Satwa is only about five minutes from downtown Dubai, but it is a world away. And entering Satwa is like entering an entirely different country, in a different time. And in fact, few Emiratis live here -the population is almost entirely Indian, Pakistani and Phillipino. We stopped to eat at Landmark Restaurant, which advertises Indian, Pakistani, and Phillipino food but we opted for the Indian – Butter Chicken, Butter Naan (do you sense a theme here?), and Biryani Rice. An excellent meal for two for less than twenty dollars – incredible! It is near Ravi Restaurant, which is “the” place to eat in Satwa, but we were drawn to Landmark and did not regret the choice (we will try Ravi next time).
There are also great deals on clothes, souvenirs, even used books in Satwa, and this is where you can get an expertly tailored suit for very little. It is still a very inexpensive place to live; but much of Satwa has been torn down to make way for new villas, and there is talk that the entire area will one day be demolished, and then rebuilt as “Jumeirah Garden City.” Personally, I hope not. Satwa is a refreshing dose of “real” in the middle of Dubai.