Our Picks of the Best Indian Food in Auckland

A staff member scooping up curry from a buffet behind glass.

If your regular Indian order is heavy on the butter chicken, samosas and cheesy naan, we're sorry to say you're missing out. Auckland has some of the best Indian restaurants in New Zealand Aotearoa, each showcasing India's diverse flavours and dishes. If rich and aromatic Mughlai Cuisine, fresh Punjabi Indian food or traditional South Indian street food sounds like something you could get into, read on.

Indian restaurants make up an integral part of Auckland's foodscape, each crafting a unique and delicious taste experience all of their own. Whether you're a meat-lover, vegetarian or vegan, there are plenty of dishes to choose from. They can range from mild to very spicy, so err with caution when placing your order!

Words by: Nicole Mudgway

Photos by: Anna Briggs & Nancy Zhou

Indian cuisine varies widely depending on where it has descended from. A visit to any of the Indian restaurants on our list is a surefire way to experience and enjoy the diverse and flavourful cuisine of the country, known for its use of aromatic spices, herbs and various cooking techniques. Not to mention the blend of spices used in Indian food can also have health benefits, such as anti-inflammatory properties and aiding digestion. Win win!

We have curated a selection of Auckland's finest Indian experiences, showcasing a variety of culinary delights that will have you dropping that butter chicken order in no time. These exceptional meals are served in restaurants boasting an ambience as authentic as the flavours of the food. So here it is: where to find the finest Indian fare in the big smoke.

A cosy covered outdoor area in a chai lounge.

Satya Chai Lounge

271 Karangahape Road, Auckland CBD

One of Auckland's most famous streets, Karangahape Road, is Auckland's cultural heartbeat. It's filled with great shops and nightlife destinations, and, particularly in recent years, it has really come into its own as a dining destination, particularly when it comes to Indian cuisine. And this is where you'll find two of Satya’s South Indian restaurants: Satya Chai Lounge and Satya x Flamingo. Satya makes simple, homely Southern Indian food in a space where you are always made to feel welcome. We recommend trying the delicious Indian street food at Satya Chai Lounge washed down with one of their craft beers or cocktails.

Staff members working in a kitchen cooking curries.

Paradise

581 Sandringham Road, Auckland

Sandringham is a hub for Auckland's subcontinental community, and the food on its main strip reflects that. Indian institution Paradise operates not one, not two, but four separate restaurants along the strip: one for classic sit-down service, one for takeaways, and one for their buffet, all where you can find the most delicious Mughlai Indian in town. Their fourth spot, Kebabish, takes their skills and experience and applies them to Mediterranean food.

Paradise offers a cuisine known as "Mughlai Indian Cuisine," which is celebrated for its flavoursome and fragrant dishes attributed to the generous use of spices such as saffron, cardamom, black pepper, nuts, and dried fruits.

Whilst you're in Sandringham, pay a visit to 7 Siri - Taste of Sri Lanka. It's not Indian food but is worth a visit, and as the name suggests, the place to go for excellent Sri Lankan food, with meal packs at a reasonable price that will feed you extremely well.

A close up of curries in a buffet.

Bawarchi

519 Sandringham Road, Auckland

Another Sandringham favourite, Bawarchi is an Indian restaurant influenced by the classic flavours of Hyderabad, one of India’s most well known southern cities. Said to have retained some hints of Mughlai cuisine throughout the cuisine, one of Hyderabad’s most popular dishes is the biryani, a meaty rice dish. Unsurprisingly, Bawarchi offers a cracking version of this, and it even comes with your choice of protein - including mutton, chicken, vegetable and seafood. For the real fans, there are also Biryani takeaway deals which include raita and mirchi ka salan along with a traditional Mughlai dessert. 

Southern Spice

7/53 Cavendish Drive, Manukau, Auckland

Located in south Auckland and serving southern Indian cuisine, Southern Spice is nothing if not appropriately named. Plenty of folk are willing to make the drive south to experience some of Auckland’s most authentic Hyderabadi food, which is basically an amalgamation of South Asian, Mughalai, Turkish and Arabic cuisines. The restaurant is most famous for its excellent Hyderabadi biryani, a flavoursome rice dish containing plenty of meat, rich spices and an assortment of textures. And with a whole page of their menu dedicated to vegetarian food, nobody needs to go without.

The exterior and entrance to Shubh restaurant.

Shubh

520-524 Sandringham Road, Auckland

Shubh is another Sandringham gem, offering Indian food that is influenced by flavours and dishes from the Punjabi region. Shubh exclusively serves vegetarian and vegan dishes with bold and authentic flavours, taking special pride in selecting fresh vegetables and produce from local Punjabi farmers. There is a focus on quality over quantity, but the menu still offers everything from starties to curries, biryanis to desserts. Some of the most popular dishes at Shubh include dosas, paneer tikka, chole bhature, and samosas. In recent times, a second store has opened in Onehunga which serves some meat dishes in addition to the popular array of vegetarian delights.

A close up of rice in a bowl on a table.

Mumbaiwala

252 Ponsonby Road, Auckland

Inspired by the food and activity in bustling, vibrant Mumbai, Mumbaiwala is a modern, all day eatery serving Indian food in a both casual yet elevated setting. The menu is broken up into sections - from the streets, from the tandoor and from the pot, and for the especially hungry, there is an Indian banquet option too. Mumbaiwala has expanded from Christchurch but is more contemporary than its traditional Cantabrian counterpart, with its spacious, open seating and regularly changing menu. Don’t miss the dahi puri - a popular chaat (street food) from Mumbai: crispy balls filled with mashed potatoes, chickpeas and spicy yoghurt - we assure you that one will not be enough!

Cassia

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90 Federal Street, Auckland CBD

When Cassia shifted up to Federal Street, it retained everything we used to love about it whilst still bringing us something new. The turquoise carpeted walls are impressively unforgettable and cosy and paired with the effortlessly friendly service, there is a pleasantly welcoming ambience. Leave the d to the chef with ‘The Journey through India’ menu option, otherwise order a la carte to choose your own favourites. The Goan lamb chops with the spiced cream cheese are a fan favourite, as is anything from the tandoor: we love the tandoori chicken served with lababdar and radish. Cassia is perfect for a date night, a corporate meal or a delicious meal out with friends - really, they’ve got you covered for all occasions!

Kol

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3 Ponsonby Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland

Pronounced ‘coal’ and inspired by the same word, the owners of Cassia bring Kol to Auckland’s dining scene to show that Indian food is about more than just curry. Good luck finding even just one curry, as the menu focuses primarily on food cooked over fire using a ‘chula’ - a traditional method of cooking using a mud or clay stove. While you might visit for the food, the drinks are also worth staying for. The photo-worthy Arils cocktail (vodka, pomegranate, cardamom and cucumber) features a theatrical smoke bubble made by the flavour blaster (another nod to the restaurant’s smokey flavours), the drink is equal parts fun and delicious. Housed in an iconic villa on Ponsonby Road, Kol is definitely a popular 5pm destination.

Sidart

283 Ponsonby Road, Auckland

Originally established by the owners of Cassia and Kol, Lesley Chandra has been successfully steering the ship that is Sidart since 2021. A somewhat sophisticated restaurant upstairs on Ponsonby Road, there is a real focus on Indian cuisine with a Fijian influence, paying homage to Lesly’s upbringing in both Fiji and New Zealand. Sidart seeks out local and seasonal produce native to both New Zealand and the wider Pacific region. Forget the a la carte, Sidart offers three different tasting options from their seasonal Series menu - depending on how hungry you are and how much you want to spend. As one of Auckland’s most reputable fine dining restaurants, Sidart is definitely somewhere you’ll want to take your time.

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