14 Middle Eastern restaurants in Dubai that are hidden gems

*Vote for your favourite*

“I’ve been meaning to try that” is one of those sentences you hear all the time in Dubai. With so many incredible dining options at our fingertips, and with about a dozen more being added every month, it’s easy to overlook the smaller, less showy places, especially those tucked away in sidestreets in the older parts of the city.

But to stick to five-star hotels and megamalls is to miss out on the rich tapestry of cuisines that influence Dubai’s dining scene – and which reflects the communities that make up the modern city.

It’s why Dubai Food Festival and ShortList have come to together to promote Dubai Hidden Gems, a celebration of affordable restaurants that lay slightly off the beaten path. Team members at the Festival and Shortlist, as well as a selection of foodie influencers, compiled a mammoth list of 50 nominated restaurants and cafés in which meals can be enjoyed for less than AED120 for two – and they are all presented here.

The final choice of 10, though, is down to you. So, go out and try as many as possible – and then vote at: . The winners will form a special tour during this year’s Dubai Food Festival, which runs between February 23 and March 11.

First up, here’s the finalists in the Middle Eastern category.

Middle Eastern – Levant

Aroos Damascus
What: Authentic and freshly prepared Middle Eastern food.
Where: Green Palace Hotel, Al Muraqqabat Rd, Al Muraqqabat
Contact: +9714 221 3673

Mezza House
Fresh Arabic food served amid delightful decor.
Where: Yansoon 9, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Road, Downtown Dubai
Contact: +9714 420 5444

Sultan Dubai Falafel
Enjoy authentic falafel and quick service.
Where: 22 Al Muraqqabat St, Al Muraqqabat
Contact: +9714 228 3339

Arabic street food specialising in shwarmas.
Where: Lake Level, Cluster Q, Jumeirah Lakes Towers
Contact: +9714 447 2011

Ka’ak Al Manara
Traditional Lebanese ka’ak treats reinvented.
Where: Mercato Mall, Jumeirah 1
Contact: +9714 258 2003

The epitome of classic Arabic streetfood.
Where: Al Murooj Rotana, Downtown
Contact: +9714 386 6677

Middle Eastern – Gulf

Al Forrat
What: A casual but authentic Emirati eatery.
Where: Omar Bin Al Khattab Road, Naif
Contact: +9714 228 2851

Al Tawasol Restaurant
One of Dubai’s best mandis.
Where: Next to Monaco Hotel, Abu Baker Al Siddique Road, Deira
Contact: +9714 295 9797

Cabrito Mandi and Haneeth
A mouthwatering mandi experience in Umm Suqeim.
Where: Next to Jotun Paints store, Umm Suqeim Road
Contact: +9714 392 8886

Al Khettar
Traditional Emirati food with distinctive flavours.
Where: Al Ittihad Road, Hor Al Anz
Contact: +9714 296 4422

Middle Eastern – Persian

Shiraz Nights
What: Delicious minced meat kebabs nestled amid Baniyas.
Where: Al Mankhool Road, Baniyas
Contact: +9714 222 7720

Al Ustad Special Kabab
A casual Persian eatery.
Where: Meena Bazaar
Contact: +9714 397 1933

Middle Eastern – Egyptian

Koshari Point
What: Serving up authentic Egyptian koshari.
Where: Nema Residence, Barsha
Contact: +9714 394 4455

Gad Restaurant
Proper Egyptian food and grills in the Mankhool area. The special beans with eggplant is the regular’s choice here.
Where: Al Attar Building, Beside BurJuman Mall, Mankhool
Contact: +9714 358 0055

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