Indian cuisine has been a delicacy in the UK for decades, and what better place to sample it than the home of some of the best restaurants in the world: London. The Big Smoke boasts the first ever Michelin starred Indian restaurant, and it doesn’t stop there. We’ve compiled a list of the 20 hottest Indian restaurants in London, ranging from the conventional to the quirky.
1. Chutney Mary
Chutney Mary is a contemporary Indian restaurant and graces London with brunch and live jazz performances every Saturday. Having recently relocated to the West End, Chutney Mary sits in one of the most vibrant London locations in all its glory. Its lavish Pukka Bar is open all day to serve you drinks and snacks and is sure to enchant you with its design. A stone and leather bar accentuates the room, which is lit by chandeliers and LED lights. Chutney Mary gives you the option to gorge on an Indian meal or treat yourself to relaxed drinks and finger food – or both, don’t let us tell you what to do.
Where: St. James’ Street, London, SW1A 1PH
Cinnamon Club prides itself on providing its guests with fine dining and classic Indian cuisine. Being both traditional and creative is what gives this restaurant its charm, along with being situated in what once was Westminster Library. Cinnamon Club is also suited and booted with a downstairs bar that can fulfil all of your spiritual needs. The Executive Chef, Vivek Singh, even hosts masterclasses so that you can recreate his culinary prowess at home. Located in Westminster, you’re only a short walk away from some of London’s most major attractions such as St. James’ Park and the Houses of Parliament, so Cinnamon Club is an ideal dining location for tourists.
Where: 30-32 Great Smith Street
Legend has it that Indian Lounge owner, Chris, provides some of the best service in London. His charm and entertainment certainly accentuate what Indian Lounge has to offer, but credit must be given where it’s due and it’s also the fantastic food presentation and classic Indian cuisine that make the lounge stand out. Conveniently located just at King’s Cross St. Pancras station, this restaurant is perfect before or after a long train journey.
Where: 343 Grays Inn Road, London, WC1X 8PX
Price: ££ – £££
If you’re on a tighter budget, The Taste of Nawab is both a restaurant and takeaway in North London, but its lower price does not reflect the quality of its dishes. Situated north of Central London, and specialising in both classic Indian and Bengali cuisine, The Taste of Nawab may be the restaurant for you if you want to experience Indian cuisine away from the hustle and bustle of urban life.
Where: 97 Colney Hatch Lane, London, N10 LNR
Price: ££ – £££
Although in the heart of London, Quilon creates an authentic ambience for its customers. Serving coastal South Indian cuisine, this restaurant is highly praised by tourists and locals alike – and who can blame them when this Michelin Star restaurant embraces both quality and variety in its menu. Situated just a stone’s throw away from St. James’ Park station, Quilon is perfect for anyone wanting to dine in Central London.
Where: 41 Buckingham Gate, London, SW1E 6AF
London’s Bayleaf has been going strong for over 20 years, and is not only appreciated for its delicious food. Bayleaf has been dubbed as an experience, using dry ice to create a calming mist for its guests. If you like it enough to become a regular, you will always be kept on your toes because, every three months, the menu is given a makeover.
Where: 282-1284 Highroad, London, N20 9HH
Price: ££ – £££
7. Masala Zone
If vibrant is more your style, Masala Zone’s decor will certainly catch your eye. The Beverley Hills Martinique wallpaper in the lavish lavatories and the quirky lighting in the dining area give this restaurant a true Soho feel, while still maintaining classic Indian decor. The food served at Masala Zone is rumoured to be perhaps the most reminiscent of India’s dining in London, so if you’re looking for an authentic experience, this could be the place for you. Masala Zone even provide a children’s menu ensuring that anyone under seven years of age can eat for £6.
Where: Masala Zone is situated in the heart of Soho, at 9 Marshall Street, W1F 7ER.
Price: ££ – £££
Amaya prides itself on its ability to create ambience, with golden lighting flowing from the kitchen and a tinted glass roof to light up the tables of lunchtime diners. But, of course, Amaya isn’t Michelin starred for its ambience. This restaurant is sure to ignite your palate as it’s perhaps best known for its prowess in the Indian grilling styles: Tandoor, Sigri and Tawa, and its extensive wine list which is the perfect post-work thirst quencher.
Where: Halkin Arcade, Motcomb Street, SW1X 8JT.
9. The Rajdoot
The Rajdoot is known for recreating dishes from all over India, so if you want to experience the whole country in one night, this is the restaurant for you. From the outside, the Rajdoot looks quaint and understated, but don’t judge a book by its cover, because what it lacks in swagger it makes up for in taste. Conveniently located, you can enjoy an after dinner stroll in Regent’s Park or Primrose Hill – the perfect way to round off an evening.
Where: 49 Paddington Street, Marylebone, W1U 4HW
Price: ££ – £££
This multi-award winning restaurant is not only known for its food, but also for its legendary events. If you want to host a party, a small get together, or even a wedding, Chef Patron Cyrus Todiwala will work alongside you to provide some of the best Indian food that London has to offer. Todiwala grew up in Mumbai, which explains why Cafe Spice Namaste is known for its authenticity, while also striving for creativity in its presentation. Situated in a Grade II listed building, Cafe Spice Namaste has a welcoming feel, so why not visit? You’ll feel right at home.
Where: 16 Prescot St, London, E1 8AZ
Even though it’s located in London’s swanky Mayfair, this Indian restaurant falls into the lower end of our price range, so it’s perfect if you’re on a tight budget. However, don’t let the reasonable price deceive you; Veeraswamy’s interior is jaw-droppingly elegant and classic, which is not surprising as it was opened in 1926 and has therefore had 90 years to build up its reputation for being one of London’s best Indian restaurants. But, if you do visit, make sure your appetite is on top form because Veeraswamy has been rumoured to rustle up the best biryani in London.
Where: 99 Regent St, Mayfair, London, W1B 4EZ.
12. Chai Ki
It’s no surprise that this restaurant has made it into our list of 20 best Indian restaurants in London, as the word that immediately springs to mind is variety. Chai Ki is comprised of two sections: the restaurant and the Toddy Shop bar and kitchen. The restaurant is only open for dinner, but serves all of the classic Indian meals. The more experimental and modern Toddy Shop, on the other hand, is open all day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with snacks and drinks. It sits on the idyllic North Dock of Canary Wharf, so whatever your reason for being in the area, there will definitely be something to tickle your palate.
Where: Crossrail Place, E14 5AR.
Even celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has voted Brilliant as one of his best on his Channel 4 series, so surely we can’t both be wrong? Even if you’re one of the health conscious among us, Brilliant has a healthier options menu where its foods are cooked with sunflower oil, olive oil and low fat yoghurt. Brilliant is located just outside of Central London, but is well worth the travel if you appreciate fine Indian food and an outstanding atmosphere.
Where: 72-76 Western Road, Southall UB2 5D
Price: ££ – £££
Fancy a feast? Then Gymkhana is the place for you. The £90 per person feast menu featuring a whole Tandoori chicken definitely looks like a challenge, but if you think you can handle it then it’s well worth the cost. With wild tiger prawns and goat raan, the feast menu gives Gymkhana an edge on other Indian restaurants. If you don’t have eyes bigger than your belly, you can still enjoy Gymkhana, who also specialise in chatpatta and sharing dishes. This Indian restaurant is perfect for a night out with friends or colleagues, regardless of how big your appetite is.
Where: 42 Albemarle St, Mayfair, W1S 4J
Just behind Marble Arch tube station, just a short walk away from Madame Tussauds, you can find number 15 on our list. Riz Dar, the owner of Zayna, named this restaurant after his daughter, which holds testimony to the family friendly atmosphere that gives the restaurant a warm feel. Zayna only uses halal meat and all of the spices are ground in house. It’s this good quality food and comfortable environment that really puts the restaurant on London’s map.
Where: 25 New Quebec Street, London, W1H 7SF
Price: ££ – £££
Sat just paces away from The Ritz, Tamarind oozes class and style. This sophisticated restaurant has a pre and post theatre menu, so if you’re visiting London to see a show, Tamarind will be sure to get you there in time for the ball. Not only does Tamarind hold class to its name, it was the first Indian restaurant in the world to claim a Michelin star, so don’t just take it from us, take it from the experts.
Where: 20 Queen St, Mayfair, London W1J 5PR
Shoreditch is known for being home to unconventional restaurants and Dishoom is no exception. If you want a quirky alternative to the more traditional Indian restaurant, head straight to Dishoom where you can try a bacon naan roll or chilli cheese toast for breakfast. With a lively atmosphere and a reasonable price, this restaurant is perfect for anyone who likes to deviate away from the norm. However, Dishoom still offers a full variety of classic dishes, so there really is something for everyone.
Where: 7 Boundary St, London E2 7JE
Price: ££ – £££
Fashionable, cool, slick – but what else would you expect from a Kensington restaurant? With a buffet brunch being served every weekend and featuring the relaxed Bombay Bar, the Bombay Brasserie gives Kensington a more chilled out vibe. The dishes themselves are influenced by the tastes of Goa, Bengal, Gujerat and even Portugal, so you’re sure to find a flavour that suits you.
Where: Courtfield Rd, Kensington, SW7 4QH
Zaika is the sister restaurant of Mayfair’s Tamarind, but no two sisters are the same. While Tamarind is perfect for theatre goers, Zaika specialises in Dum Pukht, a cooking technique that originated in 18th century India, and involves combining half-cooked ingredients in a ceramic dish with a dough lid. The dish is then cooked surrounded by charcoal – the goal is to slow cook the food in its own juices. Serving a large variety of classic Indian dishes and having a culinary prowess in Dum Pukht, Zaika is a real gem amongst the concrete jungle.
Where: 1 Kensington High St, Kensington, London W8 5NP
Want to be a connoisseur of Indian food? Yes? Then it would definitely be worth your while to visit Trishna, near Regent’s Park, to sample their seven course tasting menu – which includes wine – to get a real taste of India. Their innovative combination of ingredients, intimate layout and elegant interior gives the restaurant a homely feel, whilst still maintaining the utmost authenticity.
Where: 15-17 Blandford St, Marylebone, London W1U 3DG