There’s more to Indian cuisine than chicken tikka masala and lamb rogan josh. The Insiders went on the hunt for the best curry houses and indian eateries in the city and here’s what we dug up. Have we missed your favourite? Then please add your recommendations in the comments below:
1. Bombay Brasserie at the Taj Hotel
As you would expect from a restaurant housed in a five-star hotel, Bombay Brasserie serves some of the best Indian dishes in the country. The chefs use authentic Indian masalas (spices) to create a combination of traditional and contemporary dishes, such as truffle-scented tandoori mushrooms with cracked black pepper and chicken tikka cooked with peppercorn and mint leaves. Make sure you try the refreshing palate-cleansing sorbets.
Opening times 6pm – 11pm (no under-12s are accepted into the restaurant after 6.30pm)
Contact 021 819 2000, email@example.com
Where to find it Taj Cape Town, 1 Wale Street, Cape Town
With its the burnt-orange walls, green marble floors, exotic lighting and custom-made teak furniture from Rajasthan, Bukhara is a slice of India in the centre of the city. Since it opened 20 years ago, this award-winning restaurant has been serving up top-end North Indian cuisine to discerning diners. The menu offers a mouthwatering range of chicken, lamb, seafood and vegetarian options, prepared in a variety of different ways, from tandoor and singri (which use open flames and coals) to dum (which involves slow-cooking in sealed pots to create fragrant and flavoursome curries). The chefs source all their spices from India, which are then ground locally to ensure premium quality and freshness. Watch them in action through the glass walls of the open kitchen.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 3pm
Monday – Saturday, 6pm – 11pm
Sunday, 6pm – 10pm
Contact 021 424 0000, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Bukhara
3. Masala Dosa
Located on busy Long Street, this Indian-restaurant-with-a-difference is named after a popular South Indian breakfast dish (a dosa is a pancake made from rice batter and black lentils). The quirky-minimalist decor includes fake Bollywood posters showcasing menu items, and an upside-down cow in the washroom. There are a variety of dosa on the menu – we recommend the aromatic chicken one (chicken and butternut with coconut cream), as well as other modern dishes not found in typical Indian restaurants, such as sev puri (layers of Indian bread, filled with curry, raita, coriander, tamarind, salsa and crackles).
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 12pm – 4.30 pm
6pm – 10.30pm
Contact 021 424 6772, email@example.com
Where to find it Masala Dosa
4. Bihari, Newlands
Located at The Southern Sun Newlands Hotel, Bihari is an elegant yet cosy restaurant that serves an extensive menu of North Indian favourites. It also happens to be one of publishing doyenne Jane Raphaely’s top eateries in the city – she recommends the succulent tandoori chicken with delicious garlic naan bread. The attentive and very friendly waiters are on hand to assist with requests, and explain the dishes.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 6.30pm – 10pm
Contact 021 674 7186, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Bihari, Newlands
5. Vandiar’s Indian Cuisine
Image credit: I Love Foodies
This Gardens restaurant is the place to go if you’re craving the unique flavours of a Durban curry. Think slow-cooked curry and rice and tasty bunny chow. For a quick fix, look out for Vandiar’s food truck, Durban’s Finest Curry, that made it onto our Best Food Trucks in Cape Town list.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 11am – 10pm
Contact 021 462 6129, email@example.com
Where to find it 16 Dunkley Square Barnett Street Gardens
6. Maharajah Restaurant
Though it doesn’t look like much from the outside, this place is worth a visit for its food. With more than 30 years of service under its belt, Maharajah’s tried-and-tested recipes come from generations past. Make sure to try the aromatic lamb rogan josh, which tastes as good as it smells.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 12pm – 3pm
Monday – Saturday, 6pm – 10.30pm
Contact 021 424 6607
Where to find it Maharajah Restaurant
7. Punjab Express
This buzzy Westlake restaurant serves Punjabi food made with freshly ground spices, slow-cooked to perfection and devoid of excessive oil. The kebabs are a must-try – grilled in a clay oven over charcoal, they manage to remain very succulent.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 11.0am – 9.30pm
Contact 021 701 0504
Where to find it Westlake Business Park, Bell Crescent, Westlake, Cape Town
7. The Indian Chapter
Owned by television personality, Prim Reddy, this restaurant provides a homely atmosphere and belly-warming food. The very friendly service is a drawcard, as is Prim’s ever-present smile and interest in knowing if you enjoyed your meal.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 10.30pm
Contact 021 557 5524
Where to find it The Indian Chapter
8. The Raj
A tasty fusion of rich aromas, textures, colours and flavours awaits you at The Raj. The chefs hail from India, bringing with them generations of knowledge, skills and traditions to create some of the tastiest tikka masala, vindaloo, korma and bhoona in the country.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 12pm – 10pm
Sunday, 12pm – 10.30pm
Contact 021 438 4555, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it The Raj
9. Bombay Chilli, Muizenberg
For tasty aloo palak, biryanis, curries and other Indian favourites, this laidback restaurant in Muizenberg is a good bet. There’s also a branch in Plumstead. Read our full Bombay Chilli review here.
Time Monday – Tuesday, 5pm – 10pm
Wednesday – Sunday, 12.30pm – 10pm
Contact 021 836 6748, email@example.com
Where to find it Bombay Chilli, Muizenberg
10. Moksh Indian Restaurant
Moksh is famous for its clay-oven dishes and exotic curries, prepared to your liking – either mild, medium or hot. If you are unfamiliar with any menu items, the knowledgeable waiters are on hand to explain the dishes to you. The restaurant is currently not licensed, but you can BYOB with no corkage fee.
Opening times Tuesday – Sunday, 11am – 10pm
Contact 021 872 4548, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Moksh Indian Restaurant, Paarl
11. Taj Mahal Restaurant
The chefs at Taj Mahal use traditional charcoal clay ovens (tandoor) to create flavourful, authentic meals made using fresh vegetables, meat and freshly ground spices. The attentive wait staff make the overall experience enjoyable.
Opening times Monday – Tuesday, 12.30pm – 11.00pm
Wednesday, 5.30pm – 11pm
Thursday – Saturday, 12.30pm – 11.00pm
Sunday, 12.30pm – 10.00pm
Contact 021 790 4711, email@example.com
Where to find it Taj Mahal Restaurant
12. Jewel of India
Located on the Green Point strip (aka Somerset Road), this fine-dining restaurant allows you to eat “family style” – with food served on platters, allowing guests the chance to try many different menu items. Popular platters include the vegetarian platter (cheese rolls, vegetarian samosas, mixed chilli bites and vegetable seekh kebabs) and the mixed kebab platter (chicken malai, chicken kulfi, chicken tikka, seekh and fish tikka kebabs).
Opening times Tuesday – Sunday, 12pm – 10pm
Where to find it Jewel of India
13. Vintage India
In terms of decor, this restaurant has nailed the exotic-opulent look hands down. The varied menu, developed by the Indian chef, includes North Indian, Goan and Hyderabadi and Indo-Chinese dishes, plus a carefully selected wine list to round off your dining experience.
Opening times Daily, 12pm – 3pm
Daily, 6pm – 10pm
Contact 021 462 5106, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Vintage India
If you’re looking for a downtown Delhi vibe:
1. Food Inn India, Long Street
Open 24 hours, everyday, this fast-food haunt is a favourite among Long Street’s revellers looking for a curry, tandoori or biryani to line their stomachs before a big night out (or soak up the damage of a huge party).
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 24 hours
Contact 021 422 5060
Where to find it Food Inn, Long Street
2. Eastern Food Bazaar
Serving mainly Indian (but also Middle Eastern and Asian) street food, Eastern Food Bazaar is a budget-friendly fast-food emporium. The delicious meals (such as curries, tandoori and biryanis) come in very generous portions.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 9am – 10pm
Contact 021 461 2458
Where to find it Eastern Food Bazaar