The best cheese dishes to try in the UAE: from creamy burrata to cheddar-injected burgers

Whether you’re craving it as a side, main or dessert, here are some delicious ways to get your fromage fix

From left, the Cheese Overload Burger from 49er's Steakhouse and Club, raclette from Publique and the O'cheese Burst Pao from O'pao.
From left, the Cheese Overload Burger from 49er's Steakhouse and Club, raclette from Publique and the O'cheese Burst Pao from O'pao.

Do we need a whole day dedicated to cheese in all its shapes and forms? Not really. But since June 4 is traditionally celebrated as National Cheese Day in the US, we might as well use it as an excuse to indulge anyway.

Whether you enjoy yours injected into a burger, dripping over your favourite dish or incorporated into a dessert, here’s a look at some cheesy dishes you can try in the UAE.

We even have a couple of vegan options for our dairy-eschewing foodies.

Cheese Volcano Burger from Burger28

The home-grown brand, with branches across Dubai and Abu Dhabi, is no stranger to cheesy dishes, with many of its signature burgers dripping with the stuff. However, it has one-upped itself with the cheese volcano, an extra that can be added to any of its burgers.

A generous helping of liquid cheese is added on top, kept in place with a tin can. It all comes gushing down once the can is removed, making for a satisfying, albeit messy, meal.

Dh5 on top of the price of the burger; located in MBZ City and Al Mushrif in Abu Dhabi, and Nad Al Hamar in Dubai;

Macaroni and cheese from The Cheesecake Factory

Don't be fooled by the fact that this old classic lives in the "sides" section of The Cheesecake Factory menu. It is a whole meal in itself, with the calorie count to match.

Pieces of elbow macaroni are doused in a creamy cheese sauce, and then topped with fried breadcrumbs to create an enticing interplay of crunchy and smooth textures. The beauty of mac and cheese lies in its simplicity, but done well, it is the ultimate indulgence.

Dh32.55, The Cheesecake Factory, Mall of the Emirates, The Dubai Mall, Dubai Festival City Mall, Jumeirah Beach Residence, and Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi;

Cheese toastie from Qwerty

The Qwerty cheese toastie is "crowned" with an elevated crispy Parmesan top. Courtesy Qwerty
The Qwerty cheese toastie is 'crowned' with an crispy Parmesan top. Courtesy Qwerty

After trying this dish in Qwerty in Media One Hotel, you’ll probably never be able to look at the humble toastie as mere bread and cheese again. This one comprises three cheeses – cheddar, mozzarella and Parmesan, as well as caramelised onion and tomato chutney – sealed in brioche. It comes served with chips and features a Parmesan cheese crown, making it appear like a work of art.

Dh55; Media One Hotel; Dubai Media City; 04 427 1000;

Burgers from Firefly

If you’re looking for the ultimate cheese hit in the capital, Firefly may be your answer. The casual joint is known for some truly hearty burgers, but the best part is that you can add an “injection” of liquid cheddar to any burger of your choice for an extra Dh5. The way the cheese slowly drips down the bun is a sight for sore eyes.

Dh5 on top of the burger price; Khalidiya Street, Abu Dhabi; 02 679 0090

Cheese board from Couqley French Bistro

Guests can pick five cheeses in Couqley's build-your-own cheeseboard. Courtesy Couqley French Bistro
Guests can pick five cheeses in Couqley's build-your-own cheese board. Courtesy Couqley French Bistro

If you can’t decide between any one cheese, why not choose them all with a cheese board? This Parisian-style bistro in JLT allows you to select five varieties so you can create your own cheese board.

There’s the choice between Brie, truffle Brie, raclette, Emmental, Cantal, Tomette au Piment, Bleu d’Auvergne, Camembert and goat’s cheese. The selection is accompanied by candied walnuts, dry figs, toasted bread, crackers, honey and jam, and you can always upsize your platter by 100 grams by spending an additional Dh50.

Dh77, available for dine-in or delivery; Couqley French Bistro, JLT;

Cheese Overload Burger from 49er's Steakhouse and Club

The cheese overload burger from 49er's Steakhouse and Club. Supplied
The cheese overload burger from 49er's Steakhouse and Club.

The casual Abu Dhabi joint has what it says is the cheesiest burger in town. It’s a big claim, but the Cheese Overload Burger comes with Angus beef, melted cheese, cheese squares and is drizzled with more cheese – which makes us believe it’s a claim that may just be true.

The restaurant also gives customers the option to have any signature Angus burger loaded with extra cheese for Dh13.

Dh52 with Dh13 for the cheese overload burger; 49er's Steakhouse and Club; Le Meridien, Al Zahiyah, Abu Dhabi;

Fried Mozz from Black Tap

If you're on the look-out for a deep-fried cheese dish that's easily shareable (not that you're going to want to after tasting it), New York burger joint Black Tap has you covered.

The Fried Mozz is perfectly crunchy on the outside and packed with cheesy, stretchy mozzarella. The smoky chipotle tomato sauce that accompanies the triangular-shaped cheese bites is worth a mention, too.

Dh32; locations across Dubai and Abu Dhabi;

O’Cheese Burst Pao from O’Pao

O'Cheese Burst Pao from O'Pao. Courtesy O'Pao
O'Cheese Burst Pao from O'Pao. Courtesy O'Pao

The home-grown brand known for revolutionising the humble street-food snack from Mumbai has just the thing for cheese-lovers. The O’Cheese Burst Pao deserves a special mention because not only is the vada (the spiced potato dumpling) coated in a layer of melted cheddar cheese, it’s also stuffed with mozzarella for drool-worthy effect.

At Dh10, it’s a wallet-friendly way to satiate those cheese cravings.

Dh10; Karama and JLT;

Burrata and Tomatoes from LPM Restaurant

Burrata. Courtesy LPM
The burrata comes with basil and fresh tomatoes. Courtesy LPM

With only a handful of ingredients, this dish is simplicity itself, and yet it’s one you can’t afford to miss if you’re ever dining at the popular restaurant.

The credit has to go to the cheese, which is fresh as can be, creamy and smooth. Topped with cherry tomatoes, basil leaves and a generous helping of virgin olive oil, you’ll understand what the fuss is all about.

Dh98; The Galleria Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi and DIFC in Dubai;

Kito Fries from Babu

While there are lots of reasons to pop down to this hidden gem that specialises in Indian food with an Emirati twist, it’s the Kito fries that are most famous.

Placed in a cup for extra photo props, the thin fries are topped with everything from chicken to Cheetos. And, of course, lots and lots of cheese. Vegetarians can ask for the chicken to be removed or replaced with other toppings.

Dh51.95; Jumeirah Street, Umm Suqeim 1; 04 321 2766

Raclette from Publique

Raclette for two at Publique. Courtesy Publique
Raclette for two at Publique. Courtesy Publique

Cheese lovers are bound to be spoilt for choice at the Alpine-themed restaurant. Other than a variety of fondue options (that make for the perfect date-night meal), the restaurant specialises in raclette. The traditional Swiss cheese is melted into a delightful gooey mess and goes oh-so-well with potatoes, cold cuts and a salad.

Dh125 per person, with a minimum of two people required; Souk Madinat Jumeirah; 04 430 8550;

Kunafeh from Feras Sweets

If you’re looking for a way to have cheese for dessert, this should be it. Feras Sweets, one of the oldest sweet shops in the UAE, with locations across the country, does it to perfection.

Crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside, and topped with a sprinkling of pistachio, this sweet-yet-salty dessert is well worth your time. Pro tip: order it directly at the venue and eat while it’s still piping hot.

Dh22 for a slice; branches locations across the UAE;

For vegans

The term “vegan cheese” usually leaves a lot to be desired but not at these popular joints. They do it so well, they deserve a mention, too.

The grilled 'cheese' sandwich at Bloom Vegan Kitchen

The grilled 'cheese' sandwich (Dh34). Fresh spinach, fresh basil, pine nuts, walnuts, vegan 'cheese', lemon juice, extra virgin oil, country bread, served with crunchy fries. Courtesy Bloom Vegan Kitchen
The grilled 'cheese' sandwich. Courtesy Bloom Vegan Kitchen

This delivery-only kitchen has a delicious melted cheese sandwich. To create it, the chefs had plenty of tastings before deciding on the final version. It's made from a soya and vegetable-based cream that oozes out the sides of the toasted bread. Pesto cuts through with much-needed acidity, while layers of cooked spinach add an earthiness. Opt for the crunchy chips on the side. You can also get it with gluten-free bread.

Dh35; delivery across the UAE; 800 83426,

Team Angel Wolf pizza at Freedom Pizza

The pizza toppings on this dish from Freedom Pizza were curated by Team Angel Wolf, a non-profit that promotes an inclusive, active life with people of determination in the UAE.

The family behind this foundation chose healthy ingredients for their creation, including spinach, mushrooms, caramelised onions, pine nuts, truffle oil, basil, garlic and a very impressive and realistic vegan cheese. It's one of four vegan pizzas on Freedom's menu.

From Dh39; delivery across the UAE;


Read more:

From cow's to coconut: what type of milk should you be drinking?

UAE's most expensive dishes: from Dh3,000 ice cream to Dh1,000 gold biryani


Published: June 4, 2021 07:21 AM


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