Tucked away in an alley behind Hamdan Street, a block before Al Mariyah Mall, Anand Al Saeed is a small Gujarati, vegetarian restaurant that serves homey specialties at affordable prices. At first glance, the place looks tiny and a little rundown, but once you settle into the cozy ambience and have a taste of its savory offerings, you will find yourself reminiscing on its lingering flavor for a long time.
At Anand Al Saeed, printed menus exist only as an accessory; the real charm of the restaurant is in its mini whiteboard, which hangs in the middle of the wall. Every morning and evening the chef updates it with the menu of the day and descriptions of the ingredients used.
The atmosphere is casual and down-to-earth; its economical price range and the homemade feel of the food makes it a favorite for many people. Anand Al Saeed attracts a lot of customers who work nearby, as they drop by in between or after work during lunch and dinner hours.
“I come here all the time, especially after work…it is a good place to have good food and chat casually with other people,” commented one customer.
It is a popular destination for family dinners as well; in the evening, one can easily see the larger family room at full capacity.
While the restaurant offers a variety of dishes, its uncontested bestseller is the Gujarati thali. The thali is usually served with aloo bhaji, a spiced potato dish, gobi sabji, dry cauliflower curry, and dal, or lentils. With just AED 15 one can have a full thali with unlimited refills of both piping hot puri and side dishes. The constant attempts of the staff to refill your plate might result in eating more than you expected, not to mention the cups of buttermilk or chai that perfectly complement the hearty meal. Just keep in mind that if you are planning to visit for the Gujarati thali, make sure you get there after 7 p.m. as the restaurant only serves its snack options between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Another feature that adds to Anand Al Saeed’s popularity is its wide-ranging snack selection. Right next to the entrance of the restaurant, there is a counter that specializes in a plethora of sweet and savory snacks including farsan, balushahi and countless other options. The snack counter is so tempting that many customers are spotted buying sweets on their way out as well.
For those who are tempted to check it out, Anand Al Saeed is located in the Al Fardan Jewellery Building on Hamdan Street, in Al Markaziyah. It operates from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. every day with a break time in between, and can be reached at +971 26 775 599.
Soohyun Hwangbo is Deputy Features Editor. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.