The latest fad diet, a new detox program, and the meal plan that virtually every gym junkie in town is discussing will all have to wait because we’re fast approaching Dubai Food Festival. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, the citywide event kicks off tomorrow and is essentially 17 days of celebrating the single most unadulterated pleasure on planet earth: food.
And if that wasn’t enough to cram your calendars, there’s also free film screenings, street art, live music, prize giveaways, celebrity-chef appearances, and even greenhouse tours to boot. Below, Savoir Flair highlights the best of what you can expect at the culinary festival over the next two weeks. You might want to cleanse your palate for this one.
Etisalat Beach Canteen
February 22 to March 10
This beloved and ultra laid-back concept returns once again, with Jumeirah 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 volleyball, seaside shopping, and more. To add to it all, the chocolatiers at Boutique Le Chocolat will be running free chocolate-making workshops every weekend. Read more on the pop-up venue here.
Dubai Restaurant Week
February 22 to March 3
If Phoebe of Friends saying the words “tiny portions of pretentious food” resonates with you when it comes to fine dining, fear not. 15 of the city’s most renowned restaurants (the likes of Asia Asia, Toro + Ko, and folly by Nick & Scott included) have created gourmet, three-course set menus especially for the festival. Each is priced at only AED 199 per person, giving you the opportunity to sample the best of the best within this ten-day time period. Book your spot by clicking here.
February 22 to March 10
A wonderful contrast to the fine-dining offerings during the festival is the meal deal offered by its top ten Hidden Gems. For only AED 25, you can dine at the city’s culinary unsung heroes, which range in cuisine from Emirati to Sri Lankan, Asian street food, and more. For more details and the list of Hidden Gems, click here.
Bites at The Beach
February 22 to March 10
The Beach at JBR is always an immensely popular destination during the cooler months, and it’s about to get even better as some of its best eateries (think: Bouchon Bakery and Bombay Bungalow) will be serving tapas-style versions of their most popular dishes, with prices ranging from only AED 15 to 30. And if you dine your way through all the participating restaurants, you could be one of seven to win a hefty voucher. To learn more, click here.
Movies to Munch On
February 23 to March 10
Last Exit E11 fast became a favorite amongst Dubai’s foodie community, so it’s no wonder that the food-truck park is, once again, participating at the festival, this time joined by Last Exit Mad X. Each weekend – including Thursdays – during the event will see the pairing of food with flicks from a broad array of genres (think: Rogue One, Alice in Wonderland, and Turbo). To see the list of movies in its entirety, click here.
The Urban Farm
February 23 to March 9
Taking a healthier approach is Cuisinero Uno in Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay. To celebrate the festival, the Mediterranean eatery will be giving guests an exclusive tour of its pride and joy: its greenhouse. You can expect to explore the subject of sustainability, participate in a planting session, and learn how to make healthy smoothies ahead of the scorching summer months. For more details, click here.
March 1 to 3
48 hours of food trucks, the region’s top graffiti artists, live performances, and a bustling night bazaar – it all adds up to the fourth installment of Street Nights. The cool street-culture event will be free to attend and takes place in Al Seef, where Dubai’s rich heritage meets its modern vision. Find more details here.
Urban Jungle at The Square
One day, one venue, and five world-renowned chefs coming together to cook an epic nine-course meal – need we say more? Hosted by City Walk, this unique one-off will see the likes of Chris Galvin, Virgilio Martinez, and Ken Oringer at their culinary finest to serve a handful of (truly lucky) diners. Learn more about the event here.
Taste of Dubai
March 8 to 10
Taste of Dubai is an institution in its own right, as evidenced by the fact that last year marked its tenth anniversary. The three-day event will feature immersive food experiences by fine-dining restaurants complemented by live music, world-class celebrity chefs such as Jenny Morris and Sanjeev Kapoor, cooking demonstrations, and lots more. Oh, and if R&B music is your thing, visit the event on its opening night as Sister Sledge of “We Are Family” fame will be performing their biggest hits. Learn more about the entire line-up of festivities here.