If you’re like me, you need a good honest desi meal from time to time.  And if you live in Dubai, or visit often, here are 5 that I recommend that you must try:

Delicacy Sweets & Bakers

Operated by family members of the famous Karachi based institution of the same name, this is where to go for a halwa puri breakfast, when the visitors have finally left! It’s extremely small place, and there are line ups to get in for brunch on the weekends.

I’ve had my fair share of halwa puri breakfasts, but their halwa puri has to be the meanest around!  It’s worth the trek to the borders of Sharjah in the early hours of the weekend. They make fresh cookies, cakes, biscuits and sandwiches daily as well.  Take some home for when you come out of your food coma.

Location & Contact: Google Map Link | Phone: +97145509233

Qureshi’s Kebab & Curry

Truly a hidden gem, Qureshi’s is a fine dining experience without the fine dining bill at the end.  The food is delicious – especially their biryani and bhindi (okra) masala.  There is live Indian music every night.  So if you don’t mind listening to oddly-sung Bollywood songs and ghazals while you eat, take the family along and make a night of it.  They are busy most weekends, so book ahead.

Location & Contact: Google Map Link | Phone: +97143141177

Daily Express

An offshoot of the ever popular Dubai Daily and conveniently located opposite Deira City Center, you can find the mainstays of desi cuisine right here.  The management has years and years of experience, and are very particular about the freshness and quality of the food (so it seems, I haven’t asked).  For regular desi food eaters, a hiccup in your order or non-chalant service is almost expected.  But I must say, Daily Express raises the bar when it comes to friendliness and cleanliness.  I haven’t even had to crib about their delivery service.

They have another location in Barsha and another opening in JLT.  But the Deira area of Dubai has better desi food, by far! (More on that in later posts)

Location & Contact: Google Map Link | Phone: +97142567557


Another international arm of a famous eatery in Karachi, Usmania Dubai does not disappoint.  I was invited to a friend’s family event here, and I was very pleased with the quality of food.  So pleased in fact, that I totally over ate and had to spend 30 minutes walking it off after the event ended 🙂

Their seafood cooked Pakistani-style is definitely a must-have.  You will remember their deep fried prawns well into the future; and someday even blog about it.

Al Kabab Al Afghani

I’ve totally saved the best for last.  If you’ve bothered to read this far, you get this little tidbit as a special prize. You may know the global rule of thumb that to eat where taxi drivers and/or truck drivers eat – because you will be sure to get high-energy meals for cheap.  Al Kabab Al Afghani is where you will find the working bachelors who are the backbone of Dubai.  You can bring your family along, if you have to.  But be prepared to eat in a cordoned off area (provided for your privacy).  I would recommend this place for a perfect boys night out.  Sit on the floor, and gorge yourself on kabuli pulao and barbecued chicken, fish or lamb meat – just like how the Pashtun do.  Everything meal is served with a lentil soup, salad and naan.


Image credit: Zomato