Best Food Tours of Dubai

The culinary world of the Middle East is one of the most interesting on the planet. For this reason a gastronomic tour in a city like Dubai is one of the best activities you can do if you are a lover of good food.

Keyvis Montilva

Keyvis Montilva

9 min read

Best Food Tours of Dubai

Arabian food | ©Israel Albornoz

Many of the plans to see or do in Dubai have to do with the enjoyment of the gastronomy of a city as diverse and touristy as this one. In Dubai you will find all the possible scenarios of the culinary world, ranging from the typical and traditional Arabian food to the most elegant and sophisticated proposals of the competitive international gastronomic environment.

I invite you to continue reading this publication so that you can take into account some information about the best gastronomic tours in Dubai. The truth is that by knowing the prices, duration and number of attractions that are included in this type of tourist experiences you will be able to choose one based on your interests and your own needs.

1. Dubai Street Food Tour

Falafels, typical Arabian food| ©Eiliv Aceron
Falafels, typical Arabian food| ©Eiliv Aceron

When you think of street food, your first image is probably not a city as luxurious and exclusive as Dubai. However, this very detail is the one that plays in favor of an experience like this. And it is about touring and exploring the gastronomic world of Dubai as its real inhabitants.

You have to keep in mind that it is a shared experience with at least 15 people and at all times you will have a local English or Spanish speaking guide who will share with you all the historical details about each of the places you will know on the route. In addition to exploring the flavors and typical ingredients of the Emirate's gastronomy, you will also visit places like the Dubai Creek, the Dubai Museum and the famous Souks in the oldest neighborhood of the city.

Arabic coffee and tea, Middle Eastern-style orange juices, shawarmas and falafel are just some of the basic items that are usually part of the menu of a street food tour like this one.

This experience is also very convenient to learn how to get around Dubai, because even though you will be driving in an air-conditioned car from one place to another you will be able to see the different routes that exist to go from the most modern and touristic areas of the city to the old quarter full of these street food proposals.

Interesting details

  • Price: the rates of a gastronomic tour of this style are quite convenient, as they are around 50€ per adult in case it is a tour without hotel pick up and go up to 65€ for a round trip directly to your accommodation.
  • Duration: on average, these tours always last about three hours from start to finish. Keep in mind that the lunch section only represents one hour of that total duration, as there are other activities such as taking a Water Taxi on the Dubai Creek or the visit of the Dubai Museum.
  • Means of transportation: it is usually a minibus or a minivan and they are always air-conditioned.
  • Advantages of this option: to be able to discover the world of street food in a city like Dubai is a real privilege. Most of the gastronomic offer is focused on exclusive and luxurious experiences that are not of interest to everyone.
  • Disadvantages of this option: walking the streets and stalls of the Souks can be an overwhelming experience due to the high summer temperatures in Dubai.

Book a Dubai Street Food Tour

2. Private gastronomic tour of Dubai

Typical Arabian food| ©PHRS
Typical Arabian food| ©PHRS

On the other hand, privacy and exclusivity are things that many people see as a priority when participating in a sightseeing tour, especially if it is one focused on the gastronomy of a place like Dubai.

In this type of excursions or gastronomic tours there are also usually basic elements of the gastronomy of this emirate such as dates with chocolate, pancakes stuffed with cheese and egg, Shawarma and preparations with camel meat. Keep in mind that most of these dishes are found in the more traditional markets of the old part of the city as the famous Spice Souk, where you can also enjoy different types of nuts and spiced oils.

In this type of gastronomic tours also usually enjoy a ride in a Water Taxi across the small river that divides the city in its oldest part. In addition, at all times you will be with a guide specialized in the gastronomic and cultural history of this city.

Details of interest

  • Price: prices vary depending on the number of people participating in the tour, as it is a private tour and this makes the total price of the service is divided among several. The rate per person is usually between 100€ and 150€ approximately.
  • Duration: this type of gastronomic tours also usually last about three hours approximately.
  • Means of transportation: since it is a private tour, it is possible to opt for a luxury vehicle with 3 or even 5 seats, but if there is a larger number of participants, it is possible to choose a minivan.
  • Advantages of this option: having the guide available exclusively for you and your few companions allows you to further deepen your learning about Dubai's gastronomic identity.
  • Disadvantages of this option: this is definitely a more expensive option and really has no major benefits other than privacy and exclusivity.

Book a private gastronomic tour

How to book a gastronomic tour in Dubai?

Tradition and modernity in Dubai| ©Fredrik Öhlander
Tradition and modernity in Dubai| ©Fredrik Öhlander

There are several ways to book a gastronomic tour in Dubai and any of them can be convenient for you. However, the most convenient for a tourist visiting from abroad is an online booking.

First for the fact that you can get a tour that suits your interests and your budget specifically for the dates and times that suit you.

This applies to other tourist experiences, such as camel rides in Dubai or a sandboarding excursion in the Dubai dunes.

Shopping at a tourist agency in Dubai is another alternative available to you. However, it is not a city in which most of the places have this type of establishments. Besides, your budget will be tripled taking into account what you would spend going from one place to another to get an alternative that has rates as competitive as those of online reservations.

Duration of the gastronomic tours in Dubai

Dubai Jumeirah Mosque| ©Susanne Nilsson
Dubai Jumeirah Mosque| ©Susanne Nilsson

All food tours in Dubai usually have a maximum duration of three to four hours. This is logical if you take into account that the part of actually enjoying the food is something that can be extended for an hour and a half at most and the rest of the time is dedicated to sightseeing the city and getting from one place to another.

However, this duration is only full of advantages, because the fact that an activity only occupies a part of your morning or afternoon means that you can spend the rest of your day to see other tourist attractions in the city. A tour of the best mosques in Dubai could be a good alternative in a day that includes a gastronomic tour of this city.

What will I see on this type of tour?

Enjoying the Mezze| ©DeepBluC
Enjoying the Mezze| ©DeepBluC

In this type of tours you will clearly enjoy the most important elements of Arabian gastronomy in its most traditional and authentic presentations. Exactly for that reason another essential part of this kind of tours is usually the strolling and exploring the typical markets of the oldest part of the city.

That means that on the best food tours in Dubai you will get a little bit away from the fancy and exclusive restaurants that you can actually get in other parts of the world. This is for the advantageous purpose of exploring the original part of the city that existed before the economic explosion that led to the construction of hundreds of skyscrapers that today define the most touristic part of the city.

In fact, if you still feel like getting to know a bit more about the cultural identity of the United Arab Emirates thenyou should opt for some tours and excursions from Dubai that go to other parts of this interesting country.

Tips to enjoy the gastronomic tours of Dubai

Kabsa Dish| ©Basel15
Kabsa Dish| ©Basel15

The first tip I can give you regarding food tours in Dubai is to know that you are going to leave completely satiated from the experience. Therefore it is preferable that you have a relatively small breakfast at the hotel or even not at all in case you book the morning times.

The next factor that I can advise you to keep in mind when participating in these types of food tours is the use of appropriate attire for touring a traditional market in the city. And this has not so much to do with the amount of skin you show, but much more to do with climatic comfort. Depending on the year the temperature in Dubai can be very high or significantly low for a city in the desert.

I also advise you to participate in this experience with a willingness to explore a culture that is totally different for many people. If you have further questions about how to feel safe and comfortable exploring the UAE, I invite you to read about some practical tips for traveling to Dubai. I assure you that they could make a big difference in your visit.

How much does a gastronomic tour of Dubai cost?

Inside Al Mahara and Al Munhata Restaurant| ©Zomato
Inside Al Mahara and Al Munhata Restaurant| ©Zomato

On average, a gastronomic tour of Dubai usually costs between 50 and 100 euros per person. This is in case you focus on exploring the origins of Arabian gastronomy in this city and visit relatively modest and inexpensive restaurants.

And you have to take into account that Dubai is an expensive city when it comes to high-level gastronomy and an average visit to a five-star restaurant can exceed 150€ per person.

So a good gastronomic tour that really focuses on showing you as many typical elements of the culinary world of this city as possible will take you to establishments that are not so well known.

Anyway, if you are left wanting to enjoy a really fancy dinner you can do some research on things to do and see in the Dubai Marina...

What are the places you shouldn't miss on a food tour of Dubai?

Shawarma| ©Yash Bhardwaj
Shawarma| ©Yash Bhardwaj

Telling you about specific places you can't miss on the best food tours in Dubai is a bit tricky. Many of them are focused on street food stalls that you would have a hard time getting to without the experience of a real specialist in the city.

One thing I can assure you that you should never miss on a gastronomic tour of this city is a visit to the typical markets of the old quarter. For example, the Spice Souk is an essential place if you want to know everything that has to do with dried fruits, ingredients and condiments that give flavor in such a characteristic way to Arab preparations.

Another good way to familiarize yourself with the flavors and traditions of eating in this community are the excursions to the desert of Dubai. Many of them include traditional dinners in the best Berber style.

Why is it advisable to take a gastronomic tour of Dubai?

Exterior of the Eat Greek Kouzina restaurant| ©Eat Greek Kouzina
Exterior of the Eat Greek Kouzina restaurant| ©Eat Greek Kouzina

A gastronomic tour is something that is recommended in most tourist destinations around the world and Dubai is no exception. Although in recent years it has become a very internationalized place, it still maintains a very interesting cultural identity.

At the same time, an experience like this is also the perfect opportunity to explore the older part of the city in one itinerary, which will save you time and money.

Anyway, you can also do some research on the best places to eat in Dubai when it comes to exclusive restaurants with gastronomic proposals that are discussed by the culinary world's culinary professors.

What are the advantages of taking a guided tour vs. touring the gastronomic world of Dubai on your own?

Dubai Cruises| ©Michael Beyer
Dubai Cruises| ©Michael Beyer

The first advantage of taking a guided tour has to do with logistical ease. In this type of excursions within the city itself, you don't have to worry about how you are going to get from one place to another and how much you will spend on those transfers.

In turn, in a guided tour you get directly to the most important places of each of these markets and each of these food places. In addition, you are guaranteed to receive favorable prices, since you have already paid a single rate and would not have to negotiate with any of these establishments. Which is practically a tradition in Middle Eastern countries.

If you are too eager to explore a place on your own without the need to go around with a guide then you can also go for the Dubai Marina cruises. This is because they are a sightseeing tour in which you don't have to worry about logistics and you don't need the accompaniment of a specialist in the area. At least beyond the captain in charge of the boat.