Want to dine like a Dubai royal? 10 restaurants Sheikh Mohammed, Sheikh Hamdan have visited

From glamorous, Michelin star eateries to humble fast-food chains, here is a definitive dining guide for those looking to eat like royalty


Anjali Garg

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Photos: Instagram
Photos: Instagram

Published: Sun 28 May 2023, 12:55 PM

Last updated: Wed 28 Jun 2023, 3:00 PM

It's no secret that Dubai's royals are avid foodies. Both His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Hamdan, Crown Prince of Dubai, have often been spotted dining at a host of the emirate's best eateries – proving they truly have their finger on the pulse of Dubai's booming gastronomic scene.

While the city hosts a plethora of buzzing eateries to choose from, only a select few have the royal seal of approval. From glamorous, Michelin star eateries to humble fast-food chains, here is a definitive dining guide for those looking to eat like royalty.

1. Nobu

Sheikh Mohammed has paid several surprise visits to Dubai's restaurants in the past, delighting star-struck diners with the chance to dine with the Vice President of the UAE. The most recent of his visits was just yesterday, to sleek, world-renowned Japanese eatery Nobu in Atlantis.

Videos posted to Nobu's Instagram story show the Ruler and a host of companions coolly enter the restaurant as visibly-excited diners, with one woman seen widening her eyes with glee, try to catch a glimpse.

2. Shake Shack

Sheikh Mohammed made a pit-stop for lunch at the popular fast-food chain with his son Zayed back in 2016. An adorable picture shared to social media shows the Dubai Ruler leaning in for a kiss from his son, as trays of Shake Shack's signature crinkle-cut fries sit in front of them.

3. CznBurak

The Turkish-Middle Eastern restaurant which shot to popularity on TikTok, thanks in part to its highly-followed owner and namesake Burak Özdemir – known as Czn Burak – hosted Dubai's Crown Prince when he paid a visit in December 2021.

A video uploaded to the restaurant's Instagram handle shows a delighted Özdemir bringing out giant plates of food for the Crown Prince and his companions; the former can be seen shaking hands with the chef after the meal, even stopping to take photos with thrilled diners.

4. Farzi Cafe

The gourmet spice bistro is known for its unique take on modern Indian fare, with several unique dishes that fuse Indo-Western cuisines, such as dal chawal arancini, rasmalai tres lechès and halloumi samosas on offer.

This creativity appears to be enjoyed by both residents and royals alike, as Sheikh Mohammed has been spotted dining at the café in the past.

5. Clay Dubai

Dubai's Crown Prince added this Peruvian-Japanese restaurant on Bluewaters Island to his repertoire of eateries last year. The restaurant shared a picture of the royal dining with friends to its social media, gushing that it was "honoured and privileged" by Sheikh Hamdan's visit. "We hope and look forward to having him back another day", it added.

6. Alaya

Acclaimed chef Izu Ani is a royal family favourite. The name behind Greek hotspot Gaia and French brasserie Carine, among others, the chef's eateries are often graced by Sheikh Hamdan, with the Crown Prince attending several of Ani's restaurant openings too. Ani was even granted the coveted Golden Visa in 2021 for his contribution to the food industry.

It comes as no surprise, therefore, that both Sheikh Hamdan and Sheikh Mohammed have been spotted dining at the chef's Mediterranean restaurant Alaya in the past. A video posted to Alaya's Instagram shows the chef delightedly shaking hands with Sheikh Mohammed after a meal.

7. Bikers Cafe

Dubai's royals are true foodies in every sense of the term, meaning that it isn't just Michelin-starred restaurants that the country's leaders frequent. Much to the delight of Dubai's residents, Sheikh Mohammed has been spotted dining at family friendly restaurant Bikers Cafe, known for its traditional Emirati breakfasts.

The quirky eatery – the first motorcycle-themed cafe in Dubai – even offers its own barber service.

Photo: Facebook/Bikers Cafe
Photo: Facebook/Bikers Cafe

Excited users flocked to the comments of the restaurant's Facebook post documenting the Ruler's visit. "A lesson to learn for the whole world! True class, true inspiration", one Facebook user said.

"Now that's what you call a real Ruler of the people", commented another.

8. Sushi Samba

On what appeared to be just an ordinary Friday in January last year, unsuspecting diners at the sky-high restaurant were surprised with not just one, but two high-profile appearances: Sheikh Hamdan, and footballing legend Cristiano Ronaldo, with whom the Crown Prince shares a firm friendship.

9. Ce La Vie

The popular restaurant nestled in the heart of Downtown Dubai, perched atop the Address Sky View – complete with a lounge, 360-degree terrace offering stunning views, and even an infinity pool – quickly became a hotspot for Dubai's residents upon its opening in 2020.

The restaurant shared a snap of Sheikh Mohammed's visit shortly after its inauguration, posting an image of the royal in front of its rooftop infinity pool as the magnificent Burj Khalifa towers behind him.

10. 11 Woodfire

Less than two weeks after 11 Woodfire opened its doors in January 2022, Sheikh Hamdan was spotted enjoying a meal at the fire-themed eatery. The Michelin-star restaurant, where a variety of meat and seafood-based dishes are cooked over an open flame, infusing its meals with a signature smokey flavour, is located in Jumeirah 1.


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