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Where to find great Indian food in Dubai

You will often hear people enthusiastically declare that their favourite Indian restaurant serves the best food outside of India. Sometimes the admiration is justified, sometimes not. When it comes to Dubai, with its large community of Indian expats, many of whom have called the emirate home for generations, the boast is easily justified. In the majority of Indian restaurants in Dubai, the food isn’t just good – it is authentic. It’s not an exaggeration to state that it would be harder to find a bad Indian restaurant in Dubai than a good one. Whether you are looking to spend US$10 or US$300, finding great Indian food in Dubai is refreshingly easy.

One of the best ways to sample the diverse Indian food in Dubai is to explore the streets of Old Dubai: Deira, Bur Dubai and, in particular, Karama. Everywhere you go in the low-key, low-rise Karama neighbourhood you will find small, inexpensive establishments serving specialty dishes from whichever region of India the proprietors happen to hail – from Gujarati thali to Goan fish curry and everything in between.

One of the best is Urban Tadka. Visit in the early evening, just before sunset, and as Karama’s Indian expat community does, forgo a table in the restaurant in favour of the vegetarian chaat served at the counter on the street. Order a portion of panipuri and a couple of vada pav (a spicy deep-fried potato patty in a soft white bread roll) and eat standing up at one of the tables on the pavement.

Nearby Eric’s might look like a kitsch faux cottage from the outside, but its menu features some of the best Goan dishes in Dubai, and a meal for two will only set you back about US$25. For some reason known only to its owners, Eric’s also serves Thai and Chinese dishes, but don’t let that put you off.

If you want to enjoy a beer or a glass of wine with your meal, but you don’t want to bankrupt yourself, the northern Indian cuisine on offer at Antique Bazaar in the Four Points by Sheraton in Bur Dubai represents good value for money and provides traditional live entertainment.

If you want to treat yourself, there are three celebrity chefs’ restaurants that just about outstrip the rest of the high-end Indian eateries: Vineet Bhatia’s Indego by Vineet in Grosvenor House; Atul Kochhar’s Rang Mahal in the JW Marriott Marquis; and Sanjeev Kapoor’s Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor in the Meliá Dubai.


Written by Gareth Rees

Image credits:

Indian food © Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor, Melia Dubai

Indego by Vineet terrace © Indego by Vineet

Rang Mahal by Atul Kochhar © Rang Mahal by Atul Kochhar