If you’re considering travelling or moving to Dubai, one thing you can’t ignore is the food.

For every top-dollar restaurant in Dubai there are several brilliant, affordable eateries to be found too, so rest assured there’s a plate for every pocket in this big city. If you’re moving to Dubai for work or retirement you’d be foolish not to spend a special evening or two sipping cocktails and grazing on mezze at a luxury hotel bar – that’s the Dubai dream, after all.

But there’s so much more to eating out in Dubai than the polished hotels and skyscraping towers of the glossy brochures. Trust our expats: they’ve already been there and done it. Check out some of our insider tips below on where’s good to dine in Dubai. Want to recommend somewhere? Drop us a comment below!

Café Habana ££

Level 3, Souk Al Bahar Downtown Dubai, Dubai – United Arab Emirates +971 4 422 2620 habana-dubai.com

Souk Al-Bahar is a waterfront promenade overlooking the Burj Khalifa tower and the Dubai fountain, and it’s a must-do in Dubai, crammed full of premium dining hotspots and funky places to sink a cocktail or two. And according to our expats, one of the best places to eat, drink, see and be seen is Café Habana.

A buzzy tex-mex style restaurant with a resident DJ at the weekends, it’s not unusual for the people at the table next to you to jump up and start dancing while you’re still eating your starters. You’ll be next, though – it’s something about the energy of this place that makes it a firm favourite on the social scene.

Jetty Lounge £££

One&Only Royal Mirage Dubai – United Arab Emirates +971 4 399 9999 royalmirage.oneandonlyresorts.com‎

This one’s more of a beachside bar in a hotel than a restaurant as such, but their mezze, tapas and bar snacks are superb, and this is a great way to kick off an evening with friends in Dubai. The setting at the Royal Mirage Hotel is the stuff of dreams too, with a clear view of the Palm, low-level soft seating and softly lit pagodas on the beach. A great place to bring visiting friends – you can pretend you come here all the time…

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Sushi Sushi £

Al Garhoud Rd Dubai – United Arab Emirates +971 4 282 4122 centuryvillage.ae/restaurent-details-4-1

With live music on at the weekends and shisha pipes outside for those who fancy a puff, we think you’ll agree that this is no ordinary sushi bar. You’ll find Sushi Sushi in the culinary haven that is Century Village, and they do a great range of teriyaki and sashimi, as well as well-priced sharing platters and main courses that really won’t break the bank.

You can either lounge with a cocktail and your chopsticks in their super comfy sofas or sit near the sushi conveyor belt, Yo! Sushi style, and watch the chefs at work behind it.

Sarband by Niloo’s £

Al Garhoud Rd Dubai – United Arab Emirates +971 4 282 4122 centuryvillage.ae/restaurent-details-3

Sarband is quite possibly the best Iranian restaurant in Dubai, and it’s also located in Century Village – famous for its large collection of world cuisine and relaxed al fresco dining. Sarband has a great Iranian Head Chef who does classic Persian fare like khoresh-e fesenjān – presented beautifully and affordable, even by London prices. Our expats also highly recommend Sarband’s joojeh kebab and kebab torsch, and groups of friends can enjoy a choice of generous kebab platters to share.