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Edinburgh's Best Hot and Spicy Indian Food: Make Your Taste Buds Tingle



You simply cannot beat a good curry and Scotland has a love affair with Indian food that dates back to colonial times. Over the years a number of British favorites have become staples of most Indian restaurant menus but there are also places serving authentic regional Indian dishes. Some of the best Indian food in Edinburgh represents a clever and innovative blend of the finest local produce with Indian cooking techniques and spices.

There are a lot of Indian restaurants in Edinburgh to choose from so whether you want to dine out or have a meal delivered you are well covered. The trick is to find the restaurants with talented chefs, the establishments with great atmospheres and service standards, the dishes that bring your taste buds to life and linger in your memory long after the meal is done. That’s what this list is for.

We have a great line up of traditional Indian restaurants where you’ll find a good Korma or Tandoori but each restaurant has its own specialties for the more adventurous among you. Mother India is considered by some to be the best Indian restaurant in Edinburgh, although others would give the plaudits to Dishoom. You’ll find great vegetarian options at Kalpna.

Indian cuisine is among the most creative and interesting on the planet and you’ll find top examples of the craft at all of these Edinburgh restaurants. Get ready to savor some special, spicy delights.


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Tanjore


Tanjore is relatively new to the Edinburgh dining scene but has quickly built up a reputation for serving delicious South Indian cuisine at remarkably reasonable prices. The menu is packed with tempting dishes, most of which you will not find in any other Edinburgh curry house. They have a particularly extensive vegetarian selection (the owner and chef is himself a vegetarian) and most of these dishes are suitable for vegans. Tanjore also serves rather more interesting puddings that those offered by other Indian restaurants. In particular, the carrot halwa is deliciously light and fragrant. The dining area is pleasantly uncluttered and the service immaculate.

Recommended for Indian because: A great menu with specialties from Southern India makes Tanjore very popular with local curry lovers.

Simon's expert tip: Don't miss a chance to try their Dosas - crisp and light savory pancakes stuffed with meat or vegetables and a selection of chutneys.

Read more about Tanjore →


Britannia Spice
Photo courtesy of Simon Hill


This popular Edinburgh restaurant is located near Ocean Terminal where you'll find the Royal Yacht Britannia. It has deservedly won a number of awards over the years and it serves a blend of Indian, Bangladeshi, Nepali and Thai dishes. The nautical decor makes for an interesting backdrop to the excellent food. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming and the service is very attentive without spilling over into intrusive. It is a great place for a relaxing meal and caters for groups or families as well. If you are unsure what to get just ask the knowledgeable staff for advice. The food here is consistently excellent.

Recommended for Indian because: Great food and excellent service are guaranteed at Britannia Spice.

Simon's expert tip: There are special menus available for special occasions including a festive set menu for the Christmas period.

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Tuk Tuk

Tuk Tuk Indian Street Food is a welcome new addition to Edinburgh which brings with it an exuberant love of Indian street food and a kitschy sense of humor. The decor is bright and vibrant with retro Bollywood posters, garishly colored chairs, and huge tangerine letters (T.U.K) suspended in the three large windows. The food is similarly exuberant with a selection of tapas-style dishes to choose from, some mildly and delicately spiced, others fiery and rich. They also do a great lamb curry and two western offerings (t-bone steak and a mixed grill) for those not in the mood for mix and match dishes.

Recommended for Indian because: Tuk Tuk is worth seeking out for its tasty tapas style Indian cuisine and its deliciously kitsch sense of humor.

Simon's expert tip: Monday at Tuk Tuk is Matka Monday, which means at the end of your meal you can roll a dice â€" and if you roll a six then it's free.

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Navadhanya


Navadhanya offers a refreshing twist on traditional Indian dining. The interior is chic but relaxed and the service impeccable. They have an extensive menu featuring the classic dishes as well as a number of more inventive options. The cuisine reflects both north and south Indian traditions, highly influenced by fine dining sensibilities. There is a business lunch of two or three courses which offers extremely good value and a tasting menu featuring seven courses with some genuinely novel dishes. You can also take a "wine flight" with drinks matched to the dishes. The dessert platter, with four miniature dishes, is delightful.

Recommended for Indian because: Navadhanya serves great Indian food with a modern fine dining demeanor

Simon's expert tip: There is a party menu for groups of eight or more, but it has to be booked in advance

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Vinyasa


A relative newcomer to the Edinburgh restaurant scene, Vinyasa has already made quite a name for itself. Vinyasa specializes in Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine. The lunchtime menu features a much-reduced selection of curries and starters, so for the best experience, you are advised to visit in the evening when you will be treated to a wide selection of curries, tandooris and biryanis. All of the traditional favorites make an appearance on the menu, alongside a few unfamiliar treats and there is plenty to keep meat eaters, fish lovers and vegetarians happy. The décor is stylish and sophisticated with minimalist, but comfortable white chairs and crisp white napkins contrasting with the large illuminated panels on the walls and the vibrant blocks of colored glass which form the backdrop to the bar.

Recommended for Indian because: Vinyasa has quickly earned a reputation for serving delicious Indian cuisine.

Simon's expert tip: Monday Curry Club is a great chance to sample authentic home cooking at a very reasonable price.

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This family-run Indian and Bangladeshi restaurant offers a range of authentic curries in a fun, friendly atmosphere. The menu is large and offers a blend of familiar Indian dishes, Scottish favorites and some unique specialties. This restaurant is also home to the Kismot Killer, a curry so hot that you get it for free if you can manage to eat the whole thing! Don't worry though, there are plenty of mild options on the menu too and the staff will be happy to help you choose an appropriate dish for your tastes. The prices are very reasonable and this is a BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) restaurant with no corkage fee.

Recommended for Indian because: Delicious curries and a warm welcome are guaranteed at Kismot.

Simon's expert tip: If you intend to take the challenge of the Kismot Killer curry then make sure you order it in advance because the chilies have to be specially imported.

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Opened over 25 years ago, the family-run Kalpna is one of Edinburgh's most established vegetarian restaurants. This Indian favorite may not be that much to look at, but you'll be treated to some of the best Indian cooking in the region. One of a few restaurants offering authentic Gujarati dishes along with more familiar Punjabi and South Indian styles, Kalpna also has a popular all-you-can-eat buffet during lunch. Kalpna caters for vegans and, although it is a vegetarian restaurant, meat-eaters should not be put off - there are plenty of unusual dishes to satisfy anyone. It is friendly and very reasonably priced.

Recommended for Indian because: Kalpna has been treating customers to high quality vegetarian and vegan dishes for nearly three decades.

Simon's expert tip: Do not miss the lunchtime buffet for a great chance to sample a wide range of dishes for a very reasonable price.

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Mintleaf is an opulent Indian and Thai restaurant located in Bernard Street, close to the bottom of Leith Walk. It can be risky to try to specialize in more than one cuisine, but Mintleaf has an abundance of highly qualified chefs who ensure that neither end of the kitchen lets the side down. The interior is sumptuously decorated with plush, blood red fabrics and highly polished dark wooden tables illuminated by softly flickering candlelight to create and a romantic and intimate atmosphere. The menu is extensive featuring many of the archetypal dishes from each cuisine as well as a few more original offerings. There is more than enough to please even the pickiest diner here.

Recommended for Indian because: Mintleaf offers up delicious Indian and Thai cuisine in a beautiful listed building

Simon's expert tip: The two private dining rooms are the perfect place to enjoy a feast with friends

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The idea here is to share your food and experience something new. Mother India's Cafe offers a twist on the tapas style so each person orders a few dishes and everyone tucks in. The dishes are a bit bigger than traditional tapas so you won't want to go overboard ordering too many but this is a great way to enjoy Punjabi Indian food and taste different dishes. It's especially fun if you are dining in a group. The service is very good, the atmosphere is welcoming and the prices are reasonable. Mother India has four establishments in Glasgow and their Edinburgh offshoot is also proving to be a big hit with locals and visitors.

Recommended for Indian because: Great tapas style dishes and sharing platters make Mother India a great place to enjoy Indian food with friends.

Simon's expert tip: Service is generally fast so this is a great choice if you want to grab a tasty Indian meal in a hurry.

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Dishoom


Dishoom is a vibrant Indian restaurant in the heart of Edinburgh which takes its inspiration from the Irani cafes of Bombay. The Edinburgh outpost is one of a family of six, all of the other establishments being based in London. All have a faux vintage charm but are themselves unique. The menu is more adventurous than the standard Indian fare in the capital. They offer a fresh take on the classics, such as their update of Bombay potatoes to Gunpowder Potatoes, and their signature Black Dhal is wonderful. They also offer some genuinely novel dishes. Breakfast buns composed of nan bread rolls are a delightful discovery, and their Jackfruit Biryani is a triumph. Add to this a great selection of cocktails (and mocktails) and you are in for a real treat.

Recommended for Indian because: Dishoom excel at providing delicious Indian food in a charming, laid back environment.

Simon's expert tip: Arrive early so you can enjoy a tipple in their basement drinking den, the Permit Room

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Meet Simon Hill

Simon has lived in various corners of Edinburgh over the last 18 years. He fell in love with the city as a small child after visiting the castle and returned to study Scottish History.

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