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A Foodie’s Guide To Dubai’s Hidden Gems

Around the globe, few things bring people together, and good food is one of those things. Dubai, a cosmopolitan in the Middle East, is a melting pot of cuisines from all across the globe. Right from the heartland of Turkiye to the street food of Bangkok. One can find every popular cuisine from across the world, with a few variations here and there. Embark on a journey through the streets of a metropolitan unravelling a foodies guide to Dubai’s hidden gems.

Dubai’s Hidden Gems – An Odyssey Of Gastronomical Proportions

Thai Treat For Your Palate

A Foodies Guide To Dubai's Hidden Gems

Our hunt for Dubai’s hidden gems brings us to a Thai speciality restaurant in the city. The restaurant is one of the few places which proves Dubai’s inclusiveness of other cultures and cuisine. Cafe Isan is Chef New’s initiative, bringing Thai delicacies to the streets of Dubai. Very few know of this restaurant, which earns it the tag of Dubai’s hidden gems. One can enjoy Thai favourites like fresh papaya salad, lemon grilled chicken, Thai green curry and many more. The chef brings the flavours of the Isan district from Thailand to the streets of the UAE.

Location: Level 1 Armada Avenue Hotel Cluster P – Jumeirah Lake Towers – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Timings: 12 pm – 12 am

Sip On Some Tea

Sip On Some Tea

Roaming the streets of Al Fahidi, you smell a harmonious blend of fresh pastry and freshly brewed lemon mint tea. For all the tea lovers out there looking to enjoy a filling morning tea with some delicious breakfast pastries, welcome to the Arabian Teahouse. This is truly one of Dubai’s hidden gems tucked away at two separate locations in Dubai. The tea house offers a vivid selection of pastries, sandwiches, salads and desserts. The Arabian tea house offers a selection of over 100+ tea varieties to choose from.

Location: Bastakiya Opposite Musalla Post Office – Al Fahidi St – Bur Dubai – Al Fahidi / JUMEIRAH ARCHAEOLOGICAL – Jumeirah – Jumeirah 2 – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Timings: 07:30 am – 10 pm

Savour An Authentic Mandi


Among the glitz and glam of Dubai, there is one quotient that makes the city stand out from other metropolitans, culinary wonders. One such wonder in the Emirates is a dish popular as “Mandi”, equivalent of Mughlai Biryani. Mandi is a unique preparation of rice cooked with a Yemeni spice mix called ‘Hawaij’. The spice mix consists of dry spices like caraway, cloves, nutmeg, saffron, dried lemon, fenugreek seeds and dried onions.

Authentic mandi in Bedouin-style preparations were often cooked in sand pits, sealing in the flavours of the spices and juices of the meat. This would create a fluffy rice braised in the juices of the meat in combination with the flavours of the spice. Results, a dish that rivals the likes of other rice preparations of biryani and Jollof from different parts of the world. One such establishment, a family-run business that prepares a mandi full of flavours in Dubai, is the Bait Al Mandi restaurant.

Location: Al Muraqqabat Al Muraqqabat Rd 14 Street, 6, Dubai United Arab Emirates

Timings: 10 am – 2 am

Chinese Cuisine Done Right

Chinese Food Done Right, Dubai's Hidden Gems

The search for Dubai’s hidden gems brings us to a place that will take you on a journey of flavours to the land of Mandarin. Chongqing Noodle House offers authentic Chinese cuisine from wontons drenched in chilli oil to juicy beef noodles. The flavour profile is subtle yet complex even though ingredients are kept simple. The noodle house is truly a hidden gem with its location and decent enough footfall to ensure a peaceful meal. So, if you love Chinese food, this is one place you should plan a visit to.

Location: Al Muraqqabat Al Muraqqabat Rd 14 Street, 6, Dubai United Arab EmiratesShop No 16, China F15, International City – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Timings: 12 pm – 12 am

Emirati Flavours In Old Dubai


Old Dubai is not a ruin, but rather a remnant of how the city grew from a shipping hub to a major economic player in the region. In one of these ancient wonders lies an establishment with a courtyard adorned by lanterns on the walls. These walls house old artefacts sealed behind airtight glass chambers giving you a glimpse of ancient Bedouin culture. This is the Al Khayama Heritage restaurant, which serves as the perfect spot for a cosy meal. The menu offers local favourites including chebab (Emirati pancake) and other local delicacies. This is a must-visit when on a trip to explore the good food in the UAE.

Location: Historical Neighbourhood – 79 Al Mussallah Rd – Al Fahidi – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Timings: 09 am – 11 pm

A Haven Of Syrian Delicacies


As you wade into the streets in front of this establishment, you will smell the aromas of a harmonious blend of dry spices in the air. The Rawabi Al-Sham restaurant is a haven for food lovers looking for a change of pace. The outlet specialises in Syrian cuisine and is popular for its flavour-packed falafels and shawarmas. The restaurant features comfortable and well-lit seating options from tables to booths. The menu offers numerous other Syrian versions of Arabic delicacies like kibbeh, muhammara, baba ganoush and many more. A bit different yet similar, Rawabi Al-Sham is a place you must visit when exploring the food scene in Dubai.

Location: Al Nahda – Al Nahda 1 – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Timings: 07 am – 2 am

A Persian Culinary Adventure

A Persian Culinary Adventure, Dubai's Hidden Gems

A true Dubai’s hidden gem is an establishment serving Iranian feasts since 1978. Al Ustad Special Kebab is an eatery popular for its grilled meats, succulent kebabs and fragrant rice servings. The Persian decor and artwork in tandem with the warm and inviting atmosphere over the years have earned a loyal fan following. The extensive yet detailed menu offers Iranian delicacies ranging from tender lamb, juicy chicken and mutton kebabs to saffron-infused rice. The serving of fresh leafy greens, cucumber, tomato and pickled veggies complement every dish you order from the menu.

Location: Metro Station – Al Mussallah Rd – near Al Fahidi – Al Hamriya – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Timings: 11 am – 1 am

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Explore Dubai’s Culinary Delights


There is a way for you to go on a guided tour across Old Dubai and experience the culture, crafts and cuisine. Frying Pan Adventures is a unique tour operator in Dubai, that organises food tours in Dubai. You may choose from a Dubai Souks and Creekside food walk to a Middle Eastern food pilgrimage. The operator organises different food tours as per your liking and preference. Their most famous one is the ‘Mystery Food Tour’ which most of the year remains booked to capacity. Experience the many hidden gems these professionals are always looking for.

Location: Auto Centre – Office A219 – Port Saeed – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Contact: +971 56 471 8244

Celebrate A Scrumptious Mughlai Feast

Celebrate A Scrumptious Mughlai Feast, Dubai's Hidden Gems

Finally, the place to make it to this list of gastronomical adventures is a restaurant chain that many of you may know or may have heard about. We are talking about the ‘Ravi’ restaurant, the melting pot where Indian and Pakistani cuisine comes together to spread curries of joy. The restaurant chain has been in operation since 1978 and serves its loyal patrons a mix of delicacies from the Pakistani and the Indian subcontinent. Ravi has a fan following that starts with Pakistani paranthas and chai in the morning to late-night cravings of paya and biryani.

Location: 7HQQ67MH+CJ – 8 9th St – Al Satwa – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Timings: 05 am – 2 am

Dubai offers a plethora of outlets to choose from when it comes to embarking on a culinary journey in one of the world’s largest urban jungles. The city is a melting pot of cuisines from across the globe, just waiting to be explored. So, build an appetite and head out to some of these Dubai hidden gems to explore a world of aromas and flavours.

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