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Culinary Tour

From its glittering skyscrapers to resort-like malls, everything in Dubai is done to the extreme — and the city’s gastronomy is no exception. Meals are often lavish affairs, where diners enjoy a decadent spread of food over a few hours. But beyond the glitz and glamour of four-star dining and high-end restaurants lies a city that’s proud of its culinary heritage, with plenty of authentic and diverse fare to be found. Follow this itinerary to enjoy the best culinary delights the city has to offer.

Day

1

MORNING
  • Good Morning, Dubai.

    Breakfast at Social House is a decadent affair. Serving up familiar flavors with regional influences, pick from the restaurant’s offerings of shakshouka with labneh and za’atar pita bread to scrambled eggs with black truffle shavings.  

  • A Bird’s-Eye View.

    Zoom to the top of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. From the 148th-floor observation deck, revel in the views of this hyper-futuristic city — man-made islands, skyscrapers and all — and also take in the sights of the surrounding natural beauty, which includes the nearby Dubai desert and the Arabian Sea.  

MIDDAY
  • Brunch It Up.

    If you’re in Dubai on a Friday, it means it’s time for brunch, which isn’t just a meal, but an event. Join the well-dressed crowd at Baikingu Brunch at Zuma, a Japanese restaurant that serves up an impressive selection of everything from sushi and sashimi to gyoza and yakitori.  

AFTERNOON
  • Quench Your Thirst.

    Dubai does nothing small, and Juice World is no exception. Choose from its 200 selections of fresh juices and smoothies, or make your own blend. For a sweet treat, try a falooda — a cold, rose-flavored dessert made with vermicelli and sweet basil seeds.  

  • The Spice of Life.

    Let the scents of the Spice Souk lead you to its narrow alleyways. Beautifully arranged spices, incense, traditional medicine products and dried flowers line each vendor’s stalls. Situated in Deira — Dubai’s oldest neighborhood — the Spice Souk offers a peek into the city’s culture.  

EVENING
  • A Relaxing Apéritif.

    After a busy day, head back to The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre for a pre-dinner cocktail. Take a respite from the busy city to enjoy a cup of tea at the Lobby Lounge or a glass of wine at Café Belge, or head to the Sunken Garden, a lush oasis that offers 30 exotic shisha flavors.

  • A Meal to Remember.

    Enjoy classic French fare created with an Italian twist at Le Cirque, the classic New York City restaurant that has finally arrived in the Middle East.  

Day

2

MORNING
  • Morning Jolt.

    Coffee has been a part of Middle Eastern culture since the 16th century, so it’s fitting that the Dubai Coffee Museum sits in one of the city’s most historic districts, Al Fahidi. This private museum displays antiques and artifacts from Ethiopia — where coffee originated — and also Egypt. Before leaving, have a cup of freshly brewed coffee from the museum’s custom bar.  

  • A Creek-side Breakfast.

    Stroll through picturesque Old Dubai and stop for breakfast at the charming Creekside Café. Situated right alongside Dubai Creek, you can watch the passing abras (traditional wooden boats) while eating your Emirati-inspired food. Post-meal, explore the nearby textile souk for a shopping experience that’s more cultural than commercial.  

MIDDAY
  • Go Global.

    If you’re in Dubai between November and April, be sure to visit the Global Village. Every year, this event showcases different cultures from over 65 countries in a celebration of entertainment, shopping and, of course, food. From Egypt to Italy and Vietnam to Oman, you can sample the regional cuisines of each country for a smorgasbord of flavors.

AFTERNOON
  • Jumeirah Mosque.

    For all the modern glamour of Dubai, the city is still home to myriad locations that have an undercurrent of strong traditions and old-world ways — Jumeirah Mosque is one of those places. As the only mosque in Dubai that welcomes non-Muslim guests, it’s a worthwhile visit for a view into the culture and religion of the United Arab Emirates.  

  • A Lebanese Lunch.

    Pay a visit to the well-loved Al Nafoorah for authentic Lebanese cuisine. This highly regarded restaurant has perfected traditional dishes like grilled lamb and shawarma with mouthwatering results. With flawless service and generous portions, it’s the perfect place for a leisurely lunch.

EVENING
  • A Sunset Stroll.

    Before dinner, take a walk along the shore of Palm Jumeirah, the world’s largest artificial island. Dip your toes in the Arabian Sea or explore the shops, cafés and restaurants that line the boardwalk. Stop long enough to admire the sunset, then hop on the monorail back to the mainland.

  • A Picture-Perfect Meal.

    This is a special occasion meal, so don your finest threads and head to Pierchic for the best seafood in Dubai. The restaurant, at the end of its own wooden pier, serves up dishes like tuna carpaccio, fresh oysters and sea bass paired with stunning views of the Arabian Gulf.