Fabu(less)ly Frugal - Dubai's 10 Best Budget-Friendly Restaurants

28 Sep, 2014 / Posted By Mayuri

Eating out is usually synonymous with breaking the bank, especially when it comes to a good quality grub in this city. However, our list of the 10 most interesting cheap eats in Dubai will prove to you that tight budgets do not mean tight belts. We have come up with a selection of casual and affordable restaurants and cafés that serve authentic, fresh and delicious food.


Al Dimyati & IskandaronAl Dimyati & Iskandaron 

Claiming that this Karama cafeteria is great value for money would be the biggest understatement of the year. Dimyati is home to one of the best meat dishes in the city: caramelised, succulent and exploding with buttery richness, the lamb chops will leave you satisfied without stretching your wallet. If the basic interiors put you off, we suggest you have food to take away… but be sure to give it a go!

Cuisine: Arabic
Location: Karama
Price per person: AED 30
Go for: the grilled lamb chops.



Seafood In A BucketSeafood in a Bucket 

This unassuming diner is tucked away in Al Attar Centre but you will be glad to have gone the extra mile to find this clandestine treasure. Seafood in a Bucket literally serves seafood in small buckets on your wooden table. You are in control of how much you spend because you can choose your fresh fruit of the sea, its marinade, and your accompaniments. The best bit? Unlimited drinks and rice!

Cuisine: Filipino seafood
Location: Karama
Price per person: AED 60
Go for: the crab in black pepper sauce and the shrimps in garlic butter sauce.


Special OstadiSpecial Ostadi 

Established over 35 years ago, Ostadi is a true veteran: fresh ingredients, personalized service and a unique budget-friendly dining experience at its finest, this place is sure to wow you. We highly recommend you make the most of your visit to this family-run restaurant, and order several different kebab dishes to be shared amongst a small group of friends.

Cuisine: Iranian
Location: Khalid bin al Waleed
Price per person: AED 50
Go for: the Cholo Kabab – the minced mutton kebabs with rice, and the yoghurt chicken kebab.


Al IjazaAl Ijaza Cafeteria

Craving a quick fix in the wee hours of the night? Make a pit stop to this small joint on Jumeirah road. Chances are the place will be inundated by a caravan of flashy sports cars owned by locals who drive through this ubiquitous cafeteria in order to enjoy its surprisingly delicious food without having to get out of their vehicle.

Cuisine: Levant fast food
Location: Jumeirah 
Price per person: AED 40
Go for: the Ijaza meat sandwich shawerma.


Xiao Wei YangXiao Wei Yang Hotpot 

Once you get past the fact that you will be served wafer-thin slivers of raw meat and vegetables to cook to your liking in a hotpot of simmering broth, you will fall in love with this authentic, cheap and cheerful Chinese restaurant. Wear comfortable clothes because this can get messy!

Cuisine: Chinese
Location: Deira
Price per person: AED 50
Go for: the Hot and Spicy Shabu-Shabu with meat, spinach, mushroom and egg noodles.


Yalla MomosYalla Momo's 

Don’t be fooled by the modest setting and size of this restaurant nestled within the tall buildings of Karama. Yalla Momos serves the Nepalese version of dumplings. The friendliness of the staff makes ordering these spicy, steaming, sumptuous momos all the more delightful.

Would you like yours steamed or fried?

Cuisine: Nepalese dumplings
Location: Karama
Price per person: AED 25
Go for: the chicken momos and the masala Maggi noodles.



In a world where cheap automatically implies greasy, Fuchsia stands out as one of the few exceptions. Head over to this modest and modern TECOM joint with your date for a rendezvous with lip smacking dishes. We were particularly moved by how professional and pleasant the staff was. A must try for those who wish to enjoy a delightful Thai fodder without splashing out too much cash.

Cuisine: Thai
Location: TECOM
Price per person: AED 60
Go for: the papaya salad, the beef with garlic stir fry and the banana fritters.


BetawiBetawi Restaurant

Located right next to Yalla Momos, this little restaurant boasts of generously-portioned and yet reasonably-priced delectable Southeast Asian food. We love the fact that the restaurant exudes a comfortable, homely feel. That, matched with an exceptional, quick and friendly service makes it one of our all-time favourite budget-friendly places.

Cuisine: Indonesian, Malay
Location: Karama
Price per person: AED 50
Go for: the chicken Opar Ayam with rice and the Satay platter.


Bu QtairBu Qtair 

When you visit Bu Qtair (and trust us, you will not want to miss this one out), you will have your meal outdoors, on plastic patio furniture strewn across a sandy terrain. You will wait in line for quite a while to pick up your food and you will eat with your hands. Your eyes will water from the fiery spices in your curry but you will not stop until you have wiped your plate clean with the last bit of your parantha bread.

In short, you will fall in love with this fuss-free, frugal, seafood shack.

Cuisine: South Indian Seafood
Location: Jumeirah
Price per person: AED 75 (depends on the weight)
Go for: the sheri and the shrimps with paratha.


Aappa KadaiAappa Kadai 

Aappams are dangerously addictive, which means you will keep coming back for more at this thriving, pocket-friendly, South Indian restaurant. The fluffy, airy centre stretches out thinly and becomes crispy around the edges. Dip these rice-batter pancakes into a steaming hot, meaty curry, and wash it down with a fresh fruit juice.

Trust us, you will keep coming back for more.

Cuisine: Indian
Location: Oud Metha
Price per person: AED 50
Go for: the plain Aappams, the Pepper Mutton Curry and the Kingfish Tawa Fry (pan-fried fish).


By Mayuri Gidwani
Content editor for RoundMenu

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