A city as multicultural as Sydney does plenty of cuisines really well — and Indian is no exception. Large subcontinental communities in suburbs like Harris Park and Crows Nest mean there are groups of Indian restaurants sprinkled around Sydney, and there are plenty of quality curry houses in the inner city and nearby neighbourhoods like Darlinghurst, Newtown and Surry Hills, too. So in a city that has thousands of plates of samosa, bhaji, korma and butter chicken to sink your teeth into, where should you start? How about this list of the top 10 Indian eateries in Sydney.
Restaurant, Indian, $$$
Harris Park is Sydney’s ‘Little India’, and Billu Singh’s is perhaps the pick of the many Indian restaurants in this western Sydney neighbourhood. The mammoth menu has something for everyone, including a breakfast on weekend mornings made up of puri (bread), pakoda (onion fritters), masala omelette and channa bhatura.
This Enmore Road favourite is a late-night go-to if you’re stumbling home after a big night in Newtown. FFF doesn’t win any points for decor, but it does for value and taste — you won’t be worried about the unsophisticated surrounds when you’re scoffing down a gob-smacking fish curry or garlic tandoori chicken.
The walls of this hip Surry Hills joint are brimming with neon lights, quirky pop art, vibrant murals and random knick-knacks… and the self-described “neo-Indian dining experience” is just as loud on the plate, including mint lamb sliders and spicy surprise ‘curry bombs’, washed down with their signature lavender lassi (yoghurt drink).
Rozelle and Leichhardt is better known for its Italian cuisine but there’s always room for a curry. Nithik’s combines fresh Australian produce with all your subcontinental favourites as well as peppery recipes from the owner’s native southern India.
You only need to look at the decor to understand that Brick Lane isn’t your average suburban curry house, with the thoroughly modern fit-out bringing a distinctly Darlinghurst vibe. Brick Lane — named after the hub of subcontinental cuisine in London — is one of the most inventive Indian eateries in Sydney, dishing up a lighter, fresher take on traditional Indian fare.
Restaurant, Indian, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free, Fast Food, $$$
There are two things that this Parramatta Road institution has been passionate about since 1985. One is its commitment to traditional tandoori and Mughlai (creamy-spicy) Northern Indian flavours. The other is cricket, with memorabilia and signatures of cricketing icons plastering the walls. Both make for a great restaurant.
This uber-trendy basement eatery in the middle of the city centre plates up experimental subcontinental food that reflects owner Sam Prince’s dual Indian and Sri Lankan heritage — think slow-roasted lamb and sea bass ceviche. And this is a restaurant with a serious mission, too — Indu teams up with a community group that supports rural women displaced by the Sri Lankan civil war.
Boasting million-dollar views of Cockle Bay with food to match, Zaaffran (Indian for ‘saffron’) has been a fixture in Darling Harbour since 1998. The sleek modern eatery prides itself on adding a contemporary twist to the popular classics, which suits the bustling inner-city locale.
There’s a range of Indian eateries in Crows Nest on the Lower North Shore but it’s hard to go past this South Indian restaurant on the Pacific Highway, where the super attentive staff efficiently ferry the house speciality dosa — crispy pancakes stuffed with different fillings — to two levels of diners.
Restaurant, Indian, Asian, Vegetarian, Vegan, Healthy, Fast Food, $$$
If you’re after a seriously opulent subcontinental feast, look no further than this vintage-chic eatery on the ground floor of the Quay building in Circular Quay. The Spice Room is known for its bright, aromatic curries and its lunch menu of two- and three-tiered tiffin carriers, the metal lunch boxes delivered to office workers in Mumbai.