Given that Indians are a vast majority in the Emirates, Indian food has a special place in Dubai’s culinary scene. Dishes from Indian regional cuisines find a place of prominence in many multi-cuisine restaurants. Depending on the depth of your pocket, you could be dining at some of the fanciest Indian restaurants in the world by celebrity chefs or snacking off the ever-present shawarma from a kiosk on the street. When you’re craving for Indian food, take your pick from these restaurants.
Go to Ashiana for the superlative Awadhi-style dum biryani. Presentation of northern Indian fare is brilliant: dum biryani is cooked in a sealed pot, elegantly perfuming the meat. An added incentive is the succulent kakori kebab. Sophisticated, complex curries justify the prices, as does the solicitous service.
Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers, Baniyas Road
This little eatery serves a delectable mutton rogan josh, with chicken tikka and prawn biryani adding to its culinary appeal. The food, however, is not as spicy as the name suggests.
This is a super-friendly all-vegetarian Indian restaurant where the chefs shun onion and garlic. Dishes to try include the velvety paneer makhanwala and the rich dal makhani. Do save room for the homemade ice cream from the attached parlour.
Come here for Aryaa’s special thali. Do not miss the five feet dosa served with six varieties of chutney.
Khaleed Bin Al-Waleed Road
This little shop with one table has just one item on its menu: parathas. Do not miss the chilli-milli paratha, which, as you guessed is stuffed with chillies. Every paratha is served with a bowl of dal – although you may not want so much of that.
As the name suggests, this has the traditional Indian snack fare with a modern touch. The best stuff here includes vada pav and pani-puri. A good, notso- pricey place to hang out with family and friends.
You can identify this restaurant by the serpentine queue of food lovers waiting to get in. The main focus here is Kerala cuisine: biryani, kozivarautharichatu (spicy chicken) and crab pepper fry. Fish dishes are also great, the portions large and prices to suit the budget traveller.
The hotel lobby setting does not impress and neither does the decor, but the food, is well worth the trip. It is run by Hafeez and Hasib Qureshi, whose family traces its gastro lineage to the kitchens of the Mughal emperors. Tuck into toothsome kebabs and fluffy biryanis as ghazal singers croon smoothly in the background.
Movenpick Hotel, 19 Street, Oud Metha Area
The wood-and-stone dining room glows by candlelight at this tapas-style contemporary Indian eatery. The tandoori specialities are perfectly executed (fantastic skewered roasted prawns), as are classics like murgh tikka, perfect for sopping up with fresh-from-the-oven bread. Sit at the open kitchen’s counter and watch the chefs’ theatrics, especially the way the roomali roti is tossed up in the air and caught gracefully.
Grand Hyatt Dubai; Sheikh Rashid Rd
Asha’s packs a see-and be-seen crowd of rich Indian expats with ethnic-fusion music playing in the background. The menu focuses on contemporary northwest frontier cuisine, which translates into such palate teasers as spicy ginger-garlic marinated prawns and muscat gosht (tomato and butter-braised spicy lamb) – both personal recipes of singer Asha Bhosle, after whom the restaurant is named. It’s a fabulous place to party; if the tots are tagging along, they’ve even got their own little play area with qualified baby-sitters.