With a dazzling array of street stalls, fine dining, pop-ups and concept restaurants, Expo 2020 is a must-visit destination for every foodie.
From enjoying candlelit dinners served by a Spanish Michelin-starred chef to sampling the local flavours of Dubai institutions, you can enjoy a meal from every continent.
Expo boasts more than 200 cuisines for hungry visitors to choose from. Here, we bring you the most tantalising and unique culinary dishes for a round-the-world trip – without ever leaving Dubai.
Beirut neighbourhood eatery BARON brings passion to the plate with fresh ingredients from farmland and the oceans. Expect charcoal-roasted beef brisket and tender lamb rack, fresh scallops, meaty monkfish and delicate calamari, served on sharing-style plates. Meat and fish aside, exciting flavour combinations include asparagus with strained yoghurt, soya-tahini, pine nuts fried egg and pepper butter and halloumi with pistachio butter, herbs and hot sauce.
Al Wasl Plaza
The final weeks of Expo 2020 will see global Michelin-starred gurus Xanty Elías and Sergio Bastard touch down in Dubai as part of a series of premium chef’s tables. The heralded cooks, both from Spain, will each present their world-class fare to diners on the final two Tuesdays of March respectively. The special nine-course dinners and four-course lunches are served at the custom-made site at Al Wasl Plaza. This week also sees five of Dubai’s best chefs join forces for a special ten-hands dinner on 16 March. The chefs, from Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk, include executive chef Russell Impiazzi; Brasserie Boulud chef de cuisine Nicolas LeMoyne; The Nine chef de cuisine Michael O’Shea; Taiko Dubai chef de cuisine Guido Wesselman; and the hotel’s executive pastry chef Romain Castet.
Al Wasl Plaza
Hailed as a Dubai institution, Pakistani eatery RAVI has been dishing up traditional fare from its unassuming Satwa spot for decades. From the plastic tablecloths and polystyrene cups to the knowledgeable waiters who take your order without so much as jotting a note, the no-frills restaurant oozes charm and the Expo 2020 site is no different. Diners can choose from a variety of authentic curries with a selection of chicken, mutton and tasty veg options. Mop up every last morsel with freshly-baked naan bread.
Rising Flavours Food Hall
From the intoxicating smells emanating from the kitchen to the bright and varied dishes that form a medley on the plate, Middle Eastern cuisine is a lesson in not only flavour, but culture, history and humanity – and there’s no better way to learn than by pulling up a chair at Rising Flavours Food Hall. Offering 11 concept menus put together by some of the region’s most creative culinary talent, Rising Flavours is a true demonstration of cooking diversity. Explore the rotating culinary pods on the ground floor or witness theatrical chef’s table genius in the first-floor restaurant.
Oasis Food Hall, Jubilee Park
Sarouja Restaurant & Café
This classic Syrian restaurant gives diners a taste of ancient Damascus from the bright lights of Dubai. Traditional dishes are prepared using authentic ingredients and methods that have been passed down through generations, combining incredible flavours with unmistakable home-cooked taste. Tuck into smoky grills, kebbeh and freshly baked pasties for a tantalising lesson in Syrian cuisine that will leave you yearning for more.
Sweet, creamy, fresh and delicate, burrata is a staple of Dubai’s fine-dining scene, but never has there been a bar solely dedicated to the Italian soft cheese in the city – until now. Italian restaurant Scarpetta Mercato’s first-ever burrata bar can be found at Expo 2020, serving up dishes including burrata and lobster, burrata and fig and burrata and heirloom tomato, to name a few. Elsewhere in the restaurant, diners can tuck into fresh pasta, bruschetta, salads, seafood and more.
Street Food Night Market
Home to beloved street food from across the globe, the brand-new Street Food Night Market runs every evening until 31 March at Festival Garden. Ten food stands cover everything, from mouth-watering smoked meats to freshly baked doughnuts, while a Not Just For Vegans pop-up offers inventive plant-based fare on 27 March. Highlights include Local Fire by The Mattar Farm for smoky wood cooking, Pickl for Dubai’s best-loved burgers and Bread Ahead for colourful artisan baked goods.
The Irish Village
Crispy fish and chips, full Irish breakfasts, traditional stews and meat pies brimming with meaty gravy – The Irish Village is home to endless hearty fare of the Emerald Isle. Recreating the merriment of a traditional Irish pub, the garden setting and roster of live musicians offer a small piece of Ireland in the heart of Expo 2020 Dubai. Portions are large and the atmosphere is lively, though a quick refuel here may well stretch into hours.
The National by Geoffrey Zakarian
Celebrated Armenian-American chef Geoffrey Zakarian is at the helm of contemporary grand café The National, bringing to life his vision of modern cuisine in a chic bistro setting. The menu is tasty and accessible, bursting with fresh ingredients prepared with classic techniques, including burrata with truffle, handmade pappardelle, lamb, veggie and beef burgers and more.
Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion
Step inside the home of several plant-based venues, which are largely helmed by vegan celebrity chef Matthew Kenney. Options include Mediterranean and Middle Eastern eatery XYST, casual all-day dining restaurant Veg’d and beautiful rooftop bar Mudrá, offering incredible views and even better plant-based bites.
Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion