Look up hidden gem in Dubai’s culinary dictionary and you’ll probably find Canara listed towards the very top. Tucked away on the corner of 8A street opposite the Iranian School in Karama, Canara specialises in Mangalorean cuisine, especially (but, as my lawyer friends say, not limited to) seafood. Its interior is simple, modest, spotlessly clean and has oodles of old school charm. There’s a shaded dining area outside where my guest and I had lunch, perhaps a little optimistically where the weather was concerned. Thankfully there was an outdoor a/c which kept us cool (and the flies at bay). It should be perfect in the evenings.
Cool dude Leroy, the younger member of the father-son tag team who own and run Canara, recommended we try their Prawn Mango Curry, Pomfret Tandoori, Bombay Duck (Bombil) Fry and King Fish Tava Fry. Prices are so reasonable, I ordered them all, adding the Prawn Butter Garlic to start and a couple of Neer Dosas to eat the curry with. Leroy sent out a pair of Sannas, which are idli-like, spongy steamed savoury rice cakes, for us to try as well. The one word which comes to mind most when I think of our meal at Canara – superb. That’s after oof! yum! delish! yesssss! wow! and OMG!
The highlight of our meal was meeting Leo, the Mangalorean owner of Canara and a veteran of Dubai’s culinary scene since 1980! Holy moly! Humble and mild mannered in the face of his many achievements, Leo still goes himself to the fish market every morning to ensure only the freshest ingredients are used in his little restaurant. That’s gotta be one of the reasons why it’s so popular; bookings are advisable. Canara is one of a rare breed of family owned restaurants which enthuses warmth and homeliness and nostalgia. And that’s as much because of its amazing home-cooked style food and ambiance as it is because of dynamic duo, Leo and Leroy.
Worth a detour.
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Xerxes physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join me on Instagram @ravenousxerxes or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.