Time Out recommends 10 of the best Indian restaurants in Dubai
Time Out Dubai staff
Manvaar: You have to love Manvaar. No really, you do. The food is unbelievable, but more than that, it’s unique – even in the curry-loving town that is Dubai. The menu is nearly exclusively Rajasthani fare. Sure, you can order boringly safe staples if you want, but that defeats the purpose of the place. You’re encouraged (even enticed) to experiment (doing so pays off, we promise). Standout dishes include dahl bati churma, a tactile rendition of the standard lentil dish that includes toasty wheat dumplings.
Call 04 336 8332 for reservations
Aangan: The decor at this Indian stalwart tends to be a bit dreary (it’s dark and could certainly use a refurb), and the live entertainment may not be to everyone’s taste, but the food never disappoints. Butter naan is pliant and decadent, and the signature nali gosht (a toasty lamb curry) is one of the most tender things we’ve stuck a fork into. Dishes stand out here for their inventive use of spices. Nothing’s ever bland and recipes are never an afterthought. Service is sweet and accommodating, too.
Dhow Palace Hotel, Call 04 359 9992 for reservations
Handi: Quintessential Indian decor and staff garbed in traditional attire combine to create an atmospheric, authentic, and wholly enjoyable dining experience. Aesthetic authenticity is reflected by the credible offerings found on the varied menu. Helpful staff will gladly assist you choose a dish, but it’s likely that whatever you settle on will be sublime. We recommend the papdi chat, the ubiquitous Mumbai street snack.
Taj Palace Hotel, Call 04 211 3020 for reservations
Indego: Consultant chef Vineet Bhatia – the first Indian chef to receive a Michelin star – has produced an admirably inventive menu, a lot of which works: honey-basted tandoori salmon, for example, is a subtle but startlingly original dish, and the lamb chops with ginger and garlic are every bit as tender and expertly spiced as you might hope. Ask for chicken madras, though, and the result is middling – even a little boring – and will set you back Dhs140 for the pleasure. Still, we can’t fault the experience of dining here.
Grosvenor House Dubai, Call 04 399 8888 for reservations
Asha’s: It’s no surprise that a restaurant owned by famous Indian singer Asha Bhosle and located in Wafi City, is a high-class affair. Warm oranges, bead curtains and wealthy Indians in business suits typify the dining experience here. Meanwhile, service is not only spot on, but comes with personality too. The food at Asha’s is generally good, but what really sets it apart is the inclusion of the greatest dhal known to humanity on its menu. Okay, that might be a bit of a stretch, but it is moan-inducingly tasty.
Wafi, Oud Metha, Call 04 324 0000 for reservations
Iz: The Grand Hyatt is home to Iz; an uber-cool, fashionable-looking restaurant that serves up high-end Indian tapas. It comes up trumps in the style-stakes; carefully lit with rich earthy interiors, cream furniture and wooden furnishings, it oozes sophistication. The interesting tapas concept allows foodies to mix and match flavours and manage portion control. The live cooking stations, a menu that changes daily and standout service from very knowledgeable staff all get a big Time Out thumbs up.
Grand Hyatt Dubai, Call 04 317 2222 for reservations
Mithaas: They say never judge a book by its cover. Well, this couldn’t be more fitting for this hole-in-the wall Bur Dubai eatery. A (very) narrow and rickety staircase leads you to a pocket-sized and humble dining space which appears to pull in streams of hungry diners; always a good sign. Vegetarian street food is one of the cornerstones of Mithaas’ menu, and boy is it good. For as little as Dhs25 you can quite literally fill the table with chatts and thalis and put your taste buds into overdrive. Time Out is rather smitten with this gem of a place, it’s just a shame we can’t keep it to ourselves.
Call 04 359 1300 for reservations
Options: Renowned celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s restaurant looks like it’s straight out of an American soap opera– crystal chandeliers, drapes of red velvet, oversized gilt gold mirrors and lots of spangly accessories. Ostentatious, verging on tacky, but it makes an impact. Looking around, it’s clear that the restaurant is patronised mainly by Emirati and Indian diners – a telling sign of its excellent quality. The friendly staff are keen to offer recommendations from the dynamic menu, there’s even a section on ‘Anglo’ Indian delights for homesick British expats.
Call 04 329 3293 for reservations
The Bombay: Hidden near Fish Roundabout in Deira, the nondescript Marco Polo Hotel is probably not the first place Dubaians would go sniffing for an Indian restaurant; but herein lies a gem. The Bombay takes on the air of being a fancy restaurant, but is nothing special to look at, save a few portraits of old Indian palaces hung on the wall. But close your eyes, let taste and sound take over, and the restaurant becomes truly enchanting. Northern Indian fare dominates the menu and most dishes burst with sweet flavours.
Marco Polo Hotel, Call 04 272 0000 for reservations
Khazana: ‘Khazana’, which means ‘treasure’ in Hindi, is literally one of the treasures of the Dubai culinary experience. For the uninitiated, Khazana is owned by famous Indian TV chef Sanjeev Kapoor, who became a household name long before the likes of Gordon Ramsay and Nigella Lawson came to be known for their culinary acumen. His on-screen innovation with food, preparation, technique and presentation, translates seamlessly in this beloved restaurant. Expect exotic dishes created with a passionate attention to detail, right from appetizers to dessert.
Call 04 336 0061 for reservations