As is the case with most distinct types of cuisine, Indian food tends to be best in its native country. Whether you’re stopping in at an established restaurant or being treated to a home-cooked meal built from a delicious recipe, it’s going to be delicious. However, Indian food is a very popular export as well. The depth of flavors and spices make it a very interesting option for ambitious chefs all over the world (not to mention Indian chefs who move abroad), and as a result terrific Indian cuisine has popped up in cities around the globe.
In case this is of any interest to those of you who are generally enthusiastic about Indian food, we wanted to take a brief look at some of the international cities that have developed the best reputations for it.
New York, United States
We may as well begin with what is arguably the world’s greatest food city. New York City is simply so large and multicultural that it has inevitably gained a reputation for showcasing extraordinarily authentic cuisine from all over the world. In some cases, people even find that certain establishments in New York are as good or better than restaurants in native countries! At times on this list I will seek to provide some context for particularly interesting restaurants and locations, but in New York there’s great Indian all around the sprawling city. You can find cheaper options, expensive sit-down restaurants, and even excellent delivery options. I’m partial to Vatan – a fixed price, all-you-can-eat vegetarian venue in Manhattan – but Grub Street has done us the favor of listing the absolute best Indian restaurants in New York.
If one city tops New York, it’s probably London. In fact, it’s not uncommon to hear people say that London has the very best Indian food in the world – including India! The city is fairly multicultural, but Indians make up one of its largest minorities, so it’s no wonder Indian cuisine has blossomed there. One fun detail of London’s Indian food scene is that several of the better restaurants happen to be near major attractions or fun things to do. For instance, a well-regarded Southwest Indian place called Quilon is just a few streets over from Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament (two of the city’s top landmarks); Dishoom, another popular place, is in the middle of a full-fledged entertainment complex. There you can find the legendary London casino the Hippodrome, which has been around since 1900, as well as the city’s Royal Opera House.
Kampala may be the most surprising city on this list, but the Ugandan capital is known for having a lot of Indian dining options, and some very good ones at that. The Indian population in town is fairly significant, so while Kampala isn’t as large as London or New York, there was a similar inevitable quality to its development of fine Indian food. You can also find a nice assortment of different atmospheres diving into the Indian scene in Kampala. Khazana, a restaurant considered to be the best in the city (and potentially in this entire region of the world), features atmospheric Rajasthani-inspired décor. Meanwhile Nawab, a more casual (but still excellent) establishment, sits atop the main mall in town with an open-air design that makes it a fun vantage point from which to look out over the city.
This list would be incomplete without Singapore, which is right up there with the other cities mentioned above when it comes to having a reputation for terrific Indian food. You might almost be surprised by the sheer number of Indian places in a relatively small area of Singapore, but as with London some of the most respected and well-reviewed restaurants are right in the middle of popular attractions. Shahi Maharani, an elegant North Indian restaurant, is right at the end of Clarke Quay, one of the city’s vibrant nightlife hotspots. And Maharaja Boat Quay, a more casual place for beer and dining, is located right on Marina Bay – perhaps the most popular and beautiful place in Singapore.