Decoration? check. Gifts? check. Loved ones? Invited. What about food? If not in a mood to cook or order in, here are the restaurants in the UAE that are celebrating this festival in style, so you can have a hassle-free Diwali. (Now go ahead and book yourself some me-time at the spa.)

Café Funkie Town

For Community By Community, a special festive menu curated by five hobby chefs – Ritu Chaturvedi, Jyoti Narang Watchmaker, Keerti Dundoo Vodela, Neha Joshi and Farha Deeba – hailing from different ethnic and culinary backgrounds, will be the highlight at Café Funkie Town this festive season. Designed to celebrate inclusivity and a feeling of togetherness, the menu goes hand-in-hand with the spirit of Diwali.

Offering a feel of the Bombay cafés of the 1970s, this Bombay Parsi restaurant boasts a menu containing more than 100 dishes and is enough to give foodies a taste and feel of Parsi cuisine.

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The Tasting Menu (from Dh49) features dishes each named after the respective chef. Vegetarians can choose from fafda chaat, yam kebabs, dahi ke kebab; for main course there is dum aloo, kathal biryani or qaboli pulao, among others.

For non-vegetarians, apart from signature kebabs, curries, rotis and naans, there’s the unmissable chicken kohlapuri and chicken muthi kebab, while for desserts there’s motichur cheesecake and gulab jamun tiramisu to help you enjoy this festive season with a Parsi twist.

Those who prefer the a la carte menu can choose from staples like bun maska, frankies and baida rotis to a range of specials.

The festive menu will be available for dine-in and delivery throughout this month at both the outlets of Café Funkie Town in Jumeirah Lakes Tower (JLT) and Business Bay.

For the JLT branch, call 04 368 9627 or 04 368 9697. For the Business Bay branch, call 04 564 6124 or 04 564 6534.

Bukhara at Ajman Hotel

Want to evoke the vibrant taste of Northern India right here in the UAE?

This Diwali, the chefs at Bukhara are preparing to welcome diners with a spread of dishes that will evoke traditional culinary flavours in a traditional northern Indian setting.

An award-winning restaurant, Bukhara offers a selection and assortment of Indian flavours. Promising an ethnic experience where the display kitchen forms part of the restaurant, the décor embraces the Northern Indian traditions and represents stone walls that have Bukhara carpets hung on it paired with rough-hewn trestle tables and wooden stools along with copper pots and jugs suspended from the ceiling and pillars.

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The design of the open live-cooking kitchen equipped with clay ovens and tandoors continues the essence of the North. The menu is printed on a block of wood and the crockery is earthenware in an ochre colour.

For reservation, call 06 714 5555. Opening hours: Saturday to Sunday; lunch 12pm – 3pm; dinner 6.30pm – 11pm.

Khyber

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Desire to celebrate the festival of lights with an intricate and rich burst of North Indian flavours in a Mughal era ambiance? Look no further than the multiaward-winning restaurant Khyber.

Make yourself comfortable in the interiors decorated with lovely tapestries and warm colours, or you can choose to enjoy a meal on the terrace with outdoor seating facing the Dubai Marina. Located at Dukes The Palm, A Royal Hideaway Hotel, Khyber is offering a festive dinner in a three-day affair, from November 12-14. The feast will feature mouth-watering starters, an array of authentic North Indian mains, and desserts curated by Master Chef Faizan. The signature dish of this restaurant is a delicious, slow-cooked leg of lamb infused with spices. The pièce de résistance Milky Way dessert, a galaxy of saffron pearls on a bed of tempered condensed milk, is just the right dessert to top off your meal.

Guests will be treated to a festive, family-style dinner between 5pm and 11pm, with options for meals at Dh150 per person (Dh185 per person with unlimited soft beverages).

For reservation, call 04 551 111.

Food Ka Mood

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This Diwali, Food Ka Mood, a snazzy vegetarian restaurant in Dubai’s Karama, is serving up a spread that includes some delectable dishes that taste as good as they look. Set up in a modern bistro style, the restaurant is serving diners in keeping with all social distancing protocols.

Fast becoming a spot for not just good food but gaining followers for its Instagrammable dishes, Food Ka Mood serves up more than just the famous and delicious Bombay sandwiches, wada pav and pav bhaji. The sizzlers that include vegetable cutlets, grilled paneer, veggies and topped with cheese are just among the must-haves.

For Diwali, the chefs are putting together some specials giving the regulars an interesting twist. Check out the Pahadi pizza and the Food Ka Mood Special, which comes on a sizzling platter and includes grilled veggies with a tangy spicy sauce drizzled over.

Food Ka Mood is located at 19 Zaa’beel Street, Al Karama, Dubai.

Call 04 380 2424.

Indian Food Festival at Dubai International Hotel

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Travelling out of the country or landing here on a transit during the festival of lights? Feeling let down due to the fact that you may not be able to celebrate this festive season in style? Dubai International Hotel could help. Be it on a solo trip, or a business trip, a couple going on their honeymoon or even families looking for a relaxing getaway, the hotel has various kinds of accommodations or settings for their guests to enjoy.

On until November 15, this five-star hotel is hosting the Indian Food Festival at The Gallery, Cadiz – Ahlan Lounge and Hotel Room Service. The in-house chefs have curated a special menu that includes mutton, chicken and vegetable biryanis, murgh malai kebab, dal bukhara, vegetable cutlet, gulab jamun and more.

For reservation, call 04 224 4000.

Diwali Home Kit – Vida Emirates Hills

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Craving to celebrate this festive season with some excitement and enthusiasm but the fear of Covid-19 is holding you back from stepping out? Vida Emirates Hotel has come up with a solution to bring the spirit of Diwali right to your doorstep with the help of the Diwali Home Kit!

Priding itself as a home for people who appreciate fashion, design, art and entrepreneurship, Vida Emirates Hotel is an ideal place for entrepreneurial and artistic minds to meet, rejuvenate and create.

The Diwali Home Kit was created to bring out the spirit of Diwali through food. The well-organised kit includes crunchy pappads, lip-smacking chutney, mashed potatoes and spicy paani. Indulge in some paani puri, crunch on some popcorn with chaat masala and salsa before attacking the dessert – kaju barfi, katli-pista mithai and fresh laddoos.

With delivery available throughout Dubai, The Diwali Home Kit is available for orders until November 14. Priced at Dh225, inclusive of taxes and delivery charges, the kit can feed four. Make sure to place the order 24 hours in advance.

Apart from the Diwali kit, also on offer are The Cheese Board Home Kit, Movie Night Home Kit and Poutine Party Home Kit for cheesy nights, movie evenings or a Canadian inspired party.

Call 04 872 8888 or email hithere.hills@vidahotels.com.

Purani Dilli at Four Points by Sheraton

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Purani Dilli, at Four Points by Sheraton Sheikh Zayed Road and Four Points by Sheraton Downtown Dubai, is gearing up to celebrate the festival of lights with a sumptuous platter of specials.

A set menu (Dh99 per person) has a delicious spread that will have vegetarians and non-vegetarians drooling with delight. For the former, starters include paneer surkh tikka and chandani chowk tikki; mains has subz deewani handi, lehsuni palak and assorted breads, and subz biryani and steamed rice. Non-vegetarians can relish tawa mirchi and haldi mirchi murgh tikka for starters before tucking into mutton korma, murgh handi and mutton yakhni pulao, among others. As for dessert, there’s gajar ka halwa, balushahi, chum chum and fruits.

Call Four Points by Sheraton Sheikh Zayed Road (04 323 0333) and Four Points by Sheraton Downtown Dubai (04 354 3333) for reservations.

Punjab Grill, Abu Dhabi

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Kundapur paneer bites with masala uthappam, the pulled jackfruit raj kachori, slow-cooked raw jackfruit flesh with special sweet savoury masala and Mumbai’s famous street foods masala maska bun and pav bhaji butter... these are just some of the starters that are on the special Diwali menu that includes authentic Indian dishes with a contemporary twist.

All-time favourites such as the kheema mutter karanji made with minced lamb and winter peas packed and fried in moon-shaped parcels, chettiar spiced southern spiced chicken wings and the creamy garlic spinach and corn dip, makkai saag with missi roti are also going to be available for guests dining at Punjab Grill.

For seafood lovers, the crumb-fried sesame coconut crusted shrimps wrapped in iceberg lettuce served with makhani mayo or the patialashahi fish masala, fried fish bites tossed in royal Punjabi masala are must-haves.

Those who still have room left after their hearty feast can indulge in the delicious classic Indian sweets served with a modern flair – zameen chakri shahi tukda, kesar peda pavlova and by popular demand, jalebi churros.

Diwali specials at the Punjab Grill at the Ritz Carlton Grand Canal, Venetian Village Abu Dhabi, are on from November 11-15, 2020. For reservations, Whatsapp 050 668 3054.

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