1. Bombay Bungalow
The highly-instagramable restaurant in JBR is serving a vegetarian and non-vegetarian sharing menu for Diwali that’s as vibrant, colourful and authentic as it’s ambience. Fusion food lovers will enjoy the marriage of cuisines in burrata butter chicken, and clever starters such as guac pani puri, but the three-course menus also trail off down the aisle of time-honoured hits and serve up favourites such as dal makhana, tilwali aloo, palak paneer, mutton rogan josh, keema rice, saffron pepper paneer tikka and biryanis. The dessert platter takes things right out of the box once again with successful synthesis of Indian and foreign flavours in syrupy sweetness of gulab jamun carpacio brulee, the sublimely sweet coconut rasmalai, and the hot-and-cold magic of mango kulfi & gulab jamun. Until November 10; Non-veg menu Dh250 per couple and veg menu Dh200 per couple; from 12pm-11.30pm. Call 80006928779 or visit bombaybungalowdxb.com.
2. Rang Mahal, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai
Five days of festivities, five different elements to satisfy the fussiest of foodies - Rang Mahal at JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is going all out with the celebrations. Award-winning chef Amrish Sood will helm a four-course lunch menu that will include various traditional tastes of Diwali fused with a healthy dose of contemporary flavours, in keeping with the fine dining restaurant’s ever-popular modern-ancient spin over the years. From November 6 to 8, from 12.30pm to 3.30pm, for Dh149. For more info, call 04 414 3000.
3. Bukhara, Ajman Hotel
Lobster Tandoori is this seafood eatery’s claim to fame, but their Diwali menu is pulling out all the stops with a three-course vegetarian and a non-vegetarian set menu that masters surf, turf and farm-fresh dishes. The amuse bouche – the Dahi Bhalla Frost (chaat served with yoghurt and tamarind gel), a gourmet version of the well-loved and staple Indian street eat, is the only item on the menu that dares to flout culinary conventions. The scrummy mains that follow stick to the restaurant’s North West Frontier roots like it’s rustic copper-flecked interiors. Classic dishes such as warming murhg kali mirch shorba, succulent Gosht Ki Galawat (mutton) with Warqi Paratha and Tandoori Bharva Aloo, all served with sides of signature dal Bukhara and naan. Dessert is a platter of special Diwali sweets. Dh180 for non veg; Dh150 for veg, call 06 714 5555.
4. Mint Leaf of London, Dubai
Forget fireworks, the contemporary fine-dining Indian restaurant at Emirates Financial Towers in DIFC is going big this Diwali with an exquisite eight-course menu that is bursting with flavours. Nosh on delicious starters, mains and desserts that give an Indian twist to modern dishes taking dishes you’ve known and loved and turning them on their head. Signature inventions include Duck Seekh Kabab and Plum & Chevre Mousse and Carrot Milk Cake, and what better time to taste-test new iterations of old favourites than during Diwali, the festival of new beginnings? Besides the interesting menu, the restaurant also boasts mesmerising views of the Burj Khalifa and Downtown Dubai skyline. From November 7-10; Dh250 per person. Call 04 706 0900 or email email@example.com.
5. Ewaan, Palace Downtown
At Ewaan, under starlit skies, the aroma of Diwali is going to be that of ocean-fresh seafood, savoury Indian snacks and juicy barbecues. While the limited-time menu offers dishes such as paneer lababdar, lamb ragoanjosh and biryani, specially curated Indian beverages will go well with a chaat counter where you can order all your fav treats any time you want. Set in the verdant gardens of the Palace Downtown with a serene poolside setting, this will be a Diwali you and your family won’t forget easily. November 4 to 7, 7pm to 11.30pm, from Dh250 per person. For reservations call 04 888 3444.
6. Ananta, The Oberoi
Diwali at the Oberoi’s signature restaurant embodies everything that symbolises the festival – traditional decorations such as earthen lamps and a Rangoli will welcome you from November 6-10 at the modern Indian eatery’s Diwali Mela. The glamorous restaurant’s live cooking station will take you on a journey through India’s food markets with servings of mouth-watering chaats such as paan ki chaat and kakra chaat. A decadently plated thali for the mains will allow you to experience the culinary wonders of almost every part of India with small servings of a variety of dishes, followed by generous helpings of fragrant dum biryanis. Non-vegetarians can delight in the platter of assorted kebabs that will be served as starters and dessert will continue the thali’s ‘little bit of everything’ trend with an Indian dessert sampler. Dh299 per guest including freshly-made assorted bread and steamed rice. Call 04 4441407 or email Restaurants.Dubai@oberoihotels.com.
7. Moombai & Co. Café and Bar, H Hotel
Nostalgia hangs heavy in this modern interpretation of the traditional Parsi café with its retro Bollywood posters, and mahogany furniture and fifties vibe. Its Diwali menu is a flavour montage of all the vibrant communities and cultures the maximum city is made up of. Crunchy savouries such as mathri (flaky savoury biscuits), chivda (curry leaves-flavoured savory flattened rice) and Mumbai’s famous melt-in-your mouth shortbread biscuits naan khatai stir things off. Enjoy them with a cup of cutting chai. Moreish starters such as spongy gujarati snack khaman dhokla, Kabuli channe ki tikki, crispy tareli kolmi (fried shrimps) are surpassed by mains such as malai kofta, Vegetable tehari, murgh ka salan, zaffrani gosht biryani, which if it runs too hot on the spice scale for you can be cooled down with complimentary raita and yoghurt dips accompanying the food. The rich trifecta of desserts brings the nostalgia to full circle with shahi tukda, a bread pudding drenched in saffron-infused milk, mawa gujjia and motichoor malai a modern take on panna cotta and the Indian sweet laddoo. Dh250 per person. From November 5-10; visit moombai-co.com.
8. Khyber, Dukes Dubai
The acclaimed Mumbai-restaurant’s only international outpost is an oasis of understated elegance with flourishes of old-world Mughal charm that runs from the colourful murals, latticed archways and rich cuisine. For Diwali, the restaurant is serving a set three-course menu on November 7 that would tempt its celebrity clientele in Mumbai (Richard Gere and Sir Paul McCartney) to pop by the Dubai arm against glittering views of the Marina that shine as bright as a million diyas. Savour opulent recipes that defined the luxury of the Mughal era – mahi gulnarg (saffron yoghurt marinated fish), nadru ki shami (lotus stem patties) for starters and relish gravies that cover the flavour profile from fiery to mild and will be accompanied by jeera rice – spicy ghost banjara, creamy cashew-based murgh dhungar and aromatic methi chaman (paneer, spinach and fenugreek leaves). On the other side of this oasis of flavours, you’ll be welcomed by the dessert duo you of jalebi naal rabri and kesar badam kulfi. Dh160 per person, from 7pm-11pm. Call 04 455 1101.
9. Nomad, Jumeirah Creekside Hotel
All the colours and flavours of Indian cuisine will come together in a traditional buffet at Nomad at Jumeirah Creekside Hotel. There’s a chaat counter, there’s a salad bar, there’s a carving station, and everything from tikka and kebabs to Punjabi samosas to start off the festivities. Then comes some substantial, delish mains - the king fish and lamb shank will compete with taste-bud with the mutton and veggie biryani, along with various fresh breads, from butter naan, paneer kulcha and lachha paratha to tandoori roti. End on the sweetest note with double ka meetha, kesar kheer, saffron rice pudding and ras malai. From Dh230 per person including soft drinks. November 7, 7pm-11pm. For info, call 04 230 8458.
10. Al Dawaar, Hyatt Regency Dubai
The phrase ‘taking Diwali to new heights’ can be done beyond doubt at Dubai’s rooftop revolving restaurant and lounge at Hyatt Regency Dubai. On November 7, dinner will offer up not just Indian but global flavours as you slow-spin around spotting the Burj Khalifa, the whole of the gorgeous city skyline, and the creek and the sea. There’s everything from paneer – the tikka and palak kinds – to veg biryani and dal makhani tandoori, and chicken tikka for the meat lover. For those who quite like a non-traditional Diwali, pan-fried hammour, duck breast with plum sauce, asparagus with chervil butter and Thai seafood red curry are set to provide plenty of delights. Then there’s desserts including kaju katli, boondi ladoo, jalebi, rasmalai and phirni… it’s a dizzying mix from Dh249 per person. Call 04 209 6887.