London's 11 Best Indian And Pakistani Restaurants

Every time one of our friends in San Francisco or New York raves about the quality of the sushi or burgers available merely minutes from their doorstep, we feel pangs of jealousy and FFOMO (Foodie Fear of Missing Out). There’s no denying, however, that when it comes to having diverse and convenient options for Indian food, London is second only to the subcontinent itself.
In scouting out the capital’s best Indian restaurants, we nearly overdosed on tikka masala, but we’ve done our best to provide a rundown that covers a range of south Asian cuisine (we snuck a Pakistani option on the list as well). Manhattan may have enough Shake Shacks to feed the entire island, but we’ll take a lamb kebab and a well-mixed gin fizz over french fries any day.

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Photo: Courtesy of Veeraswamy.
As the oldest Indian restaurant in the U.K., Veeraswamy retains some serious bragging rights. Located in a first-floor dining room slightly removed from the hustle and bustle of Regent Street, Veeraswamy’s ambience is a little less contempo-casual than its sister restaurant Amaya’s, and slightly more posh. (The food is just as good, however, if not better.) Standouts include tandoori-cooked paneer and the roast duck vindaloo.

Veeraswamy, 99-101 Regent St London W1B 4RS; 020 7734 1401.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Cinnamon Club.
Cinnamon Club
The Cinnamon Club is to London’s Indian restaurants what Morton’s is to steakhouses. Housed in the former Westminster Library, the Cinnamon Club is a bit different than the other restaurants on our list in that it’s a haunt for Mayfair brokers rather than East London-based twenty-somethings. The Cinnamon Club’s sister restaurants, Anise, Cinnamon Kitchen, and Cinnamon Soho are also excellent bets for a night of quality food and fine dining.

The Cinnamon Club, The Old Westminster Library, 30-32 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BU; 020 3355 1314.
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Photo: Courtesy of Brilliant restaurant.
Brilliant Restaurant
A Punjabi family-run establishment, the first Brilliant opened in Kenya in the '50s, but after the Anand family was forced to move to the U.K. in the early '70s due to political pressures, the two sons of Bishand Das decided to open up a new, even more brilliant Brilliant (lolz) on Western Road in Southall.

Brilliant, 72-76 Western Rd, Southall, Middlesex UB2 5DZ; 020 8574 1928.
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Photo: Courtesy of Tayyab's.
Tayyab’s, the legendary family-run Whitechapel institution, has been serving Punjabi cuisine to East London locals and visitors alike since 1972. It has come a long way since it first opened, having grown in recent years to occupy three different premises. We challenge you to find better lamb chops in London, and for all vegetarians out there, our recommendation is the chana (chickpea) masala and the peshwari naan. And, if the food alone wasn’t enough to make you fall in love with this family-run institution, it’s also BYOB, with no corkage fee.

Tayyab's, 83-89 Fieldgate St London E1 1JU; 020 7247 8521.
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Photo: Courtesy of Amaya.
Brought to you by the same folks of Chutney Mary and Veeraswamy (which also made our list), Amaya encourages diners to share their dishes family style, and their seasonal menu offers a range of options, included tandoori surf and turf as well as a range of vegetarian classics. They are also known for their exquisite presentation. And, as much as we like to be leaders, not followers, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that Gwyneth Paltrow schlepps it all the way from North London to indulge in an Amaya curry.

Amaya, Halkin Arcade Motcomb St, London SW1X 8JT; 020 7823 1166.
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Photo: Courtesy of Dishoom.
With locations in Covent Garden and Shoreditch, Dishoom channels the heritage and tradition of Bombay cafés, and channels it well. We prefer the interior and atmosphere of the East London location and, with Brick Lane only a stone’s throw away, Dishoom Shoreditch does an excellent job of providing both quality food and service on the doorstep of its competitive but less “commercial” neighbours. As for the cocktails, we recommend indulging in the Hunterwali Julep (served in a whimsical copper cup!) and of course, you can’t go wrong with a classic Gin Fizz. If you manage to make it past the bar to the dining room, the masala prawns, okra fries, and roomali roti are not to be missed.

Dishoom Shoreditch, 7 Boundary Street, London E2 7JE; 020 7420 9324.

Dishoom Covent Garden, 12 Upper St. Martin’s Lane, London WC2H 9FB; 020 7420 9320.
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Photo: Courtesy of Dosa ‘n’ Chutny.
Dosa ‘n’ Chutny
The second best thing to come out of Croydon after Kate Moss just might be Dosa ‘n’ Chutny — one of the best south Indian restaurants in London. The name says it all: The dosa here is near-perfection, and we could eat the accompanying dips for three meals a day (no really we can — don’t test us). They offer 20 varieties of dosa, so there’s something for everyone, and while this South London gem is a great choice for vegetarians, it also offers excellent lamb dishes for those who are more carnivorously inclined.

Dosa ‘n’ Chutny Croydon, 466 London Road, Croydon CR0 2SS; 020 8683 3297.

Dosa ‘n’ Chutny Tooting Broadway, 68 Tooting High Street, London SW17 0RN; 020 8767 9200.
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Photo: Courtesy of Chor Bizarre.
Chor Bizarre
Chor Bizarre is a reference to Mumbai’s "thieves" market or chor bazaar, one of India’s largest flea markets, and the restaurant’s eclectic decor is reflective of the market’s famous antique wares. Having celebrated its 15 year anniversary this summer, Chor Bizarre has recently brought in new head chef Sanjay Kaul to help re-design the menu, with new dishes like Kerala fish moilee and chutney wale nadroo, giving old classics like the dakshni crabcakes and tak-a-tak platters a run for their money. And, if you’re looking for a place to host your office Christmas party, Chor Bizarre’s recently-opened Bollywood Room is a treat for both Bollywood buffs and novices alike.

Chor Bizarre, 16 Albemarle Street, Mayfair, London W1S 4HW; 0207 629 9802.
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Photo: Courtesy of Chakra.
For all of you West Londoners who don’t want to venture all the way to Brick Lane for your curry fix, we bring you Chakra, in Notting Hill Gate. Chakra takes a fusion approach to Indian food, offering a medley of British-influenced fare. We love the restaurant’s calm atmosphere, impeccably decorated interior, and presentation of the meals. And, if you’re feeling especially lazy (read: hungover) Chakra offers delivery to residents of Notting Hill, South Kensington, and Holland Park.

Chakra, 157-159 Notting Hill Gate, London W11 3LF; 020 7229 2115.
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Photo: Courtesy of Tamarind.
One of only a handful of Michelin-starred Indian restaurants in the world, Tamarind is the place to go in London for classic, quality Indian food. Served in an atmospheric downstairs dining room in Mayfair, Tamarind offers an eclectic repertoire of Indian food from different regions. Standout dishes include the rogan josh, lobster masala, and an assortment of kebabs.

Tamarind, 20 Queen St London W1J 5PR; 020 7629 3561.
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Photo: Courtesy of Café Spice Namaste.
Café Spice Namaste
Cyrus Todiwala, one half of the duo featured in the BBC’s new programme, “The Incredible Spice Men,” is the man responsible for Café Spice Namaste, and its popularisation of Goan food in London. Located in East London, where Whitechapel transitions into tourist-trafficked Tower Bridge, Café Spice has been welcoming hungry patrons through its doors for the past 15 years. Mr. Todiwala has become something of a celebrity in the London food community, evidenced not only by his appearance on the BBC programme, but also by his well-attended chef demonstrations and masterclasses. Our recommendation is that you try anything flavoured with the Goan curry sauce, especially the “Squid Dynamite.” We know it’s October, but mark your calendars for an al fresco meal in the café’s “Ginger Garden” come springtime.

Café Spice Namaste, 16 Prescot Street, London E1 8AZ; 020 7488 9242.