Britain undoubtably has one of the most diverse culinary landscapes in the world, with food from so many different parts of the world having found its way over here. However, there aren't many cuisines more popular in the UK than Indian food. Offering rich and unique flavours, wonderfully alluring aromas, and vibrant colours on the plate, you'd be hard-pushed to find a Brit who isn't partial to an Indian meal.
One of the best things about Indian food is the fact that it's so diverse, with every region of India offering something a bit different in terms of style and traditional dishes. This means that regardless of your preferences, you're bound to find at least one style of Indian food that really tickles your fancy. This diversity is certainly reflected in the huge range of Indian restaurants in London. Whether you're looking for authentic Indian street food, contemporary takes on the classics, vegetarian dishes, or just a blimin' bowl of curry, the Capital is the place to find it. London even plays host to a few Indian restaurants which have been awarded a prestigious Michelin star, further demonstrating the quality of offer when it comes to Indian food in London.
With such a vast array of different options to choose from, we wouldn't blame you for feeling overwhelmed when looking for somewhere to book. To give you a hand finding the perfect spot, we've put together this guide to the best Indian restaurants that London has to offer. Every restaurant featured has been tried and tested by our expert team of food critics and we've also tried to cover a range of different styles and price points. Read below to help pick which one you want to visit, or make it your mission to tick them all off your to-dine list.
Best Indian restaurants Mayfair
What: The first Indian restaurant ever to win a Michelin star back in 2001, Tamarind continues to hold its own among some of London’s newer openings, thanks to its innovative menu and suave interiors. Twice the size of its original incarnation and now under the stewardship of new head chef Karunesh Khanna (ex-Amaya), this upmarket eatery in London’s swankiest district promises sensory joys, prettily presented. Try the lunch menu for a top-notch meal on a budget.
Where: 20 Queen Street, W1J 5PR
What: This highly regarded establishment has a talent for changing the way people perceive and experience Indian cuisine, thanks to its French-inspired approach to spice-based cooking. Named after India’s holy city, Benares marries tradition with modernity, both in the kitchen and with its elegant yet exotic interior, so anyone looking for a standard curry should look elsewhere. Kindly, engaging staff deliver spotless service and while prices are befitting of the restaurant’s Mayfair location, it’s well worth a visit on special occasions.
Where: 12a Berkeley Square, W1J 6BS
What: It’s difficult not to reach for the superlatives when talking about this Michelin-starred Mayfair thriller, and for good reason. Gymkhana’s menu happily accommodates all palates and preferences, whether your taste is for a gently spiced wild mushroom, asparagus, morel and truffle pilau or a fearsomely fiery pork cheek vindaloo, and regardless of what you order, it’s going to be exceptional. Having recently been completely refurbished after being badly damaged by a fire, it's now looking swankier than ever too.
Where: 42 Albemarle Street, W1S 4JH
What: The younger sibling of big-hitting Jamavar, Bombay Bustle lives up to its lively name. Inspired by India’s dabbawala lunchbox deliveries, the menu is big on street food and chaat, while the decor is characterised by bold colours. Lovely cocktails, a sundae bar and knowledgeable staff are further pluses at this Mayfair hotspot, which also has the advantage of being more affordable than other high-end Indians this side of Regent Street. Our advice: take friends and share everything.
Where: 29 Maddox Street, W1S 2PA
What: This much lauded fine dining restaurant scores highly on everything, from décor and atmosphere to the divine food. The menu hops merrily around India’s many regions, so you’ll find dishes ranging from goat kebabs to sea bass curry, with plenty in between. Early birds can enjoy a set menu for a good price, given the quality on offer at Jamavar , but those looking for an indulgent treat should book in for the ‘Royal Brunch’. Whatever you do, don’t miss the dessert menu.
Where: 8 Mount Street, W1K 3NF
Best Indian restaurants Marylebone
What: A three-in-one drinking and dining destination, Ooty is an excellent choice for pretty much any occasion. Situated in the centre of Marylebone, the space combines a dining room, basement bar, and ‘Ooty station’ – an all-day casual dining space and cocktail bar. A south Indian specialist majoring in small-portioned fine dining, Ooty lays on dishes such as kid goat sukka, tiger prawn biryani and jaggery pineapple bake in cosy surrounds.
Where: 66 Baker Street, W1U 7DJ
What: Sitting pretty in the heart of London’s Marylebone Village, Michelin-starred Trishna exudes a sociable neighbourhood dining atmosphere, particularly in the summer when its terrace doors are flung open onto Blandford Street to create a semi-al fresco ambience. The prevailing breeze might not be coastal, but the chefs make up for it by delivering a contemporary taste of Indian coastal cuisine alongside an extensive wine list that focuses on emerging regions and fine wines from niche producers and boutique wineries from all over the world.
Where: 15-17 Blandford Street, W1U 3DG
What: A cute little spot in fashionable Marylebone, furnished with scatter cushions, fabric lampshades and a smart marble bar, Jikoni has a charming ‘dinner at an insanely talented friend’s house’ vibe going on. Owned and run by award-winning chef Ravinder Bhogal, it’s a unique restaurant with an east African-cum-Indian-cum-British-inspired menu to match. We particularly recommend giving the prawn toast Scotch egg served with banana ketchup a try!
Where: 19-21 Blandford Street, W1U 3DH
Best Indian restaurants Soho
What: We love this Soho branch of the legendary Brixton pop-up, both for its buzzy atmosphere and incredible eats. The concise menu features a core list of Kricket classics, such as bhel puris and Keralan fried chicken with curry-leaf mayonnaise, plus a few seasonal specials, while the drinks list contains gems such as rum-spiked masala chai. Part of Kricket’s charm is the counter dining set-up, though there are larger tables in the basement for groups.
Where: 12 Denman Street, W1D 7HH
What: Superb Sri Lankan small plates at decent prices are the main draw of this ever-popular branch of Hoppers in Soho, though the cosy interior oughtn’t to be overlooked. You’ll want to order the whole menu, but we’d suggest trying a few ‘short eats’ before ordering one of the eponymous hoppers (a bowl-shaped rice pancake with a gooey egg embedded in its base). Hoppers is great value for money and you’re always made to feel welcome by the lovely staff.
Where: 49 Frith Street, W1D 4SG
Best Indian restaurants Covent Garden
What: Having recently relocated to Covent Garden, Darjeeling Express continues to serve an exquisite menu of Bengali and North Indian dishes with Asma Khan at the helm alongside her all-women team. However, it now boasts a far bigger dining room, meaning that punters might not have to book quite as far in advance as they used to. Don’t miss the tangra chilli and garlic prawns zapped with a tongue-popping five-spice blend.
Where: 2a Garrick Street, WC2E 9BH
What: There’s a good reason for the near-constant queues outside the flagship restaurant of this now UK-wide micro-chain of Bombay-style cafés: Dishoom’s reliable all-day menu that includes an aromatic biryani dish of chicken berry Britannia, and ever-popular naan rolls filled with things like bacon and eggs. The drinks list keeps up the good work, with lassis and craft beers, plus exciting cocktails to enjoy in the basement bar if you’re waiting for a table. The décor in the newly renovated dining room is bang up to date and service is swift.
Where: 12 Upper St Martin's Lane, WC2H 9FB
Best Indian restaurants East London
What: Located on a backstreet behind Spitalfields Market, the original branch of Gunpowder (there is a Tower Bridge outpost too) may come across as low-key, but the food is explosive. Rich in rustic Indian sharing dishes inspired by family recipes, the menu features the likes of pork ribs with crunchy tamarind kachumber, organic baby chicken char-grilled in tandoori spices, and a ‘chutney cheese sandwich’. Décor is simple, but who cares when the food is this good and prices are reasonable?
Where: 11 White's Row, E1 7NF
Brigadiers, The City
What: An Indian barbecue restaurant and sports bar, pitched in mood midway between the cheap thrills of Hoppers and the flashiness of Gymkhana, Brigadiers is particularly well-suited to group dining. With half a dozen menu sections to choose from, including ‘beer snacks’, ‘sizzlers and kebabs’ and ‘rotisserie and wood oven’, it’s best to round up as many friends as possible and order the lot. Failing that, be sure to try the beef chuck bone-marrow keema and chilli-cheese kulcha – two outstanding dishes.
Where: 1-5 Bloomberg Arcade, EC4N 8AR
What: Legendary among Londoners, this Whitechapel institution has been going strong since the early seventies and, judging by the huge queues out the door each night, shows no signs of slowing down. As popular with families and students as it is with rowdy City parties and mates on the town, Tayyabs remains one of London’s favourite low-budget eateries thanks to its famous lamb chops and BYOB policy. Quick service is guaranteed, which is just what you want when you’ve waited an hour for a table.
Where: 83-89 Fieldgate Street, E1 1JU
Best Indian restaurants rest of London
Pali Hill, Fitzrovia
What: Having opened up in the building which for over 50 years was the home of Gaylord Indian restaurant, Pali Hill certainly doesn’t disappoint. Serving up sharing plates inspired by the food of Mumbai, the flavours here certainly aren’t shy. Make sure to order the slow-cooked Chettinad-style veal shin and plenty of the amazing flatbread to mop up the leftovers. Downstairs cocktail bar Bhandra Bhai is the perfect place to finish the evening.
Where: 79-81 Mortimer Street, W1W 7SJ
What: Boasting shiny surfaces and a ‘theatre’ kitchen at the heart of the sleek dining room, this glamorous venue has star quality written all over it. Luckily, Amaya’s menu keeps pace with the clever design spec as the chefs fashion succulent and creatively spiced Indian-style tapas from their array of tandoors, tawa hotplates and sigri grills. Regulars confirm that the Michelin-starred restaurant’s premium prices are fully justified, but that doesn’t mean it won’t hurt to get the bill.
Where: Halkin Arcade, SW1X 8JT
Chutney Mary, St James'
What: This opulently-appointed Indian restaurant and cocktail bar has it all. Sumptuous interiors, small plates of spicy street food followed by seafood from the tandoor grill, show-stopping desserts and a well-composed wine list make Chutney Mary one heck of an experience. Prices are generally commensurate with its popularity, though there’s a set business lunch menu that includes three courses for £33, which we reckon is a bit of a bargain.
Where: 73 St James's Street, SW1A 1PH
What: Owned and run by a former head chef at Gymkhana who also launched Jamavar and Bombay Bustle, this smart series of dining rooms is an entrancing setting for modern Indian cooking. Inspired by India’s vast and rich heritage and wildlife, Kutir offers diners the opportunity to enjoy traditional flavours in refined dishes such as lamb with black cumin, and rice lentil kedgeree, followed by sweet creations like Bhapa Doi (steamed yogurt pudding) and Rabdi Falooda (a cold milk-based dessert).
Where: 10 Lincoln Street, SW3 2TS
The Cinnamon Club, Westminster
What: Set within a galleried, book-lined room (formerly the Old Westminster Library), this famous institution established by acclaimed chef Vivek Singh is a must-visit for anyone who’s serious about Indian food. Beautifully-spiced dishes on offer at The Cinnamon Club are made even more tempting by perfect presentation, which is all part of the well-heeled package here. Portions are petite and prices are steep, but professionalism and quality such as this doesn’t come cheap. Look out for guest chef dinners, which are always enticing.
Where: The Old Westminster Library, Great Smith Street, SW1P 3BU
Specifically craving a curry? Check out our guide to the best curry in London