It’s that wonderful time on the Dubai calendar: the MyFitnessPal app on your phone will be baffled by your calorie consumption, your Fitbit will be nostalgic for a more active past, and you’ll find yourself excited for the next time you hear your stomach growling. We are, of course, talking about the Dubai Food Festival, which kicks off today.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, the event is essentially 17 days of celebrating the single most unadulterated pleasure on planet earth – food. But there’s so much more to look forward to, and it’s set to happen in the heart of the city and beyond. Below, Savoir Flair highlights the best of what you can expect at the citywide culinary celebration over the next two weeks.
Eat the World DXB
February 23 to 25
To the delight of those who can’t get enough of street food, Burj Park will come alive with a lineup of the best food traders from the UK, US, and Singapore. They’ll be joined by local favorites, such as Taqado Mexican Kitchen, Tandem, and Yumtingz. Show up hungry as everything from lobster rolls and lamb cutlets to Singaporean noodles, funnel cakes, and crawfish quesadillas will be on the menu. Also on the agenda? Masterclasses, competitions, live music, celebrity chef demos, and live entertainment. More details can be found here.
Miele Dubai Restaurant Week
February 23 to March 4
If you’ve long been meaning to dine at one of the fancy restaurants you keep hearing about, now’s your chance – 15 of the city’s most renowned restaurants (the likes of Pierchic and Mayta) have created gourmet, three-course set menus especially for the festival. Each is priced at only AED 199/SAR 203, giving you the opportunity to sample the best of the best within this ten-day time period. Book your spot by clicking here.
Etisalat Beach Canteen
February 23 to March 11
This beloved and ultra laid-back concept returns once again, with Sunset Beach transforming into a hub of all things dining and entertainment. Your favorite homegrown restaurant concepts will stand alongside a family-friendly mix of music, fitness classes, beach football, farmers’ markets, and open-air cinema.
Films and Food at Last Exit
February 23 to March 11
Last Exit fast became a favorite amongst Dubai’s foodie community, so it’s no wonder that the food-truck park is debuting at this year’s edition of the Dubai Food Festival. Each weekend during the event will see the pairing of food with films, focusing on a particular era from cinema (think: black and white Hollywood films, Arab classics, and even cartoons). Entrance to the park is free.
March 2 to 3
48 hours of food trucks, the region’s top graffiti artists, live performances, and a bustling night bazaar – all accented by the region’s top B-Boys showing off their breakdancing moves in a quest for bragging rights and a cash prize. The third installment of this cool cultural event will be free to attend and take place at Bay Avenue in Business Bay.
Taste of Dubai
March 9 to 11
Taste of Dubai is an institution in its own right, as evidenced by the fact that 2017 marks its 10th anniversary. The three-day event will feature immersive food experiences by fine-dining restaurants complemented by live music, world-class celebrity chefs such as Aldo Zilli and Gary Rhodes, cooking demonstrations, and lots more. Oh, and if motown music is your thing, visit Taste of Dubai on its opening night as Trinidadian-born English artist Billy Ocean will be performing his biggest hits. Learn more about the entire lineup of festivities, here.
And If That Weren't Enough...
There are also plenty of unique, one-day offerings to sign up for – whether you’re a creature of land or sea. The fairytale-esque Al Hadheerah, located at Bab Al Shams resort, will host an authentic desert dining experience complete with 14 live cooking stations. Taking place on March 1st, the evening will showcase live entertainment that will be presented for the very first time at the restaurant – an Emirati heritage performance by The Pearl Divers, a Khaleeji performance by The Tribe, a cultural display using sculptures and mannequins, and more.
Closer to the coast, Senara will be utilizing its gorgeous harbourside setting on Febuary 25th, inviting guests to spend a morning on the water with one of the city’s best deep-sea fishing teams, learning about the species in UAE waters and participating in the catching of their next meal. They’ll then return to the British seafood spot to enjoy sunset views while their fish is prepared to their liking.
And long after all the hoopla is over, there will still be plenty of hidden gems left for you to explore, courtesy of the Dubai Food Festival team, which has put together a list of the ten best wallet-friendly eateries across town. Between themselves, these unsung culinary heroes serve everything from açai bowls and Lebanese shawarma to sliders, Japanese baked goods, Indian street food, and more. You’ll also find ten of the best Emirati hidden gems on the map. Do yourself a favor, and keep a print-out of this treasure map at hand.