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Photo: Courtesy of Charles Deluvio

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 the Dubai Food Festival officially kicks off today. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, the citywide event 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 live music, film screenings, free yoga sessions, and children’s activities 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.

1

Dubai Restaurant Week

February 21 to March 2

Remember when Phoebe so eloquently used the words “tiny portions of pretentious food” to describe fine dining? Well, fear not because Dubai Restaurant Week is actually nothing like that. A whopping 21 of the city’s most renowned restaurants (the likes of Pai Thai, Bhar, and Andes included) have created gourmet, multi-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.

andes restaurant dubai
Photo: Courtesy of @AndesDubai
2

Swyp Beach Canteen

February 21 to March 9

This beloved and ultra laid-back concept returns once again, with Jumeirah Beach transforming into a hub of all things dining and entertainment. A diverse array of homegrown eateries ranging from House of Pops and Senor Gonzales to Gourmet Burger Kitchen will stand alongside a family-friendly mix of games, workshops, fitness classes, and cooking demonstrations. Read more on the pop-up venue here.

3

Hidden Gems

February 21 to March 9

A wonderful contrast to the fine-dining offerings during the festival is the meal deal offered by the 40 budget venues in the running for the top ten Hidden Gems. For only AED 35, you can dine at the city’s culinary unsung heroes, which range from old-school cafeterias to healthy eateries and casual cafés. For more details and the list of participants, click here.

West african dish from catfish, business bay dubai
Photo: Courtesy of @CatfishDXB
4

Live the Food at Kite Beach

February 21 to March 9

Who says the food festival and your fitness fix are mutually exclusive? Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at Kite Beach will take a healthier approach, with wholesome dining options residing alongside free yoga and bootcamp sessions catering to all abilities. Fitness experts will also be on hand to offer advice on healthy living each Friday and Saturday. As for the proverbial cherry on top? Live music, courtesy of DJs and musicians. Find more details here.

5

Foodie Experiences

February 21 to March 9

This one’s the new kid on the block, and arguably the most exciting element of this year’s festival. So exactly what experiences can you expect? Anything that offers unique insights into Dubai’s culinary dynamism – think: masterclasses with top chefs, food-and-photography tours, workshops with nutritionists, exclusive tasting menus, and so much more.

Highlights include a Brazilian-themed culinary extravaganza at Atlantis, The Palm, a luxe afternoon tea on the bow of the QE2, an all-vegan chef’s table experience at Bleu Blanc, and a 14-course menu of contemporary Indian cuisine jointly hosted by the talents behind Nadodi and Trèsind. And there’s plenty more where that came from! Find more details here.

qe2 ship boat water
Photo: Courtesy of @ShivMohd
6

Cheese Fest

February 22 to 23

The country’s first ever Cheese Fest is coming to Dubai during the food festival – and it’s about time. Hosted by F&B experts SOPEXA Middle East and taking place at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, the (free!) event will feature cheeses from around the world. By that, we mean you’ll be able to taste cheese, buy cheese, smell cheese, photograph cheese, win cheese, and even learn a little something about it. Find more details here.

7

Taste of Dubai

March 7 to 9

Taste of Dubai is an institution in its own right, as evidenced by the fact that last year marked its 11th anniversary. The three-day event will feature immersive food experiences by fine-dining restaurants complemented by live music, world-class celebrity chefs such as Matt Preston and Masaharu Morimoto, cooking demonstrations, and lots more. Oh, and if prefer a more hands-on approach, both a cooking challenge and a bake-off await. Learn more about the entire line-up of festivities here.

Taste of Dubai
Photo: Courtesy of Taste of Dubai
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