Food / Wellbeing

12 of the best Indian restaurants in Sydney

indian restaurant sydney

Want to know where you can get a $20 thali for lunch in Sydney's CBD? Ever wondered what street food is served up at the markets in Mumbai? Down to try Indian fare put together by a chef who has cooked for both Prince Phillip and Mick Jagger? If you're looking for the Indian restaurants in Sydney that will speak to your heart and stomach, keep scrolling.


1. Chatkazz


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Where: Harris Park, Bella Vista

Although not technically located on Wigram Street, Chatkazz is the crown jewel of Harris Park's Indian food mecca. Specialising in street food where the humble bread roll is elevated with spicy tomato curries and chutneys, to an untrained eye the dishes could be cast off as inauthentic, but anyone who has frequented the street markets in Mumbai will clock the reference. The menu is entirely vegetarian and dishes are set at an affordable price, set up to have you in and out under an hour. Also on the menu – which is as vast and varied as the food regions covered – is specialties from south Indian cuisine like dosa and uttapam, a mix of Indo-Chinese dishes and a healthy showing of subji and pakora hailing from northern India. Wash it all down with a glass bottle of Thums Up and if you're hankering after dessert, walk a couple of metres to Chatkazz Sweets & Namkeen, and marvel at the colourful cases of sweets.


2. Don't Tell Aunty


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Where: Surry Hills

The brainchild of restaurateur Jessi Singh, Don't Tell Aunty grabs tradition with both hands and runs with it. The curry is made without ghee, chai is spiked with whisky, yet the key tenet of hospitality, which is observed in homes as much as eating houses throughout India, is present from the help-yourself wine fridge to the thoughtful service. The menu borrows flavours from all across India and changes regularly, what stays constant however, is the dedication to high quality produce and putting on a good time for all who cross Don't Tell Aunty's threshold.


3. Dosa Hut

Where: Harris Park, Gregory Hills, Liverpool

A restaurant chain with a handful of outposts across Sydney that scratches the itch for family style Indian food. The menu is expansive, you can take your pick of Hyderabadi biryani, chaat, Indo-Chinese specialties, and as the name suggest, a whole host of dosa. I like to eat here when the line for Chatkazz snakes towards the middle of the carpark.


4. Faheem Fast Food

Where: Enmore

A staple in the diet of anyone who has lived or worked in Sydney's Inner West. The joint may be bare bones, the lighting a personal attack and the service non-existent, but that's besides the point. Faheem Fast Food does what it says on the tin, serving no-fuss, affordable bowls of lentils and dishes, from both Indian and Pakistani origins, to soak up the exploits of the night or steady a hungover stomach. We're also partial to Tandoori Hut down the road.


5. Indian Home Diner

Where: Paddington

When I worked down the road at Shady Pines Saloon, knock off was always followed by a morale-lifting chicken tikka roll from Indian Home Diner, either to quieten post-shift rumbles or kick off the long night of lock-ins ahead. It seems like anyone who wanders down Oxford St in search of a good time has the same idea. Open late and easily spotted by its neon sign, the order of business is as follows: pick your naan (plain, garlic, cheese), decide on aloo chop or onion bhaji which is then mashed onto the naan, closely followed by a piece of chicken tikka and finished with your sauce of choice. Who cares if it's authentic when the product is this delicious.


6. Abhi's

Where: North Strathfield

Take this as a sign to leave your 5km radius, for the love of god. Although when the destination is Abhi's in North Strathfield, no bribes are necessary. The word institution gets thrown around a lot these days, but having opened in 1990 after previously helming the kitchen at Mayur in the MLC Centre during the late 80s – a restaurant frequented by the likes of Prince Phillip, Rupert Murdoch and Mick Jagger – one would say that Kumar Mahadevan's Abhi's has earned the title. Northern style tandoor meat is married with Southern style curries and Goan highlights. Dosas are in abundance and the Palak patta chaat is a house speciality. The restaurant recently scored a hat at the recent Good Food Guide Awards too, so there's that.


7. Mitran Da Dhaba

Where: Blacktown

If Indian food weighs heavily on your stomach, you'll find a lot of good eating around Harris Park and Seven Hills. Mitran Da Dhaba is that rule personified. Located on Third Avenue in Blacktown, Mitran Da Dhaba is a homage to the roadside eateries commonplace along Indian highways with dishes pulled from all regions across the country. Live music is a regular occurrence too.


8. Not Just Curries


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Where: Balmain, Harris Park

Offering an intimate and relaxed dining experience, the premise for Not Just Curries is straightforward. The minds behind both outposts hope to quash the persistent myth of Indian food as the homogenous, heavy curry. Rather, it is said that the food in India changes every 100km you travel, and the menu at Not Just Curries aims to reflect this diversity of flavour and technique.


9. Malabar

Where: Darlinghurst, Crows Nest

For a comfortable meal with agile service, white linens and the gentle tinkering of silverware, book a table at Malabar. Each dish is cooked from scratch with the spices ground in house and all butchering occurring on site. Tradition is the lay of the land here, with a thoughtful menu comprising of standouts like Lamb Varutha, Railway Chicken, dosa, rasam and chaat. Come here to be comforted.


10. Surjit's


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Where: Annandale

Surjit's opened its doors way back in 1985 and in the years since, the restaurant has built a reputation for its aromatic and authentic Mughlai style fare. It's a family affair, with Surjit still in the vicinity but his son, Rasan, carrying the proverbial torch with plans to one day pass on the tradition to his son, Dilraj. The menu carries both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, making everything from the breads to desserts in house.


11. Indu


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Where: CBD

Part of the Sam Prince Hospitality Group, Indu is an upscale Indian restaurant with a conscience. Part of the deal with Indu is that it's set up as a partner to grassroots organisation, Palmera, which assists women living in rural villages throughout Sri Lanka. As for the food, it aims to replicate the generous cooking from the villages in India to cosmopolitan audience.


12. Pinky Ji


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Where: CBD

Another offering from Jessi Singh, Pinky Ji sits a short walk from Town Hall station in Sydney's CBD with a swashbuckling spirit and rule-breaking menu that promises to outstrip it's sister venue Don't Tell Aunty. On the weekend the restaurant offers its own take on yum cha, while office workers can stop my mid week for its $20 thali (India's answer to a bento box).


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Images: @indu_dining @chatkazz_australia @donttellaunty @pinkyji_sydney