Melbourne’s stellar Indian restaurant scene features some of the most sought-after dining destinations in the city. From crispy samosas to rich curries and plenty of meat and vegan options, there are restaurants with focus on a particular region, and some encapsulating the breadth of what Indian cuisine has to offer.
Found in spacious converted warehouses and narrow dining halls down Melbourne’s busiest streets, each restaurant has its own unique vibe.
Whether you’re looking for a new lunch spot or are searching for somewhere to host a very special celebration, read on to find out what sets the best Indian restaurants in Melbourne apart and find the best butter chicken in town.
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The best Indian restaurants in Melbourne – read on for a guide
For creative cocktails in a warehouse-style hotspot – book at Bhang in Brunswick
Movie posters and wine bottles line the exposed-brick walls at Bhang, a lively, warehouse-style hotspot just off Sydney Road. Bring your friends and enjoy Indian flavours through inventive dishes and creative cocktails. Try the chilli chopra (strawberry, chai and chilli) or knock back a Colaba Causeway (burnt orange, turmeric and soda). On the food menu, you can find a range of street food including housemade samosas and kerala fried chicken. Share dishes like two-way chicken tikka or order your own creamy butter chicken. There are four types of naan, or you can get a tasting platter with the three most popular. For the most electric atmosphere, head there for Happy Hour, between 5 pm and 6 pm from Tuesday to Saturday.
For one of the best Indian restaurants near Melbourne’s CBD – head to Kahaani Modern Indian in Carlton
Kahaani Modern Indian’s menu is built by handpicking dishes from across India’s different regions to tell the story of the country’s culinary history. Try smoked Himachal chicken from Himachal Pradesh kale chaat from Punjab and dal pakwan from Mumbai. In order to truly tell the story of Indian cuisine, Kahaani prides itself on traditional flavours and long-established recipes. Diners regularly feel that each dish transports them to the region it came from. The goat curry is a regular stand-out, promising mouth-watering textures and bold flavours. Unique, industrial lighting and an exposed-brick wall bring a funky, modern feel to this narrow dining hall at the Carlton end of Lygon Street.
For fun cocktails and mouthwatering chapati – try Chapati Fairfield in Fairfield
Chapati Fairfield is the sister restaurant to the popular Chapati Carlton. With a menu rooted in home cooking and street food, it’s the perfect place to eat comfort dishes among friends and family. Its floor-to-ceiling windows will draw you off the street and into the bold, artistic interior with large pastel murals. Before you know it, your table will be stacked with dishes of crispy bhel pur (puffed rice), dal tadka and prawn coconut chilli. Diners love the food, but it’s also the friendly, personalised service that keeps them coming back (and keeps tables booked). One of the main points that sets Chapati Fairfield apart from its sister restaurant is the bar, where diners can try creative cocktails, like the whiskey-based Tamarind Parade. Plus, there’s always something new to try, with seasonal cocktails, a wine of the week, and various beers on tap.
For seasonal flavours – visit India @ Q by DDs Kitchen in Kew
At India @ Q by DDs Kitchen – Indian & Fusion, you can find traditional Indian cuisine served with a contemporary flair. Take a seat at one of the white-clothed tables in the immersive dining space and let the friendly service staff guide you through your meal. Sourcing ingredients from local farmers’ markets, every dish is fresh and seasonal. Try the coconut rice (served in a coconut shell) or one of the aromatic curries (methi murgh with chicken and fenugreek leaves is a particular highlight). Don’t forget the fluffy butter naan or soft aloo paratha on the side to mop up all the leftover sauce when you’re done. If you’ve got an extra special celebration to plan, consider booking out The Secret Room, the restaurant’s elegant private dining space.
For one of the best Nepalese-Indian restaurants in Melbourne – book at Aagaman in Port Melbourne
Serving up Indian and Nepalese cuisine, Aagaman uses fresh ingredients to create dishes rooted in traditional techniques and flavours, but with a modern twist. Not far from Port Melbourne Beach and Station Pier, Aagaman is on the smaller side, creating a relaxing, familiar environment that’s perfect for a date night or a group gathering. The menu, on the other hand, is extensive and varied. Start things off with the king’s platter of kebabs, chicken tikka and lamb chops to share. Or try the momos, a popular Nepalese dumpling filled with chicken or vegetables, before digging into traditional Indian flavours with a rogan josh curry. The drinks menu includes a range of martinis, beers and local wines. In Hindi, Aagaman translates to “Arrival”, so don’t put off your arrival any longer − book your spot on OpenTable today.
For vegetarian Indian dishes – go to Spice Art Authentic Indian Restaurant in Albert Park
Genuine, traditional and homemade, Spice Art Authentic Indian Restaurant brings Indian fine dining to Melbourne. The enchanting atmosphere is enhanced by touches of greenery around the bar and unique paintings on the walls. Take your time perusing the menu, which includes plenty of vegan and gluten-free options. In fact, most vegetarian options, including the chickpea curry and the dal makhani, can be made vegan on request. For meat-eaters, try the chicken tikka served on a hot sizzler, fresh from the Tandoori oven, or for some seafood, order the malai fish curry with barramundi and coconut cream. For dessert, bite into a soft gulab jamun, a fried milk-solid dough soaked in cardamom and rosewater syrup.
For a special occasion-worthy gem – book at Avrah in Brunswick
Lygon Street is known for its Italian restaurants, but you can also find some of the best Indian restaurants in Melbourne here, including Avrah, a modern gem that features dishes from across India. Hand-crafted decor, deep green vines, and bold murals line the walls at this stylish Indian restaurant at the Brunswick end of Lygon Street. This restaurant is perfect for group gatherings that need to cater to a range of tastes, priding itself on the range of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options available. Try the Kerala fish curry (gluten free) made using local barramundi and rich, southern Indian coconut gravy. The aloo chole (vegan and gluten free) highlights Avrah’s house garam masala through chickpeas, potatoes and tomatoes. Plus, there’s no need to choose between mint, mango, and tamarind chutney when choosing the perfect accompaniment to your crispy papadums and samosas.
For one of the best North Indian restaurants in Melbourne – try Punjabi Curry Cafe in Collingwood
Specialising in North Indian cuisine, Punjabi Curry Cafe offers a fine dining experience in an inviting atmosphere. The spacious dining room is split in two by a warm-orange wall with wide archways to create a more private feeling for each table. With a menu that balances classical and modern tastes, Punjabi Curry Cafe serves up traditional North Indian dishes made from fresh ingredients. Don’t miss the house special chilli chicken, made using a house-made garlic & chilli soy sauce, or the popular Punjabi kadai chicken, cooked in a traditional kadai cooking pot. If you order a tandoori dish, you can watch the chefs using the tandoor oven to prepare your naan, chicken or mushroom dishes. Finish off your meal with some milk dumplings dipped in sugar syrup or sweet milk sauce.
For one of the best Indian restaurants in southeast Melbourne – head to Spice Mantra Indian Tandoori Restaurant in Hampton
This award-winning South Australian restaurant has arrived with its first outpost in Melbourne, in the coastal suburb of Hampton. With over two decades of industry experience, brothers Dashmesh and Manjeet Singh have based Spice Mantra Indian Tandoori’s menu on nostalgia and traditional recipes. Traditional music and brightly coloured decor welcome you into a lively atmosphere that’s perfect for celebrations and other group gatherings. Start your meal with some New Delhi street food, like papdi chat served with chutney, tamarind sauce, and soaked moong beans. For mains, diners can choose from an extensive selection of meat-based and vegetarian options, including smokey butter chicken and mixed vegetable masala. Spice Mantra’s signature dish is the Awadhi chicken dum biryani, which uses freshly ground spices and is cooked under a sealed lid of dough. The carefully curated wine list includes bottles from the Yarra Valley, world-famous champagnes, and a seasonal selection of boutique wines.
For one of the best Indian restaurants in Melbourne for coastal cuisine – try Kochi Cafe in Glen Huntly
At Kochi Cafe, Head Chef and Owner Ajith has created a welcoming hawker-style atmosphere and a menu rooted in the flavours of India’s southwest coast. Think fragrant spices, fresh seafood, and the sweet tang of coconut in curries, vindaloos, and kormas. Kochi prides itself on home-style cooking that ticks the ‘comfort food’ box. Some of the signature dishes on offer include alleppey prawn curry with coconut and mangoes and chicken ghee roast cooked in a Byadagi chilli paste. To drink, the fruit lassi is wonderfully refreshing, and the mint buttermilk is a unique special that every diner should try. Don’t forget to ask the waiter about the dessert of the day.
The best Indian restaurants in Melbourne can be found all over, from the coastline to the inner city. Serving up classic curries and unique regional specialities, it’s easy to satisfy a craving or try something new. Served in artfully decorated dining halls, with warm service and a personal touch, your first meal at these restaurants likely won’t be your last.
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