If you are planning a trip to Melbourne, then chances are you are hoping to experience everything that this vibrant city has to offer, from the local tourist attractions to the famous lanes and, of course, the excellent food.
And while Australia may be known internationally for its love of barbecues, the country’s diverse community of ethnicities and rich history of immigration has produced a fabulous food culture and a plethora of international cuisines.
So, if you are in the mood for Indian cuisine and to sample a really good curry, then Melbourne has you covered.
Melbourne offers some of the finest Indian restaurants in the country, with each sporting its own unique menu, heritage and chef’s specials. And, of course, India is a huge country with many regional dishes and a diverse food culture.
With so many options available, it can be difficult to choose which Indian restaurant to try. Well, don’t worry as Eatability is here to help.
Looking for someone to provide spicy Indian delights for an event? Check out our piece on Jeeta Catering
In the following article, we review a number of the best Indian restaurants in Melbourne, so that you can choose in confidence.
Location: 14-16 Bourke St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9654 5714
Based in the CBD, Red Pepper is a sublime Indian restaurant that draws its influence from North Indian cuisine, with the establishment offering traditional flavours with a unique and modern twist.
Boasting a wide selection of delicious meals, this restaurant currently offers classic dishes such as Butter Chicken, Goat Curry and Chilli Beef. It also caters to vegetarians with flavour-packed plant-based options.
Red Pepper is also known for its outstanding cocktails, as well as its collection of Indian beers and whisky.
Location: 20 Duckboard Pl, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9650 3155
Since it’s opening in 2013, Adam D’Sylva’s Tonka has shakened up conceptions around Indian cuisine. It’s impossible to write about the best Indian restaurants in Melbourne and not mention it.
If you have been looking for an Indian restaurant that offers a more high-end culinary experience, then look no further than Tonka.
Located in the CBD, Tonka takes classic Indian dishes and infuses them with technique and vibrant flavours.
Sporting white napkins, classy decor and food unlike anything you have ever seen before, this restaurant is the very definition of sophistication and offers some of the best dishes in the city, from Kerala Prawn Curry with Toasted Coconut to Confit Duck with Sirkay Wali Gobi & Chestnut Puree. Delicious!
Location: 223 Nelson Pl, Williamstown VIC 3016 / Ph: (03) 8590 4628
The Calcutta Club in Williamstown, is lauded for serving some of the best Bengali cuisine in the whole of Australia.
Producing authentic Bengali and north-east Indian food, with a very loyal clientele, the Calcutta Club has become a favourite haunt for nostalgic Bengalis, craving their home cuisine.
It’s a busy establishment, and so be sure to book. Expect tasty, reasonably-priced dishes that pack a spicy punch.
The Dhonepata Kancha lonka Murgi (chicken cooked with coriander leaves and green chilli), Kolkata Dum Biryani, Mutton Rezala and Golbari Kosha Mangsho (spicy goat curry) come highly recommended.
Editor’s note: We have recently heard (August 2022) that The Calcutta Club in Williamstown has temporarily closed. We will keep you updated with further news. Instead why not try the following new dining option?
Location: 37 Little Bourke St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9242 0814
Few chefs have captured the fun vibe of Modern Indian cuisine like Jessi Singh. Daughter In Law Melbourne has sister restaurants in Adelaide and Byron Bay and all of them specialise in serving ‘Unauthentic Australian Indian’ food.
What this means is plenty of recognisable Indian fare, given a little tweak of originality. So we’re talking mainstays like Tandoori Chicken alongside the utterly addictive Colonel Tso’s Cauliflower. Or maybe the familiar Palak Paneer followed by the signature Unauthentic Butter Chicken.
Pair the playful dishes with a funky ambience, colour-saturated decor and disco soundtrack and you’re a million miles from the standard Indian restaurant of yesteryear.
And did we mention the cocktails? I’m happy to report that the Spicy Margarita – Hari Mirch Infused Tequila, Triple Sec, Lime Chilli Salt – more than matches the wallop of some of the dishes.
If you like the sound of Daughter in Law, make sure you also check our Jessi Singh’s Mr Brownie and Horn Please – reviewed below.
Location: Grand Hotel Melbourne, 33 Spencer St, Docklands, VIC 3008 Ph: (03) 9620 1286
When it comes to sampling rare and exotic dishes, there’s no better Indian restaurant than Gaylord, which is now in its new home in the Grand Hotel.
Originally based in Chinatown, this establishment has been wowing tourists and locals alike for years. And whilst it may have changed locations, it continues to be a frontrunner in creative Indian cuisine.
Featuring a diverse team of culinary experts, this restaurant offers classic dishes such as Goat Curry and Methi Murg, as well as more inventive creations like Kerala Salmon Moilee and Lamb Cigars with Mint Sauce.
Location: 199 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, VIC 3065 Ph: 0407 307 986
It’s off to fashionable Fitzroy for the next of our best Indian restaurants in Melbourne.
Located on Gertrude, ISH is a rustic Indian restaurant that sits at the intersection of old and modern cuisine, with the restaurant offering delicious and authentic dishes that capture the spirit of its homeland.
Take your curry (and soup and stew) game to the next level with the Hawkins CB20 Hard Anodised Pressure Cooker. You’ll be turning out delicious curries in record time.
Sporting a fun and comfortable atmosphere, this restaurant delivers food with a surprisingly sophisticated twist, such as Tandoori Lamb Cutlets and Free-Range Chicken Tikka with Caramelised Onions and Garlic Yoghurt. Just make sure you leave some room for dessert.
Location: 401 Rathdowne St, Carlton, VIC 3053 Ph: (03) 9348 4685
Chapati is a modern Indian restaurant that has been receiving rave reviews for its unique approach to traditional cuisine.
Based in Carlton, this restaurant takes its name from the classic bread that remains a staple of the Indian people, with the establishment drawing its inspiration from across the vibrant country.
Boasting happy staff, stunning decor and a head chef with years of culinary experience, Chapati offers some of the best Indian food in the city, as well as a welcoming atmosphere and diverse menu.
So if you want to sample Garlic Naan, Coconut Fried Fish or authentic Butter Chicken, then this is the place for you.
Location: 343 Clarendon St, South Melbourne, VIC 3205 Ph: (03) 8590 9669
Based in an old British pub, Mr Brownie is a striking establishment that offers beautiful views of the surrounding city, as well as four storeys of fun.
While the basement level contains one of the best cocktail bars in Melbourne, the top floor is where you want to head. This is where you will find some of the best Indian food that Australia has to offer.
Featuring classic Anglo-Indian dishes such as Samosas and Butter Chicken, Mr Brownie also offers Indian twists on classic pub food. We recommend the Margherita Pizza and Battered Fish with Curry Chips. They’re not quite as good as the ones we ate on nights out in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, but they run them pretty close!
Fancy eating here? Then also check out Daughter in Law Melbourne mentioned above and Horn Please below. It’s from the same stable of eateries.
Location: 365 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, VIC 3065 Ph: (03) 9917 2224
Mukka is not your stereotypical Indian restaurant. This eatery prides itself on creating unique and authentic dishes using traditional spices and fresh ingredients.
While the restaurant works to represent Indian cuisine at its finest, the food has not been dumbed down for Western palettes. The result is delicious, spicy dishes that will make your toes curl and your taste buds sing.
Although Mukka offers a wide menu of tasty meals, one of their standout creations is the Spicy Lamb Chops, which are marinated overnight to infuse the meat with its signature flavour.
If you’re a fan of Asian Fusion food, then check out our recommendations for the best exponents of this cuisine in Melbourne.
Location: 159/161 Victoria Ave, Albert Park, VIC 3206 Ph: (03) 9696 3388
Modern Indian cuisine doesn’t get much better than at Albert Park’s Atta Restaurant.
Here, the kitchen takes dishes from across India’s varied regions and adds just the right amount of polish to make them sparkle.
If you’ve not heard of their Dirty Samosa ($22), then you’re not up on the Melbourne Indian dining scene. It’s a fun take on the classic entree, deconstructed and served with a dramatic splash of Yoghurt.
However, if you want your food a bit more old skool, then both the Lamb Chennai ($45) and the Palak Paneer ($38) sing on the palette. The former, featuring meltingly tender meat in a satin-smooth coconut and tomato gravy. The latter, buzzing with the gentle hum of green chilli.
And the Naan? It’s simply one of the best we’ve ever eaten.
Location: 375 Nicholson St, Carlton North, VIC 3054 Ph: (03) 9349 2947
Offering some of the best Indian cuisine in Melbourne, Haldi is known for its creamy curries, delicious sauces and tasty side dishes, with all of these delights made from scratch.
The chefs at here use the freshest ingredients to produce dishes like their Tawa Grilled Chicken Breast and Spiced Lamb with Garlic Rice.
Each dish is served in its own individual pan and accompanied by a homemade sauce. And everything is perfectly balanced and delicious.
Location: 18-20 Bank Pl, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9600 0144
Considered one of the best Indian restaurants in Melbourne, Curry Vault offers a delightful culinary experience that has remained consistently amazing over the years.
Featuring a menu of classic Indian dishes that have been made with tender love and care, this particular establishment boasts some of the hottest curries in the country. Fiery favourites include Lamb Vindaloo, Spicy Chicken and Beef Madras.
One of the best things about this restaurant is that they don’t dumb down the food for Western taste buds. So you have been warned! Be prepared for a spice experience unlike any other.
Location: 4/6 Grey St, St Kilda, VIC 3182 Ph: (03) 9534 2447
Not only is Babu Ji adored by locals and tourists alike, but it is also the number one restaurant recommended by Melbourne’s Indian community. And there’s no higher accolade than that.
Known for its modern decor and chic aesthetic, this restaurant offers authentic Indian cuisine that has been made using top-quality ingredients. All complimented by superb presentation.
The authenticity of this restaurant comes from its wide menu of traditional street food, which includes tasty Samosas, Tandoori Chicken and Papdi Chaat.
However, if you fancy something a little more substantial, then you can also order pots of Butter Chicken, Fish Curry and Goat Stew. Yum!
Location: 72 Flinders St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: 0468 349 905
Step inside modern Indian restaurant Elchi and marvel at the decor. With a stunning feature ceiling and diner-style booths, the burnished bronze, cream and sapphire space feels fabulously opulent.
Fortunately, the food is also pretty memorable. But then you’d expect that when ‘Curry Queen’ Manpreet Sekhon is at the helm.
The menu at Elchi takes a number of classic street food and well-known restaurant dishes and gives them a modern tweak. From the pleasingly fiery Gunpowder Gobhi, Crispy Cauliflower & Spicy Lentil Dust, to the knock-out Not Your Average Chicken Tikka, the flavours are bold and refined.
The set menu – Leave It Up To The Curry Queen – is good value at $75pp. However, it doesn’t give you a taste of the stunning Crispy Whole Amritsari Fish, Tamarind, Roasted Rice & Lime. Of course, that always gives you an excuse to return another time.
Unleash your inner Curry Queen – or King – and start making wafer thin dosa with this Lodge 10.5 Inch Round Cast Iron Griddle. It’s excellent for cooking a range of foods, including tortillas, roast veggies and even grilled sandwiches.
Incidentally, the Indian spiced cocktails are also worth sampling, if you are so inclined.
Elchi is an exciting new addition to our list of best Indian restaurants in Melbourne.
The Elchi team have their roots in nearby Geelong. For more of the Best Restaurants in Geelong, click here.
Location: 167 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North, VIC 3068 Ph: (03) 9497 8101
Named after the hand-painted slogans seen on commercial vehicles throughout India, Horn Please is an Indian restaurant unlike any other.
Serving delicious and authentic food, this establishment is known for its diverse menu and spirited atmosphere. Loved by locals, the kitchen knocks out Indian street food and popular dishes such as Butter Chicken and Punjabi Buttermilk Curry.
Beyond this, Horn Please also boasts Indian-style Nachos and its own homemade Kulfi ice cream.
For more of this kind of innovative fare, see our Daughter in Law Melbourne and Mr Brownie reviews above. All three restaurants belong to the Jessi Singh empire.
Location: 22 Katherine Pl, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9629 2620
Located in the Archway precinct, Delhi Streets is a vibrant and chic restaurant that has become a popular hangout spot for tourists, locals and members of the Indian community.
Featuring Bollywood posters and comfortable decor, this dining space offers a wide selection of tasty street food. Popular dishes include Pan Puri and Tikki Chaat.
Using authentic ingredients, Delhi Streets takes classic street food and transforms it into a sophisticated culinary experience, demonstrating why it has become one of the best Indian restaurants in the city.
For Asian food for a totally different kind, see our review of Filipino restaurant, Serai
Location: 354-356 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, VIC 3065 Ph: (03) 9427 2121
Not only is Masti one of the best Indian restaurants in Melbourne, but it also contains one of the city’s best cocktail bars as well. Featuring the ultimate sharing menu, Masti offers a wide selection of delicious dishes, with each one boasting fresh and authentic ingredients.
However, one of the best things about this establishment is its appreciation for vegetarian and vegan options, with the restaurant even offering its own Vegan Curry Night every Tuesday.
Location: 261 Camberwell Rd, Camberwell, VIC 3124 Ph: (03) 9813 2598
Based in Camberwell, Tandoori Den has been serving delicious Indian cuisine for over forty years. Despite (because of?) its longevity, it still remains one of the best establishments in the whole of Melbourne.
The reputation of this much-loved local institution means that the dining room is always buzzing with a constant stream of takeaway orders flying out the door. Just wander past on a Saturday night and see how busy it is. You don’t get people coming back this regularly unless you’re one of the finest Indian restaurants in Melbourne.
Featuring a menu packed with vegetarian and vegan options, this particular restaurant makes everything from scratch and even boasts a whole page dedicated to homemade Tandoor Bread. That said, we find it hard to go past their Plain Paratha.
Finally, Tandoori Den has a number of Set Menu options, if you find the a la carte a bit overwhelming. The Tandoori Den Signature Banquet ($89pp) is a stand-out. This generous menu allows you to sample many of the Indian restaurants most awarded dishes.
Location: 87 Johnstone St, Collingwood, VIC 3066 Ph: (03) 9419 5307
Punjabi Curry Cafe is a family-owned business that is known to offer some of the best Indian food in the whole of Melbourne.
Boasting a wide selection of authentic dishes, this restaurant has been open for over fifteen year and continues to stand the test of time with its authenticity and ambience.
Location: Disclosed on Booking, Nicholson St, Carlton North, VIC 3054
As unique dining experiences go, Enter Via Laundry is right up there with the best.
Having started as a dinner club at chef Helly Raichura’s home, it’s recently been reborn at a sleek, intimate 20-seat restaurant where personal service and sublime flavours reign supreme.
The menu features a 20-course degustation which leads you through the tastes and textures of a particular Indian region’s cuisine. When Eatability visited in July, we dined on exquisite West Bengali-themed dishes. From September the skilful team will be taking guests on a trip to Jannat-e-Firdaus Kashmir.
This is Indian fare given a fine dining twist. But that’s not all. Australian ingredients appear in numerous dishes, showing an understanding of flavour and texture combinations that surprise and delight. Dishes such as Posto, Wattle Seeds, Bora Mint (pictured above) use the coffee/chocolate notes of native wattle seeds to enhance the spices in the patties. It’s clever cookery.
The result is an evening of stunning food, knowledgeable, graceful service and an overall feeling of having been nurtured.
We’d happily return to Enter Via Laundry with every menu change to travel India, one plate at a time.
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