Indian Restaurants in Covent Garden
1. Cinnamon Bazaar Indian restaurant in 28 Maiden Lane - WC2E
The “gorgeous food, with amazing flavours and presentation” at this Covent Garden café matches the high standards Vivek Singh sets at his grander Cinnamon restaurants, some of the best-known Indian kitchens in London. It’s a useful destination pre-theatre.
2. Sagar Indian restaurant in Covent Garden 31 Catherine St - WC2
“Very tasty dosas” headline the “wide range of delicious, South Indian vegetarian dishes”, “with many unusual choices” at this “unassuming-looking” small chain, whose most central branch is just off Leicester Square. “The food is good enough even to silence grumbling carnivores like me!”
3. Dishoom Indian restaurant in Chinatown 12 Upper St Martins Ln - WC2
“I have yet to find the person who does not absolutely love Dishoom!” – Shamil and Kavi Thakrar’s “must-visit chain” remains our poll’s most-commented-on group, on the strength of its “exceptional” homage to the Irani cafés of Bombay. “A sense of nostalgia for a vanished India and quirky colonial notices add to the fun” of its “cool”, “evocative” branches, where “outstanding staff, even when very busy” (which is to say always) preside over “borderline hectic” conditions with great verve and efficiency. The “slightly different Indian food” (“with spice rather than heat”) is “far better than it has any right to be” given the volumes it’s served in… “superb”… “so consistent” and “extremely fairly priced” too. The “left field” breakfast menu is famous nowadays, and “awesome bacon and egg naan rolls” have “redefined what brekkie is all about” for many Londoners. Founded in 2010, they will hit six branches in London in 2022, with a big (355 covers) new Canary Wharf outlet, complete with a bar and terrace overlooking the docks. On the downside, bookings at all the outlets are restricted and “queues are half way down the street”. “It’s worth it though!!”. Top Menu Tips – “Finally got to try the black dal… a big hug in a bowl” that’s “to die for” and “Ruby Murray is a family favourite”. And, with their burgeoning delivery business, “the fact you can now order the Bacon Naan for home consumption is a wonderful, wonderful thing”.
4. Curry House Coco Ichibanya Japanese restaurant in Westminster 17 Great Newport Street - WC2H
2021 Review: Near Leicester Square tube and need a quick bite? – maybe grab a meal at this simple two-year-old: the first London outpost of Japan’s largest (1,000-strong) chain specialising in kare raisu dishes – curry and rice: over 40 different rice toppings are available, including hamburgers, scrambled eggs and fried oysters.
5. Punjab Indian restaurant in Covent Garden 80 Neal St - WC2
This veteran curry house to the north of Covent Garden has survived for 76 years by providing “fine-value and well-above-average cooking”. Founded in 1946 and claiming to be the first north Indian restaurant in London, it is now owned and operated by the fourth generation of the same family and still sticks close to its gastronomic roots (“ate with a friend whose family come from the Punjab and he said the food was thoroughly authentic”). In recent years, “real effort has gone into the wine list, but the best wine to drink with curry remains…beer”.
6. Tandoor Chop House Indian restaurant in Covent Garden 8 Adelaide Street - WC2
“Buzzy” Anglo-Indian hybrid in a “perfect central location” just off Trafalgar Square that serves “tapas-sized selections of delicious Indian food to share”; there’s “not a huge choice”, but there are “plenty of vegetarian options”. An offshoot in Notting Hill is no longer in operation.
7. India Club, Strand Continental Hotel Indian restaurant in Covent Garden 143 Strand - WC2
“Good scruffy fun with a side order of nostalgia” is to be had at this “hidden gem” in the Strand (a favourite with staff at the Indian High Commission opposite). “An almost anonymous doorway leads you up some stairs” where you “step back in time, not to a cheesy incarnation of the British Raj, but to the early days of independence”. Founded in 1951 (Prime Minister Nehru was among the founding members), the ‘club’ is open to the public and serves food that can be (but is not invariably) “excellent” at a “great price”, in an authentically “slightly chaotic atmosphere”. It’s been under siege for the past five years from a landlord itching to redevelop, but it’s “an institution that deserves to survive, and an oasis of good value in central London”. Top Tip – it’s unlicensed – “pause for a drink in the bar downstairs before or after eating” or carry your pint to the table.
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