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Maharajah, Cape Town.
Photograph: Maharajah

The 11 best Indian restaurants and curries in Cape Town

Spice things up on your trip to Cape Town at one of these local favourites

Richard Holmes
Written by
Richard Holmes

While Cape Town’s much-adored Mediterranean climate also finds its way into many of the city’s kitchens, in this multicultural city you won’t struggle to find an excellent curry when the mood takes you. Whether you’re after classic Indian dishes or the local flavours of Cape Malay cuisine, you’ll find an array of eateries – ranging from the unassuming to the extravagant – dishing up well-priced and sometimes-fiery fare. Start with these ten favourites, selected by our local writer.

😋 The best restaurants in Cape Town
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🛍 The best markets in Cape Town
🍕 The best pizza in Cape Town

This article was written by Richard Holmes, a travel writer based in Cape Town. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

Cape Town’s best Indian restaurants and curries

Photograph: Maharajah

1. Maharajah

Longevity doesn’t come easy for restaurants in Cape Town, where diners are quick to follow a trend and less so to return after a bad experience. So, hats off to Maharajah, which has been dishing up mouth-watering Indian cuisine for more than 40 years. There are two branches in Cape Town, but it’s the original in Tamboerskloof that locals swear by. The menu is extensive, with a focus on northern Indian curries bookended by a large choice of starter-snacks and traditional desserts. The Kashmir lamb rogan josh is superb, or opt for a locally inspired biryani, but don’t miss the excellent paratha, stuffed with anything from cheese and potato to spiced lamb mince.

Vintage India
Photograph: Vintage India

2. Vintage India

While the décor isn’t much to get excited about, the extensive menu of north Indian cuisine (with a dash of Chinese influence) is what has made Vintage India a success since it first opened in 2000. It’s moved locations over the years, but thankfully retains the familiar Indian classics. Expect a wide variety of curries and cooking styles, with most available across a choice of meats, fish and vegetable options. The traditional kadai is always good, or look to the unusual lajawaab that fuses Western and Mughal cooking.

Photograph: Vadivelu

3. Vadivelu

The latest addition to Cape Town’s Indian dining scene is one of the finest, with a contemporary look and feel that’s long overdue in the city. Vadivelu is a family affair, with three cousins and in-laws coming together to create a space that celebrates South Africa’s Indian community on a menu that promises ‘Indian. With Attitude’. That shines through in the energetic service as much as the diverse menu, where you’ll find fiery pani puri alongside wafer-thin dosas and fragrant prawn curries redolent of southern India. The vegetarian curries are superb – don’t miss the aloo gobi – but the standout is the Durban lamb curry, a deeply flavourful local speciality that’s best mopped up with the flaky garlic parathas.

Photograph: Claire Gunn

4. Thali

Liam Tomlin’s Chefs Warehouse collection of restaurants branches out into Indian cuisine at Thali, where you’ll find a contemporary take on the traditional platter of different dishes. The selection of items to share is spread over four courses and meanders from line-fish sashimi with a Cape Malay dressing to Gujarati daal and richly flavoured masala chicken curry. For dessert, expect the likes of cardamom-infused gulab jamun doughnuts. There are vegan and vegetarian options, but note that Thali is not halal.

Bo-Kaap Kombuis
Photograph: Bo-Kaap Kombuis

5. Bo-Kaap Kombuis

When in Cape Town you’ll want to delve into the cuisine of the local Cape Malay community, and there are few better places to do this than Bo-Kaap Kombuis. Cape Malay dishes favour fragrance over fieriness, all balanced by a delicious sweetness, and at ‘the Kombuis’ you’ll get to try the custard-topped spiced mince of bobotie, a slow-cooked lamb stew – denningvleis – and a selection of aromatic Cape Malay curries. Try the baked malva pudding or coconut-dusted koesisters (similar to spiced, fried doughnuts) for dessert.

Bombay Brasserie
Photograph: Taj Cape Town

6. Bombay Brasserie

One of the city’s few options when it comes to Indian cuisine in a fine dining setting, Bombay Brasserie at the Taj Cape Town hotel does a stellar job of turning a casual curry into a culinary event. Expect opulent décor and elegant service alongside an extensive menu of Indian classics infused with Cape Malay touches. If you can’t choose from the à la carte, consider the excellent set menus. The Bombay dessert trolley is a playful touch to finish the meal.

Photograph: Bihari

7. Bihari

While the setting, on the ground floor of a suburban hotel, is not as characterful as you might hope, the food at Bihari rarely disappoints. Located in Newlands (and a good option if you’re going to a match at the renowned Newlands Cricket Ground nearby), Bihari is a solid local favourite with a wide-ranging menu of north Indian snacks, curries and tandoori plates. The wine list is remarkably affordable and well-chosen to suit the cuisine.

8. Sundoo

Want a break from the often-richer curries of northern India? Look no further than Sundoo, which specialises in the lighter, more fragrant plates typical of southern India. Restaurateur Seelan Sundoo’s roots run deep in the waterways of Kerala, and it’s this family history that informs the menu at the two branches, in Newlands and Sea Point. Start with a portion of Sundoo’s signature samoosas, but make sure to also sample the outstanding Pondicherry kingklip curry. The Kerala roasted chicken, hot from the tandoor oven, is lovely to share amongst the table.


9. Curry Club

What began as a popular curry takeaway has quickly blossomed into a charming little curry den in the heart of the city. It’s a venue brimming with character, from the mismatched décor to the ever-friendly staff. The Curry Club menu places flavour above fire, with a focus on deeply flavoursome chicken and lamb dishes. That said, there’s an impressive vegetarian selection, too, with the best dishes featuring the restaurant’s own homemade paneer. At lunchtime, head straight for the great-value gourmet rotis served with sambals. Curry Club is unlicensed, but you’re welcome to bring your own alcohol for a small corkage fee.

10. The Indian Chapter Restaurant

If you’re heading out to the seaside suburb of Blouberg for that postcard shot of Table Mountain across the ocean, consider stopping in for lunch or dinner at The Indian Chapter Restaurant. A firm local favourite, you’ll find a fine selection of Indian curries and tandoori plates, largely focused on north Indian-style dishes, with excellent naans and rotis on the side.

Eastern Food Bazaar
Photograph: @easternfoodbazaarct

11. Eastern Food Bazaar

If you’re watching your budget or simply don’t fancy the formality of a sit-down meal, swing by Eastern Food Bazaar in the buzzy East City neighbourhood. This no-frills food hall offers a canteen-style experience with a range of menus across different counters. You’ll find anything from Turkish kebabs to Chinese dishes here, but the best curries are served as a bunny chow: a South African street food staple of a half-loaf of white bread filled with your curry of choice. There are a few tables available (all self-service), but most patrons buy to take away.

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