• Zuma This chic Japanese lair is one of the most buzzed-about restaurants in town.
  • Pai Thai Thai morsels for the soul served in an ultra-romantic setting amid the canals of Madinat Jumeirah.
  • Aroos Damascus Seriously delicious Syrian staples served with a smile in a vast cafe to adoring crowds.
  • Claypot Reasonably priced and exquisitely prepared Indian cuisine in Bur Dubai.

By Budget: $

  • Ravi Empty tables are as rare as hen's teeth at this unfussy curry temple with sidewalk seating.
  • Al Ustad Special Kabab Sheikhs to shoe shiners clutter this cool been-here-forever Iranian kebab joint.
  • Al Tawasol Sit on the floor Bedouin-style and figure out how to feast on Yemeni classics without cutlery.
  • Fulbari Authentic Nepalese cooking, including the lightest momos (dumplings) imaginable.

By Budget: $$

  • Samad Al Iraqi A top place to try woodfire-roasted fish called masgouf, Iraq's national dish.
  • Leila Beirut import delights with updated Lebanese home-cooking in a nostalgic setting.
  • Baker & Spice Healthy and delicious salads and other cafe fare with a view of the Dubai Fountain.
  • Miss Wang A vibrant atmosphere with live music to accompany fine pan-Asian cuisine.

By Budget: $$$

  • Tomo Eponymous gourmet kitchen of tradition-minded Japanese star chef with stellar views.
  • Pierchic A blissful setting with Burj Al Arab views, plus superb seafood, ensures loyal diners.
  • Maya Modern Mexican Kitchen Richard Sandoval reinterprets time-honoured Mexican dishes in modern Michelin-decorated fashion.
  • Elia A longtime mega hit with locals and travellers for the inspired Greek cuisine.

By Cuisine: Emirati

  • Logma Casual cafe that serves modern Emirati cuisine from breakfast to dessert.
  • Aseelah Successfully bridges traditional and contemporary Emirati food and decor.
  • Al Fanar This classic spot is an ode to Emirati culinary heritage.
  • Seven Sands Overlooking the beach with a lengthy menu of Emirati dishes, plus camel burgers for the intrepid.
  • S34 Gahwa Mezze Bar Enjoy authentic Emirati cuisine as a nostalgic farewell at the airport.

By Cuisine: Middle Eastern

  • Qwaider Al Nabulsi Makes fluffy falafel and some of the best kunafeh (vermicelli-like pastry soaked in syrup) in town.
  • Zaroob Lebanese street food staples in an urban indoor setting.
  • Kaak Al Manara Mall-based outpost that makes delicious flat sesame breads with sweet and savoury fillings.
  • Al Shami Come here for great fatayer (pastries) and other inexpensive Lebanese treats.

By Cuisine: Italian

  • BiCE Fabulous wine complements meals that have all the flavours of Italy locked inside.
  • Eataly Gourmet food hall and marketplace based at Dubai Mall.
  • Ricetta Has all the atmosphere and authentic cuisine of a traditional trattoria.
  • Basta! Michelin chef David Myers is behind this ode to Italian cuisine.

By Cuisine: Indian

  • Indego by Vineet Michelin man Vineet Bhatia seduces diners with contemporary spins on Indian classics.
  • Eric's Unassuming neighbourhood charmer delivers a taste-bud tingling culinary journey to Goa.
  • Sind Punjab Spicy budget curries are the currency at one of Dubai's oldest Indian eateries.
  • Claypot Prepares delicious traditional dishes with a nouvelle twist.

Urban Cafes

  • Tom & Serg This industrial-flavoured loft is a handy launchpad for an Alserkal Avenue gallery hop.
  • Zaroob Mimicking a Lebanese street food alley, this eatery serves up Middle Eastern soul food around the clock.
  • Fümé Dubai Marina views are gratis at this rustic city slicker trading in global comfort food.
  • Cabin Enjoy an open-plan kitchen and art and crafts for sale, along with the palate-pleasing dishes.

Meals with a View

  • Thiptara at Palace Downtown Dine on a lakeview deck beneath the world’s tallest tower.
  • At.mosphere Feel on cloud 9 at the world's highest restaurant in the Burj Khalifa.
  • Asia Asia Take in the sparkling Dubai Marina panorama from your terrace table at this Pier 7 stalwart.
  • La Marquise Overlooking the Creek in the spanking new Al Seef development.

For Romance

  • Pai Thai If your date doesn’t make you swoon, these top Thai treats should still ensure an unforgettable evening.
  • Pierchic Where Gulf breezes and front-row views of the Burj Al Arab complement soulful seafood goodness.
  • 101 Lounge & Bar Alfresco lounge with comfy sofas and views of the Dubai skyscraper phalanx.
  • Stay It's fine dining without being stuffy thanks to three-Michelin-starred Yannick Alleno's perky cuisine and the elegant setting.

Vegan & Vegetarian

  • Saravana Bhavan Don't let the unassuming decor put you off – the all-veg Indian is tops.
  • Super Natural Kitchen A totally vegan haunt right down to those creamy puds.
  • Govinda's Serves sattvic food that not only eschews meat but also oil, onion and garlic.
  • XVA Café This charmer is tucked into a serene courtyard house in the Al Fahidi Historic District.
  • Comptoir 102 Health-conscious foodies flock to this Jumeirah cafe for inventive plant-based meals.