How to Eat Cheap in Dubai?

Dubai is renowned for its opulent lifestyle, but the high cost of living can make it difficult to find affordable dining options.

Eating out in Dubai may be expensive, with some restaurants charging excessive rates even for simple meals.

This article will advise on how to save money when eating in Dubai, such as researching and preparing ahead, visiting local markets, searching for meal deals, or sharing portions.

Know How and Where to Find Budget-Friendly Food Options in Dubai

Suppose you’re looking for a way to experience Dubai’s luxurious lifestyle without breaking the bank.

In that case, the good news is that plenty of budget-friendly food options are available in this city.

With careful planning and research, anyone can find delicious meals that won’t drain their wallet.

Discover these affordable dining choices and provide some useful tips on eating out at an economical rate while still enjoying all that Dubai has to offer.

1. Research and Plan Ahead

Eating on a budget in Dubai is achievable with advanced planning and research.

Before you arrive, do your homework to find affordable restaurants and food options by using online resources like Zomato, TripAdvisor, or Time Out Dubai for insights into menu offerings and price ranges.

Reading customer reviews will also help you decide which eateries are worth your time (and money).

Another great way to save money when eating out in the city is to plan meals ahead of time.

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This includes deciding what breakfast, lunch, dinner items, snacks, and drinks fit within your budget beforehand.

Creating a meal plan before shopping for groceries at stores or markets can ensure that only necessary items are purchased while avoiding overspending on unnecessary ones.

For example: If you want to save money and eat healthily while staying in a hotel, why not buy cereal, milk, and fruit from the local supermarket?

This is often cheaper than eating at a hotel restaurant or grabbing an unhealthy pastry from a coffee shop.

2. Explore Local Markets

If you’re looking to save money on groceries, visiting one of the many local markets in Dubai is a great idea.

The Deira Fish Market, Dubai Fruit, Vegetable Market, and Spice Souk offer fresh produce at lower prices than supermarkets.

Moreover, you can get even better deals by purchasing items in bulk or bargaining with vendors!

For example, The Dubai Fruit and Vegetable Market is great for shoppers looking to save money while supporting local farmers.

It boasts one of the largest selections in the city, with fresh produce such as cucumbers, tomatoes, and eggplants grown locally.

With its wide variety of reasonably priced fruits and vegetables, it’s no wonder this market has become so popular.

3. Eat Street Food

Experience the delicious flavors of local cuisine and save money on meals by eating street food in Dubai!

Popular options include shawarma, a Middle Eastern sandwich typically containing chicken or lamb with vegetables and sauces.

Falafel, deep-fried balls made from ground chickpeas or fava beans, are often served on pita bread with veggies and sauce and manakeesh, Lebanese pizza topped with cheese, za’atar, or other toppings.

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To ensure that your food is safe to eat, always look for vendors who have met health & safety regulations and those that are busy.

This can indicate that their quality foods are popular amongst locals.

4. Look for Meal Combos

If you want to save money in Dubai, consider taking advantage of meal combos from fast-food and casual dining restaurants.

Meal combos typically include a main dish, side, and drink at a discounted price compared to buying each item individually.

For example, McDonald’s offers various meal combinations that consist of burgers, fries, and drinks for one set cost.

Freedom Pizza provides medium pizzas with garlic bread and two beverages for an affordable rate.

Choosing these types of meals can help prevent overspending on unnecessary items, so you have more cash in your pocket!

5. Share Meals

Eating together is a great way to save money on food in Dubai.

Many eateries across the city serve generous portions that you can easily share between two or more people.

Splitting meals not only cuts costs but also reduces food waste.

Moreover, it allows you and your friends/family to try out different dishes at an affordable price.

For instance, Tom&Serg’s sharing platter offers sandwiches, salads, and sides, which are much cheaper than ordering each item separately!

6. Utilize Dining Discounts and Loyalty Programs

If you’re looking to save money when dining out in Dubai, a few options are available.

Apps such as The Entertainer and Cobone offer up to 50% discounts off popular restaurants throughout the city, although an upfront purchase is usually required.

Additionally, many eateries have loyalty programs where customers can receive rewards for their frequent visits.

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Zaatar W Zeit’s program grants one point for every dirham spent that can be redeemed for free food and drinks.

Eat & Drink Rewards and Dubai Mall Dining Reward Programs have similar benefits.

7. Cook Your Food or Opt For Takeout

If you want to save money on meals in Dubai, consider cooking your food or ordering takeout.

Grocery stores such as Carrefour, Lulu Hypermarket, and Spinneys are great places to stock up on ingredients for home-cooked meals.

Not only can it help keep costs down compared to eating out, but you also have more control over what goes into the dishes and how much is served per person.

Alternatively, many restaurants in Dubai offer delivery services, so you don’t need to leave your house.

Fast-food chains like Pizza Hut and Subway, as well as local eateries serving traditional Arabic, Indian, or Pakistani cuisine, are just some of the options available with a few clicks!

For food delivery in Dubai, two popular apps are Talabat and Zomato.

Talabat provides deliveries from over 5,000 restaurants, while Zomato offers reviews and ratings of different eateries and delivery services.

Eating on a budget in Dubai is achievable with just some preparation, investigation, and adaptability.

You can eat delicious meals at an affordable rate without exceeding your limits by investigating local markets, sampling street food, looking for meal deals, and sharing dishes.

A wide variety of cuisines are available to suit any pocket size or taste preference.

So, by keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be able to savor the city’s culinary delights without blowing your budget


  1. Travel Supermarket | How to do Dubai on a Budget –
  2. ExpatWoman | Dubai on Budget Top Tips for Visitors –


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