The Best Indian Restaurants in Sydney

Explore menus with hundreds of regional dishes — or just order a butter chicken and be done with it at these brilliant Indian restaurants in Sydney.
Andrew Zuccala and Concrete Playground
February 28, 2024

The Best Indian Restaurants in Sydney

Explore menus with hundreds of regional dishes — or just order a butter chicken and be done with it at these brilliant Indian restaurants in Sydney.

The best Indian restaurants in Sydney come in so many forms. You've got local neighbourhood diners with BYO licenses and super friendly staff who know their regulars all too well. Then there are the more flash and contemporary Indian restaurants in Sydney's CBD that aim to reinvent the cuisine, playing with classic recipes to create altogether new and exciting dishes.

A handful of the best Indian restaurants in Sydney are also totally vegetarian or, at the very least, have a huge selection of vegetarian and vegan options. These are the kinds of Sydney eateries where everyone can find something on the menu — be it the simple butter chicken with a pile of garlic naan on the side or a spinach, cashew and goat curry that's packed with spice.

Pair it all with some ice-cold beers or fine wines, and treat yourselves to a massive feast that isn't likely to blow your budget. Find all of Sydney's best Indian restaurants right here.

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Recommended reads:
The Best Restaurants in Sydney
The Best Korean BBQ in Sydney
The Best Japanese Restaurants in Sydney
The Best Mexican Restaurants in Sydney

  • 13
    best indian restaurants sydney - urban tadka

    Framed by the Australian bush, Urban Tadka in Terrey Hills exudes earthly paradise the moment you enter the doors. The expansive dining room, with teak finishes and wooden floorboards, calls to mind a traditional Indian restaurant tucked away in a tranquil, resort-style setting. But it’s not all about design. It has received numerous awards for its food, including two Savour Australia Best Indian Restaurant in Australia titles, as well as The Good Food Guide’s Reader’s Choice award for Best Restaurant.

    Highlights include gosht khurmani korma, a 15th-century recipe of grass-fed lamb, cashew sauce and dried apricots, and the range of seafood. Think mussels, lobster, prawn and barramundi – all cooked in traditional styles with a modern twist. It’s stupidly delicious. The drink list is also impressive, with house cocktails including a sharabi lassi made with Baileys, Malibu and the house mango lassi. Urban Tadka is easily one of the best Indian restaurants in Sydney.

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  • 12
    best indian restaurants sydney - foreign return

    Foreign Return doesn’t take itself too seriously. From the buzz of Crown Street at its doorstep to the charming Taj Mahal mural in the main dining area, this is the kind of Indian restaurant that shouts optimism and fun, rather than solemn and earnest dining. Foreign Return challenges the Australian idea of Indian cuisine – butter chicken and lamb rogan josh get the day off in favour of regional and forgotten dishes.

    The tandoor and grill produces delights such as minced goat kebabs from Lucknow, cooked with ground spices, saffron and onion, while vegetarians can feast on khichdi, a lost recipe from the eighth and ninth centuries, made of black rice, lentils and fresh herbs. The list of curries is also packed full of regional favourites. Come for the la carte menu, bottomless brunch, pre-theatre dining or an all vegan fare. For a night of fun and frivolity, you’ll struggle to find a better Indian restaurant in Sydney.

    Image: Leigh Griffiths

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  • 11
    best indian restaurants sydney - abhi's indian restaurant

    A permanent fixture among the lively food scene of Concord Road, North Strathfield Abhi’s Indian Restaurant has been delighting guests with sophisticated and artfully prepared dishes since before the Berlin Wall fell. Founder and head chef Kumar Mahadevan was trained at the prestigious Taj Hotel Group in Mumbai. He’s dedicated his life to bringing the most authentic Indian recipes – including tandoori flavours of the north, seafood delicacies from Goa and classics from his native Chennai – to Sydneys culinary-rich western suburbs. 

    A favourite with both Australian and Indian cricketers, Abhis attention to detail and impressively diverse menu makes it the perfect venue for date night or a special occasion. Its the wise and experienced elder of Sydneys Indian dining scene, and can be trusted to deliver a wonderful night and exceptional food on every visit.

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  • 10
    best indian restaurants sydney - idnu

    Once you find Indu, hidden down Angel Place in the city, you’ll be hit by an immediate sensory explosion. The ambient space is toasty warm and bustling with people. Meanwhile the air is heavy with the aromas of spice, fresh seafood and coconut sugar. Indu, one of Sydney’s best Indian restaurants, takes inspiration from the country’s southern coastal regions. But these guys don’t just do classic regional dishes. Here, the chefs have created a menu that’s altogether refreshing, totally innovative and surprisingly light.

    The drinks menu at Indu, one of the best Indian restaurants in Sydney, boasts an extensive list of particularly beguiling cocktails. Standouts include the Dazed & Confused number made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, citrus, bitters and pandan, and the cool Green River, a mix of Ford’s gin, cucumber, limoncello, lime and aloe vera.

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  • 9
    best indian restaurants sydney - billu's indian restaurant

    Although the menu spans many regions of the sub-continent, Billu’s Indian Eatery specialises in south Indian cuisine. Located in the heart of Harris Park, Billu’s — one of the best Indian restaurants in Sydney — is the ideal place to bring the family or that someone special to sample Indian cuisine at its absolute finest. 

    Highlights include dosas, biryani and and the Goan fish curry. This warm and tangy curry blends spice with coconut to bring out the subtle sweetness made famous in Goa. For those with specific dietary requirements, this brilliant Indian restaurant in Sydney caters to most needs, including gluten-free and vegan options. There’s room for everyone at this Harris Park Indian restaurant.

    Images: Cassandra Hannagan

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  • 8
    best indian restaurants sydney - delhi o delhi

    Newtown’s Delhi ‘O’ Delhi on Erskineville Road brings the fine dining and elegance of the grand hotels of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata to the Inner West. Opened in 2007 by restaurateur Javed Khan, it owes its success to Javed’s keen attention to detail and the nuanced regional cuisine elegantly prepared by head chef Kailash. Staying true to its locale, Delhi ‘O’ Delhi offers up a huge vegan and vegetarian menu that dits alongside its meaty options.

    Grab some curries, homemade naan and all the classic Indian starters to create your own tasty feast. With the elegance of old-world India infused with contemporary techniques and regional delicacies, this is easily one of the best Indian restaurants in Sydney.

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  • 7
    best indian restaurants sydney - don't tell aunty

    Surry Hills’ creatively charged culinary hot-spot, the ‘unauthentic Indian’ restaurant Don’t Tell Aunty, is one of the highlights of the Sydney Indian restaurant scene. Inspired by the welcoming homes of traditional (yet, slightly eclectic) Indian aunties, the food here does not stick to the rules. Instead, innovation is the hero. An oft-changing menu trips all across India, with touches of Aussie and American influence peppered throughout.

    Street eats might include the likes of Colonel Tso’s Indo-Chinese-style cauliflower with tomato and chilli; the ‘Yoghurt Kebab’, featuring a spiced yoghurt croquette in a vibrant beetroot ginger sauce; and the nachos-like papadi chaat. There’s even a bottomless brunch option available on weekends, serving up a tasting menu with unlimited wines and beers. Bottomless margaritas cost an extra $20 per person.

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  • 6
    raja dining room fool of guests - one of the best indian restaurants in sydney

    This contemporary Indian eatery delivers a menu of flavour-packed eats that go above and beyond your expectations of the cuisine. And even though it only opened recently, Raja has already shot up this list of the best Indian restaurants in Sydney.

    Former Firedoor chef Ahana Dutt leads the kitchen, bringing over the celebrated restaurant’s passion for produce-driven cooking, working closely with a serious list of dynamite local producers (including The Gourmet Goat Lady, Newcastle Greens and CopperTree Farms). Dutt has teamed up with Ezra and Raja co-owners Nick and Kirk Mathews-Bowden to conceptualise this celebration of some of the tastiest dishes you’ve probably never tried — yet. Prepare to fall in love with some foolishly underrated Indian dishes at Raja.

    Image: Nikki To

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  • 5
    best indian restaurants sydney - nilgiri's

    This family-owned Indian restaurant in Sydney has been feeding the lower north shore a taste of regional Indian fare for over two decades. First opening in Crows Nest back in 1998, its latest incarnation is in the heart of Cremorne, Nilgiri’s delivers a modern interpretation of the truly diverse cuisines in India. Expect familiar flavours married with plenty of creative twists, across a menu that’s entirely certified halal.

    And if you fancy picking up some skills of your own, book in for the ever-popular Indian cooking classes. Held throughout the year on Mondays, there are two dishes prepared each class, including one vegetarian option. Take them home to share with your housemates or family, or keep them all to yourself, feasting for a few nights after the class.

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  • 4
    best indian restaurants sydney - masala theory

    If you want to awaken all of your senses at once, pay a visit to Sydney’s Masala Theory. This Crown Street dining institution can best be described as Bollywood meets Andy Warhol — thanks to its neon lights, brass copper dinnerware, pop art, vivid murals and relics. But don’t think there’s no room for tradition here — there are heaps of authentic Indian street food snacks and contemporary dishes alike.

    We are big fans of the fried potato dumpling sliders lathered in garlic chilli and mint chutney, served between two pillowy soft buns. But if snacking on miniature burgers at an Indian restaurant goes against your rules, opt for some of the more classic curries and regional specialties that simply astound. They are cooked to absolute perfection. Pair it all with one of the many lassies and some bottles of vino from home (it has a BYO license) to fully enjoy one of the very best Indian restaurants in Sydney.

    Images: Cassandra Hannagan

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  • 3
    Malabar dining room - one of the best Indian restaurants in Sydney

    This Darlinghurst Indian restaurant serves up classic south Indian cuisine with style, flair and a healthy sprinkling of tradition. You can expect a huge array of fragrant curries at Malabar, but this joint is best known for its range of house-made dosai — a south Indian specialty consisting of a light and crispy fermented rice and lentil crepe wrapped around a delicious filling. These are just about as traditional as they come, with six different varieties available.

    But if you are a bit overwhelmed by the choices at this Sydney Indian restaurant, you can always go with one of the banquet dining options that come in varying sizes and can be made either totally vegetarian or vegan (with a special vegan a la carte menu also available). Malabar also has a BYO license for wine only, so you can bring your fave bottles with you, paying a modest corkage fee.

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  • 2
    a feast of curries at Chatkazz — one of the best vegan restaurants in Sydney

    Chatkazz is a culinary gem that delivers a truly special eating experience. The term means “spicy and delicious”, and that’s exactly what you’re bound to find. The Indian restaurant in Sydney specialises in street food and farsan (salty snacks) that’ll transport you directly to India. Order off the Mumbai Roadside Special menu to try the best of the bunch — think pani puri (crispy puffed bread stuffed with black chana and potato, served with tamarind chutney), pav bhaji (cheese-topped spicy vegetable curry served with onion salad and papadam) and paneer tava pulav (paneer and veggie fried rice served with raita and papadam).

    Or if you’re feeling festive, order in a group to get a bit of everything and share it around. Check out the sister venue at Bella Vista for more of the same eclectic and vibrant takes on modern Indian cuisine.

    Top image: Nikki To

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  • 1
    best indian restaurants sydney - pinky ji

    Jessi Singh, the mind behind some of the country’s best Indian restaurants, now has a home on York Street. Pinky-Ji is Singh’s second Sydney outpost, launched with the help of former Chin Chin chef Johann Jay, who built a cult following throughout Australia with his unorthodox eateries in MelbourneByron Bay and Adelaide. Singh describes Pinky-Ji as the younger, sassier, and more independent version of the much-loved Daughter In Law.

    Here, at one of the best Indian restaurants in Sydney, you can go full a la carte or opt for the Chef’s Selection that includes a whole host of its most popular dishes — recommended for those who easily get choice paralysis. And when the time comes to pair a drink with your curry, you can opt for a classic cocktail or peruse the help-yourself craft beer fridges for a hoppy treat.

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Top images: Pinky Ji

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