The best Indian restaurants in Canberra

Rama's potato curry

The potato saag curry is a popular vegan choice at Rama’s Fiji Indian Restaurant, one of Canberra’s most recommended Indian restaurants. Photo: Supplied.

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.

The Hungry Buddha

The Hungry Buddha has been serving up authentic Nepalese, Indian and Asian fusion dishes to Canberra diners for almost a decade. Located in the heart of Belconnen, its team happily accommodates dietary requests including allergies (call ahead to let the kitchen know in advance), and the chef takes great care to avoid cross-contamination when preparing dishes that are nut-free, dairy-free etc. In addition to mouthwatering Nepalese delights like momos and village-style goat curry, popular Indian dishes at The Hungry Buddha include lamb rogan josh, palak paneer and the classic beef vindaloo.

As ‘Local Guide’ Rachel Barker writes in their Google review, “Nice staff, freshly cooked roti bread, curries with flavour but not heat. Some tables free even on a Friday night. Food arrived in good time. We will dine here again.”

Tikka Take

This modern gourmet restaurant draws on the flavours of Central Asia and India to create a new and innovative dining experience at an affordable price. Their street food-style menu features roti wraps, classic curries, and some other tasty snacks that are sure to please anyone.

‘Local Guide’ Deen Mohammad wrote the following Google review for Tikka Take, Had dinner yesterday and the food was great. Noticed the staff was hardworking. (…) Naan was good chicken was tender. Will surely try again.”

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.”

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.”

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.

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.

What's Your Opinion?

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32 Responses to The best Indian restaurants in Canberra
canberrascout canberrascout 4:48 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!!!

sneha sweet sneha sweet 8:15 pm 03 Aug 17

vnathan said :

There is no vegetarian dishes available in any of these Indian restaurants. They all not prepared properly. Hygiene in the kitchen and with staff is very poor. There is no high standard of food in any of the Indian restaurants. I like to see vegetarian only Indian restaurants.

Try Malabar dine….it has got vegetarian varieties

sneha sweet sneha sweet 8:08 pm 03 Aug 17

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.

vnathan vnathan 11:06 pm 25 Jun 15

There is no vegetarian dishes available in any of these Indian restaurants. They all not prepared properly. Hygiene in the kitchen and with staff is very poor. There is no high standard of food in any of the Indian restaurants. I like to see vegetarian only Indian restaurants.

rossau rossau 6:56 pm 21 Jun 15

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.

Bevan_Bogan Bevan_Bogan 2:32 pm 20 Jun 15

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.

nicnacvb nicnacvb 12:55 pm 20 Jun 15

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!

neanderthalsis neanderthalsis 9:11 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.

MWest MWest 9:19 pm 18 Jun 15

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

alloneword alloneword 6:13 pm 18 Jun 15

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

Grimm Grimm 5:56 pm 18 Jun 15

MonarchRepublic said :

cr15tal said :

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

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.

Unglued Unglued 3:39 pm 18 Jun 15

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

ChrisinTurner ChrisinTurner 3:35 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_Blue Exploring_The_Blue 3:11 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.

garglebutt garglebutt 2:57 pm 18 Jun 15

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.

MrDave MrDave 2:50 pm 18 Jun 15

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

Chicka Chicka 2:45 pm 18 Jun 15

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 …

fromthecapital fromthecapital 7:38 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.

MonarchRepublic MonarchRepublic 4:46 pm 16 Jun 15

cr15tal said :

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

Love the food at Taj Mahal

aolsen aolsen 4:32 pm 16 Jun 15

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

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