Cheap as Chips: India Palace

An outing to the India Palace in Abu Dhabi.

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It's an old favourite for an above-par takeaway curry, and with good reason: the India Palace in Abu Dhabi always delivers on time, its awkward Salam Street location notwithstanding. But don't discount a visit to the restaurant itself: it is quirkily charming, lacking the cockroachy perils of so many other spots in the area.

Once you've negotiated the peculiar little trinkets stall, bypass the main dining room and head upstairs for one of the private booths, with their carved dark wood walls and a little bell for calling the waiter. Once ordered, the food comes thick and fast: all the usual dishes but just a touch better than you'd find in rival dining rooms.

The outstanding dishes are some of the classics: dahl tadhka (yellow dahl), jeera pulau (cumin rice), bhindi dopiaza (okra in a spiced tomato and onion sauce), kadai gosh (a fresh, light lamb curry) and succulent pieces of boneless tandoori chicken.

Add a crisp, refreshing mixed raitha to keep the heat down and you've got quite a spread, with plenty to take home afterwards - which makes the slightly-higher-than-usual bill of around Dh120 for two a lot more palatable. The Dubai branch, in Garhoud, is just as popular and just as enjoyable.