistan - Kofta qorma at Afghan Cuisine: Don’t mistake it for the creamy Indian kormas – this tangy, tomato-based stew is as warming as a winter fireplace.
International City, Russia (04 422 7922)
52 Iraq - Masgouf at Al Bayt Al Baghdadi: Pick a fish at the counter, then watch it smoulder on a big cauldron of hot coals. The result is fresh and dripping with juice.
Al Muteena Street, Deira (04 273 7064)
53 Lebanon - Shwarma plate at Al Hallab: You can buy shwarmas everywhere, but it’s possible to eat Al Hallab’s versions every day and never tire of them. We know; we’ve done it.
Garhoud (04 282 3388) Call for more locations
54 Fried kibbeh at Jedoudna Restaurant: This Arabic dish of mince, onions and cumin has many variations, but Jedoudna’s version is celestial.
JBR, Rimal (04 423 0766)
55 Lamb kofta burger at Al Samadi Café and Sweet Shop: Succulent, satisfying and laden with a host of exciting dressings.
Burj Boulevard, Old Town (04 432 9520)
56 Mixed grill at Al Nafoorah: It may be a classic dish, but it’s a consistently excellent choice at this time-honoured upmarket Lebanese restaurant (where local celebrities have been known to hang out).
Emirates Towers (04 330 0000)
57 Palestine - Dajaj mahshi at Habiba Al Nabulsi: We’re happy to believe the guys at Habiba Al Nabulsi when they tell us that dajaj mahshi is a Palestinian dish. Whoever decided to stuff a chicken with pine nuts and rice before roasting it deserves our sincere thanks.
Muraqqabat Street, Deira (04 227 7760)
58 Persia - Mizra ghasemi at Ashhar: Try Iran’s equivalent of baba ganoush for the sweet caramelised onions and wonderfully pungent, smoky flavour.
Al Butin Plaza, Deira (04 223 0555)
59 Syria - Fried brains at Sarai: All the mezze options here are divine – even the fried brains, which taste like chicken hearts. The signature kebab Sarai (lamb mixed with nuts) is also a must-taste.
JBR, Bahar (04 438 0640)
60 The UAE - Camel burger at Local House: This Bur Dubai eatery has only recently started dishing up grilled camel meat in a bun. Fat- and cholesterol-free, the typically tough meat is tender here, and tastes more than a little like pastrami.
Al Musallah Roundabout, Bastakiya (050 734 9926)
61 Lugimat at Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding: These round balls of pastry covered in date syrup are like a more savoury doughnut, and prove waist-ruiningly moreish.
Bastakiya (04 353 6666)
62 Yemen - Mandi at Al Tawasol: Simple lamb or chicken served with rice, salad and roup (sort of a Yemeni raita), but the meat is tender and wonderfully marinated.
Abu Baker Al Siddique Road, Deira (04 295 9797)
63 Caribbean - Jerk prawns at Bluefields Caribbean Restaurant: These fierce little crustaceans are drooling pepper, so grab a helping of mango salsa to take the edge off the heat.
Oud Metha Street (04 335 7377)
64 Cuba - Camarones al coco at Malecon: Four plump shrimp hanging over half a coconut shell, filled with a generous helping of cool pineapple chutney. A snack, but marvellously tasty.
Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa (04 346 1111)
66 Barbecue chicken nachos at Maya: Individually topped with cheese, sour cream and jalapeños, if you’re looking for smokin’ spice, you got it.
Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina (04 399 5555)
67 USA - Classic hot dog at Diggy Dog: Fried onions, smoky minced beef sauce and cheese dress up the standard dog ’n’ bun.
International City, China (04 432 7877)
68 Barbecue pizza at California Pizza Kitchen: Don’t try this if you like your pizza rustic and Italian. This signature Californian version mixes chicken, red onions and syrupy barbecue sauce.
The Dubai Mall (04 339 9099)
71 New Zealand - Beef and mushroom pie at Lime Tree Café: Kiwi beef fills this homely pie. Accompany it with a beetroot salad (the purple vegetable is another NZ staple).
Beach Road, Jumeirah (04 349 8498)
72 Polynesia - Wasabi potato mash at Trader Vic’s: Okay, so it’s Asian-inspired world cuisine, but the decor is Polynesian – and the wasabi mash is great.
Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 5646). Call for other locations
74 Steak at La Parrilla: Rare, medium, well done – however you like your meat prepared, La Parilla can cook it to perfection. They’ll even throw in a tango performance.
Jumeirah Beach Hotel (04 348 0000)
All in one
Five of the city’s leading international restaurants
76 The Edge: There is no menu at The Edge; chef Juraj Kalna cooks what he feels like. All you can guarantee is that a) the food will be some kind of European affair, and b) it will be stunning. Among the masterpieces on our last visit were reverie-rousing scallops and the tenderest wagyu beef we’ve ever tasted.
Building 6, DIFC (04 363 7770)
78 The Observatory: While offering an international menu, this five-star bar and restaurant is so experimental that its concoctions could easily have come from another planet. In the past we’ve sampled sublime smoked salmon with wasabi ice cream, and a dessert of candied mushrooms.
Marriott Dubai Harbour Hotel and Suites, Dubai Marina (04 319 4795)
80 Fusion shwarmas at Wild Peeta: Pitta topped with Thai sesame, Italian marinara, tandoori sauce and a number of other global variations on the traditional tahini topping.
Healthcare City, near Wafi (800 9453)