Here are 29 states in India and over fifty percent of expats in the UAE come from there. So, clearly it indicates two things: there is no dearth of Indian restaurants here and second, the restaurants offer different flavours thanks to the country’s culinary diversity much like its well-known diverse culture. From the mountains of Jammu & Kashmir (North) to the backwaters of Kerala (South) and from coastal areas of Goa (West) to rainforests of Assam (East) Indian cuisines’ diversity is a great mish-mash of different colonisation eras, and influence of neighbouring countries and of course its own vast rich food history.
If in case, Indian cuisine only means curries, spices and fried food to you, let us take you on a gastronomic joyride breaking down the Indian restaurants in Dubai region wise- North, South, East & West to help you explore Indian cuisine beyond butter chicken, biryani and samosa.
We know you love butter chicken made with lots of butter and effort , however Amritsari kulcha, chole bhature, Kashmiri rogan josh, Rajasthani dal-bati churma, and old Delhi mughlai kabab are a few other delectable dishes that North Indian cuisine has to offer. North Indians also love dairy, no traditional meal is served without milk-based desserts like kheer, kulfi.
Khyber - DUKES Dubai Oceana
Khyber in British hotel Dukes Dubai is a perfect round up of North Indian dishes. The menu highlights include starters- chicken, vegetarian and lamb kabab platters; curries- butter chicken, murg methi (shredded chicken cooked with fenugreek leaves), rogan josh (slow cooked lamb with spices and special Kashmiri red chili), and an array of vegetarian dishes - bhindi masala (ladyfingers), palak paneer (spinach & cottage cheese), baigan bhartha (eggplant), shahi kofta (cottage cheese dumplings with creamy gravy), dal makhni (black lentils) and dal tadka (yellow lentils), and desserts- gulab jamun (golden dumplings) and matka kulfi. We love the way, this fine dining restaurant has kept the menu so close to North Indian cuisine barring few dishes here and there classifying itself as an authentic North Indian restaurant.
Go to this affordable Punjabi restaurant to try some authentic Amritsari kulcha. Though many cannot differentiate between Amritsari kulcha (stuffed Indian bread) and stuffed naan, however the former always wins over the latter. Kulcha King, located at multiple locations in Dubai serves kulchas with a bowl of chickpea masala and chutney. The combination is hard to beat for Dhs 15. You have options of different stuffings, the most famous ones are gobhi (cauliflower), aloo (potato), onion and mixed stuffed kulchas. This restaurant surely deserves a visit and it is totally worth it. Call 800-585242.
Mughal e Azam
Mughal e Azam is an authentic mughlai restaurant which takes you through a culinary journey of Old Delhi channeling the essence of North Indian flavours and exquisite dishes. The fine dining restaurant brings to its menu a perfect balance of an authentic taste, flavour, texture and preparation which trace their origins back almost two centuries ago to royal kitchens. This hidden gem in Discovery Gardens is the home to the best mutton seekh kababs, Lucknowi galauti kabab, and chicken kali mirch tikka. Call 04-3684280.
The western region of India includes the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Goa. Gujarat’s cuisine is famous for its vegetarian thaalis (a big plate) which consist of as many as 10 different vegetable dishes, farsan (snacks), rice, chapati (Indian bread) and sweets. In Maharashtra, the coastal areas are famous for malvani & saoji cuisine (fresh coconut-based hot and sour curries with fish and seafood) while the inland areas are famous for vidharba cuisine cooked with a lot of dry coconut. Goa is a haven for fresh fish and seafood. Famous dishes are vindaloo and xacuti. Peanuts and coconut are important ingredients as they are freely available.
This hidden gem in Karama is probably the best purveyor of Goan cuisine in Dubai. The food is cooked with authentic local Goan spices and the menu highlights include rawa prawns, crispy baby corn, the chicken xacuti, the Goan prawn curry, pan fried fish. The menu includes dishes out of Goan cusine as well and believe us the butter chicken is better than many North Indian restaurants here. Call 04 3965080.
Located in Karama, this popular Indian restaurant serves authentic flavours of Gujarat, Kathiyawad and Rajasthan. As we mentioned, the region is famous for its thali culture, Rasoi Ghar serves different thali seven days a week. The thali consists of starters, vegetables, curries served with rice and bread and a variety of sweets. And, the food is unlimited for Dhs 40/45. You can always call the restaurant and ask what food they will be serving in thali on that particular day.
A legacy of wholesome Maharashtrian food is the whole essence of Peshwa. This is the only restaurant in Dubai which serves authentic Maharashtrian cuisine. The menu highlights include solkadi (kokum extracts mixed with fresh coconut milk and lightly flavoured with green chillies and garlic.), sabudana khichdi (shallow fried sago with freshly ground roasted peanuts), vada pav (potato dumplings), misal pav (dish of spicy gravy and sprouts, topped with gram flour crisps), malvani tikka, prawn tikka, matki usal, daal methi (lentils with fenugreek leaves), chicken saoji, chicken malvani and more. Call 04-3795520.
The region of East India includes the states of Sikkim, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram, West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Tripura and Orissa. The vast region comprises of beaches, mountain ranges and ‘Chirranpunji, the city with the highest rainfall in the world. People eat lots of rice, fruit and vegetables as the weather allows ample production. Some popular dishes are momos (steamed, meat- or vegetable-filled wontons). machcher jhol (fish curry), and jhaal-muri (a spicy snack made with puffed rice and mustard oil), and kathi rolls. Famous for its sweet treats, the popular ones are sandesh (made of paneer and sugar) and rasgolla (dumplings in syrup).
Located in Karama, you can find momos (dumplings), inspired from China, at Yalla Momos. This tiny shop in Karama offers an array of flavours such as chicken, mushroom, spinach and more. Call 04-3852233.
DG Kolkata Kitchen
This little hidden gem in Business Bay is a haven of Bengali food. The ambience is casual and the food is brimming with some authentic mouth-watering East Indian flavours. Some of the most favourite dishes include fish fry with kasundhi, the chicken bharta with rumali roti, luchi dal, aloo dum, matar kachori, aloo bhaja, and rasgolla and sandesh in desserts. The Bengali hit playlist turns the ambience into a nostalgic one. Call 04-4298831.
Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala are the South Indian states offering the spiciest food. Coconut oil is most commonly used for cooking and important spices and ingredients are curry leaves, mustard, asafoetida, pepper and peppercorns, tamarind, chillies and fenugreek seeds. Tamil Nadu is famous for its very spicy chettinad cuisine and is globally known for dosas, uthapam and vada, Kerala for malabari cuisine with a variety of sea food and Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh) for nizami cuisine with nuts, dried fruits and exotic, expensive spices like saffron and Karnataka for bisi bele bhaat (lentil rice) and vangibath (fried aubergine rice) and sea food.
If you are looking for an authentic Hyderabadi biryani taste, you must visit Golconda Paradise restaurant in Al Nahda and Oud Mehta. It offers authentic Hyderabadi cuisine with delicious signature dishes made to perfection. Golconda Paradise restaurant has brought back the original Hyderabadi taste for the lovers of Hyderabadi food, especially "Kachchi Aqni ki Dum ki Biryani". Call 04-3979597.
Sangeetha Vegetarian restaurant
Stuff yourself with generous Chennai thali with at least 10 dishes or a quick Tamil meal of lemon rice, sambhar rice or curd rice. The menu highlights include chettinad mini tiffin, which comprises special vadas, idlis and sweets. The place is strictly vegetarian, and is one of the most popular Tamilian restaurants among Tamilian expats. Call 04-3367111.
Malabari cuisine consists of sea food cooked in local spices and is served on banana leaf. Calicut Paragon offers delicious crab dry fry and prawn pepper dry fry. Other highlights include pearl fish cooked with traditional spices, chicken varattiyathu, malabar chicken curry, fish mango curry. Order a few appams (hoppers) on the side. The dessert menu includes delicious tender coconut pudding.
MTR (Mavalli Tiffin Rooms) has been serving authentic Karnataka and South India cuisine since 1924. Its entry to Dubai made headlines amongst Indian expats for obvious reasons. The menu highlight includes vada, idly sambar, poori sagu, bisibelle bath (lentil rice), chow chow bath, lunch and dinner platters and a variety of dosas. Call 04-3275909.