Sydney is known for its dynamic and multicultural culture. This is no better exemplified than by the diverse range of restaurants throughout the city. The Indian community is one of the biggest contributors to this food haven, with homegrown and expat chefs showcasing the rich culinary diversity from every corner of the country.
There was a time when Australia’s knowledge of Indian food was limited to butter chicken and naan bread. But India’s food culture is broad and ranges in big, colourful flavours and creative cooking techniques from region to region. With the Indian population growing in Sydney, so too has the city’s demand for authentic Indian food. For expats and locals alike, this has turned out to be a very good thing indeed.
From Mumbai street food to Bombay delicacies, our extensive list of the best Indian restaurants in Sydney will keep you on your toes. So pick your favourite and get your tastebuds ready!
Sitting at the foot of the iconic Circular Quay, The Spice Room offers an upscale Indian experience with an old-world ambience. Having become a Sydney favourite with an authentic range of Indian cuisine with outstanding taste, this restaurant is often packed, so make sure you plan ahead and reserve a table.
The menu ranges from small street food bites like onion bhaji and samosa chaat to tandoor favourites such as the star anise chicken tikka and lamb seekh kebab peshawari. The curries are rich in flavour and earn rave reviews. Be sure to try their Pani Puri shots, which are made from crispy, potato-filled semolina puffs. Once filled with the accompanying tamarind water and popped in your mouth, the shots create a burst of intense flavour.
The best way to experience The Spice Room is through their banquet menus which gives you a taste of the best the restaurant has to offer, including three courses with multiple dishes alongside naan, rice and dessert.
With floor-to-ceiling murals paying tribute to Indian culture, Malabar is the premiere spot in Sydney to try southern Indian cooking. Head chef and owner Mohammed Sali is classically trained and worked in five-star hotels around the world before landing in Australia to bring the flavours of his home to the locals of Sydney.
Malabar celebrates cooking food authentically the way it has been cooked for thousands of years. Everything at Malabar is made in-house from scratch, with spice masalas ground and meat cut on the premises. Mohammed visits the Flemington Markets himself daily to select the fresh produce for each evening’s feasts.
The menu is designed so no two dishes are the same, with highlights including southern Indian specialties like the dosai, a delicate and crispy crepe made from fermented rice and lentils and filled with several different fillings, including homemade masala, kheema lamb mince, and kozhi paneer.
The Grace of India’s chef and owner, Santokh Singh, is passionate about Mughlai Indian cuisine and has been serving it to North Shore residents for over three decades. With an emphasis on both the traditional and the contemporary, the restaurant takes you on a journey through Singh’s history.
Singh’s two sons work alongside him in the kitchen, creating a warm family atmosphere throughout the restaurant. The team makes close to everything they can in-house, with masalas, cheeses, naan and curries as close to their native recipes as possible.
All dishes are packed with flavour, with mouthwatering tandoori lamb cutlets and spicy Khadai paneer being some of the local favourites. The best value at the Grace of India is the Grace Banquet, which offers a generous five-course offering of Indian classics.
An Edgecliff institution, Flavour of India offers diners the opportunity to enjoy the best of India. The restaurant prides itself on showcasing the flavours and cooking styles from every corner of the nation. In a fun and family-friendly setting, the food stands out as one of the best in Sydney.
As head chef Hazan wanders around the light-filled dining room introducing himself to guests, the kitchen is dishing out delicious plates from different parts of the country, like Bombay potato, Kashmiri beef, Malabar prawns, and their specialty chicken butter masala.
Make sure to save space for dessert. The chocolate naan, filled with premium chocolate and served warm out of the tandoor oven, is the stuff of sweet tooth dreams.
At Nawaz, the friendly team serves classic Indian curries and tandoori dishes to the backdrop of a vibrant red and green dining room. Sydneysiders have been flocking to the Glebe local since 1990, and the restaurant never disappoints with its comfortable, family-friendly atmosphere and mouth-watering dishes.
Chef specials, such as their iconic tandoori stuffed mushrooms and daal makhani, are showstoppers. There is an extensive vegan menu on offer, making it popular amongst locals.
Nawaz is flavour and value for money combined. With generous portion sizes and quality flavours throughout the menu, you’ll be a regular in no time.
Having wowed diners with restaurants in New York and Melbourne, Indian-born chef Jesse Singh has brought his fresh take on Indian cuisine to Sydney. With a Bollywood-inspired fit-out in the heart of Sydney’s Surry Hills, Don’t Tell Aunty bursts with the sounds, colours and flavours of India.
The menu takes authentic Indian street food flavours and mashes them up with Australian and American culture. Dishes like the papadi chaat, described as India’s answer to nachos with salsa, or the Aussie lamb chops, rubbed in Indian spices with a tangy eggplant salsa. When Don’t Tell Aunty aren’t doing fusion, they’re reinventing the wheel. Singh’s “Inauthentic Butter Chicken” is as delicious as its traditional counterpart, and the “Balls of Happiness” are little flavour bombs made from chutney-filled semolina puffs that will burst in your mouth.
The restaurant prides itself on its hand-picked natural wine list, which sits alongside the Bollywood-inspired cocktails, to keep diners happily sipping all night.
With views of the crystal clear waters of Darling Harbour from your table, Zaaffran has been offering a modern take on Indian dining since 1998. Award-winning chef Vikrant Kapoor says they chose the restaurant’s name (zaaffran is Indian for saffron) because it’s the world’s most valuable spice. They put that spice to good use at Zaaffran, with rich flavours in every dish.
Despite the casual waterfront vibe, Zaaffran’s layout is refined and elegant. At the heart of Zaaffran’s menu is authentic, homestyle Indian cooking. The restaurant takes this idea and creates contemporary dishes that are creative and innovative, making for a very unique dining experience. With bright colours and a slick presentation, the dishes at Zaaffran wouldn’t be out of place alongside plates at high-end Rockpool and Quay.
Taking inspiration from the southern coastal villages of India and Sri Lanka, Indu uses fresh and seasonal ingredients to create charming and tasty fare. Located in Angel Place, the restaurant opened its doors in 2015 and became an instant staple in Sydney’s Indian food scene. Indu is part of the SPHG group, which includes popular Sydney spots Mejico and Kid Kyoto, as well as an Indu outpost in Melbourne.
Dosas and Hoppers go hand in hand here, with coastal flavours and dishes not seen on other Indian menus. Items such as Ulundu Appalam crispy papadum, devilled cashew with Kashmiri chilli pepper, and Goan pork curry with Xacuti sauce all hit the spot.
The restaurant’s founder Simon Prince is an award-winning humanitarian and philanthropist, and Indu partners with grassroots organisation Palmera to give back to the villages and communities that inspired the restaurant’s unique flavours.
Address: 350 George St, entry via Angel Place, Sydney NSW 2000
Price Range: $$-$$$
Spiced by Billu’s brings authentic Indian flavours to a decadent dining space on the waterfront of Barangaroo. After serving their loyal Sydney followers for over 25 years at their Harris Park outpost, they decided to expand with an outpost along the Barangaroo strip, and the result has been spectacular.
The kitchen specialises in classical northern Indian cuisine, with inventive dishes that compliment powerful flavours and Indian traditions that push boundaries. Think of dishes such as spicy pan-fried okra, daal tadka, with tomato, onion, garlic and spices, or whole snapper rubbed in the chef’s secret spices and then roasted in a clay tondoor oven. This award winning restaurant will have you coming back time and time again.
There is no doubt that Sydney is teeming with some of the best Indian restaurants in the country. Our list of the best Indian restaurants in Sydney will guide you in the right direction. Don’t take our word for it though, grab some friends and try some of the most colourful, rich and flavourful food you will ever try. We hope you like spice!