Edinburgh is one of the UK’s most exciting cities, home to the sweeping views of Arthur’s Seat, the famous Edinburgh Castle and of course, the annual Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest art festival which takes place every summer and is a riot of comedy, theatre, music and more.
Edinburgh is not just an attractive city because of its looks and festivals though, as it is also known for its enticing array of restaurants. If you have never been to Edinburgh before, curry is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the city’s favourite cuisines and ingredients, but the Scottish capital is home to a thriving Indian restaurant scene. While it is true that the likes of haggis and deep-fried Mars bars are among Edinburgh’s more famous exports, residents and tourists here are also partial to the delights of Indian food, whether that be curries and grilled meats or Indian-style tapas and delicious vegetarian options.
In fact, the city’s plethora of Indian restaurants is almost as diverse as Indian cuisine itself. To start with, there are plenty of the traditional curry houses that first made their way to the UK in the 19th century, serving up the hybrid likes of chicken tikka masala and piles of poppadoms, washed down with Indian beers.
Those who are in search of something a little more authentic won’t be disappointed either, as Edinburgh also boasts a whole host of contemporary Indian restaurants, that perhaps do a better job of representing the nation’s varied cuisine. That means you can expect to come across restaurants serving Indian-style sharing plates, regional dishes and seafood specialities. There is pretty much an Indian restaurant in Edinburgh for every mood, whether you are looking for a casual meal or a fine-dining experience.
If you fancy yourself as a bit of a connoisseur of Indian food, see if our list below features an Indian restaurant Edinburgh has been hiding from you. You never know, you might be introduced to something new.
Mother India’s Café
What: This staple Indian joint started out life in Glasgow, but since opening this second location, it has become a core part of Edinburgh’s thriving Indian restaurant scene. Mother India Café's Dishes are served as sharing small plates and you can expect to find all of the usual fare, alongside some less mainstream dishes – think fried masala squid and chilli fish cakes.
Where: 3-5 Infirmary Street, EH1 1LT
What: Having made the journey up from London, Dishoom’s Edinburgh outpost is arguably the most attractive in its portfolio. Expect the usual mix of Indian-style sharing plates (samosas, kebabs, biryanis) as well the bacon-stuffed naans that helped Dishoom make its name. The cooling lassi drinks are not to be missed either.
Where: 3a St Andrew Square, EH2 2BD
What: Specialising in north Indian and Nepalese food, Namaste Kathmandu serves contemporary Indian dishes, alongside a few innovative takes on British classics (think a chicken tikka omelette). Our favourites include the fish pakora and the butter chicken, but Namaste Kathmandu is also a shrewd choice for vegetarian diners, with plenty of meat-free options.
Where: 17-19 Forrest Road, EH1 2QH
What: Serving Edinburgh locals for more than 40 years, Shezan is found directly opposite The Playhouse and rather cleverly, serves an excellent pre- and post-theatre menu for those looking for a bite to eat before the show. Whatever your reasons for dining though, you can expect to tuck into the likes of keema samosas and chicken jalfrezi.
Where: 24-25 Union Place, EH1 3NQ
Navadhanya: Art of Modern Indian Dining
What: Headed up by chef Tharveskhan, who previously worked at Michelin-starred Tamarind in London's Mayfair, Navadhanya is a smart restaurant with surprisingly affordable prices (the two-course set lunch is a particular steal). Menu highlights include Keralan lamb curry and six-hour slow-cooked lamb shank, while desserts include a chocolate samosa.
Where: 32-34 Grindlay Street, EH3 9AP
What: Family-run Kalpna has thrilled Edinburgh locals for over 30 years with its vegetarian menu of Indian cuisine, not least because of its excellent value all-you-can-eat lunchtime buffet. Later in the day, must-try signatures include marinated aubergines cooked in Indian spices, and potato croquettes filled with mixed vegetables, nuts and paneer.
Where: 2-3 St Patrick Square, EH8 9EZ
Bombay Bicycle Club
What: No, this Tollcross restaurant isn’t owned by the famous indie rock band, but is instead a casual Indian that’s much loved for its fair pricing and generous portions. Bombay Bicycle Club is a favourite with students who come for the biryanis and chicken jalfrezi, but all are welcome to feast on the lesser known likes of ginger chicken and trout masala.
Where: 6 Brougham Place, EH3 9HW
What: Pataka’s claim to fame is that author Ian Rankin is a regular customer, and he’s even featured the restaurant in two of his novels. If you fancy trying it out in real life though, you can expect to tuck into dishes such as lamb passanda and king prawn bhuna, while desserts include kulfi and gulab jaman (Indian-style doughnuts).
Where: 190 Causewayside, EH9 1PN
10 to 10 in Delhi
What: This student-friendly tea house and restaurant is a treasure trove of colourful scatter cushions, wall hangings and curious trinkets, while the menu is full of both classic and contemporary delights. Top orders include the cheese and spinach paneer and the traditional daal, while much of the menu is also available to take away should you be feeling lazy.
Where: 67 Nicolson Street, EH8 9BZ
What: As the name suggests, many of the spices used in this restaurant are sourced from the Nilgiri mountains in Southern India. Enjoy the likes of goan fish curry and lamb vindaloo, while you can pad out your meal with truly tempting sides – think cucumber raita and beetroot pachdi. Don’t forget to pair your meal with an Indian beer from the bar.
Where: 14-14a, Brougham Street, EH3 9JH
What: Tanjore is a well-respected Indian restaurant on the Edinburgh scene, where all of the meats are halal and there’s a dedicated children’s menu too. We’re particular fans of the dosas, which can be filled with chicken, or egg, as well as potatoes and veggies. Just remember to pop to the ATM before heading here, as Tanjore is a cash only joint.
Where: 6-8 Clerk Street, EH8 9HX
What: Offering a mix of classic and contemporary dishes taken from Indian and Bangladeshi culture, The Radhuni’s menu features the likes of salmon tikka and even a haggis pakora, in tribute to its Scottish location. The two-course lunch is a bargain at under £10, while you can head here with the family on a weekend afternoon to make the most of the Sunday banquet.
Where: 93 Clerk Street, EH20 9RE
What: People come far and wide to try Ithihass, which is a word derived from Hindi referring to history. Appropriately, there are plenty of classic dishes to savour here, such as sheek kebab and rogan josh, while Itihaas pays homage to its current home too, via Scottish salmon that’s marinated in spices and herbs, then cooked Tandoori-style.
Where: 17-19 Eskbank Road, EH22 1HD
What: Enter Kismot at your own peril, as it claims to be home to the world’s hottest curry (which you have to sign a legal disclaimer before trying). Aside from that, the menu is a well-executed mix of Indian classics alongside some wackier options, such as curry that’s infused with Irn Bru. Kismot is BYOB too and better yet, there’s no corkage fee.
Where: 29 St. Leonard's St, EH8 9QN
What: Tuk Tuk, which also has a sister site in Glasgow, is a riot of colours and flavours. The laid-back restaurant serves a menu of sharing plates that steers clear of curry house clichés. Instead, expect to find the intriguing likes of Bengali fish cakes, chicken lollipops and daal makhni: a black lentil curry that is cooked for 24 hours and features kidney beans too.
Where: 1 Leven Street, EH3 9LH
What: This expansive restaurant features black leather chairs and lilac walls, and is also rather unique in that it specialises in pairing Indian spices with seafood. The restaurant is named after the Konkan region of India, which is known for its seafood, and options on the menu include spice-laden crab curry and Keralan cod cooked in coconut milk and tamarind.
Where: 30-32 Leven Street, EH3 9LJ
What: Open since 1947, Khushi’s claims to be Edinburgh’s very first Indian restaurant. While we can’t prove that, we can vouch for the delicious food. Tuck into the likes of mango chicken tikka and tandoori king prawns while making the most of Khuski’s BYOB policy. There’s plenty of choice for veggies too, thanks to the likes of aubergine pakora and more.
Where: 1 Canmore Street, KY12 7NU
Want more from Edinburgh’s dynamic dining scene? Check out 10 of Edinburgh’s best brunches.