Zabeel Saray’s Indian restaurant ticks all the right boxes Reviews

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Could the Palm’s West Crescent be Dubai’s answer to the Champs-Élysées, King’s Road or Sunset Boulevard? ‘West Crescent’, after all, has a nice ring to it, and once all the high-end hotels finally open it will surely be the most salubrious street in the city. That said, many of the hotels that line this prime piece of real estate appear to be ignoring Dubai’s recent dabble with understated class – many are big, brash and over the top. But isn’t this why we love Dubai?

The Zabeel Saray, the second hotel to open on the boulevard of dreams, brings with it a host of restaurants specialising in all colours of cuisine, from Indian to Turkish to Franco-Vietnamese. While we wait for the new Al Nafoorah and Voi to open their doors, I decided to content myself with a visit to Amala. A vowel away from Amal at the Armani Hotel, Amala tries its hand at high-end Indian food; I’ll skip the requisite rant about my feelings on high-end Indian dining, and focus on the facts.

Fact one: Amala, refreshingly, doesn’t feel like a spa when you first walk in (think Indego by Vineet). Despite being brand-spanking new and virtually empty on the day we visited, it’s ever-so Indian. The regal creams and golds of the seating contrast nicely with the rangoli-inspired tiles that covers both floor and walls, while ornate wrought-iron lamps hang from the ceiling. Yes, it’s over the top, but it works.

Fact two: though the decor may be elaborate, the process of ordering is infinitely more straightforward – for a set price of Dhs225, my date and I were able to order as much from the menu as we wanted. We asked if this was a temporary deal. As far as the waiter knew, it was not. We were hungry, ergo happy, and asked him to bring out as many of the chef’s recommendations as he could, until we could eat no more.

First came the murgh kathi kebab, a delightful combination of roomali roti, chicken, mushroom and pickled mango. We were then treated to the tawa kanagoora – pan-fried scallops seasoned with cumin and coriander. We enjoyed these so much that we ordered a second portion, but not before the onset of a main course of till jingla (sesame prawns each served on their own miniature barbecue), machli masala (a fish curry brought to life with mustard seeds, and tempered with fresh coconut), tandoori chicken (‘It’s butter chicken,’ the waiter sweetly informed me), black lentil dahl, karyee lamb chops with cumin and green mango paste… A generous spread if ever I saw one and, considering the high-end environs, not bad value.

So what’s the catch? Well, one caveat is that you can’t spend less than Dhs450 on a meal for two, but this is a pretty reasonable price considering Amala is set in a high-end hotel. The service was also a little over-attentive (I ended up having to politely ask the waiter to leave us alone), but I put this down to the fact that we were the only diners in the restaurant.

My last quibble, and I promise it’s my last, is an age-old lament I have with so much Indian food I eat here in Dubai: the food at Amala is prepared with love and care by competent (dare I say talented) chefs, though many of the flavours have been dulled for the palates of the undiscerning masses. If the chef had free range to do as he pleased, then things might get interesting at Amala. As it stands, we have a good restaurant on Dubai’s West Crescent, just not a great one.

The bill (for two)
All-you-can-eat à la carte menu (per person) Dhs225
Total (excluding service) Dhs450

By Oliver Robinson
Time Out Dubai,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.


  • Location: Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
  • Tel: 04 453 0444
  • Travel: The Crescent (West), Palm Jumeirah
  • Website | Send mail

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Amala On The Map

User reviews

  • Users voted this restaurant most suitable for: Family friendly

User reviews:

Posted by: Ahmed on 20 Apr ' 15 at 12:15
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Bought a voucher and was somewhat sceptical/apprehensive about using it (previous experiences were okay) coupled with the fact that I was taking my younger sister there to try the Thali. My misgivings were totally mistaken, the afternoon that I spent at Amala last weekend was outstanding. The service was attentive without being intrusive and the food was heavenly. The setting on the terrace was beautiful, overlooking the gardens and the beach beyond. There were other families with younger children seated nearby and the staff accomodated everyone alike. I wouldn't hesitate in nomintaing this restaurant for a Time Out Best Indian Restaurant Award it deserves 5 out of 5 in every category - my sister and I were overwhelmed by the surroundings, the taste (highly recommend the butter chicken) and the generosity of the staff in explaining the concept of the thali and patiently listening to our requests. Will definitely visit again. Thank you for a superb afternoon.

Posted by: venki on 17 Nov ' 13 at 04:28
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

We visited this please second time around based on our earlier experience, but the experience was bitter, food quality was pathetic .

Posted by: Adnan on 25 Dec ' 12 at 16:37

I called up the restaurant to inquire about the Amala Restuarant for the 31, December and the person who picked up the phone bluntly answered that Amala Restaurant is not operational for new years!! I questioned if it was sold out, he again said no they are not operational on that day.
WoW Then why mention about Amala New Years Events here!!

Posted by: Siddharth on 20 May ' 12 at 10:03
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Continuing the reviews as below...Amala is highly recommended for the first time visitor..innovative concept, excellent food choice (and taste), classy decor and an endless menu, spiced up by brilliant service and a jovial & ready to assist manager/staff..

all in all, a must go.

Posted by: Rishi on 02 May ' 12 at 02:53
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

amazing food! brilliant service. very personal ambience.
and i repeat... the food is outstanding!!

Posted by: Sally-Anne Gerull on 01 Aug ' 11 at 03:12
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Ate here in June with a group of friends, its a great restaurant and the food is fabulous and is great value for money at 225 AED pp. The service was very attentive and the food was plentiful and very tasty with plenty of different options including lots of seafood. Will definitely be back.

Posted by: Govind Rao on 29 May ' 11 at 07:13
  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Being a restauranteur myself (Sydney) I am usually conservative in my comments. But I will rate Rate Amala as AAA (Amazing, Awesome Authentic)
The food is just great with the right blend of flavour and spice and easy on the palate. The service impeccable and unobstrusive. They have a fine selection of wines and cocktails.The ambience classy, if some what moorish for an Indian restaurant. But you feel very much at home in the restaurant. The outside terrace area is also very inviting but clearly designed for cooler months.
The menu is a hybrid between a buffet and an al la carte and is very unique. Surely it offers value for money with all you can order of the menu for a set charge of DHS 225.

This is a place I am definitely going to. PS do try the thyme and honey margarita.....refreshing and different just like the restaurant.

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