Where to Find the Best Indian Food in London
With chicken tikka masala among the UK's national dishes, trying Indian food in London is a must.
Queen Victoria was said to be a huge fan of Indian food, influenced no doubt by her friendship with attendant Abdul Karim, who became her Munshi (teacher) and taught the monarch to speak Urdu. Her enthusiasm for the varied and rich flavours of Indian cuisine sparked public interest – 150 years later, curry is one of the most popular dishes in the UK. From family-run curry houses to modern fusion fine dining, chain restaurants to food trucks, read on to discover the best Indian food in London. Prepare for a feast with Plum Guide…
Chain restaurants are often derided as being conveyer belt establishments without much character. However, small chains can simply indicate that a restaurant was successful and appealed to diners needs and tastes, therefore encouraging an expansion. It would be impossible to speak of the best Indian food in London without mentioning the legendary Dishoom. With five locations in London and one each in Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester, Dishoom is an incredibly popular and fun chain that creates a buzz by not taking reservations (in most cases) and providing Bombay-inspired meals throughout the day – stop by for a breakfast of bacon naan rolls and cool, creamy lassis. We highly recommend you order the house black daal, a lentil dish cooked over 24 hours to reach rich and deeply flavoured perfection. Look out for the Bollywood posters and quirky decor touches throughout.
Masala Zone has restaurants in seven London spots including Earls Court, Camden, and Soho. Featuring dramatic and vibrant decor, including a plethora of hanging colourful Rajasthani puppets from the ceiling, Masala Zone exudes a theatrical atmosphere. The changing menu includes street-food inspired tastes and traditional thali plates. If you're heading to the Soho branch, stay in one of our stylish homes like Fleetwood or King of Soho nearby for a short walk back after dinner.
Kricket is a success story with humble beginnings in this guide to the best Indian food in London. Starting in 2015 in a cosy shipping container that seated just 20, this restaurant grew to a permanent restaurant in Soho and now has a Brixton branch and a third in White City. Vegetarians can usually find plenty of meat-free options in Indian restaurants and here they are spoiled for choice, with the smoked sweet potato with crispy onions a particular favourite. If you want to recreate the best Indian food in London at home once you're back from your trip, Kricket has released a cookbook for this very purpose. Speaking of books, why not combine a visit to this Soho favourite with a trip to nearby Foyles, one of London's best bookshops?
Although there are many affordable and casual Indian restaurants in London, sometimes only the best will do. For a special celebration, an anniversary, or when you're trying to woo a new business client, you might prefer to experience a more refined take on the best Indian food in London.
Awarded a Michelin star in 2014, Gymkhana is an upscale restaurant inspired by the Indian cricket clubs frequented by high society. Leather banquette benches, oak panelling and liberal use of the iconic racing green hue make you feel like you are inside an exclusive members-only club. For special occasions, order from the feasting menu for an experience impossible to forget. Standout dishes include succulent lamb raan, and the lasooni wild tiger prawns served with a red pepper chutney.
Settle down in the elegant dining room of Chutney Mary's West End restaurant, featuring modern twists on spicy traditional favourites. The decor inside Chutney Mary is sophisticated and makes the perfect setting for a romantic date night. For a complete and authentic culinary journey through India, select the tasting menu. Small plates can also be ordered to share and sample a range of flavours, including griddled scallops in a Mangalorean sauce, tandoori quail, and the popular lobster chilli fry. For elegant accommodation to match such refined Indian dining, stay at one of our stylish homes like Fleming's Diamond or Bury St James.
Holes in the Wall
Just as you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, sometimes restaurants shouldn't be judged by their outside appearance, their small size, or their lack of curb appeal. Food trucks, in particular, can be the key to sampling the most delicious and authentic (not to mention wallet-friendly) Indian food in London.
Apollo Banana Leaf restaurant in Tooting, South London specialises in South Asian and Sri Lankan flavours and more than makes up for its lacklustre decor with the quality of its food. Try the seafood kothu made with spicy squid and prawns and be prepared to return.
A food truck parked in Camden, with pop up restaurants in Brixton and Brockley, Bhangra Burger creates truly enormous burgers, sandwiches, and bowls with spice profiles to justify the long queues around the block. Order the lamb jalfrezi burger with a mint cumin raita and expect to get messy - you’ll need extra napkins.
So there we have it – our guide to the best Indiai food in London. Feeling hungry and looking for the ideal accommodation for your trip to the city? Plum Guide's expert home critics have selected the most stylish and comfortable homes in the UK capital – from luxurious homes near Buckingham Palace to quirky stays in the up-and-coming Arsenal neighbourhood.