Ten Indian restaurants that opened in the UAE this year, from Aamara to Zafran

Three celebrity chefs from the country also opened venues in Dubai in 2023

Rohini, the sister property of Little Miss India, opened in JLT in October. Photo: Movenpick Jumeirah Lakes Towers
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The UAE is a melting pot of culture when it comes to cuisines, but among the most popular – yet perhaps most difficult to pin down – is Indian food.

Each time a restaurant serving the cuisine opens in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, the term “diversity” pops up. Which is fair because the South Asian country can't be homogenised in terms of its geography and culture – from the landlocked wonders of North India to the glistening coastal appeal of the South.

Several new restaurants have tried to capture that diversity this year, from fine dining spots in five-star hotels to casual venues in more modest neighbourhoods. Here are 10 to sample.


Aamara, by Passion F&B, the group behind Michelin-starred restaurants Tresind Studio and Avatara, opened in January.

The restaurant, which offers Indian cuisine with Middle Eastern influences, was included in the Michelin Guide's Bib Gourmand category about six months after it opened.

The fine-dining restaurant, located inside Voco Hotel along Sheikh Zayed Road, takes diners on a culinary journey along the Silk Road, the ancient trading route linking the Far East to the Mediterranean region. A chef's tasting menu is available to book, while guests can also order a la carte.

Five to try: Crispy okra with Turkish yoghurt; chicken shawarma kulcha with lemon aioli; ratatouille samosa; Wagyu boti kebab; and paneer moussaka.

Daily, noon-11.30pm; Voco Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road; 052 573 5723

Atrangi by Ritu Dalmia

The Indian restaurant by Ritu Dalmia opened at Jumeirah Al Qasr in August. The prolific chef helms Delhi’s famed Diva restaurant and owns 10 venues between India and Italy.

At Atrangi, she aims to provide a distinctive twist on Indian cuisine, by tapping into the country’s diverse roots even while harnessing her expertise in simple, quality-focused Italian cooking.

As Dalmia told The National: “What's interesting about Indian cooking is the amount of spices available to us, but the real challenge is to use them intelligently. I don't want to prove how clever I am by using 50 different spices, but rather I want to use one spice that will stand out, and make people really taste what they are eating.”

Five to try: Kappa meen fish curry with tapioca; duck galawati; pickled doodhi carpaccio; chole bhature; and Awadhi mutton biryani.

Daily, noon-3pm and 7pm-11.30pm; Jumeirah Al Qasr, Dubai; 800 623 4628

Eva’s Fusion

The Millennium Place restaurant, which opened in October, offers both traditional and fusion dishes inspired by the rather expansive Indian cuisine, and puts a creative spin on signature items from the country's north, south and east.

On the menu are one-off items such as butter chicken soup, Indo-Mexican nachos and mustard-infused salmon tikka; plus authentic Indian fare such as daal makhani, lamb rogan josh and coconut shrimp curry.

Daily, noon-2am; Barsha Heights; 04 875 0115

KashKan by Ranveer Brar

Indian celebrity chef Ranveer Brar wants to strip back the “outlandish” glamour of high-end restaurants and take diners at his new Dubai venue, which opened in August, back to basics with honest – and really good – food.

Brar's menu highlights authentic flavours in a bid to veer away from serving “stereotypical food that people usually expect in Indian restaurants”.

Five to try: Warm hibiscus rasam soup; crispy kale chaat; Nagaland black sesame chicken; Nizami tarkari biryani; and 24k gold daal.

Monday to Thursday, noon-11pm; Friday to Sunday, noon-midnight; Dubai Festival City Mall; 055 129 1646


Replacing the La Mer location that closed last September, home-grown restaurant Masti made a comeback in February, this time at The Dubai Edition.

While the restaurant counts Hari Nayak (who teamed up with Priyanka Chopra for her New York restaurant Sona) as one of its founding chefs, arguably it’s Prashant Chipkar who adds the culinary magic to Masti with his fusion dishes.

Five to try: Watermelon bhakri; tuna bhel tartare; tandoori chicken bao; ghee roast bone marrow; and beef vindaloo.

Monday to Thursday, 5.30pm-1am; Friday to Saturday, 12.30pm-2am; Sunday, 12.30pm-1am; Downtown Dubai; mastidubai.com

Meghana Foods

“Biryani is an emotion.” That is the motto of Meghana, a popular Hyderabadi restaurant from Bengaluru that opened its first UAE outpost in Karama in May.

The menu encompasses Andhra-style food, so expect flavourful, spicy fare, and make room for a nap afterwards.

Five to try: Chicken 65, curd rice; egg curry; Hyderabadi biryani; and shahi tukda.

Daily, noon-midnight; Karama, Dubai; 04 368 7771


As its name suggests, Pahadi, which opened in October, is inspired by the cuisine of mountain dwellers. It serves dishes from north and north-east India, including Kashmir, Manali, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Shillong, all flavoured with pahadi spices and home-made ghee.

Its rustic interior is designed to resemble an alpine chalet and, perhaps best of all, this Bur Dubai restaurant is open 24/7.

Five to try: Saffron rice; yak meat; river trout; black daal; and fermented vegetables with rhododendron honey.

Daily, open 24/7; Majestic Premier Hotel Bur Dubai; 052 326 9781

Pincode by Kunal Kapur

Launched in April, the Indian restaurant in Dubai Hills Mall is the brainchild of celebrity chef Kunal Kapur, who appeared in the Indian franchise of MasterChef.

The name of the restaurant is inspired by India's expansive food offerings. Every area of the country is represented by a six-digit code in the Indian postal system, and every one of these zones and districts has something of its own to offer.

The concept also alludes to Kapur's childhood, when he was exposed to his father's and grandfather's cooking. Every dish has a story, and Kapur aims to offer those that bring back old or make new culinary memories.

Five to try: Chaat hummus served with baked namak; yoghurt kebab; creamy spinach with burrata and pickled onion; fox nut kofta; and lamb shank nihari.


Rohini, which opened in foodie hub JLT in October, is the sister property of Michelin-lauded restaurant Little Miss India in Fairmont The Palm.

The maximalist decor takes in plush Chesterfield-style seating, bonsai elements and ethnic artworks in funky frames.

Five to try: Khasta palak; paya yakhni shorba; raan-e-Musallam; hariyali prawns; and saffron-infused shahi tukdawith scented sugar syrup and rabdi.

Daily, noon-1am; Movenpick Jumeirah Lakes Towers; 04 438 0064

Zafran Indian Kitchen

The Landmark Group's home-grown Indian brand opened at Dubai Hills Mall in December, specialising in dishes from West and North India.

Five to try: Mahi Samarkand; palak chaat, prawns lazeez, Rampuri royal lamb shanks; and chicken tikka biryani.

Open weekdays, noon-11pm; weekends, noon-midnight; Dubai Hills Mall; 054 994 2435

Updated: January 25, 2024, 6:59 AM