If there’s one cuisine that Manchester does really well, it’s Indian food. From the classic cuisine of the curry mile to the decadent restaurants in the city centre and a scattering of South Indian street food, there’s a whole spectrum of Indian dishes to try in the city. Whittling down a seemingly endless number of restaurants can seem daunting, so we’ve pulled together a list of six of the very best Indian eateries.
If you’re seeking Manchester’s most glamourous curry house, let Asha’s be your first port of call. Located on Peter Street, this multi-award winning restaurant has been featured in the Michelin Guide and is a favourite haunt of local celebrities. Expect to pay more here than in other Indian restaurants in the city, but the exquisite food, elegant surroundings and attentive service all make it worthwhile. The menu takes traditional Indian dishes and gives them a contemporary twist, serving classic flavours of curry with innovative twists and unusual meats such as lobster and guinea fowl.
A newcomer to Manchester, but a firm favourite in neighbouring Leeds for some years now, Bundobust expertly combines Indian street food with craft ales, drawing in both foodies and beer lovers. Entering through a small doorway on Piccadilly, you’ll be blown away when you step into the gigantic light-filled basement restaurant and realise that you can order everything on the menu for just £66. There’s a very casual vibe here, going up to the bar to order your food which arrives at the table in paper pots, but it works. Already being hailed as some of the most delicious Indian food in Manchester, even meat-eaters will be delighted by the exclusively vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free menu. Highlights include biryanai bhaji balls, bundo chaat and the vada pav, Mumbai’s favourite burger.
Akbar’s may be a chain, but its Castlefield restaurant is always filled with people who have come from all across the city to sample its delicious cuisine and gigantic naan breads. This is the perfect place for lovers of a traditional English curry, as all the classics such as tikka masala, vindaloo and biryani are on the menu, but you’ll also find a delicious offering of Lahori specialities for the more adventurous. A word of warning, the naan breads are twice as big as you would expect, but one of them dangling from a hook will complete the experience.
It may be a tram journey out of the city centre and on first impressions when arriving you may seem disappointed by the casual canteen layout, but look around you. Lily’s is always packed with queues snaking around its small interior for people ordering takeaway. Locals and foodie insiders class Lily’s as a hidden gem, one of the best Indian restaurants in Manchester. Focusing on Southern Indian cuisine, head here at lunch to enjoy a delicious thali or in the evening to indulge in a paneer curry or a masala dosa. Ensure that you order the peas kachoris on the side with a large helping of delicious luminous green coriander sauce.
Originally housed in a tiny café in Cheadle, Indian Tiffin Room’s new First Street site is now one of the most popular Indian restaurants in the city centre. South Indian street food is the main fare here, proving to be a popular option at the moment in the city. Expect their own take on traditional thalis, dosa and chaats, with an exciting mix of kebabs and curries thrown into the mix. If you’re looking to a healthier alternative to the traditional English curry, this is the place to head for fresh natural ingredients and authentic Indian flavours.
We couldn’t pull together a list of Manchester’s best Indian restaurants without including at least one eatery on the Curry Mile. Rusholme’s infamous strip of curry houses are a popular choice with those living in south Manchester, especially as many stay open much later than their city centre counterparts. Mughli’s focus is on its grill menu, concentrating on meat cooked on its charcoal pit contrary to the vegetarian street food focus of the new restaurants in town. If you’re after kebabs, lamb chops or chicken tikka, this is the place to head for salivating flavours.