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Us Brits are a nation of curry fanatics, so why not get your mouth juices flowing by pigging out at London's best Indian restaurants? Whether you’re on a budget or looking to break the bank, you won't feel disappointed after visiting these joints. If you fancy something different, why not check out our round up of the best Chinese and Italian restaurants in London.
Located in a grade II listed, late Gothic revival Victorian building, Zaika combines authentic Indian recipes with a modern twist. Each dish is beautifully presented, to the point where you almost dare not touch it. Almost.
Complimenting the food is a selection of wines, beers and cocktails, as well as a healthy dose of attentive service (you know, the kind where the waiter doesn't basically tell you to hurry up and go). The only downside are the prices. It’s very expensive (average for a main is about £20) but trust us when we say we’ve not experienced food like this anywhere else – even in India.
Zaika, 1 Kensington High St, London, W8 5NP
This upmarket curry house offers a variety of traditional South Indian dishes, from Kerala fish curry to vegetable jalfrezi, as well an endless list of starters. There’s so much to pick from that even we struggled to decide on a firm recommendation (it’s the Malabar masala dosa, in case you’re wondering).
If you’re after a quiet business lunch in an elegant ethnic eatery or simply want to tuck into a curry that’s far from the usual takeaway fodder, then this is the place for you. If you're after a quick bite and don't really fancy the, err, fancy places, then keep reading.
Malabar Junction 107 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, WC1B 3NA
For over forty years Shezan has been serving authentic Indian and Pakistani food in Knightsbridge. That kind of longevity in such a prestigious area of London speaks volumes about the quality cuisine that Shezan promises.
The sumptuously decorated Indian restaurant offers all of the classics British curry fans love like lamb jalfrezi, chicken korma they even offer a luxurious lobster massala on their menu. So next time you’re shopping until your drop in Harrods, indulge a little more and head to Shezan for a truly delicious dining experience.
Shezan, 16-22 Cheval Place, Knightsbridge, London SW7 1ES
A family-run restaurant with years of experience passed down through several generations, Ma Goa has a fine selection of Indian dishes (we particularly liked the chutnies, which are homemade). You can of course find your old favourites, but some of the best meals are the ones that surprise you, and it's here that Ma Goa excels.
The Red Chilli Murgh (chicken on-the-bone with pickle masala, red chilli, ginger & tomatoes) and Goa Prawn Kodi (prawns cooked in a kashmiri chilli, tamarind and ground coconut sauce) were a particular highlight. Be sure to check the constantly changing daily specials, where you can discover plenty of new flavours and textures (bring you appetite).
Ma Goa, 242-244 Upper Richmond Road, Putney, London SW15 6TG
Contemporary Indian cuisine is the order of the day at Cinnamon Soho, one of London’s most exciting Indian restaurants. You’ll find delicious modern Anglo-Indian food just next to Carnaby Street and you’re guaranteed a friendly atmosphere and great service. The restaurant is committed to creating seasonal dishes with a unique twist, from Bangla-Scotch quail eggs to rogan josh shepherd’s pie – Cinnamon Soho is not your average Indian restaurant.
Cinnamon Soho, 5 Kingly St, London W1B 5PF
You will find of one London’s best Indian restaurants, Lal Qila, on one of London’s busiest roads, Tottenham Court Road. The menu boasts a range of delicious dishes from Balgladesh, India and Pakistan including chef’s specials that are specially prepared to showcase the wonderful authentic traditional flavours of the subcontinent.
Lal Qila offers a chance for Londoners and visitors to the capital to experience Indian fine dining and go on a journey with the restaurants’ vibrant and distinct dishes.
Lal Qila, 117 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 5AL
It's not exactly at the centre of town (just behind Olympia tube station) but Karma is well worth the trip. Inside the unassuming façade is a delightful restaurant with plenty of atmosphere and fantastic food. The Biryani is a real highlight, but there are plenty of unique twists on Indian classics that are sure to please even the most ardent curry connoisseurs.
Karma, 44 Blythe Road, West Kensington, London W14 0HA
Slap-bang at the heart of Chelsea, Chutney Mary has long been a favourite among West London's elite. The refined décor and courteous staff make you feel at home the moment you walk in and the attention to detail - from the decor to the furniture - will make you feel as though you've just been transported into the dining hall of a plush asian palace.
Staff are friendly and attentive - you almost feel like a guest rather than a paying customer (that is, until the bill arrives). There are plenty of menu highlights - the Kerala Pepper Duck in particular was memorable - and the wine list is savvy, too!
Chutney Mary, 535 Kings Road, Chelsea, London SW10 0SZ
Shilpa's menu has plenty of what you've come to expect from an Indian restaurant, but the real draw to this Hammersmith eatery has to be its comprehensive seafood selection. The mix of southern Indian herbs and spices, fresh fish and a large selection of prawn and crab dishes make this a must for anyone looking for something a little different than your average Friday night curry. Best of all, it’s very easy on the wallet.
Shilpa, 206 King street, Hammersmith, London W6 0RA
Southern Indian food isn't as widely known here in the UK as its northern counterparts, but one visit to Chettinad will open your eyes to a world beyond the tikka masala. With plenty of family recipes in his repertoire, chef Mariyappan is an expert when it comes to spices – the flavorsome Chettinad koli is as authentic as it gets. The service is excellent too, with staff that are always happy to help advise on the menu.
Chettinad, 16 Percy Street, Soho, London W1T 1DT
You haven't truly experienced Indian cuisine until you've tried some of the southern specialties you'll find at Woodlands. It's a vegetarian restaurant, but don't let that put any meat-eaters off: the authentic Dosas (crepes made from lentils and rice, filled with delicious combinations of vegetables and sauces) are a real highlight, with the greatly expanded menu now catering for northern Indian classics too.
Woodlands, 77 Marylebone Lane, London W1U 2PS
Going a step beyond your run-of-the-mill Indian restaurant, Bombay Flame has a contemporary design that makes for an excellent atmosphere. While the reds and oranges suggest a chef who is mad for spice, there's plenty on offer here to suit less adventurous diners. The signature Goan wali machli fish curry is a must, even for card-carrying carnivores, with its delightful combination of peppers and spices.
Bombay Flame, 74 Kingsgate Road, West Hampstead, London NW6 4TE
One of London's oldest Indian restaurants, Gaylord is easily one of the most elegant, too. Found right at the heart of the West End, it's only minutes from Oxford Circus and prides itself on its authentic Mughlai North Indian dishes.
As well as many old favorites, house specialties include finely spiced kebabs – the Sigri mixed grill is a must for meat-lovers, with a wide variety of Seekh and Tandoori cuts.
Gaylord, 79-81 Mortimer Street, Fitzrovia, W1W 7SJ
Found amongst the hustle and bustle of King's Cross, Indian Lounge is an oasis of calm offering a serene break from the chaos outside with its refined and well-presented dishes. For those that fancy a challenge, the Vindaloo is notoriously spicy but the menu has plenty for more delicate palates, with a courteous staff who are happy to provide assistance if you can't decide on a dish.
Indian Lounge, 343 Gray's Inn Road, WC1 X8PX
For those that demand the best, it's difficult to find anything that beats Roots at N1. Consistently voted London's best Indian restaurant, it serves phenomenal cuisine that will delight any palate. The menu may seem small, but everything on it is finely crafted and tastes superb.
The restaurant itself is fairly inconspicuous from the outside, and it's a little off the beaten track, but it's worth the visit. The staff are both friendly and knowledgeable, but know when to give you space to enjoy your meal.
Roots at N1, 115 Hemingford Road, Barnsbury, London N1 1BZ
Zayna's blend of traditional Indian curries and more adventurous dishes come from the Punjab region of India, courtesy of owner Riz Dar. Its a heritage which shines through in each dish on the menu, with plenty of fresh chilies, aromatic spices and rich sauce smells greeting you as soon as you walk through the door. The tomato and ginger-infused Lamb Baati Gosht is our recommendation, but the waiting staff can talk you through the menu if you aren't sure about a particular dish – they share the expert knowledge of the spices and flavors being prepared in the kitchen.
Zayna, 25 New Quebec Street, Fitzrovia, W1H 7SF
Somewhat hidden between Lewisham and Lee Green, Panas Gurkha proves that location isn't everything when it comes to fantastic Indian cuisine. As the name suggests, there are also Nepalese influences on the menu, with several chicken dishes such as the madeira marsala and chettinad earning a recommendation. Service is superb, even on busy weekend evenings, with friendly staff that are helpful and attentive. One of South East London's best.
Panas Gurkha, 318 Lee High Road, Lewisham, London SE13 5PJ
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