Long before Dubai, the glittering metropolis with skyscrapers and luxurious shopping malls, rose from the desert dunes, Dubai was a pearling and fishing village. This maritime history is best reflected in the city’s bountiful seafood scene. Nestled by the Arabian Sea’s shores, there’s no dearth of fresh catches here, from succulent tiger prawns to briny oysters. Dubai’s seafood establishments cast a wide net offering a fabulous mix of traditional Emirati flavours and fishy fusion hits from around the world. We’ve picked 10 of the best seafood restaurants in Dubai.
At first look, Bu Qtair Restaurant looks like a rustic seafood shack. However, its unassuming, time-worn shell hides meaty, rich dishes that’ve floored residents and visitors alike since the 1980s and won awards. The family-run outlet in Jumeirah Fishing Harbour does seafood without gimmicks, without a menu and without cashless payment – this wallet-friendly spot demands a wallet full of cash. Once you pick your choice from the fresh catch of the day, it’s cooked instantly in an array of spices and secret masalas. Fried and grilled fish and prawns are staples here and fragrant rice and freshly-baked bread accompany all meals.
📍Old 32B Street, Fishing Harbour 2, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
This OG seafood boodle fight restaurant introduced Dubai’s diners to ditching cutlery and diving right into piles of scrumptious shrimps, mussels, clams, corn and rice. All marinated in one of 5 sauce options (Thai, Mexican, Cajun, lemon & herb and chipotle) and dumped on plastic-lined trestle tables. Called the Dump-A-Seafest, this is the show’s indisputable star. That said, individual items like baked lobster stuffed with cheese and dynamite shrimps are also standouts. Surrounded by arcade games and old-school 90s RnB music wafting in the background, this Filipino hotspot is one for sharing good times and good food.
📍Baniyas Rd, Port Saeed – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Bounties from the Aegean coast’s turquoise waters are served in a scenic terrace setting in the beachside restaurant’s delicious mix of Grecian and Turkish seafood. Cold and hot fish plates, grills and casseroles and fresh salads feature levrek (salted seabass) midye dolma (brown rice stuffed mussels), grilled octopus and more will transport you to Bodrum and Athens. Scenic alfresco seating, sumptuous seafood and spectacular decor featuring Cycladic architecture make this resataurant a perfect escape that feels like a Greek island holiday.
📍Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Dubai Marina
This nautical-themed eatery is a true Dubai hidden gem that flies under the radar but those who stumble upon it are obsessed. It has bagged Trip Advisor’s Traveller’s Choice Award thrice. Alexandrian spiced shrimp, Ukrainian herring salad, Mediterranean salt-crusted fish and European chowder-style soups are all offered under one roof here. Although the menu highlights a pescatarian diet’s health perks, it also makes room for indulgence. Think OTT dishes like boneless crab with cheese, hearty shrimp and cuttlefish tagines and deep-fried fish of choice, including the namesake Sardine.
📍Opposite Jumeirah Beach Resort, The Mall, 1st Floor – Jumeirah St, Umm Suqeim 3 – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
One of the oldest seafood restaurants in Dubai, what the name says is what you get at this institution designed like the inside of a cruise. Dubai’s seafood lovers, including Sheikh Mohammed, have chosen fresh catch from one of the 18 live tanks here and had it cooked to their specifications. From prized French oysters and Norwegian King Crab to local hammour and baby shark, diners decide whether to steam, grill, saute, deep-fry or bake them in an array of fiery Far Eastern sauces. There’s a mild lemon and butter option too for timid tastebuds. Meanwhile, tantalising seafood noodles, rice, soups and appetisers round off the a la carte options.
📍Le Meridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Center, Airport Rd, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Affordable delicacies that will stuff you to the gills without leaving you gutted when the bill arrives are guaranteed at this homegrown chain of seafood restaurants in Dubai. There’s something here for everyone from savoury Kerala-style masalas to milder Lebanese preparations of lobsters, prawns and a host of fish like pomfret, and kingfish. Besides gravy-based dishes, you have the option to grill, pan-fry or charcoal roast your favourites. Fancy something more continental? Fish and chips and pasta in a variety of sauces are also part of the menu.
📍Street 8, Oud Metha – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
7. Off the Hook
The (plastic) gloves come on at this seafood franchise whose set meal feasts are reminiscent of the American South’s communal seafood broils. Served in plastic bags by the kilos or in heaps on the table, the food here begs for big groups of friends and family to do justice to generous portions. The bustling ambience echoes a fish market’s cacophony as people crack open lobsters, prise apart mussels and shuck oysters. It’s all cooked in delicious sauces (various levels of spicy) and served with buckets of rice and boiled corn.
📍 G5 Centurion Star Building, Port Saeed, Deira Dubai and various other locations
This upscale Mediterranean seafood restaurant in Dubai’s Jumeirah Al Naseem serves some sizzling sunset vistas and gorgeous Italian food. Time your meals for sundowners at dusk so you can lounge around the terraced deck with the Burj Al Arab in the backdrop. Although seafood is the mainstay here with lobster bisque, spicy tuna tartare, and plenty of pastas, there are turf and poultry options too. Plus, a dazzling tiramisu caldo freddo for dessert. Their well-crafted tasting menu makes decision-making easy.
📍Jumeirah Al Naseem, Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim 3
This popular Kyiv dining hotspot has a permanent home in JLT where it wows diners with Pan-Asian cuisine that errs on the side of fishy without being overpoweringly seafood-focused. Lush cocktails, open hand-rolled sushi and maki from the raw bar, octopus kushiyaki, seabass dumplings and crab tacos rub shoulders with chicken teriyaki, duck breast salad and beef ramen on the menu. The Scandi-chic terrace area makes for great people-watching and turns lively post-sunset.
📍Almas Tower, Ground Floor, JLT DMCC visitor parking, level B2
New England’s laidback beach vibes and seafood heritage are packed into this award-winning brasserie’s elegant vintage dining room. Oysters are in the name but the family-style fare offered here embraces everything. From quintessentially North American ‘steamers’ (mussels), staggering seafood towers, pot roasts, steaks, pizzas and sublime linguine vingole. And plenty of freshly shucked oysters, of course. The shaded outdoor terrace area offers some lovely pool views. But the vast exhibition kitchen indoors is equally inviting and hosts vibrant brunches and clam jams.
📍Ground Floor, The DoubleTree by Hilton – Dubai