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.
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."
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."
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."
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.”
Sweet Mahal dishes up freshly cooked, authentic North Indian cuisine—tasty entrees, mains, sides and sweets. Everything is cooked in house and customers discover dishes not found elsewhere in Canberra. For lunch, Sweet Mahal also offers a unique, North Indian-style breakfast. Customers regularly visit for vegetarian and non-vegetarian appetisers and best-selling mains. Sweet Mahal handles groups and has a catering menu, take-away options and delivery.
On Google, Muralidhar Reddy wrote, “By far, the best Indian restaurant in Canberra.”
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.