We select Bahrain’s best Indian restaurants, serving everything food from succulent kebabs and coconut-based curries through to spicy snacks and decadent desserts.
The potent flavours and rich spices from the Indian subcontinent are revered by foodies around the world. Over 30% of Bahrain’s population is Indian, and there are many restaurants here that serve this popular cuisine. Whether you’re looking for a light vegetarian breakfast, royal North Indian spread or Mumbai-style street food, the island has it all.
The sweet and spicy creations served here are a staple of the food carts that dot the bustling streets of Mumbai. Recently renovated, this eatery offers a lively ambiance, and visitors can enjoy a range of snacks right from dosa (savoury crêpes) and samosas (spiced potato pastries) through to chaat (dishes made using puffed rice, yogurt, tamarind chutney, fruits and vegetables). Don’t forget to try their pani puri (semolina shells filled with herb- and spice-infused water, tangy tamarind chutney and a white pea gravy), said to be the best in Bahrain. Parking might be an issue, but you can always opt for a takeout. There is a range of sweetmeats and savouries that you can take home too. The staff here are friendly, as are the owners, an Indian family who have been living in Bahrain for over 100 years.
A fine-dining restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton, Nirvana is – as the name suggests – the discerning diner’s paradise. Serving long-standing Indian flavours and fresh local ingredients, their executive chef, Mahipal Singh, hits the spot each time. Enjoy a royal dining experience with a menu featuring a range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian kebabs, grilled seafood like hammour, shrimp and lobster, lamb slow-cooked to perfection, creamy daal makhani and more. You can also tuck into biryanis and other rice dishes and sample a variety of Indian breads. All that, coupled with a sophisticated ambiance and impeccable service, makes Nirvana a must-visit.
A harmonious marriage of music and food, this namesake of celebrated Bollywood legend and singer Asha Bhosle is a favourite with residents and tourists alike. Said to have been inspired by the artist’s greatest passion after music – outstanding Indian food – it offers the perfect ambiance for relaxed socialising. A jewel-inspired palette of rich colours, intimate indoor seating and subtle mood lighting are sure to enhance your dining experience. The menu features India’s northwest frontier heritage with personalised creations like daal makhani (a creamy lentil dish) and murgh malai kebabs (chicken grills), as well as Keralan chilli garlic prawns and more. You can round off the meal with a range of desserts, and the drinks menu features some interesting mocktails.
This new kid on the block serves glamorised street food along with authentic Indian fare and is really popular with foodies on the island. Choose from a variety of tandoori grills and kebabs, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, meat, seafood and vegetable gravies, biryanis and a range of Indian bread. The quirky interior – a chaat cart at the entrance and pots and pans of all kinds adorning the walls – adds to the dining experience. The staff are warm and friendly, too, as is the chef who pops by the dining area from time to time, striking up conversations with diners. It’s value for money in every bite and you can find ample parking space, which is always a plus.
A casual dining place, Charcoal Grill is best known for its Indian grills and fusion Chinese dishes. There isn’t a lot of space to sit and eat, but most customers pop by for takeout. The chicken, lamb, seafood and vegetarian grills served here are the embodiment of comfort food. You get these with a side of salad, potato fries, mint and yogurt dip and naan (tandoor-baked Indian flatbread) but you may well need to order more naan. Other Indian dishes include rich coconut curries, cottage cheese koftas (dumplings) served in creamy sauce, chicken and spinach gravy and biryanis. Looking for a snack? Try the kathi kebab egg roll (a hearty wrap).
Taste a slice of Rajputhana traditions at this contemporary restaurant. Rajputh means ‘son of a king’ and that’s how you dine at Mewar – like a prince! Mewar is a region in the Indian state of Rajasthan (meaning ‘land of kings’), hence the name. You’ll be spoiled for choice with the extensive menu that marries local ingredients with traditional North Indian flavours. Try out the hammour tikka, which gives this local fish a makeover, and bharta, which glamourises the island’s humble aubergine. There’s so much more, right from soups and grilled platters to gravies and rice varieties. For dessert, have fun with some creative fusion such as jalebi tart, a spiral, sugar-drenched Indian jalebi topped with muhallabia (an Arab custard dish). This is a unique local take on classic Indian jalebi rabri.
The name of this café means ‘house of happiness’ and fits it well. A new shelter for vegetarian foodies in the Kingdom, they’re located in Um Al Hassam and serve some delicious and comforting food. There is a variety of options for every meal – breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner – as well as breakfast and teatime snacks. Being a South Indian restaurant, needless to say they serve dosas (savoury crêpes) – and they have over 58 varieties! The restaurant offers a casual dining ambiance and a bustling atmosphere, with chatty diners and hospitable servers. They’re usually swamped, but there’s a staircase leading to a top floor, so you will find a table even if you have to wait for a few minutes.
An absolute favourite with lovers of Indian food across the island, Lantern’s is tucked away in Block 338, Bahrain’s dynamic dining hub. The restaurant has many branches, each said to offer a unique experience. The Adliya branch has a stylish, rustic décor and three distinct areas – the truck bar, the courtyard garden lounge and a dining room. This is the place to host a lively family dinner or that anniversary or birthday event. Even if you choose to dine al fresco, their outdoor air-conditioning system will keep you cool. Choose from a variety of starters, curries, rice dishes, bread and desserts and sip on signature cocktails and mocktails. Their house specialties, including chicken makhani and mutton rogan josh, are must-tries. All this, topped with on-point service, makes dining here a real pleasure.
Tucked away in Qudaibiya, this restaurant serves traditional delicacies from Goa, a coastal state in Western India. It’s in the lane next to Concord Hotel. A small-time place with down-to-earth pricing, it has an extensive menu featuring some delicious seafood and meat and chicken dishes. Goan food is spicy, so tread carefully. Some popular Goan dishes that you can try here are beef croquettes, mackerel rechado, chicken xacuti and meat vindaloo. These dishes and their names are influenced by Portuguese culture – the Portuguese ruled Goa for many years. Inspired by Portuguese sweet bread, the Goan pao is a must-try too. The staff here are really friendly and will be more than happy to recommend dishes and tell you a tale or two about Goa’s culinary treasures.
Copper Chimney is one of Bahrain’s oldest restaurants and a great place to dine with family and friends. It has served diners across generations and remains the island’s favourite. The main reason for this is its authenticity; there’s nothing pretentious about this place, right from its food to its décor. That said, the flavours are on point, as are the basic yet thoughtful features like the ornate copper pots in which your food is served. You’ll truly appreciate the warm and friendly service embodying the longstanding Indian tenet of athithi devo bhava, which means ‘a guest is the personification of God himself.’ The food, a variety of grills, soups, curries, bread and desserts, is consistently excellent. Copper Chimney recently opened a second outlet at Asdal Gulf Inn Boutique Hotel.
Experience the thrill of dining on a houseboat on Kerala’s backwaters by tucking into soulful dishes with flavours originating from the Malabar coast. A hit with South Indian families on the island, this restaurant was started by two Keralan brothers about three years ago. The menu features a variety of fusion dishes, as well as authentic creations like jumbo prawns pan-fried with coconut slices, peppery nadan chicken soup and pandanas chicken (wrapped in a pandana or leaf basket for added flavour). The kappa chicken chammanthi (chicken served with cassava mash and spices) on the specials menu is said to be the secret recipe of the managing director’s family friend.
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