Lovin Dubai's TOP 10 Indian restaurants
Spice, rice and all things nice
With over 2 million Indians in the city, there’s clearly no shortfall of Indian restaurants here. But which one do you choose when those curry cravings kick in? Lucky for you, we’ve done the work. From fine dining choices to meals that won’t break the bank, we’ve found the best of them all. Here's our countdown...
Pyramids at Wafi, Oud Metha
Legendary Indian singer Asha Bhosle’s restaurant Asha's offers diners North Indian food in a contemporary indoor or cool al fresco setting. A playlist of her popular songs provides the soundtrack while you savour dishes such as onion and potato pakora, tandoori chicken tikka and lamb biryani. Don’t miss the extensive beverage menu with cocktails to match. Indian spices dominate the dessert offerings with treats including chilli chocolate mousse and cardamom panna cotta.
tel: 04 324 4100 website: ashasrestaurants.com/dubai (from AED 45)
The Oberoi Dubai, Business Bay
Tables covered in crisp, white linen and crimson furnishings welcome diners at this sleek Indian restaurant. Sit back at Ananta and watch chefs handcraft delicacies such as kastoori chicken kebab (fenugreek and cardamom flavoured chicken) and Rajasthani laal boti (lamb marinated in clove and chilli) in clay ovens or skillfully toss dough to make a variety of Indian flatbreads. The good news: guests can enjoy a grander version of the traditional thali, with 11 signature dishes plated together.
tel: 444 1444 website: oberoihotels.com/hotels-in-dubai/ (from AED 50)
Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai
A dim, narrow entrance leads you to chef Kunal Kapur’s signature restaurant Patiala, located in a corner of Souk Al Bahar. A private dining room, adjoining lounge bar and show kitchen are just some of the other things you'll notice at this swanky restaurant that focuses on classic as well as innovative North Indian cuisine. What you’ll taste here: dum ka murg (a Hyderabadi dish wherein chicken is cooked in a sealed pot on low flame), grilled Canadian scallops served with bitter orange chutney and a sweet ending of bhapa doi (vanilla flavoured steamed yoghurt) served with mango lassi ice-cream..
tel: 04 451 9151 website: patiala.ae (from AED 95)
7. Desi Dhaba
Dubai Grand Hotel, Al Qusais
India is a country of colours, cultures and celebrations and no restaurants reflects it better than this quirky roadside-themed restaurant located on the other side of town. Nestled in a corner of the hotel, Desi Dhaba's menu consists of typical North Indian delicacies including macchi Amritsari (fish), seekh kebab (lamb) and dhaba dal (black lentils), served with a side of entertainment. We’re talking singers and Bhangra dancers. Find yourself in the mood to shake a leg? Worry not! The artists will gladly welcome you on stage.
tel: 055 632 7277 / 055 476 0188 (from AED 18)
6. Cafe Funkie Town
Saba 3, Cluster Q, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT)
Touted as India’s finest citizens, the Parsis are known for their happy-go-lucky personalities and the café culture they brought to the country in the 1960’s. This gem of an eatery in JLT pays tribute to that era of old Bombay with its wood interiors, marble tables and vintage frames that adorn the walls. With recipes passed down eight decades, at Cafe Funkie Town you’re in for typical Bombay food such as bun maska (hot, toasted bun slathered with butter) and kheema pav (minced lamb with buttered bun) along with Parsi specialities such as dhansak (a creamy stew of meat, lentil and veggies) and sali boti (chicken/meat cooked in a sauce, served with crisp potato straws).
tel:04 368 9697 website: cafefunkietown.com (from AED 20)
5. Rang Mahal
JW Marriott Marquis, Business Bay
Celebrated TV personality and Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar brings his magic to the kitchen and the result: an award-winning restaurant dishing out some of the best fare modern India is known for. To get a true taste of what the man has to offer, go for the Navratan menu at Rang Mahal. Translated as ‘nine jewels’, it showcases the restaurant's nine signature dishes including lasooni scallops (Scottish scallops with caramelised garlic and cauliflower), meen moilley (Atul’s signature line-caught sea bass in a turmeric and coconut curry) and tandoori murgh (chicken breast marinated in Kashmiri paprika).
tel: 04 414 0000 website: jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com/dining/rangmahal (from AED 70)
Concorde Tower, Cluster H, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT)
If you’re one who struggles with choices then Bikanervala just might be the place for you. Opt for the Indian thali wherein small portions of different dishes are offered on a rectangle platter. Served per person, the mini thali includes a paneer (cottage cheese) dish, rice, lentils, roti and raita (blended yoghurt, usually mixed with chopped cucumbers and tomatoes), while the deluxe one includes all the above, as well as a dish made with seasonal veggies and Indian dessert.
tel: 04 420 7720 website bikanervala.ae (from AED 32 for a small thali)
3. Sind Punjab
Meena Bazaar, Bur Dubai
Forget fine dining - instead experience street food in the heart of old Dubai. Swap the cutlery for eating with your hands and skip the chairs for a spot outside the window, from where you'll be served the best street snacks. The menu of this age-old establishment lists everything from pani puri to samosa and chicken tikka rolls to vada pav. High on flavours and low on your Dirhams, Sind Punjab is an absolute delight for true foodies.
tel: 04 352 5058 / 04 352 6114 (from AED 2 a dish)
Nassima Royal Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road
A meal at Tresind is a feast for all senses as chef Himanshu puts a modern spin on classic favourites. Credited with bringing molecular gastronomy to your plate, his creations include deconstructed pani puri (where the crisp hollow puri filled with flavoured water is replaced by a jellified version that boasts tangy flavours when it bursts in your mouth) and a modernist chaat trolley (ditch the roadside to have this savoury staple created table side). Think chutneys being squirted artistically, ingredients being pounded beautifully and the smoke of liquid nitrogen. You can satisfy sweet tooth cravings too with its famed paan flavoured candy floss tree.
04 308 0440 / tresind.com (from AED 70)
1. Indego by Vineet
Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina
He’s got a reputation of being exciting, creative and tremendously talented, so expect nothing but an exquisite meal when you’re hosted by a team led by (India’s first) Michelin-starred chef Vineet Bhatia at Indego. Stunning and scrumptious dishes meet superior service at this posh restaurant. Standout dishes on the menu include the seafood trilogy (coriander sesame prawns, olive scallops and Amritsari hammour, served with a saffron mash), kokum sea bass (a macadamia-coated sea bass) and lamb Gucci korma (no connection to the fashion brand, but the Indian name for morel mushrooms). The finale comes in the form of chocolicious Indego – a chocolate samosa served with choco rocks and a choco lassi – a dream come true for any chocoholic.
tel; 04 317 6000 website: indegobyvineet.com (from AED 70)