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Where to Take Visitors to Eat in Dubai – on a Budget

Bu-Qutair-fish-restaurant-in-dubai-mcpDubai means five-star (and seven star) hotels, lavish limos, outrageous gold cocktails and luxury dining doesn’t it? Yes…and no. This city is home to all nationalities and budgets with a wealth of eateries to match. Since we arrived in Dubai in 2000 we’ve had a steady stream of visitors, many returning again and again. Their favourite places to go are not the sparkly, glitzy ones (although they like those too) but the street cafés, holes in the walls and other unique eating haunts. So when you’ve maxed out your credit card at the Skyview bar, in Dubai Mall or at Dubai World Cup, here are the top three favourite budget places to eat as road-tested by my friends and family. Highly recommended whether you’re a tourist or resident – just don’t expect linen napkins. And I better mention that they are all un-licensed (i.e. no alcohol) – and all the pics were taken on various nights out (and cameras, iphones etc).
Ravi restaurant (Ravi’s)


Sit on plastic chairs by the side of one of the busiest streets in Dubai, with the sound of honking horns as a background, eat Pakistani curries in front of the neon sign which is emblazoned Ravi Restaurant in brightest green. It’s a legend in Dubai and I have it on good authority that it hasn’t changed in twenty years (apart from tin plates being replaced by plastic). While still frequented by taxi drivers (you’ll see them dining inside), get there early to find your table on the pavement.

What to order: The menu is extensive (brain curry anyone?) and confusing for the uninitiated but don’t expect any help from the staff. I recommend chicken tikka (on the bone and fresh from the grill), aloo paratha (bread stuffed with potato and chilli and fried in ghee), dhal, any vegetable dish, chicken ginger and chicken achari. Meat tends to be on the bone so ask for it without if that’s what you want (although less tasty). We’ve never tried anything from the Chinese menu (and why would you?). Freshly baked flat bread (go to the alley at the side of the restaurant to see it being made), salad and water are brought automatically.

What to do: Spoof for who pays the bill.

Continue to Read on My Custard Pie

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