The best Indian restaurants in Sydney
Situated right beside Seven Hills train station, this Indian-Sri Lankan restaurant-cum-takeaway feels a bit tired and worn, boasting that aggressive neon lighting so familiar from India. Although it’s quiet when we walk in at 8pm; by 9pm there’s a far more bustling crowd.
South Indian food, is more rare than its Northern counterpart. It’s lighter and made for the tropics: the curries are looser, more immediately complex, often imbued with the aromatic scents of mustard seeds popped in the pan, earthy curry leaves and sour, citrusy tamarind fruit.
There’s no rule that says subcontinental dining needs to be old fashioned to be good, and yet few restaurants stray from the expected Raj-era décor, those little copper pots and North Indian curries that have been adapted for Western palates. Except at Brick Lane. This is a thoroughly modern iteration of a curry house, which is why it has managed to slip through the Italian stranglehold on Stanley Street.
Indu promises to replicate “village inspired” Indian dishes in Sydney. Owner Sam Prince has Indian and Sri Lankan heritage, and he used contacts in his mother’s home country to hook Indu up with a charity which supports widows displaced by the Sri Lankan Civil War into employment. This isn’t just a restaurant; it’s also a charity.
The go-your-own way approach to dining is what makes Lankan Filling Station such an exciting prospect. They’ve set up the menu like a spicy Duplo set, and you decide what kind of meal you want to build, marking your order on the white paper menu. It also means that you can genuinely get out of here for under a $50 if you order right. For small appetites there are snack-sized hopper sets or hopper bowls, but if you’re here to conquer the menu order the full-sized curries with as many hoppers on the side as you can take.
Faheem is one of Sydney's best curry joints. Fast, fun and incredibly cheap, FFF gets an AAA for value but don't come for the décor, the service or flattering lighting - this isn't the place for a hot date (unless you're both stumbling home drunk post-gig up Enmore Road).
This colourful South Indian street food-inspired restaurant is bustling every night with local families sharing huge plates of dosas, dhal curries and other vegetarian dishes. Order the cheese dabeli, which sees a soft bap-like roll doused in grated cheese, sandwiching even more cheese mixed with potato and studded with spicy peanuts.
Bang is serving up food inspired by the streets of Dhaka, and injecting new life and flavour into one of Sydney’s most popular dining strips, Crown Street. While it's not strictly Indian food, the Bangladeshi fare they are serving up here satisfies all your subcontinental flavour needs, and they make a great curry.
The neatly packed Sri Lankan and South Indian restaurants and grocery stores along Pendle Way are busy with shoppers and diners stocking up on dried goods, curry spices and something readymade to take home for dinner. The most popular choice is a curry plate, and the place to get it is Abie’s Vegetarian Takeaway. Here, you’ll find all the colours of the edible rainbow in the 20 different all-veg curries on offer, where tropical island flavours mix with Subcontinental spice.
Nithik’s is all about cranking out dosas, parathas and some incredibly fragrant curries. Vikram Arumugam and his wife Preeti Elamaran are so excited by their menu they’ll explain each dish in minute detail. Which can be heavy going if you’re really just here to eat dinner. But if you’re curious about Indian festival dishes, it’s worth listening in.