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Sammach, Dubai

Beach Centre Mall
Jumeirah Beach Road
United Arab Emirates
Tel: 971 4349 4140's insider take:

Locals flock to this low-key Lebanese seafood haunt, despite its shopping-mall location and hackneyed maritime decor; both the food and service are better, if not the view, than a newer branch on the plaza surrounding the Burj Khalifa. Focus instead on the fresh food and low prices ($25 per person). Start Lebanese-style with crunchy bread, hummus, eggplant purée, tabbouli, and fried squid. Entrées depend on what's fresh that day from the market; highlights include meaty char-grilled prawns, fried red snapper, and grilled hamoor (a local fish that tastes a bit like cod). Better still, call in advance to order the specialty, a whole fish encased in a salt crust and slow-baked in the oven—its excavation, using chisels and hammers, is a spectacle in itself. This place is most fun on a Friday, when large families create a convivial atmosphere; it can be a little soulless during the week. No alcohol served.—Updated by Susan Hack

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.