Our Pick of the Best Indian Restaurants in Christchurch

A man's hand serving himself at an Indian restaurant.

Who doesn’t love a good curry with perfectly cooked rice and soft Naan bread? Add to that a side of raita, some onion bhajis, plus a mango lassi or perhaps a nice cold beer, and let the feast begin!

Words by: Petra Nyman 

Photos by: Anna Briggs, Johnny Gibson and Naomi Haussmann

Looking for the best Indian restaurants in Christchurch? Look no further ...

We’ve all got our favourite go-to curry, and it can be a big ask to step outside our comfort zones when it comes to ordering that take-out from the down-the-road Indian. We’re creatures of habit, and Indian food is often a comfort food, something to warm up a dreary wet day or an easy sharing staple amongst friends and family. 

Yet, Indian food is far more complex than what we in Western countries often think, and let’s face it: the country is huge with a vast variety in climate, culture, religion and ethnicity, so the culinary variation is bound to be just as broad. Thousands of years of history make up the traditions related to cooking and food consumption of the subcontinent, and dishes we may even think of as fast-food, are often, in reality, rather labour intensive to prepare.

So, here’s to celebrating the intricacies of Indian cuisine! While there’s nothing wrong with the local joint that knows your order by heart, sometimes it’s good to shake things up and try something a little different. 

We’ve gathered up a number of Indian restaurants in unexpected corners around Christchurch that showcase the real deal. As soon as you step inside these establishments, you’ll be greeted with intoxicating aromas that affirm you’ve arrived at the right place.

Bawarchi

231 Papanui Road, Merivale

Specialising in authentic Hyderabadi Mughlai cuisine from Southern India, Bawarchi is most famous for its Biryani – a rice dish infused with a variety of spices and meat of your choice. Vegetarian options are aplenty too. The Mughlai cuisine dates back a good 500 years and was influenced by Persian and Turkish cultures; hence you’ll find items such as kebabs and tandoori chicken among Bawarachi’s offerings. A monthly dinner buffet offers an all-you-can-eat option here – a great way to sample a variety of the restaurant’s offerings.

Indian Pearl

352 Colombo Street, Sydenham

This family operated Sydenham restaurant is well known for its authentic dishes and delicious Naan bread freshly baked in its charcoal oven. The specialities are from the Northern region of India, with curries and tandoori dishes the stars of the show. The casual dining at this cosy restaurant is popular amongst families and groups of friends. The service is pleasant and knowledgeable, and there is an option to bring your own BYO bottle to make things a tad easier on the purse. Take-away at Indian Pearl is also popular, and if you don’t have time to sit down for a meal, there’s always that option of grabbing a bite on-the-go.

Maharaja Indian Restaurant

452 Papanui Road, Papanui

Located on Papanui Road within a beautifully converted villa, Maharaja specialises in Northern Indian dishes that are colourful and rich in flavour. Open for lunch and dinner, you can expect a contemporary dining experience with a fine dining feel and excellent service. The chef at Maharaja has been at his craft for over 30 years, which shows in the quality of each dish. Various dietary needs have been thought of too, and the majority of the dishes are gluten free – they have even created a gluten free bread made fresh to order.

Mumbaiwala

120 Hereford Street, Christchurch Central

It’s all about authentic street food-style dishes at Mumbaiwala. This vibrant restaurant brings the food and culture of Mumbai to the people of Christchurch, with a fresh menu and a step away from the usual curry and naan, though they have that too if it’s what you’re after. Try sev puri (Indian style nachos), squid bhajee or dabeli (Indian style sliders) and enjoy flavoursome, interesting dishes you won’t find at many other local restaurants. Dishes at Mumbaiwala are encouraged to be shared, just like they would be on the streets of Mumbai. Bring your best foodie friends and indulge in a night of new culinary acquaintances.

Pepper Bridge

9/300 Lincoln Road, Addington

Pepper Bridge in Addington offers a variety of dishes from Northern and Southern Indian cuisines. Each dish prepared here has been created with freshly mixed spices, a task that is done daily to guarantee an indulgent experience for the customer. The blending and preparation of spices is an age old form of art that is not taken lightly at Pepper Bridge. There is a vast variety of spice levels to choose from, as well as a number of meat and vegetarian options. Each dish is beautifully presented and sure to taste as good as it looks.  

Spice Hub

66 Port Hills Road, Heathcote

Solely a take-away restaurant, Spice Hub has become a bit of a shared secret amongst the hillside dwellers of Christchurch. Wedged in between a dairy and a cafe in Heathcote, Spice Hub might not wow at first sight, but trust us, it will once you’ve tasted its offerings. The ingredients used are fresh and plentiful, and the spices are the finest available. The chef behind the scenes specialises in contemporary cooking techniques paired with progressive Indian flavours. This may just be the only restaurant in town offering an Indian take on the classic Kiwi fish n’ chips.

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