Rich curries, steaming samosas, and golden roti–Few cuisines in the world are more comforting, spiced-riddled, and crowd-pleasing than Indian cuisine. While some of us like to push our limits with a searing vindaloo, others will be happy with the familiar creamy embrace of a butter chicken. Regardless of what end of the scale you’re on, Indian food has so much to offer. The complexity of flavours and authenticity are now top of the list for any self-respecting Indian food seeker and traditional Indian dishes such as Dahi puri, masala chai, and dosas are becoming more and more commonplace. Aucklanders are now on the hunt for much more than just old-school Indian takeaway fare, and not all places are created equal. With the sheer number of Indian restaurants peppered throughout Auckland, making a good choice can be overwhelming. Lucky for you we’ve done the leg-work on this one and rounded up some of the best Indian eateries around town.
Satya Chai Lounge
Potentially one of the most unique Indian dining experiences in Auckland, Satya Chai Lounge transports you half-way across the globe as a condition of entry. Marked by a plain doorway, the Satya Chai lounge oozes mystery that is only enhanced by the soft fabric curtain that shuts out the street as you head in. Dimly lit with stools covered in burlap and rich tapestries adorning the walls, mood is one thing that Satya Chai Lounge does extremely well. With a menu more akin to Indian tapas, we recommend you round up your friends so you can taste as much of the goodness as possible. Another perk is their extensive craft beer menu, already mapped for you with best accompaniments. We recommend the Chicken 65 and Dahi puri, they’re unmissable.
Taking the traditional and making it sexy, 1947 Eatery is the brainchild of three first-generation migrants who wanted to bring old-style Indian recipes to the bellies of modern New Zealanders. Anything but outdated in its décor, 1947 Eatery has an effortlessly sleek industrial vibe with moody lighting, warm woods, and dark brick behind the bar. The fact it’s located on the notoriously cool Federal Street should be enough to tell you that they mean business. Whether you’re after snacks that you would pick up from a local vendor on the streets of Mumbai, a bespoke cocktail, or biryani fit for a King, 1947 Eatery has got you covered.
Headed by one of the most renowned chefs in Auckland, chef and owner Sid Sahrawat’s SidArt leaves ideas of Indian food as a cheap Friday night takeaway in the dust. Self-described as Indian fine-dining, Sidart marries traditional Indian flavours with modern fine-dining to create an unparalleled culinary experience. A carefully constructed menu that utilises local produce and regional wines, the cuisine at SidArt is uniquely Indian degustation so don’t expect to find a run-of-the-mill butter chicken here. However, what you get instead is something so unique, creative and fresh it’s unmatched If it’s your first visit, we recommend the seven-course discovery menu–You won’t be the same after!
iVillage at Victoria
Easy to underestimate on appearance, iVillage more than holds its own when it comes to traditional Indian flavours that pack a punch. More focused on a return to the rustic, iVillage describes itself as an ‘unpretentious’ and ‘unhurried’ traditional Indian fare and we’d have to agree. The rust coloured brick walls and simple cane furnishings are understated and welcoming with further tables outside for even more relaxed dining. Located in Victoria Park Market, iVillage is one that you’re unlikely to stumble across by chance but it’s well worth the visit. Often recognised for its aesthetic plating, cocktails, and hands-on approach from owner Ms Dimple, iVillage may just be the perfect spot for your next date night.
Paradise Indian Foods
Any Indian food connoisseur worth their salt (or rather; spice) has a special place in their heart for Paradise Indian Foods. A mainstay of Sandringham, Paradise is difficult to miss with its large chilli-adorned neon sign and queue around the block. Stretching the expanse of nearly three storefronts, Paradise offers not only a sit-down restaurant but also a buffet and bustling takeaway counter on either side. Almost criminally cheap, it’s no surprise that people come far and wide for their food. Paradise is also home to a specific sub-set of Indian cuisine that originates from the city of Hyderabad making the biryani here a must-try. Modest, genuine, and most importantly: Delicious. This little gem truly is a taste of Paradise.
Another entry from tour-de-force chef Sid Sahrawat, Cassia pays homage to the heritage of Indian cuisine while still keeping things elevated and fresh. Located off Fort Street Lane, Cassia is sleek and hidden. As you descend the stairs the first thing that takes your notice is the beautiful sea of orbital lights, sizzling open-kitchen, and low-ceilings that give Cassia a vivid and cosy ambience. While we definitely suggest trying one of their unique and wonderful cocktails, everything else at Cassia is up to you. Share-plates, degustation or set-menus–Cassia can do it all, and boy, do they do it well! Try the Goan lamb chops to experience Indian cuisine as you’ve never had before.