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Diwana
Laura Gallant for Time Out

The best Indian restaurants in London

From local curry houses to fancy Mayfair restaurants, London’s Indian and South Asian food scene offers endless variety

Leonie Cooper
Sarah Cohen
Edited by
Leonie Cooper
Written by
Sarah Cohen
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Looking for a great Indian dining option in London? Well you aren't just in luck, you're actually spoiled for choice. London has heaps of fantastic local curry houses as well as a host of high-end fine dining restaurants. Discover a fabulous mix of great neighbourhood spots (with many centred around Drummond Street, Brick Lane, Whitechapel and Southall) and Michelin star-scoring Mayfair purveyors of South Asian cuisine with our definitive list, where you'll find the full range of regional styles and specialities – from Bombay biryanis to Punjabi grills and Keralan curry. Get ready for a full symphony of fantastic flavours.

RECOMMENDED: The 50 best restaurants in London.

Leonie Cooper is Time Out London’s Food and Drink Editor. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

The top London Indian restaurants

  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Stoke Newington
  • price 1 of 4

The bright pink walls of Rasa in Stoke Newington are almost as bold as the flavours in their south Indian dishes. Opened in the mid-1990s, the vegetarian Keralan joint still serves solid basics – masala dosa and chewy coiled paratha are always wholesome and moreish. Delve into dishes like moru kachiathu, a turmeric-infused, sweet-sour runny yoghurt dish made with mango and green banana for authentic Keralan flavour. Bagar baingan from Hyderabad, is a creamy, ultra-savoury delight; made of aubergines and ground cashew nuts, and pairs perfectly with puffed poories. Better still, everything on the menu is priced at less than a tenner, with many dishes around the £5 mark.

  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Honor Oak

This popular Indian restaurant has been thrilling locals with its creative cooking since 1985. Named ‘Best Fine Dining Restaurant’ at the 2023 Asian Curry Awards for good reason, this Forest Hill favourite offers clove-smoked lamb chops, griddled scallops and crab bonda to start and the likes of garam masala duck and punjabi stone bass fish with a chana masala yoghurt kadhi for mains. Everything comes with a wine pairing too, making the whole process of picking what to sip that much easier. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Whitechapel
  • price 1 of 4

People were queuing outside this huge East End curry house long before it became the big thing in London, and Tayyabs remains as frantically busy as ever – don’t come here expecting a relaxed, chilled-out time. Instead, revel in the bold bargain-priced dishes served up by this Punjabi stalwart. Definitely try the fiery grilled lamb chops, still one of London’s very best dishes. The rest of the menu is all about rich dhal, slow-cooked curries and good versions of north Indian staples. And the corkage-free BYO policy doesn’t hurt either.

  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Mayfair

Step inside this opulent restaurant for chef-patron Chet Sharma's fine dining takes on the dishes he grew up with: Lahori chicken served with a cashew-and-yoghurt-whey sauce is a particular speciality. There's also a selection of chai and a cocktail menu that's packed with creative brews including the Rose Spritz with gin and gujarat rose kombucha. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Whitechapel

Opened in 2009 by a former Tayyabs manager, the curries are just as good here. Think succulent karahi dishes and specials that include nihari (lamb on the bone) and a very passable biryani. Service is swift and friendly, and it’s hard to argue with the appeal of BYO and curries of such a high standard.

  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Spitalfields
  • price 2 of 4

This tiny family-run restaurant headed by Nirmal Save, once a chef at Mayfair’s Tamarind, goes deep on strong flavours and a menu of delightful dishes from across India. The chargrilled tandoori chicken and Kashmiri lamb chops are excellent, and veggie options, including a sweet sigree-grilled mustard broccoli, are star turns. There’s an offshoot by Tower Bridge and in Soho, too.

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  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Euston
  • price 1 of 4

Diwana has been a Drummond Street fixture since 1971, drawing families from across the capital with its upbeat atmosphere and menu of south Indian vegetarian street food. The wooden panelling, pine tables and dog-eared menus more reminiscent of a mountain-top canteen than a busy spot by Euston station only further emphasises the quality of the cooking. Bhel poori is the big draw, small plates of savoury snacks (including puffed pooris, samosas, dhals and chutneys), suitable as starters or, ordered in large enough quantities, a meal in themselves. Those seeking more substantial feeding can opt for a crispy filled dosa or a vegetarian thali mixing rice with a variety of vegetable curries; there’s also a hearty lunch buffet on weekends.

Dosa n Chutny
  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Tooting

Rarely have we seen such a perfect dosa: crisp on the outside, moist and rice-fragrant on the inside, a perfect oval bent over in the shape of a curling leaf. The accompanying sambar (spicy lentil dip) is rich and sweet, in the Chennai style, and the coconut chutney's fresh. A gem of a South Indian and Sri Lankan café.

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Lahore Kebab House
  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Whitechapel
  • price 1 of 4

Okay, so strictly speaking this is a Pakistani restaurant, but if you’re looking for curry, you’ve come to the right place. In fact, even though it might not look like much, Lahore Kebab House is a place of pilgrimage for curry lovers. Queues snake out of the door at weekends, with diners travelling from far and wide to sample Punjabi-style tandoori grilled meat and generous portions of ghee-laden curry. Bargain prices, attentive service and a BYO policy just add to the draw. The house specials are worth ordering, especially the nihari and dry lamb curry.

  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Covent Garden
  • price 2 of 4

Trust us: you ain’t never been to a chophouse like this. The meats here are spice-laden and tandoor-smoked, and all the better for it, while the industrial-style decor is very Bombay via Dishoom. Almost every dish will make you swoon, from the kebab rolls, nimbu masala fries, chicken chops and brilliant naan to the exotically garnished kulfi served as a refreshing finale.

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  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Covent Garden

Ok, ok – it's a chain, but Dishoom has fast become a London landmark. A swish brasserie in the style of the old post-colonial Irani cafés of Bombay, the main attraction is the menu, with biryanis, bhel (crunchy puffed rice with tangy tamarind chutney) and pau bhaji (toasted white-bread rolls with a spicy vegetable stew as a filling). The black dhal and bacon naan are practically household names, causing queues for a table. This Covent Garden branch began the Dishoom story, but the other branches – Shoreditch, King’s Cross, Kensington, Carnaby Street, Battersea... – also get a holi high five from us.

Gymkhana
  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Mayfair
  • price 4 of 4

Since opening in 2013 Gymkhana has been charming London restaurant-goers with higher-than-high-quality Indian cuisine. The kid goat keema, served with salli (enlightened shoestring fries), diced onion and miniature buns, remains one of London’s great dishes, while lamb chops served with a walnut chutney are some of the most succulent in the city. The basement area (built after a massive fire back in 2019) is a triumph of refurbishment. Plush, red and banquete-ish; like if Angus Steakhouse won the National Lottery.

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Joe Mackertich
Editor, Time Out London
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Apollo Banana Leaf
  • Restaurants
  • Brasseries
  • Tooting

Apollo Banana Leaf is an authentic rendering of South Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine, and great value, with cracking lunchtime deals. Spices are at authentic Jaffna (north Sri Lankan) levels: a single chilli icon on the menu is to be taken seriously; more than two is for the brave. Try the rich, warmly spiced crab masala, served with claws and all.

  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Mayfair
  • price 4 of 4

Jamavar’s vibe suggests a smart members club, but don’t let the high ceilings, brass fixtures and swathes of dark wood panelling put you off. Instead, focus on the food – a succession of luscious, delicately spiced small plates bursting with purity and depth of flavour. Expect exquisite little dishes along the lines of lobster idli sambhar or kid goat kebabs with bone-marrow sauce, luxed-up tandoori, biryani and curries, plus some sublime desserts. Yes, Jamavar is seriously pricy, but it’s also well worth the outlay.

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Cinnamon Kitchen
  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Liverpool Street

It seems fitting that this smart-casual City sibling of The Cinnamon Club should occupy what was an old spice warehouse belonging to the East India Company. These days it’s a suited-and-booted favourite, complete with stylish industrial-chic interiors and a covered courtyard for year-round socialising. Most of the dishes emerging from the open kitchen are clever but not contrived – think muzzeh street-food snacks, tandooris, regional biryanis and curries, plus a clutch of vegan options. There’s an offshoot in near Battersea Power Station, too.

Bombay Bustle
  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Mayfair
  • price 2 of 4

It’s love at first whiff once you step inside this casual offshoot of the swish Jamavar. There’s plenty of bustle and noisy chatter, while the smoky aromas speak of killer Indian cooking. Headlining fixtures from the menu include the dense lamb keema served with buttered pao buns, the Goan-style stone bass tikka, the moist, chunky lamb biryani, and – of course – the rich, mellow dhal. Bombay Bustle is also darned affordable by Mayfair standards – and it’s great fun.

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  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Belgravia

Specialising in stylish pan-Indian tapas, the Michelin-starred Amaya is favoured by a clientele of well-heeled professionals blessed with good taste (and deep pockets). Ask for a table by the open kitchen for a view of chefs working the clay tandoor, charcoal grill and griddle. Amaya’s own-made paneer is outstanding and beef even makes a surprise appearance in a splendid sirloin boti.

  • Restaurants
  • East African
  • Southall

The glitzy interior doesn’t hint at Brilliant’s longevity, but this Southall landmark has been trading since 1975. The Anand family hails from Kenya and the menu reflects their lineage, with starters of tandoori tilapia fish and chilli mogo (cassava root chips). But the restaurant’s reputation hinges on its exemplary renditions of straightforward Punjabi cooking, especially its big bowls of authentically spiced curry and humongous naan. Fish pakora followed by methi chicken is a sublime choice.

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  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Soho
  • price 2 of 4

A cool modern Indian known for a sublime sharing menu, and its signature Keralan fried chicken. The rest of the menu is a movable feast – anything from masala duck hearts to day-boat squid with coconut. Find other branches in Brixton and White City. Check out their hidden basement cocktail bar, Soma, if you want to a make a proper night of it. 

Brigadiers
  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Bank
  • price 3 of 4

A barbecue restaurant inspired by Indian army mess bars, service is super-slick but friendly and the menu has plenty of standouts – from chatpata poori, chaat and paos to meaty grills, kebabs and chops. Brigadiers also doubles as a boozy sports bar with TV screens showing live events.

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  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Maida Vale
  • price 2 of 4

Bringing north India’s roadside café culture to a crossroads in Maida Vale, Dhaba@49 offers everything you want from a local restaurant: friendly service, keen prices and bang-on deliciousness. The interior might remind you of Dishoom, but sweet little touches like velvet blue seats and a disco playlist keep it feeling unpretentious. Dhaba@49 prides itself on its chaat – the crispy/tangy/spicy snacks typically served in dhabas (roadside restaurants) – so that’s probably a good place to start. Its curries, rice and breads are also pretty flawless.

Tamarind
  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Mayfair
  • price 4 of 4

One of the first Indian restaurants in the world to win a Michelin star, this gilded subterranean space feels lighter, brighter and buzzier than ever, with two open kitchens and a lounge space upstairs. It delivers stunning regional curries, tandoori, salads and indulgently creamy desserts. Tip: the room works best in winter or after dark (it’s not a great place for a sunshine-y lunch).

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Hoppers
  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Soho
  • price 2 of 4

Okay, so this restaurant is Sri Lankan, not Indian. But serious spice fans would be remiss not to pay a visit to one of Hoppers' London branches – also find them in King's Cross and Marylebone – for delicious takes on street food. These bowl-shaped savoury crepes are served in slick, stylish setting, and offer a compelling mix of sweet and sour flavours.

  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Fitzrovia

Avinash Shashidhara’s Fitzrovia restaurant offers comforting, richly spiced small plates that are designed to be shared. Step downstairs afterwards for cocktails in its basement bar Bandra Bhai, which is decked out with fringed lampshades, kitschy art, and even features a stuffed peacock. 

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Trishna
  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Marylebone

They now have a string of hits to their name (Hoppers, Brigadiers etc), but this is where it all began for the all-conquering Sethi siblings. The setting is a smart and quietly conservative Marylebone dining room, while the kitchen thrills punters with its Michelin-starred interpretations of regional Indian cuisine – especially seafood from the southern provinces (look for fixtures such as tandoori mustard prawns, hariyali bream or Dorset brown crab with coconut oil and curry leaves). 

  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Regent Street

With its sepia-tinted photos of the Raj and plush carpets, this tucked-away eatery has a definite retro vibe (it opened way back in 1926, and is the oldest Indian restaurant in the UK). In a cosy setting, it serves up outstanding, classic Indian dishes: the only drawback is the high price tag.

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