Dubai is one of the best places to first experience Middle Eastern culture. Sure, it can be a bit gaudy and flashy at times (see: man-made resort islands shaped like a palm tree), but it’s also one of the most culturally diverse cities in the region. To experience it all, you first have to get there, and the easiest way to do so via the Dubai International Airport, which is one of the most popular airports in the world.
The number of shopping opportunities far outweigh the number of eating options in DXB. There are some gems if you have time to sit down, however, and one or two places that aren’t fast food if you need sustenance on the quicker side. No matter which terminal you’re in, you’re never far from a caffeine fix and café food thanks to the more than 20 Costa Coffees in the Dubai International Airport.
If you’re looking for something more substantial, these are the best restaurants and bars to eat and drink at in the Dubai International Airport.
The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck: There’s a good chance you know of Wolfgang Puck. The upscale chain is everywhere, and the location in the Dubai airport proves how consistent a restaurant can be. There’s Italian options like pizza and pasta, steaks, and salmon. The wine bar offers by the half glass, by the glass, and by the bottle.
The Draft House: An American-style sports bar with all day breakfast and nearly 20 TVs. Along with beer, there’s also plenty of fried bar snacks and burgers.
The Noodle House: No surprises here, but The Noodle House specializes in noodles. Menu items draw inspiration from Thailand, Singapore, China, Japan, and Malaysia. There are noodle soups, wok noodles, ramen noodles, and pad Thai. Opt for the small plates or dumplings if you’re not trying to overstuff before your flight.
Cadiz Lounge & Tapas: A large selection of spirits, wine, and cocktails to go along with Spanish-style tapas like fried calamari, cheese, and charcuterie.
Taqado Mexican Kitchen: No, Mexican food is not the first thing you think of when you think of grabbing a bite in the largest airport in the Middle East. As you might expect, it’s not going to match up to something local or from California or even anywhere else in the US. It’s still not a bad option if you like build-your-own bowls and burritos in a Chipotle-style restaurant.
Bombay Chowpatty: Other than fast food options, there’s not much in Terminal 2. This Indian restaurant is just about your only option, but if there’s only going to be one, it could be worse. Options include tandoori chicken naan, sandwiches, and South India dishes like vada and dosas.
Heineken Lounge: No shocker here, but this is an easy go-to place to grab a beer. In addition to Heineken, there’s Amstel, Budweiser, Tiger, Sol, and London Pride. There’s quick bar snacks and pizza if you’re hungry.
Giraffe: A 24-hour restaurant that has menu items from just about everywhere. The type of place you can order huevos rancheros or muesli for breakfast, a po’ boy or bahn mi for lunch, and chicken malay curry for dinner. The bar serves wines primarily from France and Italy.
Seafood Market: Seafood with a pan Asian influence. Noodle soups, nasi goreng (Indonesian spiced seafood fried rice), and crab bisque are all available. A relatively long sushi list is also available if you’re up to sushi in an airport.
Jack’s Bar & Grill: American-style bar with southern food like crawfish bisque, cajun jambalaya, and hickory barbecue pulled beef quesadilla. The bar portion is heavy on the Jack Daniel’s but also has a full range of spirits, wine, mass-market beer, and basic classic cocktails.
PAUL Bakery & Restaurant: A long list of juice mixes are on offer that will cleanse any residual post-flight feelings (or get you ready for a long haul). The food is upscale French style with options like soup of the day, fondue, and salmon salads.
Cho Gao: A quick place for takeaway pan-Asian food like dumplings and sour soup.