Sometimes, there’s nothing better than a good old curry.
Glittered with some of the best places to eat in the country, Manchester has a diverse choice when it comes to good grub. While we might be home to the best pizza in the UK, the city also has a number of Indian restaurants that are second-to-naan. So what are you waiting for? Cumin and check out Secret Manchester’s ultimate guide to the best Indian restaurants in town.
Self-described as a ‘new generation’ Indian and Pakistani restaurant, Zouk Tea Bar & Grill is run by a team of brothers who share a passion for good food. The restaurant prides itself on providing healthier options for those looking to enjoy authentic Indian cuisine without the calorie guilt – and even features an open kitchen providing a great atmosphere for customers. The decor is warm and contemporary, allowing the vibrant food to lap up the spotlight.
The menu is extensive, with an unrivalled offering of vegetarian options available for those looking for meat-free dishes – including a number of veggie curries and tiffin options. Meat-eaters need not worry, as the huge menu offers lamb, chicken, and a ton of seafood dishes. Guests can also bask in the rare sunlight in the restaurant’s outdoor terrace area, should the weather allow it! On Sundays, the restaurant switches things up a bit, offering a traditional Sunday roast where guests can order a whole roast lamb. Zouk Tea Bar & Grill, 5, The Quadrangle, Chester St, Manchester, M1 5QS.
2. Mowgli Street Food
The highly successful Mowgli Street Food is always worth a mention, which was founded by Nisha Katona back in 2014. Katona shares homemade dishes with customers, with meals inspired by her childhood and even a few alternative creations such as their Himalayan cheese on toast. Katona prides her restaurant on serving up actual authentic Indian food, previously stating that she doesn’t believe the takeaways here in the UK serve real Indian food.
The food represents the healthy, and often vegan, dishes that Indian families eat at home and in the streets, with colourful menu options such as lamb Keema, ginger chicken, roti chicken wraps, and even their own take on a chip butty. People have loved the food so much, the restaurant now has sites across 10 cities already, with two more set to open really soon. Mowgli Street Food, 16, Corn Exchange House, 37 Exchange St, M4 3TR | Unit 1 University Green, Oxford Rd, M13 9GP
Soon to have two restaurants across Manchester city centre, Bundobust is known for their vegetarian street food and selection of local beers on keg and cask. With a beerhall and market feel to it, the dishes are casual but delicious, with portion sizes perfect for trying a couple of new things during your visit. Think Bhaji butties, okra fries, and Saag curry.
If sharing is more your vibe, there’s a number of combo trays available, including a vegan option perfect for two filled with Bhajis, curry and more. Their current restaurant is ideally located around Piccadilly Gardens, with an additional coming to Oxford Road soon. Bundobust, 61 Piccadilly, Manchester, M1 2AG.
A popular choice among those looking for a good old traditional curry, Asha’s is the perfect city centre spot situated on Peter Street, featuring the sophisticated Indian decor we all know and love. Adorned with lavish purple velvet and golden touches, the whole place feels more Jaipur than Manchester.
The menu combines Indian family favourites with dishes that span a number of culinary traditions – with traditional options such as Korma, Jalfrezi and Tikka Masala. Each dish is inspired by recipes discovered during Asha Bhosle’s incredibly successful Bollywood career, mixing both traditional and contemporary methods. Asha’s, 47 Peter St, Manchester, M2 3NG.
5. This & That
A little hidden gem tucked away behind Trof NQ, This & That is a family-run restaurant that’s not to be overlooked. The classic menu has a huge choice of curries, from Biryani to Tikka dishes. Each day features a different menu, with a variety of meaty options and three vegetarian options available daily.
The small and simple restaurant has been running since the 80s, making it one of the longest-running favourites in the city. Long wooden tables and stripped back decor allow for social seating, while the focus remains on the flavours. All dishes are homemade with fresh, whole spices and meats such as lamb, chicken and fish consistently featuring throughout the week. This & That, 3 Soap St, Manchester, M4 1EW.
Providing a luxurious yet casual atmosphere in one of Manchester’s old, grand buildings, Dishoom pays homage to the food of Bombay with their modern menu. The decor mixes marble with gold and soft leather, with warm lighting throughout inspired by Irani cafes. The menu, on the other hand, is pretty ambitious, mixing cultures with their exciting breakfast menu with plates such as the bacon naan roll and chicken Keema with eggs.
The all-day menu champions small plates and side dishes perfect for sharing, with additional items such as their “Ruby Murray” curries and Tikka grilled meats. The restaurant has won a number of awards since it’s London inception, with eight restaurants now dotted across the country serving up good Bombay grub. Dishoom, 32 Bridge St, Manchester, M3 3BT.
7. Mughli Charcoal Pit
Regularly named as one of Manchester’s best restaurants overall, Mughli Charcoal Pit is a fine example of Manchester’s ‘Curry Mile’, serving both Indian and Pakistani dishes. While a little bit out of town in Rusholme, it’s worth the adventure, with rustic dishes described as “Indian soul food”.
The family-owned restaurant offers both dine-in and takeaway, with both vegan and gluten-free menus alongside their hearty main menu. Street cart classics accompany curry dishes such as Balti, butter chicken and Jalfrezi, with lamb kebabs and chicken skewers fresh out the charcoal pit. If that wasn’t enough already, their butter chicken has been named one of the best in the world, with the likes of Ed Sheeran even popping by to give it a go. Mughli Charcoal Pit, 30 Wilmslow Rd, Rusholme, Manchester, M14 5TQ.
8. Rajdoot Tandoori
Serving up tasty dishes on Manchester’s Albert Square for around 50 years now, Rajdoor Tandoori specialises in authentic North Indian cuisine with a family feel to it. The restaurant is still run by the same family as it was back in 1966 when it first opened, providing a warm and traditional ambience to all who walk through their welcoming doors.
Dishes are cooked using traditional methods, for example, their tandoori dishes are cooked in a charcoal pit, while their menu still carries the same curry recipes it has for five decades. The menu features classics such as Bhuna, Rogan Josh, Jalfrezi and Korma, with all the sundries and traditional tandoori meat options also available. Rajdoot Tandoori, Carlton House, Albert Square, Manchester, M2 5PE.
9. Scene Indian Street Kitchen
An impressive space in the heart of Spinningfields, Scene has a cosy, exotic feel to it, with intimate booths and candlelight flickering throughout the restaurant. It’s the perfect spot for summer too, with an al-fresco dining space and Riverside views, perfect for socialising.
The menu brings the streets of India to Manchester, allowing guests to experience true, Indian culture by way of good grub, with dishes such as tandoori salmon, Vindaloo, and contemporary street twists such as their chicken and samosa burger. There’s plenty of choice for vegetarians, as well as super healthy, low carb options on their very own menu. The restaurant doesn’t shy away from experimentation, with various Indo-Chinese dishes to try, too. Scene Indian Street Kitchen, 4 New Ct St, Manchester, M3 3AN.
10. Indian Tiffin Room
Another worthy contender for some of the best Indian street food in the city, Indian Tiffin Room is a family-run establishment with the aim of delivering authentic and tasty dishes to Manchester. The decor combines traditional Indian touches with contemporary neon lights and even shipping containers.
The food is inspired by the bustling streets of India, taking inspiration from various regions within the country when collating their menu. Championing the healthy, yet ‘finger-licking good’ dishes, the menu features a number of ‘grazing’ dishes, as well as Indian Tiffin plates perfect for sharing, grilled kebabs and flavourful curries, with a whole dedicated vegan menu too. Indian Tiffin Room, 2 First St, Manchester, M15 4RL.