Curry Capital: The Best Indian Eats in Wellington

Indian food being scooped onto a plate.

Whether it’s a red-hot vindaloo or a soul-warming biryani you’re after, you’re never far from a fantastic Indian feed in Wellington.

Word by: John Son 

Photos by: Anna Briggs & Ashleigh Vermaak 

Is there a cuisine more universally loved than Indian? Not many, if any. The rich flavours and intricate interplay of spices aside, what makes Indian food so popular is its sheer range: from spicy curries that will leave you gasping to the smoky deliciousness of tandoori and the fried goodness of a bhaji or samosa, there’s something to hit every corner of your palate.

And if you’re in Wellington, you can sample it all, thanks to the impressive array of Indian restaurants the capital boasts. With each spot carrying its own unique character and twist on the classics, here are some of the best Indian restaurants in Wellington.

Indian Alley

Restaurants key icon.

3/290 Wakefield Street, Te Aro, Wellington

One of the newer entrants to the Indian dining scene in Wellington, Indian Alley has established itself as a firm favourite with remarkable speed. This is largely thanks to its trifecta of a convenient location, efficient service, and a menu of seriously delicious curries, including a selection of signature dishes that are well worth a look. The parda biryani here is a must-try, featuring a biryani cooked under a layer of dough to seal in the flavours.

Kera-la-carte

3/25 Courtenay Place, Te Aro

A small eatery tucked away in one of the busiest spots in town, most diners discover Kera-la-carte via word of mouth rather than stumbling upon it. And that’s just as well: this hidden gem continues to fly relatively under the radar, well-patronised by those in the know and the lucky companions they bring. Kera-la-carte specialises in South Indian cuisine, offering something new to even the most ardent curry lovers - try the Chettinad dishes, comprising a range of meats cooked in a dry roasted coconut masala.

Biryani being served at a table.

Hyderabadi House

219 Waiwhetu Road, Fairfield

Ask Wellington’s Indian community where to get the best biryani, and you’re likely to hear a near-unanimous answer: Hyderabadi House. The small takeaway shop on a suburban Lower Hutt street isn’t the easiest to get to, but the drive is so worth it - especially when their famous biryani is so cheap ($10 on Thursdays, and not much more the rest of the week). Throw in a couple of Kerala parotta (South Indian flatbread) to nibble on on the way home.

Photo: Stock by Naomi Haussmann

Great India

141 Manners Street, Te Aro

An imposing presence at the heart of Courtenay Place, Great India is an unrivalled stalwart in Wellington’s Indian restaurant community, having been around for 40 years and counting. The secret to its longevity is its foolproof formula: classic curries cooked to perfection and served with a smile. With your Indian favourites delivered in generous portions, it’s a versatile choice for a dinner to suit any occasion.

Indian food on plates in a dimly lit restaurant.

Taste of India

19 Cambridge Terrace, Te Aro

Not quite feeling like a fancy, sit-down Indian dinner at a restaurant? Not to worry, as Wellington has something for all occasions and budgets, and Taste of India is one of the most popular holes-in-the-wall in town, Indian or otherwise. The butter chicken here comes highly recommended, but whatever you order, you’re guaranteed a no-fuss, no-frills and highly satisfying meal. 

Stock image by Nancy Zhou

Bikaner

1/313 Jackson Street, Petone

Whether you’re a vegetarian or not, Bikaner is a must-visit on any trip to Petone. The menu is 100% vegetarian-friendly, but there’s a staggering array of unique dishes you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in Wellington. The chaat (street food-style snacks) range alone is comprehensive, and don’t forget to explore the Indo-Chinese dishes as well. Finish your meal with a selection of Indian sweets and desserts from the counter.

Curry in bowls on a table.

Maharajas

87-89 Cuba Street, Petone

Another Indian institution that’s been around for yonks, Maharajas, first opened its doors in the early nineties and is still going strong. The menu is as big as the spacious 150-seater restaurant, and while the food here caters to all palates, it’s definitely the place to go for an authentically ‘Indian-hot’ curry.

Chaat Street

171 Willis Street, Te Aro

A more contemporary take on chaat culture, Chaat Street is a fresh, funky eatery that’s well-suited for group dining. The small, tapas-style dishes are perfect for sharing - your only dilemma will be agreeing on which dishes to go for. Each plate of morsels serves up an intriguing mix of flavours and sensations, whether it’s the refreshingly cool gol gappa or the rich, creamy chole bhature.

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