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Indian Streatery
Photograph: Courtesy Tripadvisor.com

The 14 best Indian restaurants in Birmingham

Get your curry kick at one of the best Indian restaurants in Birmingham, from Bombay-style street food to progressive fine dining

By James Brennan
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From Bombay-style street food and sweet centres to Gujarati vegetarian cafés and progressive Indian fine dining, Brum has it all. Long before any Michelin stars came to define the top tables in town, it was Birmingham’s Indian restaurants that lit up the gastronomic scene. Immigrants had brought curries of all sorts from the across the Indian subcontinent, and soon every neighbourhood had a local indian restaurant or three. Then, in the 1970s, a Pakistani genius from Sparkbrook invented the balti – a type of curry cooked in a pan known as a karahi – that many now consider the city’s trademark dish. The rest? History.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Birmingham

Best Indian restaurants in Birmingham

Opheem
Photograph: Stuart Manley

1. Opheem

Birmingham superchef Aktar Islam is going for broke with this swanky progressive Indian restaurant on Summer Row. The former chef at Lasan and an award-winning star of various TV shows has pledged to ratchet Birmingham’s Indian fine-dining offering up a few notches with Opheem, and he’s not messing about. From the stunning cherry blossom-decked bar to the bustling open kitchen, the emphasis is firmly on style and expression. And his stupefying reimagining of Indian classics like laal maans and hyderabadi biryani is truly inspired.

Lasan, Indian restaurant
Photograph: Sal Maxuda

2. Lasan

Restaurants Indian

Possibly Birmingham’s best-known Indian restaurant, Lasan has ridden a wave of publicity ever since it was featured on Gordon Ramsay’s ‘The F Word’ in 2010 and is one of the showpieces of the city’s rich Indian food tradition. Lasan is tucked among the quaint Victorian buildings of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, backing on to the leafy St Paul’s Square.

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Itihaas, indian restaurant
Photograph: Sal Maxuda

3. Itihaas

Restaurants Indian

Birmingham has long been famous for its South Asian cuisine. However, there are a few that have risen above the crowd and carved out a superior niche. Itihaas is one of them. Well placed at the boundaries of the historic Jewellery Quarter and the Colmore Business District, this place has long been popular with hard-to-please professionals. Nowadays, however, it’s also attracting growing admiration from Birmingham’s army of dedicated foodies.

4. Raja Monkey

Restaurants Indian

Hall Green’s Raja Monkey is slightly more forward-thinking and embracing of modern marketing methods than other South Asian restaurants, presenting a range of millennial-baiting thalis and street food. The artfully aged interiors aim to evoke nostalgia for the roadside diners of India, although, of course, their own dining room is decked out with all mod cons. It’s not the cheapest spot, but prices are competitive.

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Rajdoot
Photograph: Courtesy Tripadvisor/Rajdoot

5. Rajdoot

The jewel in the crown of the JQ, Rajdoot is a lesson in luxury for all Birmingham curry houses. It has delighted the city in one form or another for nearly 50 years and claims to have fed members of The Beatles and Pink Floyd, and even Princess Margaret. They will have loved its signature dark wood finishes and plush soft furnishings, and not least the menu of expertly cooked North Indian classics. So will you.

Indian Brewing Company
Photograph: Courtesy TripAdvisor.com

6. Indian Brewery Co.

Combining the crisp craft beers of the Indian Brewery Company with a tantalising take on Indian street food, this cool and colourful spot under the railway arches on Snow Hill is a must for well-dressed spice addicts. Exposed brickwork slapped with Bollywood posters gives the place a downtown Delhi feel, while the fat naans with chicken, veg or chilli fish and Bombay sprinkle go perfectly with a pint of Birmingham Lager.

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7. Asha’s Restaurant

Restaurants Indian

Birmingham now has its very own brimful of Asha right on Newhall Street. Following the success of restaurants in Kuwait and Dubai, this is a place where fans of Indian music and Indian food can combine their passions. The space is large but intimate, and decorated in a warm, welcoming style. From the fabulous tandoori kebabs to the unmissable curries, you’ll be singing the praises of Asha’s food all the way home.

Zindiya
Photograph: Courtesy Tripadvisor/Zindiya

8. Zindiya

This Indian street food joint plays on tradition but jazzes it up for the city crowd. From the décor – mismatched furniture, exposed brick walls, big murals of Indian brand logos – to the thalis, which include pani puri (potato and chickpea dumplings), chilli cheese on toast and okra fries. In among the craft beers, you’ll also find lassis, masala chai and Indian soft drinks.

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Pushkar
Photograph: Courtesy TripAdvisor.com

9. Pushkar

Recently named the best restaurant in the Midlands at the National Curry Awards, this Broad Street favourite is a classy refuge on the city’s craziest nightlife strip. But it’s far from dry, as the lavish cocktail bar proves. Order a signature mojito before getting stuck into a strong menu of Punjabi and north Indian dishes. A firm hit with the Indian cricket team, who frequently pop in whenever they’re playing at Edgbaston, Pushkar is an accomplished all-rounder that’ll really bowl you over.  

10. Shababs

Restaurants Indian

A few years back, Shababs’ decor might have been described as a little lacking. True, as it is one of the few remaining original Birmingham balti houses, the experience is understandably all about that dish, but a judicious makeover will definitely make you enjoy the environment that bit more. Unless, of course, you’re pattern-phobic, because swirls, paisleys and graphic prints are all over the place – from the walls to the soft furnishings.

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Jyoti's, indian restaurant
Photograph: Sal Maxuda

11. Jyoti’s

Restaurants Indian

Birmingham hardly abounds with Gujarati veggie restaurants, so Jyoti’s isn’t competing in a crowded market and could almost get away with being bad. But it’s not. After a single, sublime meal, even rampant carnivores will grudgingly admit that omitting meat does not mean an absence of flavour. 

Indian Streatery
Photograph: Courtesy Tripadvisor

12. Indian Streatery

Digbeth Dining Club stalwarts Indian Rasoi have found a permanent home on Bennett’s Hill, so now you can eat vibrant and traditional Indian street food without being out on the street. Expect the same high-quality chaats (deconstructed samosas with chickpeas and pomegranate), as well as some firm family favourites like Cannon Hill Parkpicnic (potatoes and peas tossed in herbs and spices) for a dash of local flavour.

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13. Adil’s Balti

Restaurants Indian

Adil's has been selling balti by the bucketload ever since the dish arrived in the city in the mid-’70s, and the combination of rock-bottom prices and top-notch dishes has earned the restaurant a just reputation as one of the best balti houses in Birmingham. After a temporary relocation, it’s now back on its original Stoney Road site. The menu might be concise compared with others, but Adil’s offers the option of creating your own balti from a list of main ingredients, sauces and spice levels, plus as many extra vegetables as you see fit.

Milan Sweet Centre
Photograph: Courtesy TripAdvisor.com

14. Milan Sweet Centre

Restaurants Indian

Soho Road might be spoilt for sweet centres, but that only makes it harder to choose when you’re unsure which ones are worthy of your time, cash and appetite. Perennially popular Milan’s is the place to pick if you’re in the market for fried-before-your-eyes, top-drawer pickles and pakoras that will cost pence, not pounds. At the vegetarian sweet centre, farsans refer to furiously tasty savoury Gujarati titbits, such as Milan’s moreish kachoris: stuffed, deep-fried, sweetly seasoned croquettes.

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