Best Indian food in Abu Dhabi

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There is nothing on Earth quite like the taste of the perfect curry. Fiery or creamy, peppery or buttery, whatever your preference, we’ve done some thorough investigating to bring you all you need to know about the Indian food scene in Abu Dhabi. Want to make your own? Read cooking tips from an award-winning chef. Rather have someone else do the work? Well then, peruse our list of the tastiest dishes in the capital’s restaurants. We hope you’re hungry...

Indigo’s garlic naan
No curry is complete without some carbs, and Indigo’s garlic naan makes the perfect vehicle for a healthy dollop of whichever dish takes your fancy. We’ve chewed through our fair share of soggy, greasy naan, and it’s a relief to find somewhere that gets it just right. Crisp and charred around the edges, the bread at Indigo is peppered with sweet and pungent garlic chunks and is free from the oil slick that often accompanies this bread. Delicious.
Dhs14. Beach Rotana (02 697 9000).

Ruchi’s butter chicken
Butter chicken is one of the city’s most popular dishes, and one that this small backstreet eatery gets just right. Ruchi’s take comprises rich, thick and creamy sauce with a tantalising sweetness that’s balanced with just the right amount of spice. The chicken is shredded, so the charred, smokey flavours permeate the curry, giving it a rich, warming depth. Perfect scooped up with a big piece of crispy naan.
Dhs18. Off Hamdan Street (02 679 5679).

India Palace’s daal makhani
One of the most basic, simple (and usually cheapest) dishes in Indian cuisine, daal can sometime taste a little uninspired. But India Palace’s daal makhani is souped up to the extreme. It’s made with black lentils and simmered overnight on a low heat, before being mixed with butter and cream to create a flavour that is earthy, rich and indulgent.
Dhs18. Al Salam Street (02 644 8777).

Ushna’s jhinga biryani
You don’t get to call yourself the greatest Indian restaurant in the city without first nailing the basics, and though we’re fans of Ushna’s more creative dishes, their prawn biryani simply has to be tasted to be believed. The intense aroma that wafts into your face as it’s placed before you is all thanks to a thin, pie-like topping of bread that’s placed on top of the dish while it bakes, sealing in the magic. Drizzle that bad boy with raita, make sure there’s no one looking, then gorge like it’s your last meal on death row.
Dhs95. Souk Qaryat Al Beri (02 558 1769).

Kababs & Kurries’ lunchtime thali
For those unfamiliar with the concept of the Indian thali, think of it as a bit like a Christmas selection box, except that, instead of Curly Wurlies and Chomps and those horrible hazelnut ones that you never eat, you get several small samples of traditional Indian dishes. At K&K, this involves a serving of tender grilled kebab, three different curries, raita, salad, rice, naan and gulab jamun. It’s a satisfying spread and, unlike so mamny other, pricier Indian meals in the city, the spices are bang on, sending us back to our desks with warmth in our bellies and a fiery glow in our mouths.
Dhs40 (vegetarian), Dhs55 (meat), Dhs65 (seafood). Noon-4pm only Souk at Central Market (02 628 2522).

Moti Mahal’s tandoori chicken
Lay claim to having invented one of the most ubiquitous Indian dishes on Earth and you had best be able to serve up a bulletproof rendition of it every single time. Sure enough, even though it only claims the creative rights via its Delhi-based sister restaurant, Moti Mahal has its tandoori chicken recipe down to a fine art, resulting in tender, bright red flesh that requires only the slightest tickle of cutlery to separate from the bone. Though we sense it may be a tad uncouth, we like wrapping big chunks of the meat in naan bread with cucumber and a splat of mango chutney. Aren’t we just awful?
Dhs28. Behind Salam Street (02 674 2121).

Angar’s gulab jamun
India’s favourite sweet treat may be a simple beast, but it’s still surprisingly easy to get wrong. Thankfully, the chef at Yas Island’s best curry house knows his desserts better than most, and, in teaming spot-on syrup with perfectly spongy dough, is capable of reducing burly men to tears of joy. Okay, so it’s not too heavy on authenticity (you’re unlikely to catch a street vendor in Mumbai sprinkling theirs with gold leaf), but you simply can’t argue with a side dollop of rich, decadent fig and ginger ice cream. You just can’t.
Dhs38. The Yas Hotel (02 656 0000).

Foodlands’ palak paneer
There are many ways to go wrong with Palak Paneer (watery sauce, overdoing it on the cream, not enough chilli, a lurid shade of green – we’ve eaten ’em all) But Foodlands’ version is flawless. The thick gravy has a slow, tummy-warming afterburn, and the chunks of cheese are soft and satisfying. One of India’s best vegetarian dishes, cooked to perfection.
Dhs22. Airport Road (02 633 0099).

Sharda Vegetarian Restaurant’s Vegetable curry
Vegetarians, or those who are looking for a break from heavy, meaty curries, would do well to sample Sharda’s offerings. The vast menu has every possible combination, but start out with our favourite – the simple veg curry. Packed with more greenery than you can shake a stick at, and coated with a creamy sauce, it makes a light but filling meal. Spice-lovers will be pleased to find the curry packing some heat, but not enough to overpower the delicate flavours of the vegetables. Perfection.
Dhs12. Behind ADNIC, Khalifa Street (02 627 3825).

By Time Out Abu Dhabi staff
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

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