50 meals for 50 dirhams

Modest meals and bargain bites are a good way to make savings on your budget. <em>Time Out</em> selects 50 Dubai restaurants where you can eat for less than Dhs50

There's a recession on, in case you hadn't realised, so it's time to save some cash and eat cheap.

Luckily, Time Out is here to help. We've found 50 places to dine out for Dhs50 and under in Dubai, so there's no need to stay home cursing the credit crunch.

Here are our 50 cheapest places in Dubai for a quick bite. Get munching...

11 Baitong Thai Resturant: Food here is cheap, simple and well executed. All the dishes come with rice and most cost around Dhs20. The laab gai, chilled minced chicken blended spicily with mint, onion and lemongrass, is excellent, although the seafood salad is a little plain. Overall the food is good enough to inspire you to go to the Thai supermarket next door, buy a few stalks of lemongrass and some bab aubergines, and learn how to make the stuff yourself.

12 Blue City: The restaurant heaves at lunchtime with hungry workers getting stuck into plates of biryani and chapati. Choose from a lengthy list of chicken curries and meaty masalas. You’re likely to find a bone or two in your curry, but with sauces this tasty and main courses available for under Dhs10, who’s complaining? Low on frills and high on service, this cheap and cheerful café also squeezes deliciously fresh juices.

13 Bombay Chowpatty: These guys specialise in puris, so bust the bank with a selection at around Dhs5 a pop, as well as a pav bhaji (Bombay style) to round things off. The puris arrive mounded up on small dishes, piled with strands of crunchy vermicelli, coriander, and lots of juicy salad. The dahi batata puri is a particular winner, draped in deliciously gloopy honey and yoghurt. Pav bhaji, a mild veggie curry served with soft bread, is equally fine.

14 Bulwagan: This is a homely little spot, ideal for homesick Filipinos hungry for a taste of home cooking. The mixed fried rice makes for perfect comfort food, as do the pancit canton noodles, which combine lettuce, chicken and prawn to fine effect. The cut-price garlic shrimps are another winner, as long as you enjoy a spot of fiddly dissection with a spoon and have some industrial strength mouthwash at home. But really intrepid gastronomes should try a gulaman sago – the Philippines’ version of the sickly-sweet iced Far East drink featuring miniature spheres of jelly.

15 Calicut Paragon: Opt for the fish curry and chicken biryani – both of which are lunchtime specials – and you’ll be in for a spectacular treat. The curry may have comprise of only a small serving of generic white flesh infused in a delicately spiced and infinitely flavourful sauce, but it comes with enough accompaniments to feed a small, hungry army. Two equally fragrant vegetable curries may arrive with the dish, alongside a selection of chutneys and pouring sauces. And for those with appetites of truly epic proportions, there are refills of all the curries available, topped up by a dedicated waiter from a large, mobile vat.

16 Chicken Tikka Inn: On first appearances, this rather dowdy-looking chain restaurant doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. But press on and you’ll discover some of the most amazingly tasty tikka in town. The tikka is succulent, can be ordered on or off the bone and costs only Dhs11 a portion. The chunks of chicken boti are similarly tempting and the dahl fry is excellent – sufficiently spicy to excite, without incinerating your tongue.

17 Chinese Kitchen: You may be forgiven for expecting something of a letdown after ploughing through the dismal selection of starters on offer at the Chinese Kitchen – the ‘assorted dim sum basket’ contains spring rolls saturated in oil, rough and tough chicken wings and cardboard-like wontons. But stick with it and the mains will pleasantly surprise you. The bean curd with beef in chilli garlic sauce is a solid, generously proportioned dish, with tasty, succulent meat in a spicy sauce. The vegetarian options feature fresh shiitake mushrooms rubbing shoulders with crunchy carrots, cabbage, spring onion, baby corn, bamboo shoots and broccoli.

18 Damyati: The carnivorous cognoscenti of Dubai flock to this humble joint, located on Karama’s main drag, at the intersection with the road leading to Karama Shopping Complex, next to Papillon and opposite Little Hut. So serious are Damyati about filling you up with quality meat dishes that you won’t find any piffling distractions such as menus or cutlery here. The shawarma, kebab and lamb chops are mouth-wateringly marinated, and the falafel scarily moreish. Complimentary pickles, hummus, salad and bread are all thrown in, and you’ll emerge with change from Dhs30.

19 Delmon: At large in Karama and hankering for some bargain-priced Filipino fare? Head over to Delmon, near Karachi Darbar. Starters are fairly unspectacular (nice spring rolls, though), but the mains are where the action lies. Dishes like mami (a choice of meat, with noodles, cabbage and egg), shrimp lomi (extra-wide noodles and lettuce) and juicy beef steak are all exemplary. We suggest you save space for the lovely puddings too.

20 Eat & Drink: A straightforward and unpretentious eatery, the functionally named Eat & Drink exists to satisfy the mainly blue-collar Indian clientele, who eat their fill from mess hall-style steel dishes quickly and without ceremony. The half chilli chicken with naan is hot, tasty and very good value for a trifling Dhs14, including two drinks. Still, those expecting such niceties as cutlery and effective air conditioning should look elsewhere.

Read 1-10 Afghan Kebab House to Baithal Ravi Restaurant click here
Read 21-30 Goto King to Mak’s Food click here
Read 31-40 Mini-chinese Restaurant to Ravi Restaurant click here
Read 41-50 Remo Café to Yahala Restaurant click here

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