The Indian festival of Diwali is right around the corner, which means plenty of festivities, get-togethers over great food, and gift exchanging. While those away from home might miss out on some of the customs, traditions, and cuisine they know and love, the UAE has taken good care to ensure Diwali’s spirit is felt even miles away from India.
Below, check out all the ways you can celebrate the festival of lights with friends and family in the UAE.
Dubai’s beloved contemporary Indian restaurant is offering two specially designed three-course sharing-style menus from October 21-24. The vegetarian menu at AED 130 includes a selection of salads and chaat, delectable appetizers like the Lahori Paneer Tikka with Pesto Naan, and Herb-Crusted Paneer Tikka with Makhani Gravy, and more for mains. The non-vegetarian menu at AED150 features mouth-watering dishes like the Murgh Tikka Pasanda, the Afghani Pista Korma, Chili Naan, and Lemon Chicken Biryani. For dessert, Farzi will be serving a platter of Diwali favorites with a twist: Pistachio Gulab Jamun; a creamy Kulfi made with avocado, and a Mawa Phirni.
The colorful interiors of Roobaru make for the ideal spot for a celebratory Diwali meal with loved ones. On offer until Sunday, October 26, its special menu takes after the restaurant’s concept of putting a modern twist on “forgotten dishes of India”. It features dishes like the Wild Mushroom Truffle Kulcha, Sweet and Sour Kanji Pani Puri, and Tangra Shredded Chilli Lamb. For dessert, choose from the luscious and zesty Coco for Yuzu dish with coconut dome parfait and yuzu citrus filling, or the indulgent RM² Chocolate Bar with marbled chocolate mousse, homemade chocolate crunch, and Parle G biscuit.
W Abu Dhabi, Yas Island
The first Indian chef to be awarded a Michelin star, Vineet Bhatia is returning to Yas Island to host a one-of-a-kind pop-up at Angar from October 24-29. Guests can choose from an a la carte menu designed by the renowned restaurateur and author, with lunch service taking place from 12:30pm-3:30pm and dinner from 6pm-11pm.
Khyber at Dukes the Palm, Dubai
Promising a fun evening for the entire family, Khyber at Dukes The Palm, a Royal Hideaway Hotel is offering a special Diwali package from October 20 to 24. At AED 195 per person, entertainment and henna art will accompany a festive dining experience paired with picturesque views of Dubai Marina. The menu features mouthwatering Mughal favorites like Zaffrani Bharwan Paneer Tikka, Pahari Gosht, Bharwan Baigan, and Punjabi Kukkad Curry, and classic Diwali desserts.
Head to Ashiana this Diwali for fine and comforting Northern Indian fare served in a warm ambiance. Available from October 22 to 24, the five-course set menu starts at AED 149 per person and has been curated by chef Qureshi with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian royal dishes from Lucknow. Alongside soups and chaats, the menu includes Delhi’s Aloo Chole Chaat, Murg Pesto Angara Tikka, Exotic Subzi, Nizami Handi, Murg Balai Biryani, and for dessert, Awadhi Shahi Tukda, and Classic Gazar Ka Halwa.
The Waterfront Market, Dubai
With something for everyone, the Waterfront Market has set up a host of activations for the whole family to partake in until October 24. Visitors can dine from the live Indian cooking stations with dishes from Market’s executive resident chef Christos Lymperis, while Diwali-inspired workshops activities such as diya painting, Rangoli-making, and henna artistry will keep the kids entertained. The promenade overlooking the Deira Islands will also host Bollywood dances and expert Rangoli-makers who will create a finely detailed giant design.
Yas Plaza Hotels, Abu Dhabi
Yas Plaza Hotels has gone all out this Diwali. Celebrity chef Ranveer Brar will be taking over the restaurant Rangoli at Yas Island Rotanafrom October 28-30 to host an exclusive chef’s table experience with a five-course dinner many at AED 399 for one and AED 699 for two. Dishes include Shades of Tomato, Seared Foie Gras, Galawat, Khichada, Nihari, Biryani, and Shahi Tukda Brûlée. What’s more, food enthusiasts can also participate in a cooking competition with Brar on October 29 for AED299 per station. As for entertainment, Crowne Plaza Yas Island is hosting DJ Aqeel and DJ Akhtar who will have guests dancing the night away to remixed hit Indian tunes from the ’90s on November 4.
Aventura Parks, Dubai
For adventure-loving families, Aventura Parks is hosting a themed day on October 24, when the entire Ghaf tree forest will be adorned with lights. At a special price of AED 99, from 5pm till midnight, guests can zipline through the light-filled park, take on challenges, and enjoy quality time in the great outdoors.
JA Lake View Hotel, Dubai
Fans of renowned chef Vikas Khanna are in for a treat with Kinara’s delectable six-course menu at AED280 per person this Diwali. Alongside stunning festive decorations of Rangoli, illuminated pathways and terrace, and a candle lighting ceremony before dinner, the menu’s highlights include Shakarkandi Ki Chaat, Madras Rasam, Thandai pudding, Jaggery Rice Kheer, and Fruit Rabdi.
Amala Restaurant, Dubai
The Ottoman-inspired Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Resort’s Mughlai restaurant Amala has prepared a special three-course set menu. From October 22-24, at At AED230 per person, guests can expect much-loved Indian dishes like Dhaba Dal, Hara Mutter Pulao, Cucumber Raita, served with Ajwaini Naan/Paratha, alongside live entertainment, dances, and a trolley of Indian sweets.