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.
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.
What: Authentic Gujarati and Rajasthani thali spot.
Where: Zainal Mohebi Plaza, Sheikh Zayed Bin Khalifa Road, Al Karama
Contact: +9714 388 5711
What: Nepali streetfood comes alive in Dubai at this place tucked away in Al Karama.
Where: 21st Street, Al Karama
Contact: +9714 559 7844
What: Pakistani delicacies galore.
Where: Next to Al Ghazzal Mall, Al Wasl Road, Satwa
Contact: +9714 359 7448
What: Traditional Pakistani and Indian street food.
Where: Building P6, Damascus Street, Al Qusais
Contact: +9714 261 2399
What: A Mexican/Indian fusion with a striking view of Business Bay.
Where: Scala Tower, Al Abraj Street, Business Bay
Contact: +9714 553 1023
Red Box Restaurant
What: A taste of Sri Lanka in Dubai.
Where: 5a Street, off Damascus Street, Al Qusais
Contact: +9714 561 0724
Elco Veg Dine
What: Combining Indian and Chinese vegetarian dishes.
Where: Zabeel Road, opp Post Office, Al Karama
Contact: +9714 397 2787
Rauf Sweets & Restaurant
What: Desserts and streetfood.
Where: 4a Street, Satwa
Contact: +9714 344 3184
What: Healthy Asian food prepared wok-style.
Where: Near Pearl Marina, Marina Promenade, Dubai Marina
Contact: +9714 360 3111
What: Neighbourhood Chinese joint with zebra-print decor.
Where: Reef Tower, Cluster O, Jumeirah Lakes Towers
Contact: +9714 514 9077
What: Traditional Japanese pastries with taro and chocolate.
Where: Al Ghurair Centre, Al Rigga
Contact: +9714 455 1683
What: A favourite for sushi lovers.
Where: 4th Street (opposite 1st Street), Oud Metha
Contact: +9714 357 6765
What: Korean taste that will surely have you hooked.
Where: Business Village B, Deira
Contact: +9714 298 1589
Han Cheng Guan
What: Japanese and Korean fusion dishes that will keep you coming back for more.
Where: Omar Bin Al Khattab Road, Al Rigga
Contact: +9714 229 9620
What: Affordable Filipino and Indonesian food done right in Al Karama.
Where: 21st Street, Al Karama
Contact: +971 50 798 8773
Where: The only place in Dubai to serve authentic Vietnamese cuisine to date.
Where: Gold Crest Executive Building, Cluster C, JLT
Contact: +9714 431 3099
Singapore Deli Café
What: Fresh and authentic South East Asian dishes.
Where: Shumoukh Building, 6a Street, Al Karama
Contact: +9714 396 6885
Tuk Tuk Thai
What: Authentic Thai food in Mirdif Mall’s food court.
Where: Uptown Mirdiff Mall, Mirdif
Contact: +9714 239 3373
What: A delicious Thai and Chinese mix at a great price.
Where: Ramee Rose Hotel, Barsha Heights (Tecom)
Contact: +9714 450 0111
What: Extremely pocket-friendly Indonesian cuisine.
Where: Custer D, JLT
Contact: +9714 454 2329