Dubai has emerged as a cosmopolitan city in recent times with an amalgamation of cultures. And with different cultures, comes a variety of food. In real sense, Dubai showcases foods from all around the world. From Mexican to British, Thai to Indian, African to Chinese, this city has got it all.
However, goes without saying, the biggest population of expatriates have a major dominance in the food business. Out of the 9.5 million people who live in the country, 90% of them are expatriates and the biggest expatriate population are Indians who comprise of almost 29% of the total country’s population and thus we have a clear winner for the food industry leader in the United Arab Emirates or Dubai, so to say. And of course, there is a huge variety of restaurants that cater to the market. From budget to premium, Indian food is available to all classes of society.
In this mini guide of Indian restaurants in Dubai, we have categorized the restaurants as Budget, Moderate & Premium, and have added some of our favorite restaurants serving Indian food in each category.
Let’s start with the budget category restaurants, but hey, just because these restaurants would not burn a hole in your pocket, doesn’t mean that they score any less on the food taste and hygiene.
1. Chaat Bazaar
A very modest place by the look, Chaat Bazaar can be easily overlooked if you are somewhere in 6A street in the neighborhood of Karama. However, what will catch your eye is the crowd on the sidewalk right outside this joint. This place arranges for temporary seating on the sidewalk in front of them throughout the evenings. However, it is a tough job to find a place to sit and eat on weekends.
Their menu specializes in a variety of Indian Chaats. From Mumbai’s Shev Puri to Delhi’s Dahi Bhalla, they have got it all and are very good and fast at it, thanks to the super-fast kitchen.
Right across the street is a joint with a similar menu called Mumbai Masti Juice Center. For some reason, they choose to be called a juice center, but their menu is way more elaborate than that. The positive point about this place is that they have huge outdoor as well as indoor seating areas, however, on weekends they are extremely understaffed to cater to a huge crowd that comes in. You may end up waiting for more than 30 minutes for orders which takes less than 5 minutes otherwise.
Cost for 2 people at both places – AED 50-75
Address – 6A street, Al Karama, Dubai.
2. Rasoi Ghar
Rasoi Ghar is an all you can eat vegetarian Thali system. Mostly Indians know what a Thali is but for those of you who don’t, a Thali is a food presentation setup popular in the states of Gujrat and Rajasthan and is hailed from the royal times, wherein several small bowls of different curries or savories are neatly placed in a typically large round main plate with a variety of bread or rice preparations at the center. All the dishes are unlimited. That’s right, you can take more than one servings of each item on the plate.
The concept of all you can eat is maintained by all Thali restaurants but we chose Rasoi Ghar as they do it with a twist. Firstly, their seating is not limited to tables and chairs. For the ones who like to, there is also traditional ground seating. Secondly, they have designed their Thali into three courses, appetizer, main course, and dessert, all of which are unlimited.
A tip for unlimited Thali is don’t fill yourself with the appetizers. Keep some space for the desserts. But only take servings when you can eat and try not to waste food. Goes without saying, there is always the warm hospitality which will make you feel at home whenever you visit them.
Cost – AED 50 per Thali
Address – Zainal Mohebi Plaza, Sheikh Zayed Bin Khalifa Road (D 88), Opposite Burjuman/Center-point, Bur Dubai, Dubai.
3. Sarvana Bhavan
Hands down the best vegetarian South Indian food chain in Dubai. Sarvana Bhavan restaurants hail from Chennai, India where it was started by its owners back in 1981 with a mere INR 5000/USD 50 capital then. Today the brand is worth over USD 400 million. Since its first restaurant in Dubai, there has been no looking back for the owners.
Today Sarvana Bhavan operates over 80 restaurants in over 20 countries worldwide and primarily caters South Indian expatriates who miss the taste of home and though they are worth millions, Sarvana Bhavan is still extremely rooted in their style, pricing, and super-fast kitchen. No matter how busy they are, you may not have to wait more than 10 minutes for your order to arrive at your table.
Must-tries here is the Ghee Roast Paper Masala Dosa as it is entertaining to watch this dosa arrive for someone who has never tried a paper dosa.
Cost for 2 people – AED 35-50
Address- 7 locations across Dubai. Lookup in Google Maps for the one nearest to you.
4. Yoko Sizzler
While the initial sizzler concept started in Japan as a Teppanyaki dish wherein the meat would be placed on a heated plate and the juice for the meat would make a sizzling sound, the Indian sizzlers had a different but similar concept.
Here, fully cooked food comprising rice, vegetables and choice of meat or homemade cottage cheese (Paneer cubes) would be placed on the hot plate on a wooden bed and a sauce poured on top which when came in contact with the hot plate would make the sizzling sound and emit loads of steam from the plate giving it a visual appeal.
For people who cannot eat spicy food, the Indian sizzler is a must-try.
In Dubai, Yoko Sizzlers is by far the most sought after Indian sizzlers with multiple sizzlers and sides options. We also love their garlic bread options which are worth a shot.
Cost for 2 people – AED 50-70
Address – 2 locations in Dubai. One in Bur Dubai and another in Al Nahdal.
1. Blue Burjeel Restaurant
Blue Burjeel restaurant in Bur Dubai can be debated for a budget to a moderate joint. However, we placed it under the moderate category because, with the Sheesha (Hookah), one may end up spending more than AED 150 easily. But let’s focus more on their location and food.
Blue Burjeel Restaurant is a casual place located right by the creek and has more outside seating than inside for obvious reasons, the waterfront view. They use the creekside walkway as their seating area and are extremely popular during winter as the temperature drops considerably due to the wind, but not to worry, they give out blankets in case you get cold. I could spend hours here smoking Sheesha and watch the Abras (small ferry boats) ferry people across the Dubai creek.
Their menu is quite cosmopolitan as they serve everything ranging from Italian to grills, Chinese, Arabic, Indian and Pakistani food. We’ve tried their Indian and Arabic food and must say that the chefs are quite at it. Also, their Sheeshas (Hookas) are very well-timed as they changed coals proactively.
Must try here are Dal Tadka, Chicken or Lamb Korma with Tandoori Roti.
Cost for 2 people – AED 150-200
Address – Bur Dubai, Near Abra (Small Ferry Boats) Station
2. Bhukkad Cafe
Heading back to the same location on 6A street, Al Karama where Chaat Bazaar and Mumbai Masti Juice Center are, we found another restaurant that has been interestingly conceptualized. Bhukkad Cafe stands out with their kitchen innovations and set the bar high for experimenting with Indian food and naming them with catchy phrases. For example, imagine a Dal Makhani Shot glass presented with a tucked Laccha Paratha.
And not only is the menu card designed interestingly, but Bhukkad Cafe has also worked on their restaurant interiors to complement the menu they serve. Catchy life phrases add to the experience and everything that arrives at your table will take you by surprise, at least for the first time.
FYI – We found the food quite spicy, hence, it is suggestible to inform the server about your spice tolerance.
Cost for 2 people – AED 125-150
Address – At the T junction on 6A Street, Al Karama, Adjacent Mumbai Masti Juice Centre, Dubai.
The Gazebo has made a prominent mark in the Indian food market in Dubai with 11 outlets running to full capacity and being extremely popular with Emiratis. Maybe for the fact that this chain of restaurants had been in the UAE for nearly 2 decades. Something we noticed during lunch hours is that Gazebo gets a lot of delivery orders and their Dum Biryanis are ordered by the hundreds.
Of course, we had to try it ourselves and find out why is it so famous. The bread sealed clay pot when cooked on simmer, traps, and blends the spice flavors so well that when the seal is opened, you will want to just smell the Biryani for a few minutes before devouring it. If you are in one of the shopping malls and you crave for some amazing Indian food, you will certainly find a Gazebo.
Must-tries here are their Kebabs and needless to emphasize, the Biryani selections.
Cost for 2 people – AED 150-200
Address – 11 locations in Dubai, look up Google Maps for the one closest to you.
Needless to say, the restaurants listed herein are par excellence. They stand out in every means and target the Cremé de La Cremé of the society. Indian food paired with fancy cocktails and luxury wines add to the experience. These places have a full bar available and may have a smart casual dress code. Check with the restaurant before your visit so you don’t end up embarrassing yourself.
Owned by the singing legend herself, Asha Bhosle set up her critically acclaimed restaurant back in 2002. Portraying her love for cooking and hosting guests, Asha Bhosle included her personal kitchen favorites into the menu apart from the traditional Indian food, introducing her guests to her sumptuous recipes.
Most people who are already familiar with her magical voice, come here to enjoy her magical recipes and if you ever get lucky, the legend might check on your experience herself. The ambiance is set up in a way to give an ode to Asha Bhosle’s legacy and background scores from her evergreen classics are played all night long
Must-tries here are the Biriyanis and Dal Makhani. Pair it with a bottle of wine and the food taste will linger in your mouth for quite some time.
Cost for 2 people – AED 300 and above, depending on your order.
Address – Pyramids by Wafi Mall, Oud Metha, Dubai.
2. Masti Bar & Lounge
Another great example of how creative one can get experimenting with Indian food and drinks is the Mast Bar & Lounge. A new addition to the list of Indian fine dining experiences, their cocktails come with some unusual twists.
Imagine a Bloody Mary funnily renamed as “Brinjal Snapper”, ingredients of which read as Gin+Organic Tomato Juice+Pickled Aubergine Jam+Indian Spices+Tomato Crisp+Balsamic Pearls. Gosh!! The very name makes me intrigued to try it at least once. Even the food is interestingly modified making Masti stand out on the list.
Located by the sea at La Mer, with both inside and outside seating Masti scores full points for the view and location, and even though it is very premium, every penny spent here will be worth it.
Cost for 2 people – AED 400 and above, depending on your order.
Address – La Mer, Jumeirah 1, Dubai.
3. Bar Baar
The name in the Hindi language translates to the phrase “again and again”, and time and again Bar Baar has lived up to its name. It makes people visit again and again. A very happening and lively pub extremely popular with the Indian expatriates in Dubai. A full bar and a wide selection of Indian street snacks presented with a twist are available to the visitors. Interiors have also been done tastefully to match the environment. What caught our eyes is the spanner shaped cutlery.
Bar Baar has Live performances throughout the week and is sure to keep you entertained every time you visit. Also on some days of the week, the have a selection of drinks priced at AED 10 each.
Cost for 2 people – AED 300 and above, again depending on your order.
Address – Majestic City Retreat Hotel, Mankhool Road, Mankhool, Dubai.
4. Masala Craft
This mini guide of Indian restaurants in Dubai would not be complete without Masala Craft. Located in the compound of Irish and Century Village, Masala Craft can be easily overlooked, however, it is big on food taste.
We loved their Malai Tikkas, Kashmiri Dum Aloo and the Hot Gulaab Jamun served on chilled Rabdi is to die for.
People love to seat outdoors during the winters and summers, it is fun to sit outside with the huge air coolers on. The whole of the century village offers Sheesha and Alcoholic beverages. They have live bands on weekends to attract young crowds.
Cost for 2 people – AED 300 and above with alcohol, depending on your order.
Address – Behind the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Stadium, Compound of Irish and Century Village, Al Garhoud, Dubai.
And last but certainly not the least, how could we not mention a dessert joint in a guide of Indian restaurants in Dubai. We will not recommend a conventional sweet shop or ice cream parlor. How about a Kulfi parlor?
The new hot favorite in Dubai, Kulfilicious is the one-stop destination to settle your kulfi cravings. It’s a very homely place and you could show up at midnight in your pajamas and would not get any judgmental stares.
The interiors depict that of a street-side kulfi stall and are a self-serve joint. Plenty of kulfi flavors available and if u feel like a Sundae, they have options for that too.
Cost for 2 people – A very modest AED20-40.
Address – 12 locations in Dubai, look up Google maps for the one closest to you.
There are way too many Indian restaurants in Dubai to cover all of them in this mini guide, which doesn’t mean their food is any less tasty. Below are a few more Indian restaurants with their brief location and are worth a shot:
- Bombay Bungalow – JBR The Walk, JBR
- Naya – Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Jumeirah
- Trèsind – Voco Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Trade Centre Area
- Barbeque Nation – Al Karama and Al Barsha
If you have been craving for some Indian cuisine, now you know where to go. Hope you enjoyed reading and our recommendation helped you make your choice for Indian food in Dubai. Bon Apetit !!
Ankita and Purnendu are Travel bloggers and the founders of TraVelStAcks blog. Purnendu is the Geeky one and Ankita is the Cheeky one. Together they have been to 25 countries on 5 continents and still counting. Their passion is to travel with a purpose to learn and inspire like-minded people.
Connect with them on their Instagram page.
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