MELBOURNE | My list of best Melbourne Indian restaurants reflects the ever expanding array of quality Indian available in Melbourne. Much like other immigrant cuisines that have become popular in Australia over the years, Indian food has, and continues to evolve.
To many, Indian food is synonymous with curry, served with a side of basmati rice and some roti or naan. Perhaps some samosas and papadams to start too. While these things are all delicious and an important part of Indian food, there is so much more to the cuisine.
India is a big place – the seventh largest country in the world with a population of 1.38 billion people. It’s a country with a rich history, impacted and influenced by invasions, trade relations, and colonialism. Given this history, and the diversity in soil, climate, culture, and ethnic groups in the country, it’s no surprise that the cuisine is diverse.
In recent years, several Indian restaurants have opened across Melbourne, aiming to challenge preconceptions about what Indian food can be. A new generation of Indian chefs, and Australian-born chefs with Indian heritage are introducing Melburnians to new dishes, and new versions of familiar dishes, that reflect the diversity of Indian cuisine.
My list, updated as at mid-2022, reflects all of these developments. From traditional to contemporary, familiar to unfamiliar, there’s something for everyone looking for the best Melbourne Indian restaurants to eat at. My list is in alphabetical order, and they’re all worth a visit. Are any of your favourites listed below? Are there any places that you think should be on the list?
Mani Waraich, owner of Babu Ji aims to serve guests authentic Indian food, with dishes on the menu span a range of regions from India’s central and northern regions. Mani wants to show Melburnians that there’s more to Indian food to curry, more to Indian food than heat. It’s about simple homestyle cooking, traditional dishes and a focus on quality produce and flavour.
Bar Bombay Yacht Club
Bar Bombay Yacht Club is a tongue-in-cheek reference to royal yacht clubs started around the world during the British Raj. It’s a bright, fun, colourful restaurant with a menu inspired by the coastal regions of places like India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Thailand. Playful food that’s Indian at heart, making use of the best local produce and native Australian ingredients.
Housed in a converted former warehouse just off Sydney Road in Brunswick, Bhang is a casual spot, with a menu focused on regional street food favourites from across India. Visit on Tuesdays for Thali night, where you can enjoy a variety of smaller dishes, including dahls, curries, raita, and rice, served on a platter.
Daughter In Law
Owner Jessi Singh prides himself on serving ‘unauthentic Australian Indian’ cuisine in a vibrant and playful ambience at Daughter In Law. Plush seating, retro Bollywood films playing silently on screens, while disco tunes play in the background, create a great atmosphere to enjoy the inventive, unique, and delicious food.
The name says is all. Delhi Streets is a homage to the street food of Delhi, and aims to recreate the food experiences that owner Charan Singh misses from home. Visit for tasty small bites like pani puri, samosa chaat, and pav bhaji, and larger things like thali, dosa, and meats from the tandoor.
Elchi is new restaurant from Punjub-born and raised owner/chef Manpreet Sekhon. The restaurant continues the path set by Manpreet at her other restaurants (Masti and Eastern Spice), in an upmarket space. The menu features contemporary takes on dishes that have their origins in the homes and street food stalls of India, making use of the best Australian produce and ingredients.
Enter Via Laundry
One of Melbourne’s most exciting dining experience period, can be found at Enter Via Laundry. The four major influences of the restaurant are trade and migration, invasion, modernisation, and globalisation. Owner/chef Helly Raichura’s ever changing menu reflects this, showcasing ancient techniques, evolving recipes, local produce and a passion for sharing the rich history of food. It’s a truly unique experience, tracing the history, illuminating the culture and influences behind the cuisine.
Gaylord has been around since 1985, but moved to a new location in the 1890s heritage listed Grand Hotel on Spencer Street in 2020. New owners Raj Singh and Dharminder Singh (no relation), retained much of the original menu’s Northern Indian influences and favourite dishes. They also expanded things to highlight regional dishes from across the country.
Raj and Dharminder from Gaylord also own Haldi, which puts even more of an emphasis on showcasing key dishes from India’s diverse regions. You’ll find some of the favourites from Gaylord on the menu, yes, but Haldi is very much it’s own spot. It’s a place to expand your horizons, and discover facets of the diversity that is Indian cuisine.
Owner Jessi Singh’s second restaurant, Horn Please, was a game changer when it opened in 2012. Following on from the highly successful Dhaba at the Mill in Kyneton, Horn Please was one of the first Indian restaurants to raise expectations in this city. The menu is mostly Northern Indian, with a focus on lighter Indian dishes made using quality local ingredients.
ISH opened in 2018, offering a unique take on Indian cuisine. Chandigarh-born and raised owner Ganeev Bains, has made it his mission to challenge Australian preconceptions about what Indian food can be. Visit for unique dishes fused with flavours and techniques from across India and around the world.
‘Masti’ means to have fun without any bad intentions in Hindi, and the food, drinks, and general atmosphere at the restaurant reflects this. The menu features an assortment of dishes drawing upon India’s various diverse regions, with particular influence coming from owner Manpreet Sekhon’s Punjabi heritage and mother’s cooking.
Perhaps the most unique of owner Jessi Singh’s restaurants is Mr Brownie. It’s housed across five levels in an old pub, featuring a bottle shop, basement cocktail bar, and a rooftop bar. The food is all about good quality versions of, and creative takes on, the British-Indian style Indian food that many are familiar with. The butter chicken parma with curry spiced chips, is fantastic.
Piquancy is the sister restaurant of Babu Ji, featuring dishes that span a range of regions from India’s central and northern regions. The food is lighter than what many people in Melbourne associate with Indian food. Many of the recipes have their origin in co-owner Mani Waraich’s grandmother’s kitchen, which is where he learned to cook.
Mukka means “punch” and the food here aims to pack a punch of spice, flavour and freshness. Owners and brother Prateek and Aditya Dhawan have a simple philosphoy – to keep things simple and real. Mukka’s spices are ground in house on a regular basis so they don’t lose their aroma. All of the curries, chutneys, sauces etc are made fresh each day.
Owner/chef Adam D’Sylva’s Tonka is one of Melbourne’s must-try contemporary Indian restaurants. The menu features an assortment array of Indian-inspired dishes, made using the best quality Australian ingredients. Flavours are fresh and vibrant, and the quality of the produce shines through.
Have you tried any of these best Melbourne Indian restaurants? Check out my Melbourne City Guide for more tips on where to eat and drink, and what to do in Victoria’s bustling capital.