DINING: You can expect a very high caliber of cuisine here. Most of your meals will be included, and these will be multi-course affairs or buffets with both regional and international favorites. Most vegetarian or other dietary requests can be accommodated with advance notice. Otherwise, Oman and the Emirates boast a dazzling array of dining choices ranging from local seafood eateries and kebab stalls to high-end restaurants, including many venues helmed by Michelin-starred celebrity chefs. One thing that is less widely available (but offered at some international establishments) is pork, since it is prohibited from the Muslim diet.
Local cuisine is based on staples like rice, whole grains, and vegetables; and chicken, lamb, and fish—all seasoned with aromatic spices. If you are brave, you might want to try camel, which is very popular and served on special occasions stuffed with lamb, poultry, fish and eggs. Some delicious Omani dishes to try include chili, lime and onion salad, kachori potato dumplings, and fish and sweet coconut dumplings. A popular treat in Seeb is mashakik, a kebab of grilled fish, lamb, and squid dipped in spicy tamarind sauce. Meats are often stewed or grilled as kebabs and shawarma, and often served with chewy flatbreads. For dessert, sample some traditional knafeh, the “queen of Arabic desserts.” This sticky pastry is made of sweet cheese doused with rose-scented syrup and chopped pistachios. The most popular dessert during the month of Ramadan is luqaimat, a deep-fried dumpling flavored with sugar, saffron, and cardamom.
Inspired Cuisine — Every Day of Your Trip
Whether you're dining on continental fare in your hotel's restaurant; a traditional Middle Eastern banquet; or a breakfast buffet with fresh produce, cheeses, and baked goods, mealtime is an experience to be savored. Special meals are featured during your journey, including a Bedouin-style barbecue dinner beneath a billowing tent in the desert. While most meals are included in your adventure, we have omitted some in order for you to pick and choose among your favorites in the many international venues that are available in each of our destinations. Your Adventure Leader will be happy to suggest wonderful options.
Healthy Choices at Every Meal
Oman and the Emirates are of course international business hubs and as such, they are used to catering to an enormous variety of culinary tastes, including high-end gourmet cuisine. Food here is wholesome and fresh, and our hosts are happy to accommodate special dietary requests such as vegetarian, gluten-free, lactose-intolerant, and allergy-specific concerns, provided your requests are received at the time of booking. Please note one exception: It is not possible to guarantee food that is strictly kosher here. Some foods that are prepared according to traditional Islamic halal requirements may meet some kosher standards, and you will also find vegetarian options readily available. Outside our hotel restaurants, it is also difficult to find any pork dishes, as these are forbidden according to Muslim dietary laws.
Dining in Oman, and the United Arab Emirates
Most meals are included and these will be multi-course affairs with a variety of choices from various international cuisines. Some of the best restaurants in this region are in our hotels, where many locals and non-guests come to enjoy fine international fare. Considering the region’s wealth and glamor it’s no surprise that many world-renowned celebrity chefs (including Michelin award winners) have opened venues in Muscat and the Emirates, such as Jamie Oliver, Todd English, Gordon Ramsay, Nobuyuki Matsuhisa (of Nobu fame), and Wolfgang Puck. You will have no shortage of high-end, gourmet restaurants to choose from if you want to treat yourself to a special night on the town.
It is legal for foreigners to consume alcohol in Oman, and the Emirates, but because alcohol is strictly forbidden to all Muslims, local establishments do not serve it. Nor can you bring alcohol into the country as a guest. You can, however, enjoy wine, beer, and all spirits in all our hotels and in select restaurants that cater to an international clientele. Some places may ask that show proof of residence in this regard, so you may want to have your passport handy. Always ask your Adventure Leader for advice in this matter before setting out.