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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 tomorrow. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, the citywide event is essentially 18 days of celebrating the single most unadulterated pleasure on planet earth: food. 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

March 5 to 14

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 37 of the city’s most renowned restaurants (the likes of Coya, Kayto, and Bull & Bear included) have created gourmet set menus especially for the festival. The lunches start at AED 75, while the three-course dinners start from AED150, giving you the opportunity to sample the best of the best within this 10-day time period. Learn more here.

Photo: Courtesy of Kayto
2

Etisalat Beach Canteen

February 26 to March 14

This beloved and ultra laidback concept returns once again, with Jumeirah Beach transforming into a hub of all things dining and entertainment. A diverse array of homegrown eateries, food trucks, and franchise favorites will stand alongside a family-friendly mix of live music, movie screenings, DJs, dance shows, and more – including appearances by an illusionist. Read more on the pop-up venue here.

3

Hidden Gems

February 16 to March 11

A wonderful contrast to the fine-dining offerings of the festival are the 40 cheap and cheery venues in the running for a spot in the top 10 Hidden Gems list. Not only can you can dine on the likes of Emirati, Ethiopian, and Malay cuisine at these culinary unsung heroes – which range from old-school cafeterias to healthy eateries and casual cafés – for next to nothing, but 20 lucky voters will win an AED 500 gift card and a Zomato Gold membership. For more details and the list of participants, click here.

Photo: Courtesy of @singlefindubai
4

Taste of Dubai

March 12 to 14

Taste of Dubai is an institution in its own right, as evidenced by the fact that it’s retuning for its 13th edition. The three-day event is popular for its bite-sized portions of beloved dishes from some of the city’s best restaurants, but there’s plenty more to look forward to. We’re talking live music, appearances by celebrity chefs such as Vineet Bhatia and Richard Sandoval, cooking demonstrations, and lots more. Oh, and if prefer a more hands-on approach, both a barbecue steak-out and a bake-off await. Learn more about the entire line-up of festivities here.

5

Foodie Experiences

February 26 to March 14

We saved the best for last. Not only do the Foodie Experiences make for the most exciting element of this year’s festival, but we’re also spoilt for choice. So exactly what can you expect? Anything that offers unique insights into Dubai’s “culinary dynamism” – think: masterclasses with top chefs, food-and-photography tours, a chef’s table experience with a focus on sustainability, and so much more.

As for our picks? Here’s where it gets tricky. While everything on the roster is oh-so-tempting, we’ll be educating ourselves through the vegan cooking classes at Vietnamese eatery Lao, feeling ladylike during the Charlotte Tilbury-themed afternoon tea at Penrose Lounge, solving the murder mystery of the ‘whodunnit’ dinner at Paramount Hotel, and getting downright experimental as Mirzam joins forces with 1004 Gourmet. But why restrict ourselves to the offerings in Dubai? The farm-to-table dining experience at Emirates Bio Farm in Al Ain sounds too good to miss. Find more details here.
Photo: Courtesy of Emirates Bio Farm
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