Travelling to Dubai with food allergies was one of the easiest experiences I’ve had abroad. Going to a new country can be very nerve wrecking when you have food allergies and is full of worries like:
• What kind of food do they have? Can I eat it?
• How accommodating are restaurants? What oil do they use to cook?
• How common are food allergies in this country?
• How do they label for food allergies?
• What are the hospitals like?
Dubai blew me away! I have never been to a place where they take food allergies as seriously as there.
Eating in Dubai with Food Allergies
The very first time we went out to eat in Dubai we wanted to see if I would be able to eat at the Indian restaurant in our hotel complex. My hubby had been there before and remembered it being delicious. Indian is a really hard type of food to eat with a tree nut and peanut allergy. As we have seen in the news recently, there can be hidden ingredients (if you don’t know what I mean read about this arrest).
When we went to the restaurant, we asked about my food allergies and got to speak directly to the chef. This is why having an allergy card is great when travelling because he saw it and came straight to our table. We were informed that if I were to have an allergic reaction at any restaurant in Dubai they would shut down the restaurant. Say what! That means laws are strict when it comes to food allergies. As you can image, the dining experiencse were out of this world, and I felt extremely safe eating.
This time around, we ate at Mahec, the Indian restaurant, twice because it is that good! Both times the chef came out to talk to us and see how we were doing throughout the meal. He even made a special allergy-friendly amuse bouche! We must have looked like VIPs!
During the trip, we stuck mostly to eating at the hotel because they are extra careful. We stay at Le Méridien Dubai, which has a complex full of fantastic restaurants. I suggest dining at hotel restaurants because they are very well trained and have allergy policies in place. Outside of the hotel, I ate at Nandos, which I use to love. They appeared to be very careful, but there was some cross-contact, and I broke out into hives. This is why I say stick to hotels. I also ate at Eataly, which was a delightful experience; they are also good at the NYC location.
Our Hotel and Food Allergies
The allergy policies at the hotel have improved since the last time we went. We stayed in the Club section of the hotel, which meant we got breakfast, high tea, and happy hour (meaning as many cocktails as you can drink in 2 hours!) every day served in the club lounge. The first time we went, they upgraded us to the club because we were newlyweds. It was so much fun we booked it this time around, and it is totally worth paying the extra!
↑ The outside patio of the lounge.
↓ Happy hour and allergy friendly cheese platter.
Since last year, they now have a huge sign at the breakfast buffet regarding food allergies, and they now have nut free and gluten free cereal and bread options. ?
The staff at the lounge are so accommodating and always made sure I could eat something. Most of the hors d’oeuvres they served at happy hour were not safe. Augustus, the manager, made a cheese platter every night so I wouldn’t be left out. How amazing right! There was also a waiter from our last visit, Janice, who remembered my allergies and was very diligent about making sure breakfast was safe. (Thanks guys!)
We also noticed all the restaurants at the hotel have added allergy statements to their menus. It made me so happy to see the progress in a year and a half.
I was honestly super worried about travelling to Dubai with food allergies, but I have never seen them handled with such kindness and consequence. I would highly recommend the hotel, it is by the airport, which I thought would be the worst but it’s really nice and a great bang for your buck. And you have to check out Mahec (best Indian food ever), M’s Beef Bistro, or Casa Mia. All excellent!
This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. I love to share places that take food allergies seriously.
Kortney is your typical atopic triad! She manages asthma, eczema, environmental and food allergies. Kortney is a co-creator of the online community Allergy Travels and co-host of The Itch Podcast. She wants to spread joy in a community that can easily see the hard side of life with atopic disease and believes that you can have a full life with food allergies, it may just be lived a little differently!