- Experience Dubai’s best Emirati-owned restaurants during DFF – the ones that have defined Dubai’s culinary scene for decades and continue to be on the ‘must-visit’ list for visitors and residents alike
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 12 May 2022: With a plethora of home grown talent, businesses and concepts in the city, Dubai Food Festival (DFF) showcases some of the most-loved Emirati-owned restaurants in the city that can be experienced by foodies 365 days a year.
From authentic eateries that transport you to the UAE back in the 60s such as Hashem Al Marzoqui’s Al Fanar Restaurant and Cafe to gourmet quality cooking with a homely approach, blending traditional and modern styles such as Mitts & Trays by Amna Al Hashemi, the city is embellished with Emirati chefs and restaurateurs that have harnessed the spirit of entrepreneurship that has seen Dubai witness unprecedented development.
Here’s a list of some of the must-visit Emirati-owned restaurants and eateries in the city:
Featured in DFF’s Made in Dubai series, the famous ‘hole-in-the-wall’ burger spot, High Joint started off as a casual chat among three Emirati friends and has morphed into a local institution. Co-founded by Hamad Al Awar, High Joint’s unique twist on a patty and a bun has kept it at the top of the culinary game.
Where to find it: Al Manara
3 Fils used to be a hidden gem that was neatly tucked away at Jumeirah Fishing Harbour, but has now achieved a sought-after spot on the MENA 50 Best Collection list.
3 Fils is the brainchild of enthusiastic Emirati co-founders Abdulhakim and Adnan Ali, with Singapore-born chef Akmal Anuar being the inspiration behind all those magnificent creations. Together they cooked up a strategy that has won hearts (and awards)– a small but quality-focused menu that has people coming back for more.
Where to find it: Shop 02, Fishing Harbour, JUMEIRAH 1. Dubai.
Al Fanar Restaurant & Café
If you’re looking for truly authentic Emirati Cuisine, then Al Fanar Restaurant and Cafe is the place to be. With a setting that offers a glimpse of what Dubai was like in the 1960s, Al Fanar Restaurant revives Emirati ambiance. Owner Hashem Al Marzouqi’s primary aim was to establish a restaurant that acted as a mini-museum where tourists and the new generation can visit to learn about Emirati culture.
Where to find it: Al Barsha Pond Park/ Al Seef/ Dubai Festival City/ Time Out Market
Al Jalboot Restaurant
Founded by Owner, Omar Salem and located near the beach, this upscale authentic eatery combines the freshest seafood with the warm hospitality that Dubai is known for. The nostalgic Emirati décor will give you a sense of warmth like no other.
Where to find it: Al Souq Mall, Jumeirah Beach Road, Umm Suqeim 2
Bait Al Bahar
Bait Al Bahar was created by childhood friends Ahmed Al Hashimi (Emirati) and Luke Sellwood (British), an upscale beachfront eatery complete with a mocktail bar that boasts a relaxing, yet lively ambience. Enjoy the magnificent seafront views while indulging in fresh salads, sushi platters and more.
Where to find it: Next to the Offshore Sailing Club in Jumeirah 3
Gossip Café and Desserts
Founded by Shayma Fawwaz, Gossip Café is a stylish spot that serves picturesque cakes and desserts as well as various options for the more health-conscious. Shayma ensures that the café uses organic ingredients wherever possible, and that everything is hand-made (including the jam served in their afternoon tea packages).
Where to find it: Boxpark/ Al Wasl Road/ Al Safa/ Jumeirah
Logma is the creation of Emirati Ahmad Rashid and Lebanese business partner Samer Zayat. A one-stop destination for rich Emirati and Khaleeji cuisine, this café serves up everything from fresh khameers and lugaimat to savory rice dishes. Logma’s urbanized setting amplifies the experience, with a warm and sandy facade and décor.
Where to find it: Box Park/ Dubai Mall/ Mirdif City Center
Founded by Emirati artist Rami Farook, Maisan 15 is not only an eatery that prides itself in serving a wide array of food such as lamb chops, crispy salmon tacos and beetroot eggs Benedict, but it also features a gallery, library and a garden that serves as a hub for creatives to gather and get inspired.
Where to find it: Al Barsha South
Mama Tani Café
This modern contemporary Emirati Café is owned by brother and sister Omar and Maitha AlShamsi and specialises in the much-loved Emirati dish, Khameer. The siblings were inspired by their childhood memories of happy family meals, and launched Mama Thani Café to the masses so that their guests could experience those memories too.
Where to find it: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd – Downtown Dubai – Burj Residence Phase I & II
Co-founded by cousins Rashed Belhoul and Saif Al Romaithi, Mamafri was created due to a joint passion for Asian cuisine. Now, this Dubai-born concept is famed for its upscale South-East Asian dining. The relaxing and soothing ambience makes it a staple place to visit for many.
Where to find it: Jumeirah 3, Beach Road/ Gate Avenue, DIFCi.
A wholesome eatery created by Hind Bin Dhaher and led by a team passionate about nutrition, health and wellness, Menagerie Eatery is known for its shockingly delicious take on nutritious food. Expect to experience dishes such as wild mushroom & artichoke flatbread, salmon with chermoula and buckwheat pancakes.
Where to find it: Mirdif 45 mall
Mitts & Trays
Known as the first Emirati female to ever own her own restaurant, Amna Al Hashemi founded Mitts & Trays blending traditional and modern styles to create gourmet quality cooking with a homely approach.
Where to find it: Bluewaters Island/ City Walk Phase 2/ Dubai Hills Mall
From a single food truck by the beach to a chain of restaurants that seamlessly developed a cult-like following overnight, Salt Café is a homegrown concept that quickly became a favorite in Dubai’s food scene.
Co-founded by Emirati Amal Al Marri and Saudi Deem Al Bassam, the duo are keen to make a mark in Dubai’s culinary scene by serving up a concise, yet highly-irresistible menu that features tasty wagyu beef sliders, a chicken option and fries.
Where to find it: Al Khawaneej Walk/ Dubai Mall/ Dubai Marina Mall, Kite Beach/ La Mer
Shaikha Eissa Al Lutfi perfected her burger recipe in her own kitchen, but when word got out among friends and family about how delicious they were, a home-grown business took off. What was once a strictly order-in-advance for those in the know offering has now morphed into a bricks and mortar eatery in Dar Wasl Mall thanks to glowing word-of-mouth reviews
Where to find it: Darl Al Wasl Mall
For more information and a full update on DFF activities, please visit www.dubaifoodfestival.com and @dubaieats on social media channels.
Dubai Food Festival is a citywide culinary celebration that showcases the emirate’s emergence as the gastronomy capital of the region through a packed programme of food-related events, activities, promotions and appearances by food celebrities. DFF promotes the diversity, creativity and multicultural nature of Dubai’s culinary offering – from its five-star gourmet dining to its unique Hidden Gems. Organised by Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), DFF is celebrating its ninth edition which runs from 2 May till 15 May, 2022.