10 Best Emirati dishes and where to find them in Dubai.

10 Must Try EMIRATI Dishes

The delightful cuisine of the Emirates reflects the rich cultural heritage of the region. The spices used and the aroma of the food make Emirati cuisine irresistible. A foodie’s paradise, the Emirates is undoubtedly regarded as the world’s gastronomical capital. Moreover, plenty lip smacking dishes showcase the amazing variety of Emirati cuisine.

From roadside stalls to the most classy of fine dining restaurants, you can savour Emirati cuisine in various surroundings. Additionally, people from all parts of the world have made the Emirates their home. That has made the Emirati cities, especially Dubai, a cultural melting pot.

We have listed what we feel are the best 10 Emirati dishes you must try:

Emirati dish -Labneh 

A thick preparation of creamy yoghurt, labneh goes very well with richly cooked spicy dishes. Also, taking labneh as you dig into any of the mouthwatering dishes helps cool the tangy effect of the spices and the oil in Emirati cuisine. As a result, Labneh has a distinct taste of its own when you have it with olive oil and the spice, zataar. Moreover, Labneh cheesecake accompanied with honey caramel sauce is perfect to satiate the desires of your sweet tooth after a hearty meal.

Thus locations to try the best Labneh in Dubai: 

Emirati dish-Hummus

A favourite dip here in the Emirates, and also loved worldwide, hummus is surprisingly easy to prepare. In addition to this, this lovely blend includes chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. This tahini paste of sesame and chickpeas is served mostly as a starter that you wish you could gorge on all through the meal. Additionally, feast on it with khubz baked fresh at a live cooking station. You may also try it out as a simple spread. Most importantly, hummus does wonders as a condiment with grilled kebabs served fresh.

Thus locations to try the best Hummus in Dubai

  • Ayamna, The Palm Jumeirah 
  • Al Khayma Heritage Restaurant & Cafe, Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood 
  • Asil Restaurant,The Walk, JBR
  • Al Shorfa Restaurant & Cafe, JBR
  • Sardina Seafood Restaurant, The Mall JBR
  • Cleo Dubai, Business Bay
  • Awtar, Grand Hyatt Dubai Convention Centre 

Emirati dish -Tabbouleh

If the richness of Emirati cuisine has you all worked up, tabbouleh comes as a breath of fresh air. A Levantine vegetarian salad, tabbouleh will unquestionably please any health conscious foodie. Made with bulgur wheat, parsley, finely chopped onions and tomatoes, the freshness of mint in it gives the dish a whole new dimension. Additionally, the tangy salad serves as a zingy beginning to kick off a hearty Emirati feast. As a result, the flavours of this delicious salad hit you at every bite you take.

Places where you can find Tabbouleh:

  • Jedoudna Restaurant and Cafe, Dubai Media City
  • Shami Gourmet Restaurant, Dubai Marina 
  • Zaatar w Zeit, Dubai Mall
  • Man’oushe Street, Burj Views Central Tower

Emirati dish- Fattoush

Yet another salad, Fattoush is much heavy. Among its primary ingredients are pieces of bread that are toasted or fried crisply. Vegetables like tomatoes, radish and cucumber give it a lovely fresh juiciness. The pomegranate seeds give Fattoush a zesty touch you’ll love. While you may enjoy this salad as a starter, you may have it as a low-calorie main course dish. The fresh ingredients of the filling salad are great for your health.

Places where you can try Fattoush

  • Wafi Gourmet, Dubai Mall
  • Al Safadi Restaurant, DIFC
  • Al Mandaloun (Michelin Star Restaurant), DIFC
  • Mama’s Bites Lebanese Restaurant, DIFC
  • Semsom, Mallmart

Emirati dish -Manakish

What was a simple doughy flatbread in its original form, Manakish has been reincarnated as some sort of a pizza. The tempting toppings of lamb or minced beef with generous dollops of cheese, unquestionably, make Manakish an absolute culinary delight for all food lovers. When in the Emirates, you must try the Zataar (spice blend) version, a favourite among the locals. Moreover, the fresh herbs and spices like oregano, sumac and thyme give Manakish an irresistible flavour.

Places you can try Manakish 

  • Man’oushe Street, Burj Views Central Tower
  • Manaesho, Dubai Investment Park
  • Al Reef Lebanese Bakery, Jumeirah 3
  • Zaatar w Zeit Restaurant, Dubai Mall

Emirati dish- Shish Tawook

The shish kebab is a typical Emirati dish and one of the main contributors to its popularity. These are chunks of meat served piping hot on top of a skewer. Above all, the shish tawook is a version of the hugely popular kebabs you’ll find in the Emirates, mainly in Dubai. Consequently, the meal served fresh, is marinated juicy chicken in a delicious blend of spices. Moreover, the shish tawook is cooked in a tandoor, also popular in Punjabi Indian cuisine giving it a delicate roast.

Places you can visit: 

  • Sharmi Gourmet Restaurant, Dubai Marina
  • Al Mallah Dhiyafah, Al Hudaiba
  • Babel Dubai, Dubai Mall
  • Al Safadi Restaurant, DIFC
  • Beirut Kharum, Downtown Dubai
  • Tasty Bite, Bur Dubai Souk , Meena Bazar 

Emirati dish-Shawarma

An everlasting favourite among Emiratis, the shawarma is a mouth watering dish with chicken strips. Undoubtedly, the spices added to the dish give it a heady flavour. Cooked over the roaring flames of a spit that keeps rotating, the strips of chicken are rolled inside soft pita bread. Moreover, the layers of garlic paste & tahini sauce, fresh lettuce, and crunchy fries make shawarma a must-try on your bucket list of Emirati dish to gorge on. Additionally, the lamb shawarmas are just as tasty.

Places you can try the best Shawarma in Dubai

  • Shawafel, JBR
  • Iskender Doner, Al Barsha south
  • Al Shorfa Restaurant and Cafe, JBR
  • Arabian Tea House Restaurant and Cafe, Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
  • Al Mandaloun (Michelin Star Restaurant), DIFC

Emirati dish –Falafel

Falafel is a fried and round patty that has ground chickpeas and fava beans as its main ingredient. As a result, a mix of spices added to it makes it a tasty snack you can try anytime. A common street food, falafel is undoubtedly perfect to recharge your batteries on the go. Additionally, dipping falafel into creamy tahini sauce makes the snack even tastier emirati dish. Also, stuffing falafel in a pita gives you a delicious platter. Also, the crunchiness of this snack dish is perfect for foodies of all ages.

Places you can get tasty falafel

  • Al Mandaloun (Michelin Star Restaurant), DIFC
  • Arabian Tea House, Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
  • Shawafel, JBR
  • SIKKA cafe, La Mer
  • Olea, Mall of the Emirates
  • Tasty Bite, Bur Dubai
  • Zou Zou Restaurant, Downtown Dubai

Emirati dish –Kunafa

When salty and gooey cheese is added to pudding, you are left licking your fingers. Though unusual, since cheese isn’t added to pudding often, kunafa is exceptionally yummy emirati dish . It does sound strange, but the salty centre goes surprisingly well with the sugary sweet syrup and the nutty topping. Also, adding more sugar makes it a gooey sweet dish quite like caramel chocolate. Consequently, the uniqueness of kunafa showcases the skills of Emirati cooks.

Places you try this dessert

  • Al Samadi Sweets, Deira
  • Firas Sweets, Al Hudaiba
  • Al Reef Lebanese Bakery, Jumeirah 3
  • Wafi Gourmet, Dubai Mall

Emirati dish –Umm Ali

Umm Ali is a rich and creamy dessert choir similar to English bread and pudding. Despite the recent versions, authentic Umm Ali has nuts. No matter how you choose to have it, cold or warm, Umm Ali is very tempting. As a result, you’ll surely love every bite of this lovely sweet preparation.

Places you can have this finger licking dessert

  • Al Reef Lebanese Bakery, Jumeirah 3
  • Um Ali Restaurant, Al Warqa
  • Bakemart Gourmet, Al Karama

Emirati cuisine has so much to offer. The variety in the dishes is just amazing!


A blend of culinary influences from all corners of the world, Emirati cuisine offers spicy meat preparations as well as crunchy salads. Our listing of the best 10 Emirati dishes includes starters as well as main course dishes. Also, there are sweet dishes as well for your sweet tooth. Enjoy delightful Emirati cuisine at a posh restaurant or a roadside eatery. We’re sure you won’t be disappointed.

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Q. Is hummus non vegetarian? 

No, hummus is not non veg. It is a plant based dish and is also considered vegan.

Q. Is Manakish and Pizza same?

No, Manakish is generally thinner, closer to a flatbread with usually one topping of choice. Whereas Pizza usually has a slightly thicker crust and a wider variety of ingredients on top.

Q. Is Kunafa made up of vermicelli?

Yes, Kunafa is made with roasted vermicelli.

Q. Who invented Umm Ali?

Umm Ali was invented by an Egyptian woman with the nickname of Om Ali. The name means “Ali’s Mom” and refers to the wife of an Egyptian sultan back in the middle ages. The story is that after the sultan died, Om Ali got into a fight with another of his wives, had her killed, and then gave this succulent dessert to the people of Egypt to celebrate.

Q. Can vegetarians eat Falafel?

Yes, vegetarians can consume Falafel. Moreover, vegans can also consume Falafel.

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