Our favourite Dubai spots for curry, dhal and more
Time Out Dubai staff
Winner – Best Indian Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2012
Asha's: Busy even on nondescript weeknights, Asha’s has a lot going for it – elegant, modern decor with warm welcoming hues, efficient and friendly service (even the restaurant manager chips in, helping out rushed waiters by taking orders too) and tasteful background music. And what of the food? It sings. The kebabs, in particular, are guaranteed palate pleasers – the tenderest cuts of meat, roasted and grilled to as close to perfection as you’ll likely taste in the city. The food isn’t exactly cheap but definitely worth every dirham. If the weather isnt bordering on sweltering, we’d recommend booking a table outside. Like the appeal of Asha Bhosle’s timeless songs, the experience will no doubt become legendary. Click here for location and opening times for Asha's
Highly Recommended – Best Indian Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2012 Ashiana: It’s considered one of Dubai’s best-loved Indian restaurants, and not without good reason, because when it comes to both atmosphere and cuisine, Ashiana is up there with the best. While not always crowded, the restaurant feels cosy and inviting, thanks to the heavy wood carvings adorning the walls, while the house band’s soundtrack of sitar and traditional Indian vocals complement, rather than overpower, the ambiance. The cuisine here is traditional with a modern slant. Portions aren’t huge, but the quality of ingredients and richness of the spices means that you’ll be more than satisfied by the end of your meal. Poppadoms and spicy chutneys are a complimentary flourish at the start. The ghosht – large cubes of melt-in-the-mouth mutton in rich, nutty gravy – was a highlight, served with heaps of fluffy Basmati and buttery roti. This dish, and many more like it, make Ashiana worth a visit.
Indego by Vineet: You’ll notice mood lighting, candles and five-star trappings as soon as you enter, along with ethnic statues including a large Shiva, which, in the form of Nataraja, is known to perform a divine dance – a perfect representation of Indego’s creations. The hammour tikka is sublime, presented with flourish, and the madras homestyle chicken curry with coconut rice is a standout – combining a traditional taste with a certain je ne sais quoi that takes it to a whole other level. It’s an element you’ll notice in most dishes – the delicate balance of spices and ingredients for a familiar yet arresting new flavour; a dance if you will. And if food is holy, Indego’s creations are nothing short of divine. Click here for location and opening times for Indego by Vineet
Aangan: The food is always very good, service exceptional and entertainment ... well, entertaining (if a little too loud for a first-date setting). The menu is extensive and there’s a lot to choose from, including stellar vegetarian options and seafood favourites, but the zafrani murgh malai tikka – where saffron and cream coat the most tender chunks of chicken – is a standout. If that doesn’t sound appetising, ask waiters to suggest dishes based on spice and flavour preferences. Over the years, Aangan has become a failsafe choice for a great Indian meal out in the city and our only quibble is that, while they almost always deliver to expectations, we really wish they’d now throw caution to the wind, take a few more risks and make the leap from great to amazing.
Antique Bazaar: Bazaar’s decor is memorable – think ornate chairs, plush sofas, beautiful Indian motifs and autographed photos of yesteryear’s Bollywood entertainers – and the North Indian fare delights, but when you experience the noise levels emanating from the restaurant’s musical act, forget polite dinner conversation. The troupe plays instruments, sings and dances to popular Hindi classics and, while the antics on stage are distracting, it’s still a welcome change from those lonely restaurants where diners spend all night thumbing their mobile phone. Like the best bazaars in India, it’s a bit of a sensory overload – but this should be embraced wholeheartedly.
Armani/Amal: No one just pops into Amal on a whim, so it goes without saying that a meal at the Armani is best saved for those special occasions when you want to wine and dine your loved one over curries and tandoor grills. As soon as you enter, you’re serenaded by sitar-playing musicians before being ushered to a table (take one outside if weather permits). Views of the Dubai Fountains and Downtown Dubai skyline adds that dramatic extra. The tasting menu at Dhs425 a person is excellent value, offering a selection of starters and desserts, with shared mains. The food has near perfect texture, delicate flavouring and with just the right spice intensity to excite. The chef is more than happy to offer alternatives or serve up a few surprises on the spot too. Unforgettable.
D’fusion: Choose from their ‘fusion’ menu , giving popular international dishes a distinctive Indian twist – think crispy pani puri topped with Russia’s finest and biryani sushi. There’s a regular menu – rather creatively designed we might add – for traditionalists that’s filled with memorable kebabs, curries, rice, roti and more. Quality is exceptional and the restaurant has no doubt improved dramatically since our last visit. The only drawback is the decor; a few photographs of yesteryear stars hang lonely on the walls and furniture looks dated. Come after 9pm when you’ll be serenaded by a rather energetic man who sings with a commanding voice while playing the harmonium. Even the tabla player looked jealous.
Dakshin: Located just off Riqqa Road, Dakshin shines with its array of north Indian favourites. While their curries and kebabs tick all the flavour boxes just right, it’s the biryani that’ll keep you coming back for more. It might be a little out of the way for most, but that’s what makes a trip here all the more special. With its eclectic mix of regional dishes, Dakshin has a wide enough appeal to please most curry lovers.
Handi:Expect a warm welcome from friendly staff, while gentle strains of soft classical music played by expert musicians adds to the ambience. It is five-star fabulous, but not in a stuffy, pretentious way; however, the only thing diners will remember is the food ... the glorious food. This is how it should be: tender, melt-in-the-mouth meat, aromatic bread and fresh vegetables all delicately prepared, with flavours that excite but not overwhelm. Many will argue that Handi is a little too out of the way to go for a decent curry and they are right – you don’t just go here for ‘good’, you go here for ‘great’ and a trip there is, in our eyes, always going to be worth it.
Sai Dham:Often (shamefully) overlooked in the busy district of Oud Metha, Sai Dham serves up some of the city’s tastiest vegetarian fare. Food follows the satvic diet – also known as the yoga diet that’s said to bring about calmness and clarity – with ingredients that are light and easy to digest, so expect fresh vegetables, grains, fruit and even dairy, but absolutely no meat. The whole concept can seem a bit flighty but a lot of people subscribe to the belief that you are what you eat. Diners are often surprised to find out that favourites including dhal and paneer tikka masala are prepared without onions or garlic, but still come packed with flavour. For something deliciously different with plenty of character, Sai Dham can’t be beat.
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Shazzaib Oct 01, 2015 12:13 pm
this list made me Laugh Out Loudly
Worst of the restaurants are listed here, I guess the listing is based on decorations not food.
I love it Mar 03, 2015 08:36 am
Guys.. please try Manvar at Karama.. you will understand what spicey nice northy food is
singh Jan 12, 2015 12:12 pm
Guys try Indian food in Iz Grand Hyatt dubai ,,,,,,,its the best place to have good indian food
Handi Dec 10, 2014 07:06 pm
Handi is my favorite Indian restaurant.
The food is excellent, and so are the two singers .
The head waiter took our order and served us too!!
It is nominated as the best Indian restaurant in Dubai!
Very strange it is not on your list
Prasad Jan 23, 2014 08:09 am
Q'S CUISINE NEAR LAMCY GIVES EXCELLENT GRILL FOOD.
NICE JUICY KEBABS, TIKKAS AND LAMB CHOPS!! A MUST TRY!!