Emirati Food -- It's difficult to find Emirati food in Dubai's restaurants as it's considered somewhat bland. Arabic food here is heavily influenced by Lebanese, Moroccan, Tunisian, and even Iranian cuisine. Meals usually start with meze, Arabic appetizers such as hummus, tabbouleh, baba ghanouj, falafel, and kibbeh (ground meat with spices) served with pita bread and salad. Lamb, beef, and chicken are the favored meats, often accompanied by rice, spices, nuts (especially pistachios), dates, and yogurt. Muslims are forbidden from eating meat that has not been slaughtered in accordance with Islamic rituals (called halal), and they do not eat pork.
An authentic Emirati dish is roasted lamb stuffed with rice spiced with cinnamon, almonds, and pistachios. Although shawarmas (lamb or chicken carved from a spit and served in a pita) are Lebanese in origin, they are tremendously popular. Seafood is a staple of the Emirati diet, and includes grilled hammour (a grouper fish), chanad (mackerel), and beyah (mullet). Main dishes may be served with unleavened Arabic bread, freshly baked in clay ovens, followed by fresh fruit such as dates, figs, and lemon and lime, as well as Arabic sweets. Fruit juices are often drunk with the meal, and Arabic coffee is served after.
During Ramadan, evening meals are usually enormous buffets. Unless you manage to swing an invitation to an Emirati's home for dinner, a good area to find cheap, authentic Arabic food is in Bur Dubai or Deira near the creek. A more extravagant option is to head out to Bab Al Shams Desert Resort, located about 45 minutes from Dubai, and dine under the stars at Al Hadheerah.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.