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Tips for Eating Out in Dubai

Dubai is an absolute haven for foodies, and visitors from all over the world flock here for some of the finest restaurants on earth. And with over 200 different nationalities represented, the choice in this truly multicultural destination is often overwhelming.

From world-class food festivals to international food chains, gourmet dining in Dubai Marina Restaurants, and small “mom and pop” restaurants serving authentic cuisine from all around the globe, Dubai really has something to suit all tastes.

The organic movement has also caught on in Dubai, and farmers markets are beginning to pop up across urban centers, with more and more restaurants and cafes focusing on local and organic produce.

Fruit and veg in Duabi. Photo CC by

Fruit and veg in Duabi. Photo CC by Joi Ito

Here are tips for eating out in Dubai.


Alcohol is usually only served in hotel bars, and restaurants which are not part of a hotel are prohibited from serving drinks.

There is zero tolerance for drinking or appearing drunk in public, so plan on eating out without the addition of alcohol.

Avoid tap water, as this is generally not drinkable, though mineral water is readily available throughout the whole city and is very affordable. Hotels will usually supply guests with free mineral water, and you’ll find the supply in your room will be replenished daily.

Food Allergies

Those with food allergies and special dietary requirements are really well catered to in Dubai, and there is a high awareness of food allergies which especially makes it easy for those traveling with gluten intolerance.


Breakfast in Dubai. Priyambada Nath

It is a good idea to phone or email the restaurant ahead of time to ensure they can fully cater to your needs, though most establishments are very good with catering to dietary requirements.


Most restaurants throughout Dubai will include a 10% service charge in the total cost of the bill, though it is always nice to leave a little extra if you feel their service has been exemplary.

Do note however that this service charge does not always go directly to the wait staff, and is not actually compulsory. Some people choose to refuse to pay the service charge and give the money directly to the server themselves. If the service has been good, 10-15% of the total bill is an acceptable amount to tip.


Life in Dubai is notably different from the rest of the year during the month of Ramadan, and travelers should consider this when planning their trip.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, a period of religious significance, and Muslims around the world spend the daylight hours of everyday of this month in a complete fast.

During this time it is prohibited to eat, drink, or smoke in public, and as such, most of the city’s public clubs, casinos and restaurants are closed.

Hotel restaurants and international food chains generally stay open for international visitors though, and some independent restaurants obtain a special license to operate during daylight hours.

If there is a specific restaurant you’re dying to try, check their hours ahead of time to make sure they’re open over Ramadan.

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Meg Jerrard is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging around the world for the last 7 years to inspire others to embark on their own worldwide adventure!  Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Follow their journey on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.


  1. Hi Megan thanks for a nice article on eating in Dubai.

    However, I’m surprised you didn’t mention two big aspects of dining in Dubai.

    Firstly, brunch – wow, how could you miss this Dubai institution? So many great deals, expansive buffets, free-flowing drinks, they can’t fit them all in on Friday, and move to Saturday and even nights. Surely not to be missed when one visits Dubai :-)

    Secondly, the deals that can be had are amazing. As Dubai is so competitive for the expat and tourist dollars, some amazing deals can be had – especially the Entertainer vouchers, Cobone, Time Out Daily Deals etc.

    Entertainer is especially worth looking into, so many Buy One Get One Free deals and it’s not restricted to restaurants but also golf, service, bus tours, spa, and even hotel nights.

    Thanks again for a great article though and hope this comments adds to it :-0

    Take care

    • Thanks for the tips on brunch and where to find great deals!

      We’ll be heading back to Dubai next year so looking forward to discovering what’s new, and what’s changed since our last trip. Will definitely look into Entertainer for some deals :)

  2. Definitely Dubai is a foodie heaven and yes brunch is the coolest thing to do. The massive buffets and all you can eat is just overwhelming. Not to mention the fabulous deals during Ladies Nights. You can’t miss that :D

    • Totally agree! Glad to hear from another Dubai foodie Elena!

  3. I live in Dubai for 2 years there’s a lot of things/food Dubai can offer,but my favorite one is a restaurants near by yacht club! the food is fantastic and the smoothies are awesome!! good for sunny weather!

    • Thanks for the tip on the restaurant by the Yacht club Terri – will have to look for that the next time we visit :)

  4. Very impressive it thanks for sharing this post i read your articles and also try to keep touch with you.

    • You’re welcome Kate, glad you enjoyed the post :)

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