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 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.”
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.”
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.”
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.“
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.”
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.