How many of these off-beat Dubai restaurants have you tried?

Explore Dubai’s underground culinary scene with a little help from Dubai Food Festival.

There are plenty of off-the-beaten track places to eat in Dubai and the celebration of all things edible wants to tell us all about them.

After two weeks of polling, more than 3,000 voters have helped compile the 10 top Dubai Hidden Gems.

Kaak Al Manara (Lebanese)

Kaak Al Manara

Head to Mercato Mall to try the traditional handbag-shaped Lebanese sesame bread, stuffed with a variety of fillings. Picon cheese spread is your go to, but we also love turkey with raspberry jam.

From AED 8. 8.30am-midnight weekdays, 1am weekends. 04 258 2003


Desi Adda (Indian & Pakistani)

Desi Adda

Tiny new restaurant serving street food from Pakistan and India that is attracting queues of diners to Damascus Street in Qusais.

From AED 10. 12pm-12am every day, 8.30am Fridays. 04 275 3169


Tuk Tuk Thai 

Tuk Tuk Thai

A wide choice of Thai fast food and traditional bubble tea served to hungry shoppers in the food court of Uptown Mirdiff Mall.

11am-11.30pm. 04 239 3373


The Smokin’ 9 (Burgers)

Smokin 9 Burger

Can’t decide on your favourite burger? Mix and match mini sliders in nine different flavours at this hip burger joint in Cluster U of JLT. Don’t forget to add sweet potato fries.

Box of nine, AED 99. 8006464


Yakitate (Japanese)


Japanese bakery in the Al Ghurair Centre Extension, Al Rigga, packed with off-beat creations that you won’t find anywhere else.

The sushi burgers are definitely worth the hype, but be sure to try the ramen noodle version, a Hello Kitty-shaped bun or even a curry doughnut.

Sushi burger and a drink, AED 38. 8.30am-midnight, daily. 04 455 1683


Rasoi Ghar (Indian)

Rasoi Ghar 3

Eat-all-you-can vegetarian thali restaurant that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. Follow the crowds to opposite Centrepoint in Karama.

Zainal Mohebi Plaza. 12pm-3pm and 7pm-11.30pm. 04 388 5711


Aroos Damascus (Middle Eastern)

Aroos Damscus

Crisp falafel and top notch chicken shawarma make this Al Muraqqabat restaurant a local favourite. Go late (it’s open until 3am) and sit outside for the real atmosphere.

Near Clock Tower, 7am-3am daily. 04 221 9825/04 221 3673


The Açai Spot (Brazilian)

The Acai Spot

Slurp on the Brazilian superfood with a choice of healthy topping, like granola and organic cocoa nibs.

There’s also a range of juices, shakes and salads on offer at this welcoming and homely Deira café.

From AED 29. 9am-12am. 050 644 9514. Centurion Star Tower, Port Saeed.


Al Ustadi Special Kabab (Iranian)

Al Ustadi Special Kabab

One of Dubai’s oldest restaurants, fans say you’ll not find more authentic kebabs anywhere else in the emirate.

It’s a slice of old-school Meena Bazaar life that’s always busy.

12pm-4pm and 6pm-1am. 04 397 1469/04 397 2111


Singapore Deli Café (Singaporean/Malaysian)

Singapore Deli Cafe

No fuss but plenty of authentic dishes from Singapore and Malaysia at this restaurant opposite the Burjuman Centre (behind Pizza Hut).

Satay sticks and a hot Milo are a quick lunchtime pick-me-up.

12pm-12am (3pm start Fridays). 04 396 6885.


See the full list of shortlisted restaurants at and read our full run down of Dubai Food Festival 2017 here.





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