Top High end Indian Restaurants in Abu Dhabi Review

Everyone knows that brunches in the city are very competitive, and hotels go to great lengths to win the souls of diners. However, I have found that Indian cuisine offers guests a wide range of choices, from Lipton tea stands with dhal channa and paratha breakfasts quite ubiquitous. While the restaurants at the top end may be limited to a few, they are of a very high standard. This was my conclusion as I tried some of these restaurants. I think it unfair to say which is better, for example, I like Rachmaninov. But I also like Tchaikovsky. I think there is room for both in my life. It is the same with the Indian restaurants mentioned in this review. Having said that, I do have my favourites. 

Angar, Viceroy Hotel

There are no gimmicks here. The biggest strength is Chef Pradeep who allows his dishes to raise his voice. Classic Indian curries made beautifully will meet you here. Return to the classics, but venture into some new dishes too. Follow his recommendations. But he is not only about classics. His Medley of ice creams, in particular the masala chai,  is able to evoke so much emotion. Very well executed. 

Service is what it should be, no fuss, just good old fashioned service with a smile. A steady flow of Indian guests says a lot about what they are doing here. 

Perfect for – Fine Indian cuisine in an iconic hotel, the Viceroy. 
Must try – The Duck Galouti - marvellously tender and presented on saffron bread with orange marmalade - a clever play on the duck a l'orange dish we are more familiar with. 

Read my full review here:

Yas Viceroy Hotel,
Abu Dhabi
+971 2 656 0600

Starters 35-45AED
Soup 35-45AED
Tandoor 65-240AED
Vegetarian 70-90AED
Desserts 38-45AED

Asha's Contemporary Indian Cuisine

One of a number of growing high end Indian restaurants to be located in a mall. On my visit, I was looking for an Information desk to get directions to Asha's, but I stopped short as I followed the aroma of something special - true story. It was to Asha's. There is a homeliness about Asha's that not many Indian restaurants can compete with. Asha Ghosle lives in the restaurant through her dishes, and therein is the homeliness. The stories behind her creations, succinctly written on the menu, imbue her dishes with so much feeling. She is first and foremost a mother, and I feel that in her dishes. Impeccable and knowledgeable service makes this one of my top 5 Indian restaurants in the city. 

Perfect for - a night out with friends who do not want to go to a hotel or avoid the food court and have some real food. 

Must try - The Dal shorba, a lentil soup served in a teapot and espresso cup. Expect subtle but complex flavours to come through. Finally, the Kesar biryani, one of Asha's signature dishes - the decadent saffron and moisture. Oh, this is a wonderful dish. 

Read my full review here:

The Essentials,
Yas Mall (and other locations in Dubai)
+971 2 492 6680

Starters 28-65AED
Mains 39-195AED

Indigo, Beach Rotana

I had the pleasure of trying Indigo during their Railway Promotion,  a set menu that celebrated dishes served on the trains across the Indian subcontinent, but I also tried their Saturday brunch. It is one of a handful of restaurants offering a Saturday brunch. Imagine your favourite Indian curries serve dina delightfully tasteful portions and you keep having more and more. I think it clever as I can see Saturday brunches becoming more and more of a trend. Terrace seating in the cooler months is a must. 

Good for: A relaxed Saturday out on the town, rather than waiting with gloom for the onset of work the next day. 

Must try: Chicken mommos, firmly rooted in Asian culture with proximity to North India. Of course you must have the 100 mile ki chai. The best cup you are likely to have in a high end restaurant in Abu Dhabi, served in metal kettle and small glass. Perfect. 

You can read the full review here:

The Essentials
Indigo Saturday is the new Friday Brunch
Beach Rotana Hotel, 

Abu Dhabi
02 697 9000

Soft drinks package 222AED++
House beverages 295AED++ 

Peppermill Colonial Indian Cuisine, Eastern Mangroves Promenade

A surprise package that I am very excited about. I recall at the FACT Abu Dhabi Awards telling a someone that they should watch our for Peppermill at the Awards. I was not far off - it won the award for favourite Indian restaurant  - voted for by the people. Peppermill shows that a good all-round Indian dining experience does not have to cost over the odds. It fills a market that has  a void - the market between your average mall Indian eatery and the high end options. I had the pleasure though of visiting the outlet at the Eastern mangroves Promenade. X factor - the setting without a doubt. 

Good for - A value for money experience away from a shopping mall but not in a hotel. Seeking a gorgeous setting

Must try - Definitely the Mulligatawny soup. Real chunks of chicken and rice makes it a hearty soup full of texture. Also try the Karare paalak chaat, a light snack perfect to start the evening off. Deliciously crispy  spinach topped with pomegranates, mint, yogurt and tamarind sauce. Yum. 

 You can read the full review here:

Eastern Mangroves Promenade, Abu Dhabi
(also at selected malls)
+971 2 441 3582

Starters 26-55 AED
Mains 42-110 AED
Desserts 22-24 AED

Rangoli, Yas Rotana, Yas Island

A restaurant you will fall in love the moment you walk in. Probably one of the most beautiful of all restaurants reviewed here. Engaging service is a standout feature here. Well spoken and unassuming staff effortlessly talk you through the menu. It is a restaurant that boasts a very strong wine list, with the best priced wines and Champagnes of all Indian restaurants bar one other. The restaurant makes guests powerfully aware that Indian food with juice or lassi is not the only option.  

Good for - Fine Indian food in a sumptuous restaurant providing a break from the city.  

Must try - Definitely a must try is the Rangoli Vegetarian Sampler. It is a beautifully executed introduction to vegetarian appetisers including Papdi, paneer tikka, vegetable samosa, onion bhajia and aloo tikki. For dessert, have the Kulfi falooda that packs so much flavour. Expect berries and basil seeds in saffron kulfi in a caramelised sesame crisp. 

You can read the full review here:

Yas Isand Rotana,
Abu Dhabi
+971 2 656 4000

Starters 34-69 AED
Mains 41-155 AED
Desserts 32 AED

Signature by Sanjeev Kapour

There are mall restaurants, then there are mall restaurants. Signature is one of the latter! It oozes sophistication and there are moments you forget you are actually in a mall. Tasteful. Elegant. Abu Dhabi is quite a conservative culinary city, so seeing molecular gastronomy in a restaurant here, and even more so in an Indian restaurant, is super exciting. But it is managed deftly - Signature is patronised by many locals, so the restaurant manages a fine balance between traditional dishes with a contemporary twist and a few dishes that thrill through their creativity. Finally, service is top class. Enough said. 

Good for - 
Must try - Lucknowi New Zealand lamb chops - perfectly cooked. It goes without saying that you have to order The Electric Kulfi without doubt. Think of all the joy associated with childhood. Imagine that in one dish. 

You can read the full review here:

The Essentials

Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor 
Nation Galleria on the Corniche,
Abu Dhabi
+971 2 6664343

Starters 39-49 AED
Mains 45-185 AED

Spice Mela, Rosewood Hotel

Undoubtedly the top Indian restaurant in the city. Housed in Rosewood Hotel on Maryah Island, Spice Mela sets the standard for high end Indian dining in Abu Dhabi. The open spaces inside Spice Mela convey that sense of finer dining. Executive Sous chef Siddarth Krishna is a principle player in making Spice Mela what it is. Then there is the hotel sommelier Isael Goncalves who works in tandem with Chef Siddarth to create wine pairings that take the Indian dining experience to another level. To call it fine dining would do it a disservice for despite the trappings of elegance and refinement, the atmosphere is very relaxed. You can expect waiting staff of the highest calibre. 

Good for - impressing out of town guests or just going out for a guaranteed fine evening. 
Must try - There are periodic special menus and promotions which include wine pairings. This is definitely an experience to go for. It will change the way you perceive Indian cuisine. 

You can read the full review here:

The Essentials

Spice Mela

Rosewood Hotel, Abu Dhabi
+971 2 813 5573

A La Carte

Starters 55-75 AED
Mains 75-200 AED
Dessert 40-50 AED


We have had so many new restaurants open in the last few years in Abu Dhabi, and in a  city obsessed with newness, it is a testimony to Ushna that after all these years, it remains popular. None of the Indian restaurants in Abu Dhabi can compete with Ushna when it comes to location - it is situated on the canal bank between the two bridges. This means you can enjoy unobstructed views of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. But it does not trade on its location. Were Ushna located in some dark basement, I would still go because the food is that good. 

Good for: A high end Indian dining experience away from a hotel, with views to offer some food for the soul. 

Must try: For taste and presentation, start with the Thakali Saar, a south Indian soup. Tomato paste jelly is garnished on the plate. Also try the Mangalorean Sea bass Curry that has it all - perfectly cooked, retaining moisture, and with just the right amount of coconut sauce and chilies. Nice balance indeed. 

You can read the full review here:

The Essentials
The Souk at Qaryat Al Beri,
Abu Dhabi
+971 2 5581769

Starters  49-64 AED
Mains 52-265 AED

In compiling this round up, I should mention Avasa Indian Kitchen on Saadiyat Island which was not visited this time around, but is one of my favourites in the city. A review from an earlier time can be found here: In my conclusion I wrote: "It proved to be a memorable experience. Was this so because the manager engaged his guests? Was it because we met Chef and had a look around the kitchen? Was it because the food scored high on taste and presentation? Was it a result of the rich menu and wine list? Could it be because of the fabulous waiting staff we encountered? Maybe it was all of these. What I do know is as I write this, I can close my eyes and at will I can be transported back to a dining experience I will be talking about for days to come!"

What is the point of spending 60AED on a  dish when you get the same for 15AED at some non-descript small Indian restaurant downtown? Surely that cheap meal is just as authentic? In fact, it is probably more authentic because the chef has not learned to alter dishes to suit palates. So why do it then? Well why go out at all? Why not just visit the supermarket and get something and pop it in the microwave? Because it is not living. It is about an experience, not just the flavours of the dish. It is the service. The ability to have a meaningful conversation with a waiter. A chance to understand what a  chef is doing with his dishes. And in some cases, to have Indian dishes, in a challenging undertaking, paired with some wine. As diners we should lose a typical colonialist attitude that Indian food should be cheap. Sometimes they use the same New Zealand lamb that other restaurants use. I have had Canadian lobster cooked in the tandoori. Of course it will be pricey. 

Now to my Indian budget restaurant review!

Brandon Stoltenkamp

Disclaimer: In writing this review, I visited these restaurants as their guest.