Dubai is well known for its “seven star” hotel and luxurious accommodations, five star restaurants, and for being one of the most expensive places in the world. However, there are still plenty of bargains to be found here – including inexpensive and yet wonderful places to eat. One of our favorites is DES PARDES. It is in Bur Dubai, an older part of Dubai where my husband’s office is located. (Note that the “older part” of Dubai dates from roughly the 1950s to 1960s…. Dubai is a “NEW” city.) Bur Dubai is far from where you find the tourists, but packed with great places to eat at bargain prices.
Des Pardes is always packed with taxi drivers, which I propose is a GREAT thing to look for when you’re looking for a great, fast place to eat at a reasonable price. The popularity among cab drivers is also fueled by the fact that many taxi drivers here are Pakistani and Des Pardes feels like home – in fact, “des pardes” means something like “at home in a foreign land.” It was a Pakistani taxi driver who first sent us to Des Pardes, telling us it is the “best restaurant in Dubai.”
There is an extensive menu, so we always ask for the specials and for what the waiter recommends. One dish is always plenty for both of us – and we also order rice (biryani) and roti (bread). The bread is absolutely heavenly. The hot dishes are served in a hot silver skillet. There is plenty of oil in the dish – no pretense that it is dietary food – and you definitely want rice and bread to help soak up the sauce. With the meal they serve a plate of fresh sliced vegetables, good as a pre meal salad, for eating with the meal (and toning down the heat if you have ordered spicy) and for an after meal palate cleanser.
Last night while we were there Pakistan was playing England in cricket – and Pakistan won. You might imagine there was great joy in Des Padres last night.
If you are a tourist in Dubai and want to try something off the beaten tourist path, this is a great place on the way from “old Dubai” (the history museum, the gold, textile and spice soaks) to your tourist hotel (probably in the Marina, Downtown near us, right?). Afterwards, we stopped by our other home away from home, Starbucks – where the cups are colored for Ramadan. We love this place!