The best Indian restaurants in Canberra

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Indian food

Sweet Mahal, one of Canberra’s most recommended Indian restaurants. Photo: Holly Williams.

Rich and packed with aromatic spices, it’s no surprise that Indian cuisine is a firm favourite both in Australia and around the world. Whether your preferred dish is a mild chicken korma, a beef vindaloo so hot it makes your eyes water, or the crunchy classic papdi chaat, there are plenty of places to enjoy a tasty Indian feast in the nation’s capital.

Canberra is very lucky to be home to an extremely rich multi-cultural food landscape, and Indian cuisine is no exception, with dozens of restaurants all over town. Whether you’re after a sit-down feast in a restaurant, or just need some takeaway on nights when you don’t want to cook, Indian is a great way to go – but how can you decide which restaurant is the best when there are so many options?

In this article, we’ll take a look at a few things that make a great Indian restaurant, as well as a handy guide to some of Canberra’s favourites.

What makes a great Indian restaurant?

Delicious food aside, here are the qualities that separate Canberra’s best Indian restaurants from the rest.

  • A diverse menu. One of the best things about enjoying Indian cuisine is the diversity of dishes on offer. From butter chicken to aromatic rogan josh, spicy dahl to fluffy steamed rice, the best Indian restaurants have something to please everyone.
  • Ability to cater to dietary requirements. Indian food is an excellent choice for those with dietary restrictions, especially those following vegetarian or vegan diets. A good Indian restaurant will have plenty of meat-free and dairy-free options, as well as dishes that either are gluten-free, or can be made gluten-free on request.
  • A lively atmosphere. Nobody wants to eat dinner in a silent, sterile restaurant. If you’re dining in, atmosphere plays a huge role in our dining experience. Look for eateries that are busy and full of life.
  • Friendly and accommodating staff. As with all restaurants, quality service is almost as important as quality food. The best Indian restaurants hire friendly staff who are ready and willing to make your experience a positive one.
  • Value for money. It almost goes without saying that you should expect to pay more for a fine dining experience than a laid back meal from a cheap-and-cheerful suburban Indian restaurant. A restaurant’s pricing should be consistent with those in a similar location that cater to a similar customer base.

The best Indian restaurants in Canberra

Riotact’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on Riotact and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

Sweet Mahal

Sweet Mahal

Sweet Mahal dishes up freshly cooked, authentic North Indian cuisine. In addition to tasty entrees, mains and sides, Sweet Mahal creates popular Indian sweets. Everything is cooked in house and customers discover dishes not found in other Canberra Indian restaurants.

For lunch, Sweet Mahal also offers a unique, North Indian-style breakfast. Customers regularly visit for vegetarian and non-vegetarian appetisers, best-selling Indian-style Butter Chicken, Kadhai Paneer and a range of Chaat and Tandoor dishes. Goat Curry, Goan Fish Curry and Masala Prawns are favorites.

Sweet Mahal’s staff focus on quality customer service, with a friendly, welcoming approach. The restaurant accommodates groups of up to 60 for functions. Sweet Mahal offers a delicious catering menu, take-away options and a delivery service.

On Google, Muralidhar Reddy wrote, “Excellent food and experience. The goat curry is unique and well cooked. Great taste of authentic Indian food. By far, the best Indian restaurant in Canberra.”

Shop 4/2 Emerald Way
Amaroo ACT 2914

Ramas Fiji Indian Restaurant

Ever sampled Indian-Fijian influenced dishes? Head out to Pearce and enjoy a meal at the popular Ramas restaurant. Since 1991, Ramas has delivered a unique menu of tasty dishes to the local community. Explore classics like vegetable samosas and beef Rogan josh, or try something new from their speciality menu. You'll find wonderful items, like Fijian pork curry.

Facebook user Anjani Ashweena Singh wrote this review for Ramas, "Everything about the restaurant was fantastic. The food was of great quality, great service. The owner was fantastic and took care of us."

Spice Affair Indian Cuisine

The passionate team behind Canberra’s Spice Affair Indian Cuisine are dedicated to sharing the unique joys of the 5,000-year-old tradition of Indian cooking with their customers. Offering a warm, welcoming atmosphere, this local hotspot serves up a delectable array of Indian dishes – all of which are preservative-free and utilise the freshest ingredients.

As Facebook user Judy Buckham writes, "Always made to feel so welcome, very well looked after, scrumptious food and our favourite restaurant."

Blu Ginger

First opening in Sydney in 2000 before expanding to Canberra, Blu Ginger uses fresh, locally sourced produce, combined with authentic spices to offer classic, traditional recipes with a modern twist. Whether you want to dine-in, take advantage of their easy online ordering system, or hire them as a catering service, Blu Ginger strives to provide you with a satisfying and memorable experience.

Facebook user Mark Hurwitz writes in their review, Great food and excellent service. Food very good and a really great choice. Really very pleasant venue and well worth going to.”

Taj Mahal

If it’s tasty, home-style Indian cooking you want, head to Taj Mahal. Their dedicated team serve up a mouth-watering menu of authentic Indian food, including beef, lamb, chicken, fish, and veggie dishes – all at nearly unbeatable prices.

Stephen Colbourne wrote the following review on Google for Taj Mahal, "Best Indian restaurant in Canberra. I have made this my choice for Indian for many years. We are never disappointed."

Are you looking for more restaurant recommendations in Canberra? Check out our articles on the best Yum Cha restaurants and the best Chinese restaurants in Canberra for some helpful information.

Your experience with Indian restaurants in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you dined at any of the Indian restaurants listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Indian food meet my dietary restrictions?

Definitely - there are plenty of dishes that are already gluten-free, dairy free and vegetarian, and quite a few that are vegan, too. However, if you have a nut allergy be careful of curries, as quite a few may contain cashews or traces of other nuts. If you're unsure, it's always a good idea to check with the servers before you order.

Are there different types of Indian cuisine?

There are numerous regions in India each with their own cuisine - Kashmiri, Bangali and Punjabi cuisine, to name a few better-known ones, are pretty distinct from one another. That being said, most Indian restaurants here in Canberra will offer a menu of dishes from all over India, so you're sure to find something that you'll enjoy.

Are there many Indian restaurants in Canberra?

Canberra is very lucky to be home to an extremely rich multi-cultural food landscape, and Indian cuisine is no exception - there are dozens of them all over town! Dickson and the CBD have a particularly high concentration of Indian restaurants, but just about every town centre will have an Indian restaurant or two.

Do Indian restaurants offer takeaway?

Definitely - apps like UberEats, Deliveroo and Menulog will be able to show you if there are Indian restaurants nearby that you can order from, or you can simply call up the restaurant yourself and order to pickup.

Is Indian food healthy?

Absolutely - Indian food heavily features legumes, beans, grains, fruits and vegetables that are full of fiber, fat, carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins and minerals. And, while a good number of traditional dishes are vegetarian, meat dishes tend to use lean cuts rather than fatty ones.

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I love Ramas just as much as everyone else but I urge you to try Swagat Indian Kitchen in Greenway. https://swagatndiankitchen.com.au/contact-us

canberrascout4:48 pm 06 Nov 19

Jewel of India, Manuka.
This is what we had recently and it was sooooo good!!!

Speciality of the House
Jewel Feast (for two only) * $72.00
An assortment of cauliflower 65, vegetable samosas,
chicken tikka, lamb cutlets, and tali jhinga with your choice
of any two curries, raita, naan, rice and pappadams
*Vegetarians and seafood curries can be catered for – please check
with your waiter!

We came back next week and they allowed us to share it with three people as it was huge… Not sure if you can always do that but we were extra friendly to the manager!!!

Malabar Fine is the best Indian restaurant in town. They serve Indian dishes in its originality. I think if once tried their dish you wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.

Jewel of India, Manuka. You should try their black dahl.
Ruchi, Belconnen. You must try their dosai.
Gunghalin has a great one too, Flavours of India, I believe.
I won’t do Bollywood Masala again if only due to the prices.
Ramas? Minnie is magnificent but I generally go elsewhere to eat.

I find Flavours of India in outside Woden Plaza (Corinna Street) to be consistently good. Others whom I have taken there also praise it. Never a bad meal there.

Another vote for Indian Affair in Phillip. It’s my favourite, but it’s on the other side of town to where I live.

I tried NH8 in Gungahlin last night and was very impressed! Fabulous food and service, including a free little appetiser. Highly recommended!

neanderthalsis9:11 am 19 Jun 15

MWest said :

Hard to go past Indian Affair in Philip. The daughter’s business in Civic is pretty good too – can’t recall the name.

That would be the imaginatively named Indian Affair in the City. Good food, good service, very friendly staff.

Hard to go past Indian Affair in Philip. The daughter’s business in Civic is pretty good too – can’t recall the name.

Indian Affair in Phillip for the best butter chicken, but also Punjabi Junction in Belconnen for the best lunch pack / buffet.

MonarchRepublic said :

cr15tal said :

Taj Mahal on Northbourne in Civic. Consistently good – chicken moghlai is a must.

+1
Love the food at Taj Mahal

Another vote for Taj Mahal.
One of the few places where you ask for a Vindaloo or Madras extra hot, and actually get something that is extra hot rather than barely makes you break a sweat.

Ruchi for South Indian cuisine in Belconnen – great masala dosa. Or Delhi6 in civic – delicious food and lovely service.

ChrisinTurner3:35 pm 18 Jun 15

Tandoor Indian in Belconnen is excellent, well priced and fully carpeted so the noise levels are much lower than many other restaurants. We often can park right outside the door.

Exploring_The_Blue3:11 pm 18 Jun 15

+1 for Masala Hut at Cooleman Court. Fantastic food and unbeatable prices. I do not like Ramas at all – small portions, overpriced, and not to my taste.

Ramas is great. Bollywood Masala in Dickson is okay. King of Curries in Belconnen was excellent the first time we went and terrible the second. I suspect they changed hands.

I’ve dined with bronal at Masala Hut and have not been disappointed, but my vote is Rama’s in Pearce.

I don’t know why anyone is bothering to comment. Ramas is not only the best Indian in Canberra – it is the best Indian in the world. All other posters who have commented otherwise must never have been there …

fromthecapital7:38 pm 16 Jun 15

There is a lot of great Indian these days, but Rama’s.

Best food but also massive credit to Minnie, best customer service in Canberra.

MonarchRepublic4:46 pm 16 Jun 15

cr15tal said :

Taj Mahal on Northbourne in Civic. Consistently good – chicken moghlai is a must.

+1
Love the food at Taj Mahal

Ruchi’s for South Indian thali. 7 Village for the fresh paneer and authentic salt lassi.

Indian Affair in the City (I haven’t tried the Phillip version). They are amazing and regularly do cheap Living Social Deals.

Taj Mahal on Northbourne in Civic. Consistently good – chicken moghlai is a must.

I too am a Mirchis fan and will try NH8 tonight

NH8 is a newish restaurant at Yerrabi Pond in Gungahlin – it wins hands down. The food is like no Indian I’ve had before and the prices are great.

Sadly, it’s a long way from home for us, so Rama’s is a close second. Their mango chicken has been outstanding for as long as I can remember.

Indian Affair in Phillip. Absolutely drool worthy. I’m yet to try the one in the city, hopefully it’s just as good. The punjabi murgh masala is superb.

I’ve always found Ramas to be overrated.

Mirchi at the Ngunnawal shops is tops. Also Rama’s.

Holden Caulfield11:05 am 16 Jun 15

I haven’t been for a few years now, but when I was still in the inner north I used to like a frequent visit to Bollywood Masala in Dickson. Have been to the one in Kingston a couple of times and it has hit the spot just as well as Dickson too.

Alexandra Craig9:43 am 16 Jun 15

Punjabi Hut in Manuka!!!! And if you eat in and get the banquet, it includes unlimited naan and rice.

Dame Canberra9:08 am 16 Jun 15

bronal said :

Masala Hut at Cooleman Court.

I’ve been going there for years and it has never disappointed. Their goat curries are particularly tasty.

Masala Hut is our go to Indian restaurant. The special dinner packs ($41 for two people or $80 for four) are really good value, and the food is great.

That said, my vote this week goes to Ramas. Can’t beat it – though it can get busy on weekends!

Ramas (Fijian Indian) is a bit of an institution in the south of Canberra which has never dropped off in popularity.

Ramas in Pearce, hands down the best in Canberra.

Masala Hut at Cooleman Court.

I’ve been going there for years and it has never disappointed. Their goat curries are particularly tasty.

Beware of any Indian restaurant that offers all dishes ‘mild, medium or hot’. Each dish in Indian cuisine has its own taste and should not be tampered with.

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