Top Budget Licensed Restos

  • Founded in the UK, Pizza Express has taken the world by storm...and tomato sauce. One of the go-to options in any conversation about pizza, Pizza Express Live sweetens the deal by throwing alcohol into the mix. If all you're craving is a fresh pizza and chilled glass of wine, Uber down to Pizza Express Live. It even does a daily happy hour on selected drinks from 4PM to 8PM. recommends: Truffle pizza, specialty dough balls and the blueberry cheesecake.

    Good to know: Raise the roof the Italian way with its 299-dirham Friday brunch.

  • Tossing together Thailand's famous hospitality with its notorious spice, Royal Budha is a multi-award winning restaurant and bar. It's got a little something for everyone with the diverse menu boasting countless meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes. With a thumbs up from the giants – Time Out, What's On and Trip Advisor – clink glasses over a soulful dinner at Royal Budha. recommends: Pha Goong (shrimp and lemongrass salad), Kana Nuea Nam Man Hoy (Thai-style beef and broccoli) and Kanum Tien (steamed yellow bean buns).

    Good to know: Chase your drink with some shrimp crackers at its happy hour from 12PM to 4PM.

  • Having opened its doors over a decade ago, Chinese Village takes pride in serving up authentic Chinese fare. Despite its name, its menu also extends to Thai, Japanese and Malaysian specialties. One of the few low-key Chinese eateries where you can have a beer with your fried rice, Chinese Village sports an unintentional underground vibe that's borderline hipster. recommends: Lamb with black pepper sauce, Schezwan wontons and mock duck.

    Good to know: Chinese Village has a branch in Dubai Marina but it doesn't serve alcohol.

  • An explosion of tropical vibes, Muchachas looks as piquant as its food tastes. A haven for avid Instagrammers, the urban Mexican menu is chockful of Latino favorites. While seafood and salads are an option, the limelight is focused on Muchachas' street food and taco situation. Reeling out tacos for 16 dirhams a pop, they've got tequila chasers written all over them! From tamarind shortribs to explosive street corn – Muchachas is a non-stop fiesta from start to finish. recommends: Guacamole, tacos, churros and the Fiery Muchacha margarita.

    Good to know: Sign up for some margarita mania with Muchachas' 310-dirham brunch.

  • Thank goodness it's Friday and thank goodness this branch serves booze! Located at the too cool for school Rove Hotel in Downtown Dubai, tuck into pub grub with a whopping drink on the side. Take date night to the next level with a classic “dinner and movie” combo. Grab some dinner at TGI Fridays and saunter over for a casual flick at the Rove's in-hotel cinema! recommends: The hangover burger, cajun pasta and sizzling toffee cake.

    Good to know: Whether you're an 11.59 AM luncher or a relaxed 3PM late luncher, 37 dirhams will get you a starter, main course and soft drink with TGI Fridays' 11AM to 5PM lunch deal.

  • First impressions don't count for much at Kebab Korner. If Indian kitsch was a thing, this restaurant would be a prime example. The ornate resto serves a North Indian feast of hearty curries and tender kebabs. Order a drink, a round of kebabs and tune into the live folk music. While it's not one for the gram, it's a great place for those looking to wander off the beaten path. recommends: Lal mass, chicken kebab, lamb kebab and shahi tukra.

    Good to know: Experience traditional Rajasthani live music at Kebab Korner.

  • In classic French meets Mediterranean style, Carine doesn't rush anything. Its drinks are poured with the ease of a seasoned host and the food cooked with intuition instead of recipes. Elegantly sprinkled with French charm, the restaurant breathes simplicity. Stimulating its diners' senses, Carine's fare is visually stunning with its flavors not falling far behind. recommends: Harissa shrimps, tarte flambé and lobster linguini.

    Good to know: Carine serves an innovative selection of region-specific cocktails.

  • Brimming with personality, this Asian streetfood joint has won over Dubai's party animals. Mr. Miyagi's menu is loaded with weird and wonderful Asian delights, with plenty of drinks to help keep the chili down. From steaming Vietnamese pho and Thai duck salad to Chinese bao and Japanese tuna tartare – there's heaps to keep your chopsticks busy! recommends: Chicken katsu, nasi goreng and beef short rib char siu.

    Good to know: Sort out your Wednesday and Saturday night with a cocktail bucket for 49 dirhams.

  • BB Social keeps things simple. If you're in the mood for bao, buns, bowls, bites and booze – it's got a table with your name on it. One of Dubai's hippest newcomers, the social resto dishes out Asian soul food with personality. Its tapas-style dishes pair perfectly with its extensive cocktail menu. Its diverse menu has been designed to please both meat and plant-based diners. recommends: Wagyu ramen, bang bang bao and the sweet potato pie cocktail.

    Good to know: BB Social has a menu dedicated to sustainable red and white wines.

  • Satisfy your midweek sushi cravings with a drink on the side at Miyabi Sushi and Bento. Built on a foundation of Japanese values, its fresh fare and superior ingredients are second to none. Giving the stereotype of “expensive sushi” a run for its money, Miyabi has joined the team of modern sushi restaurants that's committed to making the cuisine affordable. recommends: Lion King roll, Jumping Cali roll and the matcha crème brulee.

    Good to know: Midweek sushi cravings are a thing! Luckily, Miyabi does an all-you-can-eat buffet for 147 dirhams. Take advantage of this deal every Tuesday from 4PM to 10PM.

  • Straight out of a post-modern Tokyo fantasy, Akiba Dori is a slice of Japan in the heart of Dubai Design District. Its electric neon ambiance and alternative aesthetic teleport guests to a another world. Designed to mimic the low-lit back alleys of Japan, it's a feast for the eyes and palate. While Akiba Dori's menu is studded with the edamame-noodle bowl-tempura classics, it's shot to fame for its distinctive Tokyo-style pizza (a breed of pizza that's taking the food world by storm). recommends: Taiyaki, furikake fries and the Tokyo-style Neopolitan pizza.

    Good to know: Dinner plans at Akiba Dori? Leave the little ones at home.
    Akiba Dori welcomes guests older than 13 after 7PM.

  • Giving its guests an authentic taste of Italy, Luigia's food and bar menu are a match made in heaven. Renowned for its signature pizza, the restaurant was officially crowned Dubai's best pizzeria in 2018 by Italian food and wine magazine, Gambero Rosso. Those looking to divert from the pizza menu, Luigia also serves scrumptious pasta and fresh seafood. recommends: Margherita pizza with anchovies, polpo grigliato and the tiramisu.

    Good to know: One of Luigia's winning traits is its children's soft play zone and movie night.

  • Named after the street that the mother branch is located on, Abd El Wahab serves heartwarming Lebanese cuisine. Featuring a striking view of Dubai Marina and Downtown Dubai, guests can unwind with an arak alongside an obligatory bowl of hummus and fattoush. The flamboyant restaurant echoes Middle Eastern flair with a touch of Beiruti personality. recommends: Kebbeh platter, Abd El Wahab mixed grill and the baklava.

    Good to know: Abd El Wahab serves shisha on its terrace at both locations.


  • Nara Pan Asian is the reincarnation of Spice and Ice. Shifting the spotlight from North Indian soul food to pan-Asian nibbles, the restaurant has swapped its former neo-regal aesthetic with vibrant ceiling umbrellas, Japanese graffiti and cherry blossoms trees in full bloom. If Dubai Marina or JLT is your hood, keep it local with ladies' night and weekend brunches at Nara Pan Asian. recommends: Chicken katsu, chicken xiao long bao and Mongolian beef.

    Good to know: Block your calendar for Thursday and Friday, Nara hosts a 349-dirham brunch!

  • Snuggled in a concrete nest, Mythos offers a romantic escape from soaring skyscrapers and stop-start traffic. Its classic Greek cream-cheese walls and hearty atmosphere make it the perfect place to bury yourself under the noise and unwind over dinner and drinks. Leaving fusion at the door, Mythos' menu oozes with fresh ingredients, uncomplicated recipes and countryside vibes. recommends: Grilled octopus, gemista, gyros and loukoumades.

    Good to know: For a quick taste, check out its 65-dirham “Even Zeus Breaks for Lunch” menu.

  • Raised from humble beginnings in 80s Bombay, Gypsy Chinese in an underground destination for Indo-Chinese fare in Dubai. A cuisine that typically accompanies alcohol, enjoy an authentic experience at this licensed restaurant. Gypsy Chinese's menu is generously packed with spice-laced vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes that's sure to make diners reach out for another pint. recommends: Schezwan spring roll, Shanghai chicken and the date pancake.

    Good to know: Get a complimentary beer when you order one with a 34 dirham food bill.