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The best South Indian restaurants in Dubai—a locals guide to the most authentic dosas, idli, vadas and more

On a recent, but pretty short trip to Dubai, I really wanted to eat great Emirati food, so in between beach days and exploring I focused my attention on where to eat in Old Town Dubai finding a few good options along the way. But considering Dubai is home to over 200 nationalities many of which are South Indian natives, it’s also become one of the best places for delicious South Indian food.

man making paratha at one of the best South Indian restaurants in Dubai
Indian paratha shop

It’s no secret that I adore good South Indian food, having spent the best part of six months travelling through the landscapes and cities of India including much of Tamil Nadu. While looking for things to do in Madurai, hunting out great food was often top of the list, while the otherworldly state of Kerala enchanted me daily due to incredible temples, dreamy waterways and of course, out-of-this-world food. But when it came to finding the best South Indian restaurants in Dubai I decided to enlist the help of a true foodie insider to help write this post and get the lowdown on one of my favourite cuisines.

Neha Singh has lived in the UAE for five years and is an expert at hunting out the most amazing and authentic South Indian restaurants in Dubai. With a penchant for paper-thin dosas, fluffy idli, aromatic vadas and tempting Malabar parottas, she soon discovered a riot of tastes and flavours awaiting in every corner of the city. Prepared using fresh ingredients and authentic cooking techniques the restaurants on our list all come with a recommendation from Neha…

The best South Indian restaurants in Dubai according to a local

1. Amma’s Restaurant

Chettinad dishes that originated in Tamil Nadu’s Chettinad region are known for their intense flavors and the offerings at Amma’s are no different—there are some seriously punchy plates on the extensive menu. Freshly prepared and served in modest yet well-organized settings, the vast array of rice varieties, parottas and seafood are delightfully moreish. There’s also a large selection of non-vegetarian items to choose from too, including a spicy mutton chukka.

Must-try: butter dosa, special vegetarian thali and fish kuzhambu.

Address: There are seven locations across Dubai—Al Khail Mall, International City, Discovery Gardens, Discovery Gardens Br.1, Al Karama, Ras Al Khor and Bits Dubai Campus. 

2. Saravana Bhavan 

As one of the largest international South Indian vegetarian chains with restaurant offerings in over 10 countries, it's rare that people don’t know about Saravana Bhavan. If you’re after a quick South Indian fix to rival the best food in Madurai, the dosas, idlis, medu vadas and curries, along with flavoursome sambar, chutney and potato masala (served with puris) are all-time favorites.

plate of masala dosa at one of the best South Indian restaurants in Dubai
Masala dosa

Must-try: Ghee mini idli and cashew pulao.

Address: There are eight locations across Dubai—Al Barsha, Al Qusais, Bur Dubai, Deira, Karama, Oud Metha, Al Nahda, and Oasis Centre.

3. Tamarind Coastal Kitchen 

This is one place in Dubai that gives you the rare chance to taste delicacies from all four states of the southern part of India. From dosas, idlis, idiyappams, and savoury vadas to the wholesome South Indian biryanis and appealing seafood specialties Tamarind Coastal Kitchen has it all.

Must-try: Bennai dosa, Chettinad biryani and makka cholam vadai.

Address: 20 13 C St, Al Quoz Industrial Area.

4. Sri Krishna Bhavan 

Sri Krishna Bhavan is one of the best places to get the bonafide taste of Andhra, Kannada and Udupi cuisines in Dubai. Yes, they have it all, from Mysore masala dosa and gongura dosa to delicious onion pesarattu and Mangalore buns all perfected with the finest ingredients. 

Must-try: Mirapakaya bajji and of course, the Andhra bhojanam.

Address:  Shop 11, Ground Floor, Shamma Building, 8 C St, Al Karama

5. Calicut Paragon 

This award-winning place is one of the best South Indian restaurants in Dubai creating incredible Indian dishes from the Northern part of Kerala, enriched with a fusion of spices and enticing flavors. Paragon is especially beloved for its awesome Malabar coastal cuisine in particular the mango fish curry. There are both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes on the menu. 

Must-try: Malabar prawns biryani, stuffed Kulcha and Elaneer Payasam.

Address: Ground Floor, Mattar Al Tayer Building, 20B Street, Al Karama

6. Hyderabad House 

Hyderabadi biryani is renowned all over the world for its unique cooking style and simple ingredients but if you’re looking to try this delightful biryani in Dubai, the best option has to be Hyderabad House

Must-try: Hyderabadi biryani, dal tadka and double ka meeta

Address: Shop 5, Al Zarooni Building, Al Barshai

7. Vasanta Bhavan 

For tasty Tamil dishes, Vasanta Bhavan is another brilliant dining spot with an exclusively vegetarian menu. Choose from a selection of dosas, chutneys, sambar, idli and soup but if you want to try something really distinct, check out the special menu section with its variety of curries and breads.

Must-try: Dipped sambar vada, ghee paper masala dosa and mini tiffin, with idly, vada, pongal and sweets.

Address: There are nine locations across Dubai—Al Karama, Al Nahda, Al Quasis, Al Barsha, Deira, Burbudai, Jebel Ali, Discovery Gardens, Silicon Oasis

8. Canara Restaurant 

For flavors from the South Indian state of Karnataka, Mangalorean cuisine and seafood dishes, in particular, are perhaps the first delights that spring to mind. If you’re craving a taste of Karnataka in Dubai, Canara won’t disappoint—dishes here are prepared using authentic cooking methods with a range of fresh spices punctuating each plate perfectly.

Must-try: The Canara signature specialities, egg ghee roast and paneer tomato burji.

Address: 8 A Street, Al Karama

9. Kamat Restaurant 

Kamat is one of Dubai’s most popular Indian vegetarian restaurants where you can sample specialities of both the Northern and Southern parts of India. The menu here features over 360 delicacies (which we can’t quite get our head around) but the ethos is simple—every dish should be a celebration and a work of art. There’s a great selection of dosas to choose from but if you can only manage one, we recommend the palak masala dosa.

Must-try: Bisi bele bhath, masala kulcha and khaman dhokla.

Location: There are eight locations across Dubai—Al Wahda Mall, Business Bay, Al Mankhool, King Faisal Street, Dubai Internet City, IBN Battuta Mall, Jumeirah Lake Towers and Al Qusais


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