The Best Indian Restaurants in Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington’s reputation for culinary diversity is renowned
Wellington’s reputation for culinary diversity is renowned | © Elizaveta Galitckaia / Alamy Stock Photo
Joe Varley

Considered by many to be the New Zealand capital of cuisine, Wellington’s reputation for diversity and quality when it comes to food has never been better. Indeed, for a relatively small city, Wellington hits the target in all departments. Here, Culture Trip looks at some of the best restaurants in the city serving sizzling Indian food.

From addictive starters such as samosas and bhajis to kormas and vindaloos, Wellington’s finest Indian eateries have expanded in recent years, satisfying the local desire for spicy sub-continent delicacies. Many chefs are experts from India, choosing the best authentic ingredients to create faithful dishes they have grown up with, so bring a healthy appetite and discover Wellington’s fantastic Indian restaurant scene.

1. Tulsi

Restaurant, Indian

Feast on a first-class curry in Manchester
© SStajic / Getty Images

Tulsi has fast gained numerous accolades, both from the media and the Wellington faithful. Indian cuisine is well known for its variety of vegetarian dishes, and the fare on offer at Tulsi won’t disappoint. Who could resist the paneer butter masala or the aloo gobi (cauliflower and potatoes cooked in spicy onion gravy)? Carnivores are in luck, too, with the famous goan vindaloo (spicy curry) or beef saagwala (beef in a spinach gravy) sure to delight. Tulsi also has a children’s and a dessert menu. It has several locations around Wellington.

2. Masala Cafe and Bar

Restaurant, Indian

Masala Cafe and Bar has the best of both worlds for curry lovers. Delivering mouthwatering starters and mains, this notable Indian restaurant has a relaxed atmosphere that also focusses on parties and drinks. Try a silky Otago pinot noir with a delicious spinach chicken or a spicier cabernet shiraz to compliment a lamb rogan josh (Kashmiri-style curry). It also specialises in vegetarian dishes, starters and naans. Based on Allen Street, deep in the heart of Te Aro, this fantastic establishment thrives on two main essentials: wonderful food and top-notch service. If you have a hankering for some spice in the nation’s capital, Masala Cafe and Bar is right up there with the best the city has to offer.

3. Little India

Restaurant, Indian

You can tell a restaurant values history when it mentions a family tie-in, and Little India is no exception. Based on Blair Street in Wellington’s Central Business District (CBD), Little India’s focus is mainly on northern India, particularly Punjab. Using recipes from grandma Premjit Kaur Gill, the restaurants boasts wholesome ingredients and traditional tie-ins. There’s certainly no shortage of choice – from pakoras, bhajis and samosas for starters to glorious mains like pasandas, daals and prawn malabari. The decor is delightfully simple, and its reputation speaks for itself. VIP club membership is available if staying in the Windy City for a long time.

4. Indus Restaurant and Bar

Restaurant, Indian

Serving authentic cuisine in atmospheric surroundings, Indus, located on Tinakori Road in Thorndon, is a short walk from the Beehive and the Sky Stadium – also known as the Cake Tin. Set among 19th-century architecture, Indus sits inside The Shamrock Tavern, which it has called home since 2001. Most of the superb mains cost less than 20 New Zealand dollars (£9.80), and it also caters for private functions. Indus has an extensive wine list and a menu that every fan of Indian food will love. For an Indian jewel in the Wellington crown just a short walk from the bustle of the capital’s CBD, head to Indus and get stuck into its fantastic food.

5. Taste of India

Restaurant, Indian

Just around the corner from bustling Courtenay Place, Taste of India keeps the capital’s curry lovers coming back for more with its triumphant menu and subtle flavours. Based on Cambridge Terrace in Te Aro, it creates authentic home-made Indian delights, from balti chicken and hot tikkas to biryanis. Taste of India is takeaway only, but as it’s often regarded as serving some of the most delicious Indian dishes in Wellington, it deserves a spot on this list. So, put in an order, relax, pick up the food and revel in an Indian takeaway to savour.

6. Curry Heaven

Restaurant, Indian

The name speaks for itself, doesn’t it? Set just off Willis Street on Bond Street, Curry Heaven has achieved a glowing rapport with Wellingtonians through the sheer quality of its food and service. It serves lunch and dinner six days a week. Mains to try include fish madras and the lamb sabnam. Curry Heaven labels all of its dishes according to gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian options, so people with specific dietary requirements are all well catered for. Owner Badal Pal and his team keep everything ticking over nicely, and their service is second-to-none.

7. Rasa

Restaurant, Indian, Malaysian

For something a little bit different (it specialises in Malaysian cuisine as well as south Indian favourites), Rasa serves up exceptional food at the mid-price range. Located in the capital’s CBD on Cuba Street, Rasa excels in lip-smacking seafood mains and sweet curries, tickling the taste buds in a pleasant environment. It also has a BYO service for wine lovers, and its dosai dishes (lentil- and rice-flour pancakes made from fermented batter – the chef’s secret recipe) mix nicely with satays, home-made bread and more than six vegetarian mains. Family-friendly and easy on the wallet, Rasa offers some of the best – and healthiest – Asian food in Wellington.

8. Planet Spice

Restaurant, Indian

A short walk from the city centre, Planet Spice is between Wellington Zoo and Te Aro. This quality Asian eatery has an illustrious history; married owners Hasu and Govind Patel set up shop in 1997, giving the Newtown suburb its first Indian restaurant, complete with tandoori ovens and professional Indian chefs. The restaurant has set menus from $26 (£12.80) per head (minimum of two diners), and its banglori lamb cooked with potatoes and coconut cream is legendary. Fast, efficient service, mouthwatering cuisine and friendly staff – what’s not to rave about? Head to Planet Spice for an out-of-this-world Indian experience.

9. Maharajas

Restaurant, Indian

onions bhaji with mango chutney. Indian cuisine
© Zoryanchik / Getty Images

Head to Cuba Street in Petone – a busy suburb at the north of Wellington Harbour – to try flavourful Indian food at Maharajas, which features a cosy yet unique decor (cobra handrails, anyone?). Founded in 1991 by Vasant Ranchhod, the business has boomed considerably, having started as a 24-seat restaurant; it’s now a 150-seater and shows no signs of fatigue. Most of the mains are around the $20 (£9.80) mark and range from Syrian lamb curry and mango chicken to the 10 seafood dishes and the formidable vindaloos.

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