Dubai Food Festival Guide Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai’s annual culinary celebration kicks off on February 21 with the Dubai Food Festival (DFF) serving up a collection of food related events and promotions across the emirate until March 9.

For two-and-a-half weeks, food enthusiasts will be able to discover the city through its food by indulging in street food to high-end fine dining.

Head down to kick off the Dubai Food Festival at Swyp Beach Canteen Image Credit: Swyp Beach Canteen

Now in its sixth edition, DFF will include events such as the swyp Beach Canteen, Hidden Gems, Dubai Restaurant Week, Foodie Experiences, Taste of Dubai, Limited Coffee Edition, DFF retail offers and mall events.

Here is a breakdown of all the events taking place this DFF:

Swyp Beach Canteen

Swyp Beach Canteen Image Credit: Supplied

The festival’s flagship event, swyp Beach Canteen, will return with a brand new look and design to the same spot as last year, Sunset Beach behind Sunset Mall. This is the event that kicks off the food festival and features new food concepts, entertainment and a dedicated family area. The free-to-attend space will be a great way to spend a family day out.

Little ones will be sure to love the wide range of fun activities in a dedicated kid’s zone, while foodies can take part in cooking workshops and attend live cooking sessions at the beachside theatre. There will also be a gaming square and sports court to add to the fun!

Also make sure you join in at the Lacnor “Family Weekend” at the Beach Canteen. On its 40th anniversary celebrations at the Beach Canteen this Dubai Food Festival 2019 Lacnor is hosting a special family weekend event with lots of fun activities for the kids. Just look for the Lacnor Booth

Dubai Restaurant Week

Dubai Restaurant Week Image Credit: Supplied

Across 10 days, three-course meals, and one price: what’s not to love? Book your tables to Dubai Restaurant Week and enjoy some of Dubai’s finest restaurants for less. This is a great chance to have a three-course lunch or dinner for Dh199. Restaurants taking part are Bleu Blanc Dubai, Hotel Cartagena, Morimoto Zheng He’s, GIA, Scape Restaurant & Lounge, Prime68, The Observatory, Pai Thai, Mina Brasserie, Sea Fu, Gaucho Dubai, BHAR, Beefbar, BASTA! by David Myers, Andes, Seven Sands — The Beach, La Parrilla, Hillhouse Brasserie, Carnival By Tresind, Al Nafoorah, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Dubai. Bookings need to be made online.

Dubai Restaurant Week runs from February 21 until March 2.

Foodie Experience

Foodie Experience Image Credit: Facebook

DFF is introducing a new element to this year’s festival called Foodie Experiences: an addition that will deliver a unique food adventure with a curated list of Dubai’s prominent food events. So what exactly is a foodie experience? Well, they range from things like a masterclass in sushi making, bread-making or beef Wellington making to things like a 16-course immersive dinner — or mix things up at a variety of chef’s tables to get close up with culinary teams. Seats are limited, so don’t miss out! Book your tickets through dubaifoodfestival.com.

Limited Coffee Edition

Limited Coffee Edition Image Credit: Pexels

DFF will feature a new limited edition coffee option with unique special flavours from home grown cafes and international brands exclusively available during the festival period.

Additional citywide events

DFF doesn’t just stop with the big events. There will be plenty of smaller ones dotted around the city.

Here’s what else you can do.

Go to a Cheese Festival

Dubai cheese festival Image Credit: Pexels

This year, DFF will feature a two-day Cheese Festival with cheeses from around the world for you, your family and friends at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina. Takes place from February 22 to 23.

Galeries Lafayette’s Street Food Fair

Visit City Walk from February 28 to March 2 for three days of street-food, retail stands, live entertainment and family-oriented activities.

DFF Retail Promotions

For the first time, DFF will extend the celebrations to include reductions of up to 75 per cent on special F&B brands including hypermarkets, supermarkets, grocery stores, homeware, dining equipment and kitchen appliances. DFF Weekend Surprises is another new addition offering deals each weekend of the festival on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The promotions will be exclusively available to one brand at one location from 10am until stocks last.

Dine & Win

Every day dining will be something to celebrate during DFF as well. The classic ‘Dine and Win’ promotion will return for a third year. In partnership with Zomato and Dubai Shopping Malls Group, residents and visitors can win many prizes, including a Nissan Patrol, by spending a minimum of Dh50 at participating restaurants across the city.

40 of Dubai’s hidden gems shortlisted for Dubai Food Festival

Bait Al Mandi Image Credit: Facebook.com/Bait Al Mandi

If your Fridays finish with a few forkfuls of Bait Al Mandi’s Chicken Madfoon or the southern comfort of bowl of heartwarming sambhar at MTR — 1924, then get ready to cast your vote as the annual Hidden Gems shortlist has returned this year with 40 pocket-friendly restaurants and cafes vying to make the cut as the top 10 culinary hotspots in Dubai.

As part of the Dubai Food Festival, which runs from February 21 until March 9, the initiative has teamed up with food delivery app Zomato, allowing people to vote for their favourites from the shortlisted outlets. Ten voters stand a chance to win Dh1,000 each and a year-long Zomato Gold membership.

All 40 restaurants will offer a meal priced at Dh35 per person until March 2, when the winners will be announced. The 10 winning outlets will extend their special menu until the festival ends on March 9. All set menus are available for delivery as well.

Popular eateries such as Greek restaurant El Greco, along with the late-night haunt Sultan Dubai Falafel Restaurant, feature on the list, as does the recently opened Wok’s Den, known for its takeaway street food concept.

Dishes to note include the Balaleet and Khoboz Khameer from LocalAwi, which puts a modern twist on classic Emirati breakfast dishes, while Sai Dham’s Friday thalis are popular en masse.

Voting is open to the public until February 25 through the Zomato. The list of top 10 Hidden Gems will be announced on March 2.

Full list of restaurants shortlisted are mentioned below:

Restaurant name Cuisine Location

Bait Al Mandi Restaurant Emirati Al Barsha

LocalAwi Emirati Al Barsha

Socialicious Thai, Vegetarian Jumeirah Village

Eat Artisanal Mediterranean Business Bay

Asian5 Asian Downtown Dubai

Spicy & Ginger Thai Za’abeel

Shanghai Kitchen Chinese Al Satwa

Indulgence Cafe Indian, Pakistani International City

All Fresh Fast Food Za’abeel

Sai Dham Vegetarian Indian, Chinese Oud Metha

House of Pizza Pizza Palm Jumeirah

Two Seasons Restaurant Indian, Chinese Al Karama

MTR — 1924 Indian Al Karama

Sticky Rice Thai Jumeirah Village

Golden Myanmar (Chang Cheng) Chinese/Indonesian/Thai Al Quoz

312 Cafe Cafe, Fast Food Al Sufouh

Qiso Cafe Fast Food Cafe Dubai Silicon Oasis

Ketli Cafe Indian Al Karama

Chalet Grill Plus Middle Eastern/Indian/Chinese Al Barsha

Cancios Restaurant Mexican, Filipino Al Muraqqabat

El Greco Greek Jumeirah 1

Bangkok Town Thai Hor Al Anz

New Asia Flavours Indian, Chinese Discovery Gardens

Danial Iranian/Indian/Seafood Al Safa

Cedar Tree Lebanese Motor City

Samarkand Restaurant Pakistani/Indian Al Barsha

New Marina Restaurant Arabian/Chinese/Indian Al Rigga

Healthy Little Secrets Healthy Food Business Bay

Thai Time Thai Al Safa

Lakeside Spice Indian Business Bay

Wok’s Den Asian Street Food Jumeirah 1

Khana Khazana, Ibis Styles Hotel Indian Al Hudaiba

Spice Hut Pakistani, Chinese Mirdif

The Desi Circle Street Food, Indian Al Karama

Baker Street Cafe Cafe, Bakery Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT)

Al Falamanki Lebanese Jumeirah 2

Catfish Healthy Food/African Business Bay

Unforgettable Biryani Pakistani/Filipino Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT)

Sultan Dubai Falafel Restaurant Arabian/Middle Eastern Deira

Dil Se Desi Chinese/Indian Bur Dubai

Taste of Dubai returns with celebrity chefs David Myers, Masaharu Morimoto

Taste of Dubai Image Credit: Facebook/DFF

MasterChef Australia judge Matt Preston, Michelin star Chef David Myers and legendary Iron Chef and Michelin star Chef Masaharu Morimoto will be headlining the three-day Taste of Dubai, which runs from March 7 to 9 at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre.

Tony Hadley, ex-Spandau Ballet and 80s British pop icon, will headline the opening night of ToD, performing his classic hits including ‘True’, ‘Gold’ and ‘Only When You Leave’.

David Myers. Image Credit: Supplied

Joining the line-up of music acts will be South African band 4TheMusic and soul pop and blues singer Sam Tring. Italian eight-piece jazz band, Mark Zitti and the Fratelli Coltelli, will strum alongside Stephanie Goudie and her four-piece band playing classic jazz and soul covers from the 70s, 80s and 90s.

ToD, which will conclude the Dubai Food Festival that kicks off on February 21, will also set the stage for home-grown talent in the form of culinary duo Nick Alvis and Scott Price to show off their cooking skills.

Also making an appearance will be English cook and restaurateur Simon Rimmer, meat and grilling expert Tarek Ebrahim, South African Chef Lorna Maseko, Arabic and Aleppian cuisine expert Mohammad Orfali and the Giggling Gourmet Chef Jenny Morris.

Each of them will be hosting live cooking demonstrations at the Crate & Barrel Chefs’ Theatre to introduce their latest culinary cooking techniques.

Master French Patissier Eric Lanlard will be running a series of baking masterclasses at the new ‘Jif Big Baking Tent’ by ICCA, where he will teach the art of cake decoration.

Meanwhile, the Al Ain Farm and Kibsons cooking challenge will return this year.

Preston will be at ToD on March 9 to host a special MasterChef, the TV Experience ‘Mystery Box Challenge’ where amateur cooks will get a chance to get their dishes judged by him. He will also join the judging panel at the Chefs’ Theatre as Chef Margarita, from the first MasterChef, the TV Experience, restaurant opening in Dubai later this year, takes to the stage. Visitors will also get the chance to taste a special menu at the MasterChef pop-up.

This year’s edition will feature tastings from over 20 different restaurants including: Japanese restaurant Nobu, Gordon Ramsey’s Bread Street Kitchen, gourmet Turkish food at Kaftan, contemporary South American at Andes, French bistro Couqley, Southern American style food at The Blacksmith Smokehouse, traditional Spanish tapas at Seville, American classics at Dean & Deluca and classic dishes from UBK.

Don’t miss it!

Dubai Food Festival is a citywide promotion and runs from February 21 until March 9. More details on dubaifoodfestival.com

Taste of Dubai runs from March 7 to 9 at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. Tickets are now on sale, starting at Dh55. VIP tickets start from Dh285. Children under 12 years have free entry. Taste of Dubai will run from 4pm to midnight on March 7; noon to midnight on March 8; noon to 11pm on March 9. For more details log on to tasteofdubaifestival.com