Dubai is a foodie heaven with its wealth of pan-Asian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese restaurants. Whether you’re looking for a midnight snack, a fabulous brunch, or cocktails and sushi, there is an Asian eatery for you.
Even though each style of Asian food warrants a “best of” list of its own, these 10 restaurants deserve special mention.
Some are recommended for unbeatable food, stylish ambiance, and impeccable service, while the second group is ideal for the more frugal traveler or budget-savvy family.
The fine-dining brainchild of German-born chef, Rainer Becker, Zuma is consistently superb and delivers on every occasion, be it a date night, birthday party, business lunch, or Saturday brunch.
We celebrated a birthday recently at this contemporary Japanese restaurant. Although it was an early dinner, the restaurant was already buzzing with beautiful people – and the waiters are no exception. I recommend you try the gorgeous cocktails, while there are mocktails for those not drinking.
For your celebration, Zuma will serve up divine sushi and sashimi, tender wagyu from the robata grill, and, of course, the legendary black cod, which won’t disappoint. The passion fruit soufflé is one of the best desserts I’ve ever eaten.
The Saturday Baikingu brunch is an event in itself and an excellent deal if you want to taste some of the chef’s world-renowned menu items. The dishes are served to your table and explained in detail – all you have to do is eat.
Take time to visit this award-winning restaurant but be sure to reserve as the dining experience is booked up weeks in advance.
- Opening times: 12.30-3.30 pm, 7pm-1am
- Contact: +971 4 425 5660
- Address: Gate Village 6, DIFC, Dubai
- Website: zumarestaurant.com/locations/dubai
2. Asia Asia
With Asia Asia’s magnificent views of Dubai Marina – get a seat on the terrace – you’ll be forgiven for not noticing the fabulous décor. The great vibe is unmistakable, though, from the serene statues that welcome you to the elegant chrome light fittings inside.
This popular eatery is loved as much for its date night potential as it is for a night out with the girls (visit on Ladies’ Night for a total blast). You’re always assured of a glamorous experience, as the glittering lights of the Marina vie with the showstopping menu.
The robata platter is magnificent, giving you a selection of grills that includes mushrooms, courgette, shrimp, chicken, and beef, and the dim sum basket is always a winning choice. My favorite is the Korean tenderloin, with the heady caramelized teriyaki flavors.
The weekend brunch and ladies’ night are both popular, but you’ll have to reserve if you want to visit this fixture on the Dubai social menu.
- Opening times: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 6 pm-1 am, Friday 6 pm-2 am, Saturday-Sunday 2 pm-1 am
- Contact: +971 04 276 5900
- Address: Pier 7, Dubai Marina, Dubai
- Website: www.asia-asia.com
3. Tong Thai
A stalwart on the Asian scene in Dubai, Tong Thai is famous for its elegant, spacious interior, authentic Thai food, and attentive service.
Tong Thai may not be as trendy or edgy as other restaurants on this list, perhaps, but the design is stunning, the menu extensive, and the portions generous. This is Asian food for the serious gourmet.
Mouth-watering starters include the spring rolls and prawn cakes, but the curries are legendary. You’ll go back again and again for the creamy Penang tiger prawn curry (Panang Kung), while the vegetarian green curry is a hit with non-meat-eating guests.
Take your parents next time they’re in town – actually, take anyone you can find. It’s worth it.
- Opening times: 6pm-12am
- Contact: +971 04 414 6418
- Address: JW Marriott Marquis, Sheik Zayed Road, Business Bay, Dubai
- Website: portal.marriott.com/dxbjw-jw-marriott-marquis-dubai-uae-hotels-dining/tong-thai
When your original branch earned a Michelin star, you know you’re onto a good thing. Dubai’s Hutong is as cool as you’d expect, with branches in Hong Kong, London, Miami, and New York.
A first choice for date night, Hutong is sophisticated, moody, and atmospheric, with a fantastic drinks menu and a massive terrace to enjoy starlit evenings. You’ll want to bring someone special as you explore the creative menu and romantic ambiance, whether you’re seated inside or out.
Hutong’s spicy food is inspired by North Chinese cuisine and is famous in Dubai as a destination for chili lovers – you’ve got to be brave to take up the Hutong challenge. Imaginative yet authentic is the best label for the restaurant’s offering. Try the fiery Sechuan squid to start, while the dim sum is world-class and the Kung Po prawns stuffed with juicy flavor. If you love crispy, aromatic Peking duck – with pancakes, of course – this is where you’ll find it.
Hutong is also open for brunch over the weekend and offers a business lunch as well as private dining.
- Opening times: 12pm to 2:30pm, 6pm-1am (Bar open until 2am.)
- Contact: +971 04 220 0868
- Address: Gate Building 6, DIFC, Dubai
- Website: hutong-dubai.com
With its chic, retro-glam feel, Indochine is a slick New-York import that offers French-Vietnamese fine dining. Tropical palm fronds welcome you to a rattan-furnished lounge and terrace where you can relax with one of the creative mixed drinks from the bar and hopefully catch sight of one of the celebrities who make Dubai their home.
The elegant dining room serves exciting, innovative cuisine, such as the signature Vietnamese ravioli and Lamb Char Sui, lamb neck cooked with honey and ginger. The pho is cooked for the requisite 12 hours and is well worth every minute. Don’t miss the desserts – the crème caramel with star anise is a revelation, while the honeycomb chocolate ganache is mouth-watering.
After dinner, head to the bar again and enjoy the DJ’s vibe – the party only starts around 11 pm. If you’re only here to eat, I recommend you come early. Dress to kill and to feed.
- Opening times: Sundays-Wednesdays 12 pm-1 am, Thursday-Friday 7 pm-3 am, Saturday 7 pm-1 am
- Contact: +971 04 208 9333
- Address: Gate Precinct Building 3, DIFC, Dubai
- Website: indochinedxb.com
6. BA – Boldly Asian
If you’re not blown away by the stunning lifesize white tiger statues, the lantern-filled entrance hall will delight you – and provide endless selfie opportunities. Situated on the iconic Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, this restaurant in the Fairmont hotel is an experience, from the views to the music.
With its fabulous, tongue-in-cheek décor and thumping bass line (there’s often a live DJ), Boldly Asian is a feast for the senses. The food doesn’t disappoint either and is some of the most delicious Asian food I’ve tasted.
The menu roams across Japan, China, and Korea, with a couple of tacos thrown in. Everything is delicate and exquisitely presented, but the wagyu beef tartare and duck spring rolls stand out as magnificent. The sushi and sashimi are fresh and flavorful, and the signature sushi rolls offer some novelty in a city that prizes anything new.
I can recommend the sweet and sticky Chinese pork ribs, while those who want something traditional will love the sweet and sour. The desserts are glorious, with Japanese cheesecake proving a hit.
You’re in a five-star hotel, so the drinks are pricey, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying the bar and lounge after dinner. Or check into the Fairmont and enjoy Boldly Asia’s hospitality as part of the hotel’s full or half-board privilege.
- Opening times: Wednesday-Sunday 6 pm-2 am
- Contact: +971 4 457 3457
- Address: Fairmont The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
- Website: https://www.fairmont.com/palm-dubai/dining/ba-boldly-asian/
7. Din Tai Fung
With branches in the Dubai Mall, Nakheel Mall, and the Mall of the Emirates, Din Tai Fung is one of the best loved dim sum restaurants in Dubai. The restaurant has roots in Taiwan and nearly 50 years of history, and their experience shows.
With a casual and busy atmosphere – think tourists, shoppers, and families – Din Tai Fung offers quick and excellent service and a vast array of fried wontons, wonton soup, bao, steamed dumplings, and potstickers. You’ll also find traditional Chinese favorites, like crispy beef and sweet and sour prawns, as well as hot and sour soup and noodles.
The food is fresh, authentic, and tasty, and arrives within 10 minutes, so you can sit down hungry and not wait long for your chow mien or fried rice. This speed is a great advantage if you have younger and less patient family members.
This Chinese eatery is always running a queue at lunch and dinner, so get there early, or be willing to wait for your dumplings.
- Opening times: 10am-12am
- Contact: +971 04 265 1288
- Address: Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha, Dubai
8. Reif Japanese Kushiyaki
If you’re on Instagram, chances are you’ve visited this neighborhood hole-in-the-wall in Dar Wasl Mall to get a photo of the sandos. If you haven’t, get down to this casual eatery so that you can feast on Chef Reif Othman’s signature wagyu katsu sando, tender kushiyaki chicken skewers, and fresh maki.
The tiny restaurant allows you to watch the magic happening in the kitchen while you slurp your silky ramen bowl, guzzle your bento box, or tuck into savory gyoza. They even serve breakfast for those out and about early on the weekend.
Look, you’re not out for date night at this streetfood style eatery – but take the family, and you’ll come away with a massive smile on your face and the satisfaction of a superbly well-cooked and unconventional Japanese meal. Can’t go wrong.
- Opening times: Monday-Thursday 12pm-11pm, Friday 12pm-12am, Saturday-Sunday 11am-11pm
- Contact: +971 04 255 5142
- Address: Dar Wasl Mall, Al Wasl Street, Dubai
- Website: reifkushiyaki.com
9. Café Isan
This fun Thai streetfood venue is sure to please those on a budget. Designed to look like a street stall, the restaurant offers plastic chairs, exposed lighting, and stacked crates.
But don’t the inteiror fool you into thinking you’re getting cafeteria food. Café Isan is an award-winning eatery with several branches and a self-taught Thai home cook from Northern Thailand.
You’ll find all your spicy Thai favorites here, from authentic Tom Yum soup to yellow and green curries. The Pik Gai chicken wings are an absolute favorite and have been voted the best wings in Dubai, no mean feat in a nation of spice lovers. The sweet dessert spring rolls are heavenly.
Bear in mind that this is intended to be a casual, affordable eatery that you can pop into for lunch in your shorts. The original branch in Cluster B, JLT, is still unlicensed and child friendly, while the new venue in the Armada Hotel is licensed and doesn’t allow children after 7.
It’s not intended to be fine dining – they don’t even take bookings – and you should enjoy it in that spirit. Sit back, have some tea, and eat a bowl of noodles. Learn a couple of Thai words and make some new friends. Living your best life.
- Opening times: Tuesday-Sunday 12 am-12 pm
- Contact: +971 58 529 1003
- Address: Level 1, Armada Blue Bay Hotel, Cluster P, JLT, Dubai
- Website: cafeisan.co
10. Streetery Foodhall
Casual, unpretentious, but with a relaxed streetfood vibe, Streetery Foodhall brings the taste of Southeast Asia to Dubai. You’ll be forgiven for thinking you’re in a Thai food market with the whirring fans, fairy lights, outdoor seating, and casual crockery.
Instead, this is Streetery Foodhall by Zen, inspired by the famous restaurant in Business Bay. With three Foodhall kitchens – and separate menus – you can choose from Cantonese dim sum, Thai curry, or Mongolian BBQ – all are served fresh and piping hot. You’ll find streetfood from Singapore, Indonesia, and Korea on the menu.
The food is generous and tasty, with loads of healthy and vegetarian options, and the low prices will suit the frugal traveler and large family. Try the Thai papaya salad, which is bright and gorgeous, and their chicken satay is spicy and sweet. The Thai curries are fierce but get top marks.
The restaurant can get busy, so be prepared to wait and enjoy the crazy ambiance.
- Opening times: 11am-11pm
- Contact: +971 4 587 3373
- Address: Cluster D, Lake Level, JLT, Dubai
- Website: https://streeteryfoodhall.com/