Authentic Middle-Eastern Restaurants in the UAE

Authentic Middle-Eastern Restaurants in the UAE

In a country as diverse as the UAE, food becomes a unifying language. It's a way for people from various backgrounds to connect and share their stories. This diversity is particularly evident in the range of Middle Eastern restaurants scattered across the Emirates, each serving up traditional dishes that are as authentic as they are delicious.

Through their culinary offerings, these restaurants narrate the stories of their origins, transforming the UAE into a vibrant hub for cultural exchange and mutual understanding. Exploring a culinary journey through the UAE's genuine Middle Eastern restaurants offers a food adventure that is an opportunity to dive deep into the region's abundant flavors, experiencing them one dish at a time.

Let's dive into this journey together.



Mama'esh stands as a beloved emblem of Palestinian cuisine amidst Dubai's bustling Middle Eastern dining scene. For nearly a decade, this casual yet hearty eatery has prided itself on bringing authentic Palestinian flavors to the heart of the UAE. With its signature charm and a menu that celebrates traditional recipes, Mama'esh has expanded its warmth across the city through its multiple branches.

The culinary offerings at Mama'esh are a testament to the richness of Palestinian cuisine. The menu is a carb lover's paradise, presented on timeworn metal trays that add to the restaurant's rustic charm. From the sumac and pine nut-laden Palestinian musakhan chicken rolls to the boat-shaped cheese and za'atar fatayer, every dish is an adventure.

Underpinning Mama'esh's success is its mantra: "Palestine is a bite away." This philosophy is vividly brought to life through its traditional manaesh flatbreads, baked in a wood-fired stone oven—a technique that underscores the restaurant's commitment to authenticity and quality. Since its first standalone branch opened in Al Manara in 2018, Mama'esh has evolved into a culinary haven that blends the charm of a hipster coffee shop with the soul of traditional Palestinian eateries.

Must-Try Items:

  • Palestinian Musakhan Chicken Rolls
  • Cheese and Za'atar Fatayer
  • Grilled Halloumi
  • Fattoush Salad with Pomegranate Molasses
  • Kunafa Rolls

Locations: Al Manara | Business Bay | Al Warqa | Dubai Investment Park | Green Community West | MEADOWS Village | Sharjah Beach House | Ajman City Center



Since its inception in 2011, Maraheb Yemeni Cuisine has carved a niche for itself as a sanctuary for Yemeni cuisine aficionados. Offering an expansive menu that delves into the rich and diverse palate of Yemeni cooking, Maraheb presents a culinary journey that traverses the robust stews and succulent grilled meats iconic to Yemeni tradition. Each dish is a celebration of spices and textures, embodying the vibrant spirit of Yemeni culinary artistry.

The restaurant aims to extend a warm embrace not just to those curious about Yemeni culture but also to Arab residents longing for a taste of home. Maraheb positions itself as a culinary ambassador, crafting dishes that weave tales of tradition and flavor, creating an inclusive environment where every meal is an exploration of cultural richness and an encounter with the extraordinary.

The dining experience at Maraheb is meticulously tailored to complement the authenticity and depth of Yemeni cuisine. The branches of Maraheb have been designed to foster a welcoming and warm atmosphere, perfect for both intimate dinners and grand celebrations.

The decor, alongside the vibrant strains of music, cultivates an ambiance that promises to enhance your dining experience, making each visit memorable. Maraheb transcends the conventional dining experience, establishing itself as a destination for exceptional meals and moments that linger.

Must-Try Items:

  • Lamb Mandi
  • Chicken Mandi

Locations: Nadd Al Hamar | Trade Centre 1 | Al Safa | Motor City | Dragon Mart | Al Qusais | Muwaileh - Sharjah | Al Danah Abu - Dhabi | Mohamed Bin Zayed City - Abu Dhabi | Al Nuaimia - Ajman

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Al Fanar

Since its establishment in 2011, Al Fanar Restaurant & Cafe has embarked on a mission to bring the traditional flavors of the Emirates to the forefront of the culinary scene. Named after the traditional 'Al Fanar' lantern, a symbol of guidance and cultural enlightenment, Al Fanar has evolved from a family-operated eatery into a cherished spot for both locals and visitors eager to experience authentic Emirati cuisine.

Dedicated to the preservation of Emirati culinary heritage, Al Fanar's chefs skillfully blend timeless recipes with the finest local ingredients, crafting dishes that narrate the Emirates' rich history and vibrant flavors. The restaurant is a celebration of Emirati culture and communal dining, offering a welcoming space where every meal is an homage to the nation's heritage.

Beyond serving food, Al Fanar plays a crucial role in reviving the Emirati ambiance of the 1960s, offering a taste of authentic Emirati cuisine amid the modernization and globalization affecting the region. The restaurant doubles as a mini-museum, educating visitors and the younger generation about Emirati culture through its food and themed rustic interiors that echo Dubai's rich history.

Must-Try Items:

  • Grilled Jumbo Shrimp
  • Grilled Squid
  • Ali Wallam
  • Laham Nashef
  • Machboos Samak
  • Biryani Deyay

Location: Dubai Festival City | Al Seef | Al Barsha | Yas Mall - Abu Dhabi | Al Jimi - Al Ain | Matajer Al Juraina - Sharjah


Al Maskoof

Al Maskoof Al Iraqi has carved out a niche for itself as a premier destination for those seeking authentic Iraqi cuisine. Since its establishment in 1999, this low-key eatery has been enticing diners with its traditional dishes, generous portions, and a concept that has flourished not only across three emirates but also as far afield as London. As the first restaurant to serve the iconic Al Maskoof fish outside of Iraq, Al Maskoof Al Iraqi has a special place in the heart of both locals and expatriates.

Must-Try Items:

  • Masgouf
  • Dolma
  • Kubba
  • Kabsa
  • Kouzi
  • Mutabak

Location: Hor Al Anz | Al Wasl | Al Mushrif - Abu Dhabi |


Yalanji Kitchen & Cafe

Yalanji Kitchen & Cafe emerges as a beacon of Syrian and Arabic culinary excellence, inviting diners to immerse themselves in a gastronomic journey that blends traditional flavors with modern culinary artistry. This esteemed establishment prides itself on serving authentic, meticulously crafted dishes that evoke the rich tapestry of Middle Eastern cuisine.

With a warm, inviting atmosphere and a commitment to quality, Yalanji Kitchen & Cafe has quickly become a favored destination for food enthusiasts seeking a genuine taste of Syrian and Arabic delicacies.

Must-Try Items:

  • Fried Kebbeh Plate
  • Hummus With Meat
  • Yalanji Plate
  • Eggplant Fatteh

Location: Central District - Abu Dhabi


Al Ustad Special Kebab

Al Ustad Special Kebab stands as a testament to the rich culinary heritage of Iran, offering an authentic slice of history alongside its delectable kebabs. For over four decades, this venerable eatery has captivated the hearts of locals, residents, and tourists alike, making it a revered institution in Dubai's vibrant dining scene. The restaurant's ambiance, adorned with vintage photographs, antiques, and a unique collection of currencies, mobile phones, model aircraft, old coins, and shisha pipes under the glass-topped tables, transports diners back in time, offering a dining experience that is as culturally enriching as it is gastronomically satisfying.

Founded by the late Mohammed Al Ansari, who moved to Dubai in 1941, the legacy of Al Ustad Special Kebab has been passionately upheld by Majeed, his eldest son. The restaurant's charm and culinary excellence have even attracted royalty and celebrities, including Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai.

The friendly staff and the restaurant's tradition of engaging diners with humor and stories contribute to an atmosphere that feels like home. This restaurant has established itself as a beloved destination for anyone looking to experience the soul of Dubai through its food and history.

Must-Try Items:

  • Chicken and Mutton Yoghurt Kebab
  • Zafarani Chicken
  • Saffron and Sumac Rice

Location: Al Mussallah Road, near Al Fahidi, Al Hamriya

These establishments, each with their own story and legacy, contribute significantly to the UAE's reputation as a melting pot of global cultures, offering a taste of home to some and an adventure for others.

As we continue to explore these flavors, let us remember that each dish, no matter how simple or complex, serves as a bridge between cultures, offering a moment of connection, understanding, and appreciation for the diverse world we share.

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