7 great cheap eats in Dubai

Dubai is full of fabulous restaurants, many with fabulous prices to match. However, there are plenty of great inexpensive places out there, too - you just need to know where to look. Read on for our round-up of seven of the city's best cheap eats
Chicken mandi - traditional arab food. Photo: Shutterstock
Chicken mandi - traditional arab food. Photo: Shutterstock

Eating out in Dubai is a pleasure. There are a multitude of excellent restaurants in the city, many run by top international chefs. To this end, many of the cheaper eateries don't get much press so we thought it was time to round up seven of the best places to go for an affordable and delicious meal.

1. Automatic

Al Khaleej Centre, Al Mankhool Rd, also on Jumeira Road, and Sheikh Zayed Road
Tel: 04 227 7824
Daily 9am–1am

Branch of city-wide budget Lebanese restaurants offering good mezze and grills at very affordable prices. No alcohol. Dress: casual.

2.Saravanaa Bhavan

Kahlifa Bin Saeed Building, about 100m east of the Bur Dubai Abra Station, between the HSBC and Bank of Baroda buildings
Tel: 04 353 9988
Sat–Thur 7am–3pm & 5.30–11pm, Fri 7am–11.30am & 1.30–11.30pm

Of the innumerable bargain curry houses in Bur Dubai, this Dubai offshoot of the popular restaurant chain from Chennai is one of the best, attracting a loyal local following for its delicious, bargain-priced pure-veg Indian cuisine. No alcohol. Dress: casual.

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Arabian Mutton Dum Biriyani, made with basmati rice, spices. Photo: Shutterstock

3. More

Behind Lifco Supermarket, near Welcare Hospital, Garhoud
Tel: 04 283 0224
Daily 8am–10pm

A funky Dutch-owned bistro with a wide range of superior international café fare. A difficult place to beat for its combination of excellent atmosphere, quality, value and service. No alcohol. Dress: casual.

4. Noodle House

Emirates Towers Boulevard, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road
Open 12.00pm until midnight

Something of a local institution, this cheerful noodle bar chain is a kind of Dubai Wagamama, with really good, reasonably priced Thai, Chinese, Malay, Singaporean, Indonesian and Japanese dishes served up at long communal tables. You might have to queue at busy times. There are six other branches within the city including at Souk Madinat Jumeirah and the Dubai Mall. Dress: casual.

5. Chhappan Bhog

Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed/Trade Centre Road, Bur Dubai
Tel: 04 396 8176
Daily 12.30–2.30pm and 8–11.30pm

The North Indian vegetarian meals served here in the heart of the Karama district are so delicious that they will please the taste buds of even the most die-hard meat eaters. No alcohol. Dress: casual.

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A plate of falafel sprinkled with sesame seeds, with a bowl of tatbeela dipping sauce. Photo: Shutterstock

6. Lime Tree Café

Near Spinneys, Jumeirah Road
Tel: 04-349 8498
Daily 7.30am - 6.00pm

Set in an attractive modern villa, this neat little café offers a classic slice of expat Jumeirah life. Healthy specialities include outstanding carrot cake, tasty wraps and delicious smoothies. Other branches in Sheikh Zayed Road (open until 10.00pm) and Al Quoz near Times Square Center (open until 6.00pm ). Dress: casual.

7. And finally there's the Friday brunch...

While not especially cheap per se, the all-you-can-eat (and often drink) aspect to the Dubai Friday brunch means it's great value for money. The Friday brunch is somewhat of a city institution, equivalent to the British Sunday roast and is hugely popular with the city's expats. Brunch usually kicks off around midday, and can last for the remainder of the afternoon. At various hotels throughout the city on Friday's. Dress: casual.

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