The 13 Best Indian Restaurants In Melbourne For 2024
— Updated on 29 December 2023

The 13 Best Indian Restaurants In Melbourne For 2024

— Updated on 29 December 2023
Chris Singh
WORDS BY
Chris Singh

Despite having Indian heritage, my idea of Indian food growing up was alarmingly simple: butter chicken, cheese naan, Diet Coke. That’s still my comforting go-to when I’ve stumbled into Sydney’s iconic Indian Home Diner at 2 AM on a Friday night but I like to think my palate has become more refined over the years. Recently, I’ve really enjoyed exploring how deliciously diverse and exciting Indian cuisine can be.

Sydney has a wide scope for Indian restaurants, but once you work through Melbourne’s stock of curry houses it’s easy to declare the Victorian capital as the ostensible winner in a confected culinary showdown for Australia’s best Indian dining.

From Chef Jessi Singh’s mod-Indian temples to the hellfire curries of local favourites like Aangan and Maharaja Palace, Melbourne’s range is undeniably wider than any other capital city in Australia. I’d even go so far as to say Australia’s second city has some of the best Indian food outside of India.

To help illustrate Melbourne’s comprehensive essay on subcontinental cuisine, I’ve put together a list of what I feel are the city’s best Indian restaurants. This is based on both my own dining experiences in Melbourne, those of my colleagues and secondary research such as reading both online Google reviews and expert food reviews.



The Best Indian Restaurants In Melbourne

1. Saravanaa Bhavan, Melbourne CBD

(Photo by Saravanaa Bhavan)

A chain restaurant located in the ibis Styles Kingsgate hotel. Not very inspiring on paper, and yet Saravanna Bhavan surprisingly turns in some of Melbourne’s best Indian food.

Focused on vegetarian South Indian offerings, the kitchen specialises in the kind of dishes that don’t sound particularly appetising but are rich, vibrant and perfectly expressive of South India’s distinctive culinary capital. Get the rice and lentil dosa served with three different chutneys and you’ll taste why this is one of the first recommendations for thali cuisine.


2. Tandoori Den, Camberwell

(Photo by Tandoori Den)

Tandoori Den has been a part of Camberwell’s cultural fabric since it first opened in 1981, serving up classic Tandoori curries that are well worth the trek. The institution sold for over $2 million back in 2017 but it’s very much business as usual for the stalwart, which is renowned for its hardy authenticity and consistency.

The tawa fish curry is a crowd-favourite but the massive menu lists just about every Tandoori dish you could possibly want. Go for the chicken balti if you’re feeling like a lighter alternative to butter chicken or, if indulgence is the mood, try the garlic chilli lamb in the kitchen’s signature sauce.


3. Daughter In Law, Melbourne CBD

(Photo by Daughter In Law)

Jessi Singh’s tireless work at modernising Indian food and showing how exciting it can be has paid off brilliantly for Melbourne’s dining scene. Out of his several restaurants, Daughter In Law is still one of the finest examples of the Punjabi chef’s playful approach.

Smart, respectful twists on stereotypes are reflected in the restaurant’s eccentric decor. On the menu, you’ll find a cross-country marathon of flavours and ideas, best represented by the signature “unauthentic” butter chicken which replaces the indulgent trifecta of butter, ghee and oil with an equally deep but more vibrant blend of tomatoes, garlic, fenugreek and ginger.


4. Milan At Kew, Kew

Milan at Kew, one of the best places in Melbourne for Indian
(Photo by Milan At Kew)

For close to three decades, Milan At Kew has been positioned as one of Melbourne’s finest Indian restaurants outside of the CBD. Authenticity and traditional techniques drive much of the offering but there are still a fair few dishes that have clearly been designed towards a Western palate.

Quality produce makes all the difference here, even for the typical dishes like prawn biryani and lamb rogan rosh. Everything here is cooked to a high standard and presented very plainly, just like any good Indian feast would be.


5. Babu Ji, St Kilda

(Photo by Babu Ji)

Here’s another sure shot from Jessi Singh. And the chef’s ever-growing empire really wouldn’t have much legs without this St Kilda institution, which has become known for its freewheeling approach to Tandoori curries and Thali soundtracked by loud Hindi pop music and silent Bollywood films.

I’d recommend the brilliant crispy calamari sprinkled with gun powder and curry mayo above all else, but the best way to play here would be the meal-for-two set menu, which will net you two regular curries, a large rice, two naan breads, a side and a house bottle of wine.


6. Tonka, Melbourne CBD

(Photo by Tonka)

Although chef Adam D’Sylva is no longer at the helm, Melbourne’s beloved Tonka is clearly in good hands with new chefs Hendri Budiman and Chanon Boriharnvanakhet. The Duckboard Place institution, which opened in 2013, really set the tone for Melbourne’s playful experiments with Indian cuisine. At the time, you’d be hard-pressed to find another Indian restaurant serving creamy burrata with coriander relish and roti.

D’Sylva’s legacy lives on even if his famous duck curry does not. On the current menu, you’ll spot tempting fare like Kerala prawn curry with toasted coconut, pink oyster mushroom pakora with tamarind raita, and pumpkin saag curry with nettle and sunchoke.


7. Horn Please, Fitzroy

Horn Please in Melbourne
(Photo by Horn Please)

Horn Please is another entry from Jessi Singh’s empire, this time taking the rambunctious energy and penchant for experimentation over to North Fitzroy. Clearly not content with a by-the-numbers Indian eatery, Singh’s boundless creativity with his motherland’s vibrant culinary capital is expressed well on the menu. Yet, there’s a clearer sense of traditionalism compared to what you’d find at Singh’s other restaurants.

I’ve only been once but left incredibly satisfied with my butternut squash curry with a side of naan as the ever-important scarpetta in the equation. There’s quite a bit of overlap with kitchens like Daughter In Law (yes, the unauthentic butter chicken also gets a showing here) but Horn Please has its own clear identity with dishes like aalo baingan with aubergine ratatouille and the signature goat curry cooked in a very traditional style.


8. Aangan, West Footscray

Aangan
(Photo by Aangan)

Although Aaangan has a few locations around Melbourne, the one out in West Footscray is the brand’s best expression. Expect traditionalism when you walk into that very unspectacular venue, although there’s a clear love of South India’s Indo-Chinese influences as well as North India’s ravenous street food.

Try the chicken schezwan or chicken honkong if you want something a bit different from your usual fare, but there are still plenty of familiar faces on the menu from paneer tikka to kadhai chicken.


9. Bombay By Night, Caulfield South

If you're looking for some of the best Indian in Melbourne, Bombay by Night is a great place to start.
(Photo by Bombay By Night)

For almost three decades, Bombay by Night has held dominion over Caulfield’s intimate dining scene, maintaining a reputation as the area’s best Indian restaurant and a bastion of authentic South Asian dining.

Regulars are quick to recommend the fish curry, beef romana, and paleek paneer. But really, anything will do here. The kitchen is so adept at balance that anything you order from the menu will be perfectly textured and packed full of the flavours and aromas that distinguish Indian cuisine in this fiercely multicultural hub.


10. Delhi Streets, Melbourne CBD

(Photo by Delhi Streets)

Street food is the shtick for this Melbourne CBD favourite, where a playful menu lists everything from dosa to Indian pizza and wraps. Fusion Indian is usually more upscale at restaurants like Daughter In Law and Tonka, yet Dehli Streets is much more approachable with a more indulgent take on intentional inauthenticity.

If you stop by for one thing make it the ChickPizza: a crispy open-faced naan lightly covered in a secret masala sauce and topped with pieces of chicken tikka, coriander, cheese, capsicum, tomatoes and onions.


11. Bhang, Brunswick

(Photo by Bhang)

If you want some of the best Indian street food and cocktails in a convivial converted warehouse in Brunswick for dinner, Bhang is where you go.

Every night from Tuesday through Saturday, this place is buzzing with shared feasts and sloshed, satisfied customers, digging through a menu that cherry-picks regionality and dresses it up with bold twists and flavour-forward techniques.

You’ll never go wrong with the Kerala fish biryani, nor the junglee maas, which may throw the spice-adverse amongst us off with its red hot slow-cooked goat and potato, made to a recipe formed in Rajasthan.


12. Burger Shurger, Elsternwick

(Photo by Burger Shurger)

Melbourne has an entire burger joint dedicated to Indian burgers and other Indian-inflected favourites. That already makes Burger Shurger a one-of-one concept in Australia, working up crowd-pleasers like the Paneer 65 burger and soya chaap rolls.

The signature vada pav burger with curried masted potato, mint coriander chutney, sweet and sour tamarind sauce, sliced onion and bhujia is god-tier but you might end up filling yourself on those loaded butter chicken fries instead. This isn’t a healthy visit, but it’s a damn good one on any day of the week.


13. Atta Restaurant

(Photo by Atta)

We return to something a bit more upscale with Atta Restaurant in Albert Park. Classy, consistent and creative, this attractive dining room is powered by expressive blends of classic Indian with top-shelf Victorian produce.

Refined classics are usually the best way to go here. Get the lamb korma or beef mircha if you want some of the fan favourites but I usually rock with the king prawns served in coconut milk with tempered mustard, sun-dried chillies, tomato and onion gravy.


Did you find this guide to the best Indian restaurants in Melbourne helpful? Check out some of our other local food guides.


How Boss Hunting Chose The Best Indian Restaurants In Melbourne

Here at Boss Hunting, we’re lucky enough to travel across Australia very regularly. While our office is based in Sydney, between myself and my colleagues, we head on down to Melbourne quite a few times each year.

We try to make the most of our time in Melbourne by eating out whenever we can, and this includes dining at some of the city’s best Indian restaurants to be able to put together credible, curated lists such as this.

As with all restaurants, we consider taste first and foremost. If we’re satisfied, we’ll probably recommend it to a friend. And if we’d recommend it to a friend, we’ve included it on this list. Service personally doesn’t mean as much to me unless it’s notably terrible (at Asian restaurants, bad service usually means better food). We also look out for ambience and of course price point when judging whether a restaurant is worthy of inclusion or not.

To read more on how we put together lists like this please check out our editorial policy.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best Indian restaurant in Melbourne?

The best Indian restaurant in Melbourne is Daughter In Law.

What is the most authentic Indian restaurant in Melbourne?

One of the more authentic restaurants in Melbourne is Bombay By Night in Caulfield South.

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Chris Singh
WORDS by
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.

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