Atrangi by Ritu Dalmia review: An Indian oasis in the heart of Dubai

Celebrated international chef makes impressive UAE debut

Poda mangsho
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Dubai’s dining scene is as diverse as it is tantalising, and there aren’t many better examples of this than the emirate’s impressive catalogue of Indian restaurants.

With Michelin-starred Tresind Studio coming second on the Mena’s Best 50 Restaurants list, competition is fierce, but new kid on the block Atrangi by Ritu Dalmia does more than stake a claim to be among the best.

Having opened in the summer, the Madinat Jumeirah venue offers an escape from the bright city lights while remaining only a seven-minute drive from Burj Al Arab.

It requires an abra ride through the Jumeirah Al Qasr lagoon to reach this new gastronomic haven – away from the cityscape that’s made Dubai famous, placing you in a chic-but-subtle restaurant that immediately gives you that ever-craved out-of-office state of mind.

Where to sit and what to expect

With its distinctively Ottoman-style architecture, the venue has a wonderfully authentic feel, paying homage to the Middle East’s rich heritage.

Views of palm trees and the lagoon’s glistening waterways might make you feel as though you’re dining at a secluded island retreat in the Indian Ocean, rather than minutes away from a sprawling 21st century metropolis.

My dining partner and I are welcomed off the abra jetty, already enchanted by the setting we find ourselves in, and are directed to the restaurant’s outdoor seating area.

It doesn’t disappoint. Subtle lighting illuminates the Arabic-themed decor, with high-backed tables and chairs complemented by exquisite views of the water.

The aesthetic is completed by a mix of old and new only Dubai can pull off, with the traditional architecture overlooked by the unmissable presence of Burj Al Arab.

So far, Atrangi by Ritu Dalmia ticks every box. Now on to the main event of the evening …

The menu

Featuring an array of dishes from across India, Atrangi’s menu is an eclectic mix of home comforts and playful fusions, keeping to Chef Dalmia’s core philosophy of avoiding “frills and fancy”.

My dining companion and I opt for the restaurant’s tasting menu, where you have the option of either five or seven courses – all of which are inspired by “food cooked by mothers and grandmothers” across India.

To start with, we’re treated to the crab and prawn thetcha khakhra. Here, butter-poached prawns are served with crabmeat on a crisp cracker and a chutney made with roasted peanuts, chilli and garlic. It’s the perfect start to the dining experience, with the spices subtle enough to not be overbearing but the intricacy of the flavour giving it the edge that announces you’re in for a treat.

Next up, it’s the beef sukka, which turns up the heat as it is cooked with dried red chillies and tempered curry leaves. Served with a roesti to give it that crunch, it is one for the more adventurous diner. The beef is as succulent as it is flavourful, and my taste buds are now well on their way to India’s finest culinary offerings.

The kesar tandoori prawns are up next, a familiar favourite bound to go down well with any lover of Indian food. It’s chargrilled, which beautifully complements the juicy freshness of the prawn and is served with poached pear and cardamom. We can't get enough of it. Delicious.

The largest course features a combination of poda mangsho, butter chicken and dal makhani, served with a selection of whole wheat breads. This is an exquisite demonstration of one of the greatest aspects of eating Indian food: variety. Poda mangsho is a Bengali mutton curry served with pumpkin stew. This, alongside the staple chicken and lentil dishes, guarantees a delight for your taste buds all on one plate.

Last, but certainly not least, is the filter kaapi caramel custard for dessert. On this, my dining partner and I agree that there aren’t many better ways to finish a good meal – with the coffee cream custard, served alongside hazelnut and dark chocolate ganache, acting simultaneously as a palate cleanser and perfect sweet conclusion.

A chat with the chef

Having started her culinary journey in 1993, Chef Dalmia has been in the industry she loves for more than 30 years, running and owning restaurants in London, New Delhi, Goa, Mumbai, Milan and now Dubai.

“I’ve been with the restaurant right from the start. It does have my name on the door,” she says with a smile.

She describes her cooking style as “very simplistic, without any frills and fancy”, explaining that she has “played with techniques and gizmos” but that “honest cooking” is the way to win any cafe over and truly show her skill.

She lightheartedly recalls when the siphon – a tool used to pressurise liquids, typically to create foams and froths – first really broke through on to the dining scene. “I still remember when the siphon got introduced, everything I did was foam of something,” she says.

“But, for me, what is most important is getting clean flavours without them being masked by all the techniques.”

And there’s a defining ingredient to her cooking, as she professes her love for pumpkins and “every vegetable from its family”.

“In Atrangi, we have an amazing potato and pumpkin curry with a very special five-spice mix from the east of India,” she says. “If I had my way, every second dish would have pumpkin in it.”

For vegetarians, Dalmia recommends the corn kees and kadhi samosa, while her choice for meat lovers is the duck galawati to start followed by the Kashmiri lamb kabargah.

She says seafood lovers have to have the crab prawn thetcha as a starter, followed by the Goan hooman curry.

As for dessert, it’s an easy choice for the chef, who opts for the “one and only” jalebi – a traditional South Asian sweet made from deep-fried maida flour and cut into circular shapes that are then soaked in sugar syrup.

Price point and contact information

Small plates range from Dh45 to Dh100 and big plates from Dh70 to Dh180. The five-course tasting menu is available for Dh440, while it costs Dh630 for seven courses.

Atrangi by Ritu Dalmia is open daily from 12pm-3pm and 7pm-11.30pm. Reservations can be made by calling 055 168 0802 or visiting

This review was conducted at the invitation of the restaurant

Updated: March 22, 2024, 6:02 PM