Best Eats in the City of Gold: 4 Must-Try Dining Experiences in Dubai Festival City

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Best Eats in the City of Gold: 4 Must-Try Dining Experiences in Dubai Festival City

For people who truly enjoy eating out with the whole family, savouring coffee and pastry during peaceful weekend mornings, and celebrating special occasions with friends over mouth-watering brunches and dinners, it makes sense to live in a location where there are plenty of fantastic dining options nearby. 


If you’re in Dubai, that location is Dubai Festival City. This stunning urban estate brings together deluxe living, working and recreational spaces for those who want to truly experience an exciting, well-rounded lifestyle. And if you absolutely love food, you’ll get to sample all kinds of cuisines and foodie trends from the many different restaurants in the area.


So whether you’re currently looking at apartments for rent in Marsa Plaza or you’ve already moved in, here are four dining experiences in Dubai Festival City that we wholeheartedly recommend.


1. Authentic Emirati Eats at Al Fanar


Ground level, Dubai Festival City Mall


When in Dubai, it’s only fitting to get to know the local dishes and learn as much as you can about the City of Gold in the most exciting way: through the food on your plate. With that in mind, no other place knows traditional Emirati cuisine more than Al Fanar Restaurant & Cafe. 


If you have never had a traditional Bedouin dining experience, then you’re in the right place. Designed to depict a 1960s-era Dubai, Al Fanar is one of the most popular establishments in Dubai Festival City whipping up the best of local fare.


What are the must-try dishes here? 


For breakfast, try the Balalit or sweetened thin noodles with saffron and cardamom paired with freshly baked bread and a plain omelette. There’s also the Mohalla, an Emirati-style crepe flavoured with cardamom, dates, and turmeric.


Talk about interesting mains! Sample the Jesheed, which is crumbled wild baby shark cooked with dry lemon and onions, coriander and other mixed spices, and served with your choice of bread or white rice. Alternatively, you can order the Mogar Maleh or sauteed salted fish, or the Bedouin Mutton Stew. Pair these with sides such as Wagafi Bread, Machboos or Biryani Rice, and Mango, Lemon or Onion Pickles.


For dessert, try the Khanfaroush or Emirati doughnuts, or the Khabisah, a traditional sweet made by mixing molasses with roasted flour.


2. An Extraordinary Hotel Buffet at Anise


Lobby level, InterContinental Dubai Festival City


Got a flair for theatrics? Next time you check in at the InterContinental in Dubai Festival City, check out the top buffet restaurant that you certainly cannot miss.


The star anise has eight points, which is why at the buffet at Anise, there are eight live cooking stations where you can choose amazing international dishes from Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines. And with a full bar, live music, and speedy service, you’re sure to enjoy the best of hotel dining here.


So, what to eat here? 


Make sure to sample Anise’s Grass-fed Australian Rib Eye, Tenderloin or Strip Loin from the grilling station, served with Steak Fries and your choice of Chimichurri, Green Peppercorn Sauce, or Sauce Diane. Alternatively, you can go for the Shish Taouk, Lamb Kebab, Lamb Kofta and Cutlets from the Mixed Grill.


Have your fill of the freshest seafood (Pan Seared Sea Bass, Norwegian Salmon, Crispy King Prawns and Chinese Cod Fish) or a variety of Maki, Nigiri and Sashimi.


If pizza’s more your thing, you can get it straight from the oven at Anise; choose from Manakish or Lebanese pizza or flatbread, with variations like Zaatar (oregano, thyme, sumac, sesame), Cheese (halloumi, kashkaval, sesame seeds), and Minced Lamb (capsicum, onion, pomegranate molasses). 


As for beverages, there are traditional cocktails, colourful mocktails, fresh fruit juices, coffee and tea to complement your meals.


3. Awesome Brews to Perk You Up at Caffe Nero


Ground level, Dubai Festival City Mall


An excellent cup of coffee is fantastic to have during breakfast, shopping breaks, or on your special “me” time. In Dubai Festival City, the best place to get your caffeine fix is at Caffe Nero.


Caffe Nero takes pride in seeking out the most progrssive coffee growers in Southeast Asia, East Africa and Latin America, bringing customers their signature Classico blend that combines notes of intense dark chocolate and toasted bread.


Take your pick from beloved classic hot beverages like the Americano, Latte, Cappuccino, Flat White, Caramelate and more, or enjoy the cooler iced versions and Frappe Cremes (Salted Caramel and Espresso, Triple Belgian Chocolate) on a hot day. There are also milkshakes, cold-pressed juices, iced teas and lemonades for non-coffee drinkers. 


Complete the delicious coffee shop experience by pairing your drink with any of Caffe Nero’s irresistible sandwiches, pastries, soups, salads, and desserts. Don’t forget to check out the holiday menu as well, with items like the Morello Reindeer Hot Mocha, Festive Iced Mint Chocolate Frappe, Mince Pie, Orange Cranberry Glazed Cake, and Brie and Beet Toastie.


4. Gourmet Gifts at Cafe Bateel


Ground level, Dubai Festival City Mall


Cafe Bateel is your go-to place for healthy breakfasts in Dubai Festival City. There’s nothing like freshly baked breads, seasonal fruits, organic granola, and eggs prepared in a variety of ways to start your day. Combine those with detox juices, the finest teas, and expertly brewed lattes and other coffee drinks, and you’ve got a breakfast spread that you’ll crave every day.


But while the cafe’s dining-in menu surely entices customers, there’s another specialty that has people flocking over throughout the year, and especially during the holidays. It’s Cafe Bateel’s gourmet dates and date products, which make excellent gifts for your loved ones for all occasions.


Bateel has elevated the revered fruit into a fine delicacy that you simply cannot miss when you are in Dubai. In Bateel’s boutiques and cafes, they offer seven premium organic date varieties: Ajwa, Khidri, Kohlas, Medjool, Segai, Sokari, and the world-exclusive Wanan.


These dates are filled with candied orange peel, honey-glazed pistachio, roasted cashew, caramelised pecans, and other premium ingredients, then elegantly encased in luxurious wooden presentation boxes, silver trays, ballotins and other eye-catching gift packaging options. There’s simply no better gourmet gift that you can take home to your family or send to friends all over the world that treats you to a unique taste of Dubai than Bateel’s gourmet dates.


Happy Tummies in Dubai Festival City


Living in Dubai Festival City not only means being part of a vibrant urban community; it also means that there’s something to satisfy just about any craving, any time of year. Come visit these exciting restaurants and cafes in Dubai Festival City today, and who knows? It might just convince you to move in and get a delicious taste of the City of Gold every day.