Where to dine?
Restaurants and cafés are located in shopping malls either as stand-alone establishments or in food courts. They are also located in hotels, shopping centres, shopping districts and residential areas.
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The UAE has many restaurants and cafés, some amongst the finest in the world. Several international restaurants and cafés have outlets in the UAE. Popular cuisines served in the restaurants are Afghani, African, American, Arabic, British, Chinese, Filipino, French, German, Greek, Indian, Indonesian, Iranian, Italian, Japanese, Malay, Mediterranean, Mexican, Nepali, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Thai and Vietnamese.
Traditional Emirati fare includes Khuzi (stuffed whole roast lamb or goat on a bed of spiced rice), Machboos (casserole of lamb or chicken layered with rice seasoned with spices and some saffron) or Al Madrooba (a mix of salted fish, spices and thick sauce).
Visitors interested in tasting traditional Emirati fare could visit Mezlai at Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi, Milas in Dubai Mall and Al Fanr in Dubai Festival City.
Find out where you can try Emirati cuisine in Abu Dhabi.
Eat with an Emirati
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Cultural Understanding offer cultural meals; you can enjoy Emirati food while chatting with an Emirati and learning about the UAE’s history and culture.
The UAE offers several unique eating-out experiences such as dining beside a floor-to-ceiling aquarium, munching in cafés while you pet some purring cats, indulging in chocolate cafés and splurging on the occasionally created edibles with real gold!
Some local cafés (Mama Tani, Majilis, Café2go) serve camel burgers as a healthy alternative to beef. Camel milk is used to make cheese, ice cream and delicious chocolate.
The UAE organises many food festivals, which bring cuisines from around the world and are popular amongst citizens and residents. Popular food festivals in the UAE are:
Tipping is a common practice in the UAE though it is not mandatory. Read about guide to tipping in the UAE.
- Food control – Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority
- Food watch system – Dubai Municipality
- Food Inspection Section – Sharjah Municipality.