Pride of Indian Heritage
K Muraleedharan, Founder — India Palace
The multiple award-winning restaurant hosts relishing authentic Indian cuisines which are complemented with traditional interiors for a regal dining experience
Indian cuisine has a dish to appeal to everyone, whether it is mild or spicy, rich or light. From aromatic biryanis and kebabs to delicious curries, the capital of Abu Dhabi promises the best of Indian tastes and one such restaurant that makes it to the top of the list is ‘India Palace’. Synonymous with Indian cuisine and hospitality, this restaurant’s 25-year journey has been significant. Since its inception in 1997, India Palace has redefined the culinary odyssey combining Indian cuisine with a rich heritage of Mughlai hospitality. India Palace features hand-carved wooden furniture, bronze artifacts, murals and paintings of Mughal emperors and queens, that is sure to transport you back to a glorious past resplendent with India's rich cultural and architectural legacy. Over the years, the long-standing restaurant has garnered a reputation among its customers of a place simply more than just an eatery. Recognising India Palace’s enduring legacy and historical significance, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has awarded the restaurant as among the emirate’s 15 ‘Urban Treasures’.
Dream of an entrepreneur
Just like other success stories, India Palace too was born out of an immigrant’s tremendous hard work and dedication. K Muraleedharan’s growth from an accounts clerk in Dubai to a business tycoon with a chain of 12 India Palace restaurants and many others legacy brands across UAE is nothing short of an astounding feat in a short span.
Dabbing in the fast-food business Muraleedharan set out to open an Indian restaurant in Abu Dhabi. “I wanted to have a slice of India in Abu Dhabi. My dream was not just to open a restaurant but to present the opulence and richness of our culture and cuisine to the local population,” he said. The first India Palace outlet opened its doors in 1997 and was inaugurated by Bollywood playback singer Kumar Sanu.
Beyond traditional dining
From merely being a single restaurant to a chain feeding thousands of loyal customers daily, India Palace’s growth has changed the culinary landscape with its presence spread across all the Emirates in the UAE. Muraleedharan reiterated that what makes India Palace stand out is its authenticity and traditional recipes. The ace restaurateur with a taste for experience highlighted how his restaurant makes sure every component of the customers’ experience is genuine and of top quality. Following the success, Muraleedharan is ready to take the India Palace brand to other GCC markets. Speaking about the same, he said: “We want to bring the India Palace flavours to other GCC countries. Rest assured in the next 20 years, our brand and its identity will remain the same. It will always be a cultural and culinary treasure of Abu Dhabi.”
Awards and Recognitions
In the last 25 years, India Palace has been a proud winner of multiple awards across the UAE, like consecutively winning the Dubai Service Excellence Scheme award from 2014 to 2021. The restaurant is also the proud winner of the ‘Sheikh Khalifa Excellence Award’ in the silver category for the 17th cycle (2018-2019) in service sector. India palace has bagged Best Indian Restaurant in Abu Dhabi at the BBC Good Food Award in 2020 & the prestigious Abu Dhabi Chamber of commerce SME award 2021. And now Urban Treasures award by DCT – Abu Dhabi in 2022.
India Palace Restaurant was also conferred with the Dubai Human Development Appreciation Award (DHAA) in service sector in 2020 and also was awarded the Dubai Quality Appreciation Award’ for the 2018 cycle in the service sector.