- 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
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.
- 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.
- 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.