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An Emirati Restaurant at Last

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March 27, 2016 / Arab / By

It is not easy to find Emirati restaurants in the UAE and in fact, the one I am about to discuss, while owned and inspired by an Emirati woman, serves food that some people say is more like Yemeni food.

It is in an old part of Dubai near Clock Tower Roundabout. It may have another name by now, but it has been called Clock Tower Roundabout for a long time by the expats in Dubai. When I first came here, a lot of streets and bridges did not have names, or if they did, they did not have signs. So, to help new arrivals get around, a local feature was used to locate the place. There were also Flying Saucer Roundabout and Coffee Pot Roundabout, though neither of those were in Dubai. You'll be relieved to know that Clock Tower Roundabout does, in fact, have a large clock-bearing tower at its center.

Al Tawasol, as the restaurant is called, is decorated in both Arab and western style. So you can choose to sit on the floor and have the food served from communal dishes, or you can sit at table and chairs. We were up for the authentic experience, so settled on the floor having washed our hands. We were going to be eating with our hands, well, hand actually, strictly only the right one. (Left-handers take note: never, never, never use your dominant left hand for the consumption of food!) The other thing to remember is that you should try not to touch your mouth with your fingers as you eat. The trick is to ball the food up and then basically flick it in. It is all in the interests of cleanliness.

Rice and meat dominated the meal and vegetables were a token gesture only, as this reflects the food that was available to this desert country before we began to fly our food for miles.

The rice dish was a blend of rice and chicken spiced with a mix called bezar. Each Emirati cook has their own idea about what proportions the spice should be in that mix, but it contains things like cumin, coriander, and nutmeg. As well as that we had goat meat in a red sauce and a dried fish dish. Fish was an important protein in the past and often salted to preserve it. In fact, most coastal dwelling Emirati families were either fishermen, pearl-divers or merchant traders before oil wealth. Despite my love of fish, I could not enjoy this tuna and kingfish dish, but others did.

Al Tawasol is a real chance to experience the ways of the past. Too often in the UAE, you do not get the sense of the culture of the local people, but in this restaurant you do come close to an authentic experience.


Al Tawasol Restaurant

Country: United Arab Emirates

Province/State: Dubayy

City: Dubai; Deira district

Address: Abu Baker Al Siddique Rd, very near Clock Tower Roundabout

Zip/Post Code: N/A

Location Tips: easy walking distance from Clocktower Roundabout

Phone: +971 4 295 9797


Price Guide:$$ (What's this?) N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

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