We get it, finding the best cheap eats in Dubai isn't always easy.
From the biggest shopping mall in the world to the tallest building on a global scale, Dubai is a place of extremes. Having gone from fishing village to man-made metropolis, it has become one of the most expensive cities in the world, with its aptly given nickname being 'The City of Gold'. Home to Michelin-starred restaurants galore and many other such establishments competing to make a name for themselves, eating out can be quite an intimidating and pocket-emptying affair. On top of this, it is host to a melting pot of cultures - if you can name a cuisine, it will almost definitely feature within the Dubai food scene. Faced with the need to choose which cuisine to eat while at the same time worrying about not blowing the week's salary, where do you end up eating?
No need to worry. We've got you covered with a diverse list of the best cheap eats Dubai has to offer. From Tokyo to Thailand, to Australia to India, to Lebanon to Mexico - and a whole lot more - before heading back to Dubai, get ready for a global rollercoaster of flavours, smells and spices as you're transported from country to country via your tastebuds alone.
Formats range from food hot out of woodfire stone ovens, kebab meat eaten right off the skewer, and seafood fresh from the ocean; to restaurants rising from beach shacks, food trucks, and hand carts. The luxurious and hip-and-happening sit alongside traditional establishments following a no-frills added, food-first approach, so that there's truly something for everyone within this eclectic mix.
So, whether you're one of the many foodies flocking to the Dubai food scene, a chef with no time to make food for yourself, a tourist thirsting for authentic cuisine, or just one really hungry local, you'll find yourself satisfied by any, if not all, of the cheap restaurants in Dubai listed below.
What: Get ready to be transported to Calicut through the delicious flavours of the South Indian dishes for which Calicut Paragon is so heavily praised. The seafood is so delicious it tastes like it could have come directly from the Keralan coast. The masterminds behind the rich, spicy and delicious dishes that make up its menu know exactly how to make customers keep coming back for more.
Where: 20b Street, Al Karama
Book now: Calicut Paragon
What: Lebanese street food chain Allo Beirut aims to bring the ‘nostalgic smells and flavours’ of Lebanon to Dubai for all to enjoy. With an extensive menu of impressive dishes at very affordable prices, this popular spot is the perfect place to sit back, relax and unravel the day's worries with comforting, delicious food.
Where: City Walk Al Safa Road
Book now: Allo Beirut
Al Ustad Special Kebab
What: After that perfect authentic Persian Kebab? Look no further than Al Ustad Special Kebab. Having been around since 1978, it has established a bit of a reputation, with visitors including the likes of celebrities and royals. Let your inner meat lover out and head over to enjoy an experience that is both top quality and easy on the pocket.
Where: Al Mussalla Road
Book now: Al Ustad Special Kebab
What: As we all know, what something looks like on the outside does not determine what it’s like on the inside. Though not having been blessed with particularly pretty aesthetics, Bu Qtair makes up for its decor (or lack of) with its impressively tasty seafood dishes. Having started off as a ‘beach shack,’ this restaurant has stuck to its guns and is now a fully-fledged restaurant, with dishes that remain as scrumptious as ever.
Where: Umm Suqeim Second
Book now: Bu Qtair
What: Pakistani food that hits the spot while at the same time costing you next to nothing, Ravi restaurant produces no fuss, no frills and flavour-first street food that will make your stomach growl in appreciation.
Where: Satwa Al Satwa Road
Book now: Ravi restaurant
What: Having branched out into a handful of chains, Mama'esh's natural, fresh and environment-first approach to Palestinian street food makes a trip here an enticingly delicious experience. Food comes hot from the woodfire stone oven, and plates are piled with hand-picked, fresh ingredients that are steeped in authentic flavours - there's really nothing here that you could possibly have any issue with.
Where: Bayswater Tower, Waterfront, Marasai Drive
Book now: Mama'esh
What: Eggs, eggs, eggs and more eggs - with a side of Indian cuisine - Raju Omlet has grown from humble beginnings. Founder Rajesh Rana (otherwise known as Raju Bhai) ran Raju Omlet out of his handcart in Karelibaug while working full-time for a printing press, and has since turned it into an international establishment. Thirty-nine years later, this ‘eggatarian’ establishment is more alive and kicking than ever, not to mention that it serves its food at excellent prices.
Where: 9a Street, Al Qouz Industrial First
Book now: Raju Omlet
What: Vietnamese precision and attention to detail are at the forefront of Saigon’s mission to serve healthy, home-cooked meals packed with a punch of flavour and sealed with a kick of cosy atmosphere. Head over for some great quality food at a great price point, with a stunning view over the lake thrown in for free.
Where: Lake Terrace Tower, Balcony Level, Shop 17, Jumeirah Lake Towers
Book now: Saigon’s
What: Café Isan hit the ground running and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Self-taught, YouTube-inspired chef New went from Thai farmer to award-winning restauranteur following five years of dreaming. Finally, in one year, he made his dream a reality. Bringing the taste of Thailand to Dubai, this budget-friendly Thai Street food and tea bar is one for the books.
Where: Armada Avenue Hotel, Cluster P, Jumeirah Lake Towers
Book now: Café Isan
What: On the fancier side of cheap eats, while still giving off a casual ambience with its community-style dining, 3 Fils offers high-quality food for affordable prices. With its location alongside the harbour, seafood is the main star of the menu here, with its sushi shining bright amongst other tasty gems. With its open kitchen and Japanese-inspired small plates; you won't want to miss eating here.
Where: Shop 02, Jumeirah Fishing Harbour 1, Al Urouba Street
Book now: 3 Fils
What: Serving up breakfast, lunch, and toasties, this spot majors in simple yet delicious staples inspired by Melbourne's coffee culture. Boston Lane is a café that oozes charm and cool with its pinks and white interiors, which are given a little extra lift with lots of on-trend greenery. Located in the courtyard in the heart of trend-setting Al Quoz - an art, fashion and music hub of Dubai - this little coffee spot is definitely worth popping into for a bite to eat.
Where: Courtyard, Al Quoz
Book now: Boston Lane
What: All things fried chicken, juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside and a flavour bomb all the way through, Jailbird is a burger shack that knows a thing or two about making the mouth water. As its motto says, 'live fast, fry young', so hurry over to get your chicken while it's still sizzling hot.
Where: 24 17 C Street, Al Wasl
Book now: Jailbird
What: Looking for 'a-maiz-ing' tacos? Look no further than Dubai's very own Maize Tacos. Starting as a food truck in 2018, this brand has since grown to have multiple branches throughout Dubai thanks to its popularity. It offers plates of home-grown Mexican soul food with fresh, good quality ingredients at affordable prices.
Where: JLT Cluster Y lake shore tower, basement level shop b10
Book now: Maize Tacos
Wokyo Noodle Bar
What: Oodles of slurpingly good noodles - that’s what Wokyo is all about. Striving to serve the flavours of the Far East straight to you in Dubai, this spot deals in everything from ramen and stir-fries, to noodle soups and a tasty array of riced based dishes.
Where: Al Safa 1, Wasl Square
Book now: Wokyo
Wanting to take advantage of all the Dubai culinary scene has to offer all the while lazing in the sun? Check out 15 of the best beach clubs and restaurants in Dubai for day to night dining.