With around 5,000 Indian restaurants spread arounds its 32 boroughs, London is one of the best places to eat Indian food outside India itself. Whether you fancy fish curry from Kerala, chicken tikka from Punjab or a stuffed paratha from Delhi, you won’t have to look far to find a restaurant where you can eat it.
But it’s not just on the food front that London’s Indian restaurants excel: you can eat fabulous Indian cooking across all price points and in every style of restaurant. We’ve whittled down the 5,000 to our favourite 15 so, whether you want to splash the cash or go cheap and cheerful, here is our hand-picked selection of the best Indian restaurants in London.
Chutney Mary, St James’s
Why: One of St James’s sumptuously decorated jewels, Chutney Mary serves a tempting menu of high-end Indian cuisine, overlaid with judicious spicing and luxurious touches. An indulgent menu sees the likes of roast duck jardaloo, juicy scallops in Mangalorean sauce (a southern Indian blend of coconut, fenugreek and turmeric) and a fabulous tandoori Dover sole. Finish with desserts including an Indian twist on tiramisu, which features gulab jamun.
Where: 73 St James’s Street, SW1A 1PH
The Cinnamon Club, Westminster
Why: Despite expanding his ‘Cinnamon’ brand and portfolio (including Battersea and the City) chef Vivek Singh hasn’t taken his eye off the ball here in Westminster. The cooking remains consistently delicious, with menu highlights including tandoori octopus with fennel salad, and fenugreek-infused roast cod with curry leaf and lime crumble. Sommeliers are on hand to guide you through a diverting wine list.
Where: The Old Westminster Library, 30-32 Great Smith Street, SW1P 3BU
Indian Accent, Mayfair
Why: Few restaurants have arrived in the capital as garlanded with awards as the London outpost of Indian Accent. The New Delhi original is the only restaurant in India on the World’s 50 Best list and is regularly voted the country’s top place to eat. Here in Mayfair, the sure-footed update of traditional Indian cooking impresses via the likes of tenderly succulent pork ribs, and a lamb seekh kebab with cumin-spiced new potatoes.
Where: 16 Albemarle Street, W1S 4HW
Why: This Mayfair revelation reminds diners just how good Indian cuisine can be in the right hands. The regionally inspired food is a perfect fit for the dining room’s refined atmosphere. while top calls are many and varied: peppery soft-shell crab perked up with damson chutney, delicate scallops on a mound of puffed rice, and char-grilled and pulled ‘Old Delhi’ butter chicken. Prices are high, but the set lunch menu offers a more budget-minded way in.
Where: 8 Mount Street, W1K 3NF
Veeraswamy, Regent Street
Why: Founded in 1926, the capital’s oldest Indian is still a hit with Londoners. The blingy dining room with silver ceilings and multi-coloured glass lanterns is supported by a menu which blends tip-top renditions of the classic repertoire with some dramatic house specials. Our favourites include the punchily spiced chicken tikka, and the rich roast duck vindaloo, while charming staff add to the ‘everyone welcome’ attitude.
Where: Victory House, 99 Regent Street, W1B 4RS
Cool and trendy
Why: A clever combination of flattering lighting and a genius design spec that brings the ‘theatre’ kitchen unobtrusively into the slinky dining room would be enough for most restaurants to make a fashionable leap into the limelight, but Amaya has Michelin-starred food and brilliant service too. Don’t miss the smoked chilli lamb chops, or the tandoori ocean prawns, while a spice-friendly wine list matches the food in every department.
Where: Halkin Arcade, 19 Motcomb Street, SW1X 8JT
Why: From JKS Group (which oversees several of the restaurants in this list), Brigadiers is an Indian barbecue restaurant and sports bar, pitched in mood midway between the cheap thrills of Hoppers and the Mayfair flash of Gymkhana. City boy touches include a self-service whisky dispenser and TVs locked to Sky Sports, while dishes to share include masala chicken skins with lime pickle, and barbecue butter wings smeared with ghee and cashew cream.
Where: 1-5 Bloomberg Arcade, EC4N 8AR
Why: A classy, low-lit contemporary Indian from JKS Group, celeb-magnet Gymkhana channels colonial clubbiness over two floors on Albemarle Street. Food-wise, top shouts include the kid-goat methi keema piled into buttered buns, and a muntjac biriyani with pomegranate and mint raita. The efficient and seemingly unflappable service also impresses, as too the Indian-accented cocktails.
Where: 42 Albemarle Street, W1S 4JH
Why: Ravinder Bhogal’s Jikoni is a cosy little site, furnished with floral tablecloths, scatter cushions and fabric lampshades, kept on the formal side of kitsch by a smart marble bar and white walls. Bhogal’s east African-cum-Indian-cum-British heritage is reflected in a menu that infuses comforting Brit classics with exotic spices, including her signature three takes on the Scotch egg.
Where: 19-21 Blandford Street, W1D 3DH
Why: Trishna’s modern approach to Indian cuisine sees beautifully presented dishes served in a calm and collected dining room where windows open on to the street in warmer months. Exceptional wine pairings complement delicious plates such as tandoori prawns laced with red chilli, and an inventive biriyani which mixes wild mushroom and berries with truffle oil and pink peppercorn raita.
Where: 15-17 Blandford Street, W1U 3DG
Affordable and casual
Bombay Bustle, Mayfair
Why: This more casual take on a Mayfair Indian from the team behind nearby Jamavar is inspired by India’s dabbawala lunchbox deliveries. The pastel-coloured interior reflects the railway network that supports the service – look out for a nifty hat rack-cum-mirror and overhead luggage racks – while a menu of sharing plates (truffle naan, samosas, curries) is well realised. Prices are also a bargain by Mayfair standards.
Where: 29 Maddox Street, W1S 2PA
Darjeeling Express, Soho
Why: Touted by Cinnamon Club’s Vivek Singh as one of London’s top Indian female chefs, Asma Khan is now fronting her own gaff – a relaxed, comforting venue which boasts a kitchen team made up of women who learnt their craft from their mothers. The results on the plate are excellent, and the homely dishes, such as crumbly minced mutton cakes stuffed with hung yoghurt, will leave you feeling like you’ve come to a friend’s house for (a very well-cooked) dinner.
Where: 2nd Floor, 6-8 Kingly Street, W1B 5PW
Why: This cosy no-bookings Indian may be small and unassuming but the menu is explosive. Spice-laden offerings include the venison and vermicelli ‘doughnut’, and the melt-in-the-mouth Kashmiri lamb chops which will have you licking the bones clean like a ravenous caveman. Don’t miss the Asian-inspired cocktails either. If you’re in a group, head to the Tower Bridge sequel.
Where: 11 White’s Row, E1 7NF
Why: Yet another restaurant from the talented siblings behind JKS Group, Hoppers is proof that very good things come in very small packages. This no-reservations South Indian eatery serves astoundingly good-value Sri Lankan and Tamil cuisine, full of delicate flavours and fragrances. Highlights include the namesake hoppers (a bowl-shaped rice pancake) and perfectly balanced curries.
Where: 49 Frith Street, W1D 4SG
Why: Casual Kricket started life as shipping-container eatery at Pop Brixton but this first bricks-and-mortar site is a proper restaurant with snazzy London embellishments including an open kitchen and dining counter, plus tables in the darker, atmospheric basement. Kricket’s game is a gentle one – the heavy pepper dusting on the signature Keralan-fried chicken is as fiery as it gets. There are two larger branches in Brixton and White City.
Where: 12 Denman Street, W1D 7HH
For the full rundown of London’s best Indian restaurants, click here.