Whether you’ve got a hankering for street food, a fluffy dosa or a traditional north Indian curry, Manchester’s vast offering of restaurants won’t disappoint. Manchester’s famed Curry Mile is definitely worth a visit, but there are plenty of excellent Indian restaurants in Manchester’s city centre and beyond too.
Our picks of the best Indian Manchester has to offer varies, from authentic old-school to hip and happening, so whatever your preference, you’re sure to find one you love.
The first fully-licensed Indian restaurant to open on Manchester’s famed ‘Curry Mile’, Shere Khan is an old hat when it comes to serving up superior curry-house favourites. For more than 30 years, this Rusholme stalwart has been keeping locals and visitors satisfied with the likes of prawns, potatoes and halal meats on bubbly-crisp puri, and methi paneer made with homemade cheese. Handmade breads raise the game here, along with the chefs’ masterful use of the tandoor.
The décor is a little garish, but staff go out of their way to provide good service and there’s ample space for large parties. Prices are middle-of-the-road, and while you can’t bring your own booze, there’s a good range of wines, beers and softs to choose from. It even serves traditional salty lassi for the true taste of India.
Where: Shere Khan, 52 Wilmslow Road, Rushholme, M14 5TQ
With 13 restaurants spanning the Emirates and the UK, including this one in Manchester, it’s clear that Bollywood singing legend Asha Bhosle knows a thing or two about outstanding Indian cooking. Located in the heart of Spinningfields, in one of the city’s finest Victorian palazzo buildings, Asha’s is known for respecting the traditional techniques and flavours of Indian cooking, while simultaneously pushing boundaries to bring dishes into the twenty-first century. Examples of this classic-contemporary fusion include delights such as venison samosas and monkfish tikka, though you’ll also find classic dishes like rogan josh and palak paneer.
Prices are a little higher than other Indian restaurants in Manchester, but ingredients are fresh, sustainable and locally sourced wherever possible, and there is a pre-theatre menu, and a lunch menu that both offer excellent value. The drinks menu is pretty special too, featuring an exotic array of flavours that will complement your food and transport your taste buds eastwards.
Where: Asha’s, 47 Peter Street, M2 3NG
Another restaurant that likes to fuse words, Indique bills itself as a “far cry from the typical high street Indian restaurant” – a statement we can second. You’ll find all the conventional curries Brits have come to expect on the menu, but these are outnumbered by signature dishes which include the likes of Malabar sea bass, spinach and paneer dumplings, and spicy lamb chops served with masala mashed potato. Elsewhere, you’ll find street food, a grill section and plenty of vegetarian dishes, plus a selection of traditional Indian desserts.
Indique is slightly out of the way in West Didsbury, but serious foodies will travel to eat here. Each dish is prettily presented and crafted with true skill by the passionate chefs, and the owners are dedicated to ensuring guests have the best possible experience.
Where: Indique, 110-112 Burton Road, M20 1LP
Like its other restaurants in London and Edinburgh, this branch of Dishoom pays homage to the old Irani cafés of Bombay in sumptuous surrounds. Housed in a 1920s Grade II listed building near the city centre, Dishoom Manchester features smart banquettes, specially-commissioned artwork on the walls and stunning stained glass windows, making it an easy choice for special occasion dining.
Food-wise it caters all the usual favourites, including bacon naans, charred lamb chops, and 24-hour-slow-cooked black daal, plus a special dish exclusive to this location: the nalli nihari biryani. A famously hearty and robust dish synonymous with celebration, this rice dish is made up of tender lamb shank and caramelised onions sealed beneath a pastry blanket and served with rich gravy on the side and raita enriched with chicken livers. A must for anyone who has something to celebrate (and everyone else who doesn’t).
Where: Dishoom Manchester, Manchester Hall, Bridge Street, Manchester, M3 3BT
If A-list clientele is a deciding factor for you when it comes to dining out, you’ll be thrilled to know that Ed Sheeran recently ate at this trendy restaurant on Manchester’s Curry Mile. With a keener sense of design, hospitality and modern dining than others on this stretch, Mughli would stand out even if the food were average, which is definitely isn’t.
Instant comfort food in the form of street-inspired small plates such as pau bhaji, pani puri and skewers seared over the charcoal pit abound, while main courses might be a dum biriyani, sealed under a pastry lid, or a rich curry with a side of fluffy naan. There are vegan and gluten-free sections, plus a number of tempting ‘twisted cocktails’ and a good selection of gins.
Where: Mughli, 30 Wilmslow Road, Rusholme, Manchester, M14 5TQ
This hip outfit is all about mixing things up, from its east-meets-west flavours to the unique words it uses to describe them. The duo behind MyLahore – which also has sites in Leeds, Bradford and Birmingham – promises “superlicious food in a welcomtastic place for all” which, in spite of being rather corny, is actually a good way to sum up its approach.
These guys care about your experience, from the moment you step into its colourful interior to the moment you leave, likely full to bursting after a delicious meal. Traditionalists can fill up on the likes of lamb jalfezi and chicken tikka masala, while those looking to mix things up could go for a grilled fish burger or keema and chips. There’s also a ‘healthy bites’ section, a kids’ menu and two full pages of desserts featuring everything from cakes, waffles and ice-cream sundaes to old school puddings and traditional Indian sweet treats.
Where: MyLahore, 14-18 Wilmslow Road, Manchester, M14 5TQ
Bundobust’s offering is simple: Gujarat-inspired vegetarian street food and cracking craft beer in a friendly, communal setting. The spacious restaurant near Manchester city centre features canteen and booth-style seating, plenty of natural light from a huge skylight, and an informal menu full of moreish Indian dishes.
Familiar favourites, such as masala dosa, tarka dhal and pav bhaji are joined by on-trend small plates including onion, broccoli and kale bhajis, egg bhurji (Indian scrambled eggs), and okra fries, while drinks range from aforementioned craft beer to wine, cocktails and warming house chai. Fine dining this is not, but for straight-up Indian food in convivial surrounds, Bundobust is a no-brainer.
Where: Bundobust Manchester, 61 Piccadilly, Manchester, M1 2AQ
Indian Tiffin Room
Smack bang between Deansgate and Oxford Road stations, Indian Tiffin Room is contemporary and charming, with quirky decor, booths resembling rickshaws and a bar fashioned like a shipping container. The food is pretty awesome too, with street food such as homemade samosas, bhel puri and goat keema pav to stave off initial hunger pangs and South Indian tiffin dishes (eaten at any time of the day) and mains, such as idli, dosa and curries to follow.
Unlike some Indian restaurants, dishes here are made to order from fresh ingredients and chefs are less heavy-handed with spices; but that’s not to say you won’t find the authentic flavours of India here. We particularly recommend the dosas and suggest you save room for a traditional sweet dessert.
Where: Indian Tiffin Room, 2 Isabella Banks Street, First Street, Manchester, M15 4RL
This family-run restaurant has been going strong since the sixties thanks to its commitment to serving great quality traditional North Indian cuisine. It claims to be the UK’s first tandoori restaurant, but regardless of whether that’s true or not, what is clear to all who dine here is that the chefs certainly know how to handle a tandoor.
A vast menu of favourites, from tikka and kebabs to chicken, fish, meat and vegetable curries and sides, means there’s plenty of choice for groups (and repeat customers), though Rajdoot does offer a separate party menu. The drinks list covers everything from wines, beers and spirits to cocktails and softs. While not the hippest of Manchester’s Indian restaurants, Rajdoot does offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of Manchester city centre and an excellent curry too.
Where: Rajdoot Tandoori, Carlton House, Manchester, M2 5WD
Zouk Tea Bar & Grill
Buzzy, informal and fun seem to be the words most associated with this vibrant Indian restaurant in Manchester, where the open kitchen allows diners to catch all the cooking action. There’s a choice of booth and table seating plus a heated outside terrace and shisha lounge for al fresco dining in the warmer months.
Forget standard starters, mains and desserts – here you can indulge in steaks, roasts and tiffin, as well as a wide range of curries, breads and sundries. Starter dishes such as dynamite shrimp and Punjabi lollipop give way to mains which include the likes of railway curry (a Rajastan-inspired fiery lamb curry), butter chicken and palak aloo, with sweet desserts such as mango cheesecake and profiteroles bringing up the rear. This friendly joint also serves brunch and an excellent pre-theatre menu that include two courses for just £15.95.
Where: Zouk Tea Bar & Grill, Unit 5 Quadrangle Chester Street, Manchester, M1 5QS
For Indian dining in the capital, check out our round-up of the best Indian restaurants in London