10 places to celebrate Diwali in the UAE
From specially created menus with tasty Indian fare to dazzling fireworks…
Diwali, Divali, Deepavali or Dipavali is a four to five day-long festival of lights, which is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists every autumn. Also known as the festival of lights, Diwali coincides with the Hindu New Year and celebrates new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.
This year Diwali falls on Sunday October 27 and several venues across the UAE are welcoming guests to come and celebrate along with them. So apart from enjoying the lights of the buildings, sparklers, lighting of diyas(candles), creating wonderful rangoli artwork (colorful patterns created using powder), sharing gifts and indulging in sweets, here are 10 places to celebrate Diwali in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Hop on board the QE2 and head to Lido this Diwali, where you can enjoy an extensive feast of over 200 Indian delicacies. Start off tucking into an array of pickles and starters and move on to the classic mains such as chicken tikka and murg masala and more curries. Vegetarian options include tandoori vegetable, which you can pair with fresh Indian breads. Save space for dessert, as there are delicious classics available such as gulab jamun, rice kheer and ras malai. There will be a dazzling light show and a kids play area to keep the little ones busy while you dance the nigh away to some of the best Bollywood numbers played live.
The Lido restaurant, Queen Elizabeth 2, Port Rashid, Dubai, Dhs99 soft, every hour add Dhs100 for house package, 7pm to 11pm on Sunday October 27, Tel: (04) 526 8888. qe2.com
This modern spice bistro is serving up a whole host of complementary Indian bite-sized delicacies to diners all day long during the festival of lights. The celebrated Indian restaurant serves up dishes with a cool twist, so instead of the classic butter chicken and naan, expect to feast on a butter chicken bun, which is a chili mayo layered steam bao filled with delicious melt in your mouth chicken. Looking for a vegetarian dish? Try the dal chawal arancini which is risotto balls, pickled mayo and poppadom rolls – the restaurant’s twist on the humble rice and daal.
Farzi Cafe, City Walk, Dubai, 11am to 11.30pm Sunday October 27, Tel: (04) 394 2556. farzicafe.ae
Masala, Bab Al Shams
Masala restaurant at Bab Al Shams is celebrating Diwali for 10 days starting from Wednesday October 23 until Saturday November 2, 2019. There will be live cooking stations whipping up traditional Indian delicacies such as dahi-bhalla (vadas soaked in sweet yoghurt), hot samosas, pakoras (fried snack), Aloo Tikki (sort of like potato wedges, but with peas and spices added in) and more. For desserts, the sweet dishes include kheer, burfi and much more. Take a seat in the Diwali village that’s decorated with bright and beautiful decor while you tuck in and listen to live music.
Masala, Bab Al Shams, Dubai, 7pm to 11pm daily from October 23 to November 2, Dhs190 per person soft package (includes sherbat, karak chai and water), children 6 to 12 – 50% discount, under 6s free, Tel: 809 6100 babalshams.com
Kinara at JA Lake View Hotel
Celebrate with loved ones at Kinara by Vikas Khanna, JA Lake View Hotel this Diwali. Dishes on the menu include authentic regional dishes with a bit of a twist so expect dishes such as dahi ke kebab (a yoghurt kebab), chicken makhani (the classic butter chicken), chutney, and more. Dishes are served up sharing style which is great because it just means you’ll get to savor a variety of items. Options are available for vegetarians as well, but save space for dessert!
Kinara by Vikas Khanna, JA Lake View Hotel, JA The Resort, Tel: (04) 814 5555, jaresortshotels.com
Chor Bazaar at Movenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta
Celebrate a Diwali dinner at Chor Bazaar (thieves market in English) at Movenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta with a special themed dinner buffet. For four days starting from Tuesday October 29 to Friday November 1, 2019, the award-winning restaurant is serving up a range of authentic Indian favourites straight from the tandoor ovens. Tuck into items such as signature lamb chops, chicken tikka and traditional naan plus a wide range of Indian sweets, unique to Diwali for just Dhs185 per person.
Chor Bazaar, Movenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta, adjacent to Ibn Battuta Shopping Mall, Dhs185 per person, Tel: (04) 444 0000 movenpick.com
Purani Dilli at Four Points by Sheraton
Celebrate Diwali with an all you can eat buffet at Purani Dilli at Four Points by Sheraton in Downtown. Held on Sunday October 27 and Monday October 28, 2019 – a variety of classic dishes await which have been curated specially for the festival for just Dhs99 per person. Dig into items such as haldi mirch murgh tikka and veg biryani after you’ve stopped by the live chaat counter. Oh, and of course, there’s are delicious dessert available with sweets like balu shahi (sort of like a glazed doughnut but with a different texture) and piping hot jalebi from the jalebi counter.
The Diwali buffet is also available at the Purani Dilli at the Four Points by Sheraton, Sheikh Zayed Road on October 27, 2019 from 6pm to 11.30pm for the same price.
Purani Dilli at Four Points by Sheraton in Downtown, Oct 27 and 28, 7pm-2am, ALSO: Four Points by Sheraton, Sheikh Zayed Road, Oct 27, Dhs99 unlimited food and soft drinks, puranidillidubai.com
Vegetarians, here’s one for you. iZ is celebrating Diwali with a specially crafted mouthwatering four-course vegetarian set menu, from Thursday October 24 to October 27. There will be contemporary Indian inspired music throughout the evening to keep you company in the illuminated, yet chic ambiance, decorated with oil lamps, twinkling lights, and the ever-colorful Rangoli. Tuck into favourites such as pani puri, papdi chaat, corn pilao (a rich dish), tandoor avocado mushrooms and more. You can head here during lunch from 12.30pm to 3.30pm or choose to have dinner from 7pm to 11.30pm.
iZ, Grand Hyatt Dubai, Dubai, Dhs150 for four-course meal, lunch 12.30pm to 3.30pm and dinner from 7pm to 11.30pm, hyatt.com
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
The largest Ferrari-branded theme park in the world is celebrating Diwali with its Bollywood-themed Festival of Lights for an amazing eleven days from Thursday October 24 to Saturday November 2, 2019. There will be live shows including a traditional Indian dance at the Red Theatre, which will take place four times during the days of the festival. Expect to see incredible performance acts, amazing choreography, mind blowing stunts and lavish costumes. At the festival, you will also be able to get your caricature done or paint henna on your hands. Of course, there will be plenty of food you can tuck into at the bazaar filled with food carts serving up traditional Indian bites. We suggest you hit the bazaar after getting your adrenaline fix on the fastest rollercoaster in the world – Formula Rossa. Tickets are priced from Dhs295 per person.
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, Dhs295, 10am to 8pm from Thur October 24, to Sat Nov 2, Tel: (600) 511 115, ferrariworldabudhabi.com
Yas Mega Mela Festival
Yas Island will also see a three-day festival called Yas Mega Mela Festival taking place to celebrate Diwali, where you can immerse yourself in the rich traditions of the Indian culture from Thursday October 31 to Saturday November 2. There will be a range of live Bollywood musicals, bhangra and dhol drumming performances by dance group Pure Bhangra taking place. Craving some delicious Indian fare? Sample food and sweets to your hearts delight at Taste of India event. Indian culinary masters chef Vicky Ratnani and chef Sandeep Sreedharan will also be at the event showcasing their signature dishes, sharing tips, tricks and recipes. There’s a dedicated children’s zone with arts and crafts for the little ones and a shopping area where you can pick up Indian fashion, accessories, jewellery, homeware, spices and many more. In true Yas Island style, there will be a daily firework show starting at 9pm. Tickets start from Dhs20 per person.
Yas Mega Mela Festival, Yas Island, Thurs October 31 to Sat November 2, 4pm on Thur, and 2pm to 11pm on Fri and 2pm to 10pm on Sat, yasmegamela.ae
Indigo at Beach Rotana
Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi is celebrating the festival of lights at its Indian restaurant Indigo from Sunday October 27 to Tuesday October 29, 2019. You can choose to head there for lunch which runs from 12.30pm to 3.30pm or dinner which runs from 6.30pm until 11.30pm. Chef Bharat has created a fantastic menu to mark the occasion and a four course themed menu will set you back just Dhs295, which you can enjoy in the intimately decorated light-themed ambience.
Indigo, Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi, Dhs295 for a four course meal, From Oct 27 to Oct 29, 12.30pm to 3.30m lunch, 6.30pm to 11.30pm dinner, Tel: (02) 697 9011 rotana.com
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