Dining in Dubai: An Offbeat Culinary Tour

The bustling metropolis of Dubai is truly the melting pot of the Middle East, drawing residents from around the world and especially from across Arabia and South Asia. The dining scene reflects this delicious diversity, and travelers who venture beyond the posh hotel restaurants are rewarded with a culinary tour of the region that’s almost impossible to get anywhere else.

© Dawn Mobley
OF 6

Authentic Iraqi in Deira

Bayt Al Baghdadi restaurant in the working-class Deira neighborhood offers a great version of the Baghdadi specialty masgouf, a butterflied river fish that’s heavily salted before being skewered and sent swimming through flames of burning lemon wood. The simple preparation allows the delicate flavor of the fish to shine; layered on warm tandoor bread with fresh herbs, a slice of orange and a dollop of the restaurant’s tart, tomato-rich fish chutney (only available by special request) the dish makes the ultimate Arabian fish sandwich. A tip: Masgouf is sold as a whole fish, usually 3-4 pounds each, and it requires 45 minutes notice to cook, so call ahead to order. If you’re there at breakfast time, make sure to try another Iraqi specialty called lahm makhlama, an ancient Mesopotamian scramble of yellow curry–spiked ground lamb and egg, also served with pillowy, fresh-baked flatbread.

Al Muteena St. (between 29th and ninth Streets, near Deira Sheraton); 971-4/273-7044.