Middle Eastern cuisine is a combination of different cuisines of various countries across this region. The cuisine is diverse but still has a lot of similarities. Different cuisines that come under the spectrum of Middle Eastern cuisine are Arabian, Iranian, Turkish, Lebanese and many more. Some commonly used ingredients include olives, honey, dates, chickpeas, rice, mint, meat and parsley. Popular dishes include kebabs, falafel, baklava and shawarma. Dubai is home to literally hundreds of Middle Eastern cuisine restaurants, and here’s a quick round-up of some of our favourites that you may want to try.
With multiple branches spread across Dubai, this Egyptian traditional restaurant offers all the favourite dishes from the country of its origin. The ambience offers a family atmosphere. The restaurant takes great pride in the fact that they train their staff thoroughly with knowledge of all the dishes they serve, and teach them the origin of each dish and stories behind them. Some of the most popular dishes for which people queue at Al Amoor include koshasy special, chocolate pie, mix grill and koftas.
Located in Mankhool, Dubai, Al Ustad is a hidden gem but at the same time widely known for its authentic Persian kebab. Very popular with locals and tourists as well, it boasts as serving some of the best fresh kebabs in Dubai. An absolute delight for all meat lovers out there. The portion sizes are generous and the prices are affordable. Try one of their mix plates available for dinner to enjoy the true experience of the place.
A new little eatery in Cluster W of JLT, Beirut Bites is the answer to your sudden cravings for falafel, kebabs and hummus. Serving authentic street food from the lanes of Beirut in Dubai to the multicultural community, it serves up Middle Eastern fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with authentic flavours. The restaurant also has a bright outdoor space by the lake side for a perfect al fresco dining experience. The menu includes shakashouka pan, manakeesh, salads, soujok and cheese, mashrouha mix, kata, hummus, halloumi sticks, kneef pan and more.
Bait Maryam By Salam Dakkak
Located in Cluster D of JLT, this is a cosy little restaurant serving Levatine cuisine. Run by Salam Dakkak, the restaurant serves authentic Middle Eastern flavours inspired by her mother’s recipes. In Arabic Bait means house, so Bait Maryam is Maryam’s (the name of Salam's mother) house. The interior also looks like a dining room of a regular household in the region, and most of the decor items belonged to Maryam. Salam is a fantastic host and makes sure that she personally says hello to diners at her restaurant. Some of the popular dishes at Bait Maryam are pasta and yogurt, kafta with tahini sauce, Maryam’s Fatet Musakhan, Maryam’s kebab and kana.
With two branches in Dubai at JLT and Business Bay, Farsi Restaurant serves delicious Iranian kebabs and other Arabic dishes. Portion sizes are large and all dishes come with freshly baked hot and fluffy Iranian bread. Meat dishes are the speciality, particularly the mixed grill. Expect a plate of meat with a huge pile of saffron rice and bread and salad on the side which is more than enough to satisfy a hungry belly.
Madfoon Al Sadda
Located in Umm Suqeim, the restaurant enjoys a good reputation among patrons of the Yemini rice and meat based dish, mandi. The restaurant features Arabic interiors with bright and colourful rugs, cushions and drapes. There are multiple sections separated from the rest of the restaurant, with drapes for a somewhat private dining experience. You can either choose the regular table setting or floor dining setting at the restaurant. The service is up to point and the most popular dishes are mandi and baked kunafa.
With five outlets in Dubai, Mama’esh is a causal dining eatery offering some tempting Arabic and Middle Eastern dishes along with street food favourites. Some of the favourite and popular dishes include fatayers, shawarma, hummus and mana’esh. With affordable prices, and cosy interiors, it’s worth visiting this restaurant at any of its branches in Dubai.
With eight branches across Dubai, Maraheb is considered one of the best mandi restaurants in Dubai. Mandi is a traditionally Yemeni dish usually made from rice, meat (lamb or chicken) and a mixture of spices. The meat used is usually a young and small sized lamb to enhance the taste further. It is a slow cooked dish and is cooked over four hours at least. Maraheb offers generous portions and is always busy, specially during lunch hours. Not that hungry? You can also order half portions.
Located in Business Bay overlooking Burj Khalifa, Nurai is a casual dining eatery spread across two levels and an outdoor area. The restaurant offers modern and traditional Lebanese and Mediterranean food. Carrying a casual and vibrant vibe, it is a perfect place to have some relaxed and fun time with friends and family. The menu is quite elaborate and offers almost every Middle Eastern cuisine favourite. Some of the regular favourites include a range of cold and hot mezze, grilled meat and a host of salads.
Enjoy the authentic Lebanese flavours at newly opened restaurant Ya Linda. Located on Sheikh Zayed Road, is the breathtaking two-story building with more than enough space for family dining and get togethers with friends. The menu serves up a wide range of Middle Eastern cuisines, including grilled chicken, lamb and beef platters, shawarmas, labneh plates sujuk sandwiches. Other mouth-watering options include the signature Halawit Ya Linda, cheese spread topped with halawa banana and honey. With live Arabic entertainment available on Thursday and Friday nights, Ya Linda’s serene indoor and outdoor atmosphere is perfect to relax and chill. Furthermore, it also offers breakfast from 8am to 6pm.
Zaatar w Zeit
Located in multiple areas across Dubai, Zaatar w Zeit, is a Lebanese urban eatery that serves a great variety of the popular wraps made from soft and fluffy dough, salads, pizzas, platters and desserts. Satisfy your cravings any time of day, this is an experience that promises to be an absolute taste sensation. With a modern, young and vibrant inviting interior and outdoor seating in most outlets, Zaatar w Zeit’s friendly staff ensure a warm welcome to all its customers.