27 August, 2007

Restaurant reviews!

Which is your favourite restaurant/menu in the UAE?

Here is my favourite (tried and tested more than once): Rupee Room, Dubai Marina:
I crave those "Peshwari Naans" - you gotta have them with some meat dish. They are a delicacy in the true art, accompanied by (chicken) tikka. Sweet tooths would love this side dish.

My other preferences in terms of "real food" in Dubai are:
Automatic (Jumeirah)/ Lebanese;
Toscana (Madinat Jumeirah)/Armani Cafe (Mall of the Emirates)- Italian;
Trader Vics (Madinat Jumeirah) - Polynesian;
Chop Chop (Mall of the Emirates)/Wagamama (Crowne Plaza/The Greens) Chinese;
The Meat Company (Madinat Jumeirah) - Steak;

What else, folks?

UPDATE: Readers' recommendations


India Palace in Ibn Battuta Mall
Sharjahan at Dubai Metroplitan
Sukh Sagar and Gazebo in Bur Dubai
Asha's in Wafi
Dakshin's at Lotus hotel (Al Rigga)
Rupee Room in Dubai Marina
Dum Pukht at Murooj Rotana

Indian/Pakistani “cafeteria-style”:
Sharjah Industrial area "Afghan Kabul restaurant"
Chicken 65
Liyari Biryani Naif, Deira (right next to the bus stand)

Al Hallab at Mall of the Emirates
Al Makan at Souk Madinat Jumeirah.
Al Hadheera Desert Restaurant at Bab al Shams Resort
Al Mallah (Al Diyafah Rd)Automatic in Jumeirah

Uroos Dimashq (Muraqqabat, Deira)

Marhanabi : Deira, across Dubai Police
Tawasul : Deira, nearby Clock towers
Bait Al Mendi : Deira (Muragabbat or Rigga...)

Ostadi kabab in Bur Dubai, nr the Ruler's Court
Tahran Restaurant in Bur Dubai, Jamal Abdul Nasser St. (corner?)
Al- Borz on Shaikh Zayed Road
Shabestan in Radisson SAS Deira

Don Corleone at Dubai Metropolitan
Capanna Nuova at Dubai Marine Beach Resort
Pax at the Dusit
Basilico at Dubai Marina
Sana Bonta at DIFC
Armani Café at Mall of Emirates
Toscana at Madinat Jumeirah

Seville’s – Wafi City

Finz in Ibn Battuta

Royal Orchid at Dubai Marina
Sukhothai at Le Meridien

Zyng in the China Court at Ibn Battuta Mall
Wagamama at Crowne Plaza/The Greens
Noodle House at Emirates Towers/Madinat Jumeira
Vu - 50th floor of the Emirates Towers
Chop Chop at Mall of Emirates
Soy at Ibn Battuta

Minato at Radisson SAS
Fujiyama at City Centre

Trader Vic’s at Crowne Plaza/Madinat Jumeirah
The Meat Company at Madinat Jumeirah

Shakespeares in Jumeirah (plus sheesha)
Chicken Tikka InnCoCos/Chilis/ at CityCentre
TGI Fridays in Garhoud
Zaatar W Zeit in Dubai Festival city/SZR
MORE Garhoud (Emirates Airlines staff building); Murooj Rotana

International Buffet:
Spice Island at Renaissance Dubai Hotel
Spectrum on One at Fairmont


Rodeo Grill at Beach Rotana

La Mamma at Sheraton
Bice at Hilton
Mezzaluna at Emirates Palace
Prego's at Beach Rotana

Pars Palace, Khalidiya

SE Asian food:
Bambu! in Tourist Club Area, entrance to the Marina & Yacht Club (located between Abu Dhabi Mall/Co-op and Le Meridien Hotel)

Layali Zaman on Corniche (plus sheesha)
InterContinental (don’t know the name)

Oceana, Royal Meridien

Indigo (fusion)

Vasco's at the Hilton
Chili's at Mariah Cineplex (Nadja and Handam St) (best burgers in AD).


Al Yaher Modern Restaurant (behind the post office)

InterContinental Al Ain (name?)

InterContinental Al Ain (name?)

Black Sheep (name/location?)


Al Fawar (King Faisal St?)


Kempinski Hotel

Kempinski Hotel


Anonymous said...

What's "real" food? Is there "fake" food?;-)

Seabee said...

Rupee Room's Indian food is too British-style for me - I prefer the food at India Palace in Ibn Battuta Mall. Sharjahan at Dubai Metroplitan is excellent too.

I also like Automatic, but also for excellent Lebanese food there's Al Hallab at Mall of the Emirates and Al Makan at Souk Madinat Jumeirah.

For Italian I have two favourites, Don Corleone at Dubai Metropolitan and Capanna Nuova at Dubai Marine Beach Resort.

Oh, and for Thai food I like Royal Orchid at Dubai Marina.

nzm said...

Zyng in the China Court at Ibn Battuta is an alltime favourite for meals before the movies.

- Shakespeares in Jumeirah

- Al Hadheera Desert Restaurant at Bab al Shams Resort is fantastic for the food and adventure - but pricey. Start driving out there about 45 mins before sunset and watch the dunes turn gold as the sun goes down. Magical.

Anonymous said...

Sukhothai at Le Meridien

al-republican said...

Omelette paroda sandwich and Chicken "Chukka" - any malayali one-room restaurant scattered all across Dubai!

fellow atheist said...

I love the steak at Trader Vic's! Of course by the time I get to eat, half my lights are out :)

I probably love 'Suffering Bastard' more than anything. The other restaurants... bah.. my wife's cooking makes them all look like McDonald's.

i*maginate said...

Whoah! Some interesting recommendations! It obviously helps to know others' favourites as I was just stuck on what I knew, and didn't hear of from others...

*anon, by "real food" I meant food that doesn't taste like it's come out of the freezer, or been processed, or straight from tins!

*seabee, yeah RR was founded by a Scotsman, wasn't it. The food is not spicy, which is why I like it.

If you really think those 2 Lebanese restaurants are good, I'll have to check them out. In terms of the quality of meat, I suspect Automatic will still come out the winner.

Can you believe it, I've never heard of those two Italian restaurants! I thought there were only like 3 in Dubai! Will have to go check 'em out. Thx for the reccommendations.

*nzm, I haven't been to the first two, but Zyng I've always thought looked interesting. Would have to go there especially, not before a movie: I'm usually quite late getting to the start of a film, no time to dine beforehand, esp not in the food court!

Shakespeares I've heard is cool, but I haven't made it there so far...attempted once but it was packed!

That restaurant in Bab Al Shams is totally spectacular. I've only been there after sunset but will have to try going down when it's light to experience what you've said. And food-wise, it's pretty good value for money given the location, setting, entertainment and FOOD! I can't remember the last time I've seen a buffet that serves DUCK! yum :)

*anon thanks for the rec.

*al republican, I'm pleasantly surprised! Never heard of "Chicken chukka!"

*fellow atheist, I love Trader Vic's too! I never order a main course there, I just order loads of starters, they are too delicious to miss!

Finally, is any restaurateur reading this? We want our commission please!

Veiled Muslimah said...

I have the habit of forgetting the names of the restaurats I go to.

Anyway, here are the names I can recall:

We'd gone to Chop Chop at Mall of the Emirates. [I remembered it after i*maginate mentioned it] Although I thought it was a bit pricey because of the size of the serving but the quality of the food was really good.

Then there is Chicken Tikka Inn.

CoCos and Chilis at CityCentre. I love the brocolli soup at Cocos.

TGI Fridays in Garhoud.

I also like the restaurant in City Centre, Fujiyama.

And Zaatar W Zeit in Dubai Festival city.

We use to go to Al-Faisal but that closed down. The food was amazing.

If I think off anymore, i'll add them to the list.

Oh and, I was wondering, whats a good place to go for breakfast? [Be it a coffees shop or restaurant] Any recommendations?

Seabee said...

i*maginate, RR I was told is owned by two Indians who lived in Scotland and had successful restaurants there. I like real spicy food so the others I mentioned are better for me.

There's another good, but expensive, Italian I've tried too, Pax at the Dusit. Beautiful restaurant and very good food. You might also give Basilico at Dubai Marina a try. The pizzas are not good but everything else is.

And yes, I do recommend you try the two Lebanese restaurants I mentioned, they are excellent. I usually have hommos, meat kebbeh, shish tawook, falafal and they're all top quality. The sharwarmas at Al Hallab are great too.

secretdubai said...

With Indian food, I have tended to find that the cheaper the restaurant, the better the food.

I've been to Indian restaurants in five star hotels, and frankly they just seem overpriced. The food seems "fancified" for rich westerners, it is blander and a lot less spicy than I would expect it to be.

My favourite restaurant is Finz in Ibn Battuta. The food there is amazing, and for mall prices.

For Asian fusion Wagamamas is best. I also like the Noodle House a lot, they have the best range of mocktails in Dubai.

nativeinformant said...

oh how I miss the Indian and Lebanese food in Dubai. I love Sukh Sagar and Gazebo in Bur Dubai and just about every place I've been in Karama for Indian food, and Al Mallah is still my favorite late-night falafel place.

But more upscale, I really like the food at Asha's in Wafi, and the Thai restaurant in the Park Hyatt (forget the name).

Now I'm hungry. drat.

Curious said...

For really good Indian food do visit Dakshin's at Lotus hotel at Al Rigga.. The best Indian Food I've ever tasted in the whole of Dubai... Can be a lil pricey but I think it's worth it!

Kyle said...

bah.. my wife's cooking makes them all look like McDonald's.

Fellow Atheist, make that 2 :) except of course Minato (Japanese) at Radisson SAS and Spice Island at the Renaissance.

Noodle House comes highly recommended, that'll be our next stop.

Anonymous said...

For italian my fav is Sana Bonta at DIFC. I think it got a write up in this weeks Time out. Huge salads and their pizza's & pastas are all "make your own" so you pick what ingredients you want.

Asian, and it happens to be right next door at DIFC is Noodle House, though I heard they'd just opened one at Marina so I must go find it cause it's closer to home. They're duck is amazing, and the mocktails are great.

nzm said...

For that really extra special occasion, you can't beat Vu on the 50th floor of the Jumeirah Emirates Towers hotel.

We'e done the set course lunch up there for special birthdays, and combined with the view, it's hard to beat.

i*maginate said...

There are some 40 recommendations altogether, and it's great to know what favourites others have in some categories.

I shall certainly be going to check some of them out.

Surely we've missed many other restaurants here...

I can't think of any more!

Oh yes, how about Spectrum on One at the Fairmont! That's pretty good.

The fusion restaurant at Shangri-la is good, but I forget the name.

There are 2 famous restaurants at which I know of people that have suffered from food poisoning, not mentioned here ;)

2 more Lebanese restaurants I like but forget the name of are at Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Al Bustan Rotana. Fairly good, and great service.

Anyone have recommendations for Abu Dhabi? I like some restaurants there, one is the Italian at the Sheraton.

Anonymous said...

Soy Ibn Battuta Mall

Hatem said...

I will save this page for future use. Thanks i*maginate :)

nzm said...

Great List, i*maginate!

Maybe you could do one for each emirate!

Abu Dhabi Fan said...

Some Abu Dhabi recommendations:

Best for steaks definitely Rodeo Grill at Beach Rotana. Great service too.

Italian at Sheraton is La Mamma - was there last night - again good service. Great pizzas and overall pretty good though Bice at Hilton is better foodwise. Mezzaluna at Emirates Palace was the big awards winner here last year but though the food is undoubtedly divine and the service excellent it lacks the atmosphere of the others and the overall dining experience is spoiled by excessive pricing of some items.

For SE Asian food, Bambu! is a great place to go, especially for the good value set menu where a wide variety of delicious dishes are served throughout the evening. Great atmosphere too and friendly service.

hemlock said...

i*maginate, this is a brilliant exercise youve done.
can we have a similar list for good sheesha places?

V86ers said...

My favorite restaurants in Abu Dhabi:
-Prego's (Italian) and Indigo (Indian/Fusion) at the Beach Rotana Hotel.

-Vasco's at the Hilton.

-Chili's at Mariah Cineplex (Nadja and Handam St) (best burguers in AD).

al-republican said...


I guess you haven't heard of "Chicken 65" either?? Bah, how could I forget that! That's another famous (infamous if you value hygiene) dish you can find in a mess-like one-room restaurant :)

On a more serious note, I love Syrian food. Uroos Dimashq (Muraqqabat, Deira) would have to be my favorite. If you guys ever go there, try their quails - DELICIOUS! I also think Coco's is a good place to eat out at the City Center.

If you want to go to really RAW places to eat some REALLY good food, then I can recommend one in the Sharjah Industrial area, which I think is called "Afghan Kabul restaurant". They have hardly 8-9 dishes and ALL of them rock! I am a big fan of Afghani Tikka and Persian Kababs and if any of you ever go to Islamabad, Pakistan, please do try the kababs at this restaurant called "Omar Khayyam". MAGNIFICIENT!

And there is no biryani better than Liyari Biryani located at the impossible location of Naif, Deira (right next to the bus stand). Their chicken biryani is the best biryani around!

The Strange Traveller said...

This is impossible!!
Lebanese kabab instead of Iranian kabab? NO WAY!!

Iranian Restaurants for people who don't mind going to places that aren't "Top Class":
1- Ostadi kabab
2- Tahran Restaurant

And for a "higher class": Al- Borz

Do NOT go to Hatem.

clayfuture said...

best iranian restaurant.. Shabestan in Radisson SAS Deira Creek... wins the awards every year for so many years. You will see the dubai royals there often too! :D

al-republican said...

I love Irani food! I will definitely these places a try!

Thanks :D

i*maginate said...

*al republican, is chicken 65 a dish or the name of a restaurant? If the latter, please specify the location ;)

*the strange traveller, kindly specify the locations of the restaurants you recommend

*abu dhabi fan, pls specify where Bambu! is. thx

If I've put any restaurant under the wrong category, please let me know.

So...Persian restaurants...who could forget? Only personally, I only go to one when I'm in the mood to eat a horse...I usually come out *so full*; Persian food is a special occasion for me! The only one I can seriously recommend is Pars Palace in Khalidiya, AD. Not because I think the food is necessarily awesome, but it's pretty authentic, especially when compared to other Persian restaurants in the UAE.

Hatem, as the strange traveller states, don't go to! Only because their food doesn't taste very fresh!

for people who don't mind going to places that aren't "Top Class"
the travelling stranger, this post is about "real food", wherever it may be found. Choices, as you can see, are barely limited to michelin star restaurants! ;)

Whoops...I just realised we're giving hatem a bad name! Hey, *hatem, this is about the restaurant! ;) Thx, glad the list is of use...

same goes to nzm, it was a pleasure :)

Abu Dhabi fan & v86ers, many thanks for your input. Your recommendations are appreciated.

clayfuture, Shabestan has indeed won many awards year-on-year; I have to make it there some time.

As for the sheesha recommendations, hemlock, let me see, I might do a separate post on it. I, for one, know of only about 3 sheesha places in Dubai!!! We might need the info!

Thanks for all your suggestions! Note I meant favourite restaurants in the "UAE" and initially we got responses about Dubai!

It would be interesting to know of any other recommendations in emirates such as Al Ain, Ajman, Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain, and Ras Al Khamah.

I've listed (above) some restaurants I recommend in some of these emirates but I forget the names: if anyone knows the names, please let me know.

I notice there are a lot of "popular" restaurants that could fit into the categories stated in the post, and although tempting to mention them for "atmosphere", I remember the food was not that good...not good enough to make me remember to recommend them!

It's good to see a list of restaurants that real people - as opposed to professional food critics - prefer!

The Strange Traveller said...

Al-Borz : Sh. Zayed Road
Go to Kabab Ostadi for their friendly atmosphere and amazing yogurt kabab: Bur Dubai, near the Ruler's court.
Go to Tehran Restaurant for the best Kobeida kabab: Bur Dubai, Jamal AbdulNasser (Corner?)

Oh man. It's too early in the morning for talk of kabab.

There's a good Indian restaurant named "Indian Palace", don't know if it's been mentioned already.
There's one in Deira which I haven't tried, and one in AD which I go try to eat at whenever I'm in AD.

V86ers said...

Great idea to try and compile this list!
Regarding my recommendation of Vasco's, it is not really italian (though they do have nice pizzas) I would put them in the "International" category since they have a little bit of everything (some indian dishes, some italian, even portuguese and their own creations).

Matthew said...

Let's not forget the Al-Yaher Modern Restaurant in Al Ain, which serves outstanding Yemeni food. I recommend the barbeque chicken on rice for 12 dirhams. Hope you all can find it - it's behind the post office...sort of. I hear they have branches in other cities but I don't know where they are.

Matthew said...

Oh right, and there's MORE at the Murooj Rotana, which never fails, and Dum Pukht for Indian food (obviously it's commonly known by its nickname, which I'm sure you can guess!).

abu dhabi fan said...

Bambu! is in the Tourist Club area of Abu Dhabi. Go through the entrance to the Marina & Yacht Club which is located between Abu Dhabi Mall/Co-op and Le Meridien Hotel. Bambu! can be found towards the back on the waterfront - some tables have great views of the marina.

The Strange Traveller said...

Oh yeah, I don't know if this fits into Yemeni food or the International category. Probably anyone who's been to Saudi knows "mendi"; rice and chicken/meat.

Marhanabi : Deira, across Dubai Police.
Tawasul : Deira, nearby Clock towers.
Bait Al Mendi : Deira, it's either in Muragabbat or Rigga

Hatem said...

I remember a nice Turkish restaurant on SZR, I think it's called "Flower of Istanbul".

al-republican said...

"chicken 65" is a dish. What would you rich kids know about the poor man's delicacies?

i*maginate said...

Ok cool, I've made the changes to the "categories" under which some restaurants fall.

Thanks to those with the new suggestions, especially in Al Ain (matthew - thanks).

Now, now, now, I have some VIEWS to communicate with ref to the latest comments! hehehe

OK the strange traveller, hmm...great suggestions for the Dubai-based Yemeni restaurants: although they might serve great food, is the journey worth the trek? Traffic, traffic!

"Oh man. It's too early in the morning for talk of kabab."

I read that @ 8am and was laughing my head off...I was really in the mood for a kebab then...damn, you don't want to know what my favourite breakfast is...ROLLMOPS on dark bread! hehe

Does anyone actually know what "rollmops" is? It's worth a try, especially for those fish-lovers ;)

India Palace also has a branch in Garhoud, which is the only one I've ever been to. Service was lousy, food heavy, live music great, but overshadowed the whole restaurant experience...won't return...

*matthew I'm going to give that one a shot next time I'm in AA. Thanks for the recommendation. Sounds delicious!

*V86ers, Vasco's is one I haven't yet been to, but was about to go to. I've heard "it's the place to be seen", yeah? :P Apart from that, I'm pretty sure from your comment that the menu must be pretty good too. Sounds cool, hope to go soon.

*matthew, do you really think the *food* at MORE is great?! Or the atmosphere? I'll take your word for it if you think the food is as good as the "cool" factor ;) Mind you, the only interesting thing I spotted on their menu was a burger...which was fascinating, the way it was served with the tier of "dips and sauces"!

*abu dhabi fan, thanks for the clarification on the location of "Bambu!" I'll be in AD tomorrow and will visit if I have the time.

*hatem, I recall the restaurant you mention, and remember it fondly: only that it apparently no longer exists. It was there at a time Al Diyafah was a bit more exclusive than it is nowadays. That restaurant was pretty good in terms of "personalised service" and the food was pretty authentic, but who knows where it's gone now.

*al republican, I'm a fan of "cafeterias" myself, although not a fan of the weight gain associated with them...the grease they use for those foods...yucky! But the atmosphere is not to be beaten, too. AD is a nice place for "real" caferias.

If anyone here decides to visit one of the places recommended here for the first time, please be sure to post your insight on here. If this post gets taken off the front page, just visit the "archives" section and post your review there.

I sure got some hot restaurants to visit over the next few weeks...

Thanks a million to you all for the recommendations: I am so excited about having a few more "new" places to try out!

Voyager said...

A Secret Heaven for Egyptian Food in Sharjah. Third Floor of Fardan Centre "Umm al-Dunia", the family is from Egypt and makes fresh food daily ranging from the delicious cuisine.

Anonymous said...

I was there with my family and it was fantastic. There are 6 LIVE cooking stations and the food is really nice. I enoyed the evening and I will visit the Spice Island very very soon!!!
There also is a great atmosphere, your feeling will be great if you visit this restaurant.Valet parking is free of charge!!!

Paraglider said...

Enjoyed reading this listing. I second whoever recommended Don Corleone (Shk Z Metropolitan). Great little place. The traditional English pub food in Red Lion (same hotel) is pretty good too. For steak, try Rock Bottom (Regent Plaza, Bur Dubai). And for very traditional and cheap Indian vegetarian, there's Pathans, back of Khaleej Centre, cutlery available on request.

Anonymous said...

Agree that Kwality is missing, probably the best Indian food I have tasted in the UAE....
The Dubai branch is horrible though :)

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