As our British love affair with the humble curry continues to flourish, Manchester is now home to an overwhelming selection of truly excellent restaurants from the Indian subcontinent – from slick high-end eateries to tiny backstreet cafes, and everything else in between.
Recent years has seen an influx of larger, more upmarket Indian restuarants into the city, including the arrival of the mighty Dishoom over on Bridge Street and Delhi House Cafe in the Corn Exchange. In stark contrast with these places, Manchester is still home to an abundance of indpendent, often family-run ‘Rice & Three’ curry houses – many of which are concentrated around the Northern Quarter and have been blasting out dishes for nearly four decades.
Whether it’s the classic Tikka Masala, or more unique offerings made using old family recipes, Sri Lankan delicacies or fish dishes from the backwaters of Karala – we are lucky to have such a wealth of choice here in Manchester. And so, here are our favourite places for you to grab a curry in the city and beyond…
Delhi House Café
A new addition to the city centre during that weird buffer period between lockdowns in 2020, Delhi House Café arrived with a bang and a glowing review from The Observer food critic Jay Rayner. The restaurant is the first UK venture for the Delhi-born owners, and they’ve managed to transport the burgeoning café and food scene over there seamlessly into the city. The menu features some truly unique and interesting dishes, alongside a fantastic cocktail menu – each one with a story to tell.
Delhi House Café, Unit 10, The Corn Exchange, Manchester M4 3TR
The Zouk menu focuses on authentic cuisine, with individual dishes to showcase their unique style rather than traditional customer favourites you’d expect to see on an Indian menu. There are options for traditional curries including Karahis, Handis, and Biryanis, as well as burgers, steaks and special roasts, where a party could choose to order a whole roast chicken or leg of lamb.
Zouk Tea Bar and Grill, Unit 5, The Quadrangle, Chester Street, Manchester, M1 5QS
A phenominal Indian street food and craft ale joint and a huge advocate for vegetarian and vegan cuisine in the city. Brave the sights of Piccadilly Gardens, or take a walk down to their new brewery restaurant on Oxford Street and you’ll be welcomed by a fantastic space with a varied menu of street food dishes and curries. They also have an unparrarelled selection of ales to pair with your meal, many of which they brew themselves, including some cracking sour beers which are perfect when paired with a bit of spice. If you’ve got some mates, you should get the ‘Combo for 6’ which includes every dish on the menu.
Bundobust, 59 Piccadilly, Manchester M1 1RG
An NQ gem, you could be forgiven for not noticing Yadgars as you walk past on your way to some of the trendier venues located nearby. This place has been open for years and there’s a clear reason for it – a reliance on top quality curries at a low price. The guy who runs this place is a bit of a character, and he has a certain set of rules for anyone that comes through the doors. First of all – don’t ask any questions, secondly – know what you want before approaching and thirdly – hold your bloody plate with 2 hands. You get these right – you’ll be tucking into easily some of the city’s best curries in no time.
Yadgar Cafe, 71 Thomas St, Manchester
0161 831 7753
Hitting the city towards the end of 2018, Dishoom have made a massive impact and continue to thrill us Mancunians with their Mumbai style breakfast offering and range of unique Indian dishes. Their Bacon Naan is a thing of legend and everyone should try it, as is their Chilli Chicken. Dishoom also invented a brand-new dish that is unique to their Manchester restaurant – the Nalli Nihari Biryani – a lamb shank encased in pastry with gravy and a chicken liver raita on the side. It’s obviously outstanding.
Dishoom, 32 Bridge St, Manchester M3 3BT
The Great Kathmandu
As is rather obvious with their name, The Great Katmandu is actually a Nepalese restaurant, one that’s been serving up spicy curries and momo’s for over 35 years now, and they’re still massively popular in Didsbury amongst locals. The restaurant was opened by Gopal Dangol in the mid-80s, a former chef in Katmandu who came over here in the 70s. The menu is extensive and features a whole host of authentic Nepalese specialities alongside some of the more popular Indian classics. Sitting in here with a big fluffy naan and a hot Lamb Khorsani it’s not hard to see why it’s lasted for so long, and won so many awards and accolades along the way.
The Great Kathmandu, 140 Burton Rd, West Didsbury, Manchester M20 1JQ
Mughli Charcoal Pit
If you’re heading into Rusholme for an Indian feast, then Mughli is definitely one to try. The restaurant has been open for almost 25 years, and manages to still retain a certain level of quality on a stretch of road which has seen a considerable downturn over the past few years. On one side of the menu is a variety of street food and snacks, designed for sharing, including Kati Rolls, Pau and Chaat, while on the second side of the menu, there’s curries and biryanis to choose from, as well as slow-cooked stews and grills from the charcoal pit.
Mughli, 30 Wilmslow Road, Curry Mile, Manchester, M14 5TQ
Lily’s Vegetarian Indian Restaurant
Apart from Ikea, I cannot think of any other reason to head to Ashton than to go to Lily’s Vegetarian Restaurant that offers home cooked Indian dishes without making you have to re-mortgage your house or sell a kidney. The food here is about as authentic as you can get this side of the Suez Canal with many specialities including dosas, chaats and those vibrant, lovely looking sweets that you’re too afraid to try as you walk past on the Curry Mile. They’ve also now got delis in Chorlton and Ancoats.
Lily’s Vegetarian Indian Restaurant, 75-83 Oldham Road, Ashton OL6 7DF
0161 339 4774
BrewChimp Indian Tapas
Newly re-opened down in Stretford, BrewChimp Indian Tapas (once known as the Social Club) is home to some of the city’s most unique South Indian offerings, alongside small dishes that are designed to be shared like tapas. There are some absolute crackers on the menu, but no visit would be complete without trying their stunning Vazhai Ilai Parotta (£10), a flaky paratha flatbread which is topped with a dry spicy chicken curry that’s smothered in a spicy chicken gravy and then wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked.
BrewChimp Indian Social Club, 164a Barton Road, Stretford, M32 8DP
Located, strangely, right in the middle of a retail park in Walken, don’t let that put you off from visiting The Purple Lounge – a world class Indian restaurant with some truly fantastic food. There’s an extensive range of classics alongside some more exotic signature and house specials – many of which you won’t find anywhere else. Top of the list should be their outstanding Rack of Lamb & Keema or Kamali Duck – a unique offering that comes with stir-fried duck laced with garlic, capsicum and aromatic spices. Their Tandoori Platter is also a must – a huge plate loaded with freshly marinated and charred meats.
Purple Lounge, Ellesmere Retail Park, Worsley, Walkden, M28 3UD
This & That
Legendary Northern Quarter curry house This & That every day offers punters a choice of a wide range of meat & veggie friendly curries to go with their lovely, fluffy rice. Expect plenty of lamb, beef, chicken, chick peas, lentils and potato getting thrown around to create some of the best curry in the city. It’s cheap as chips too, which is always a good thing now that pints cost around £6 and you struggle to get the bus for a week and still have change from a £20 note.
This & That, 3 Soap St, M4 1EW
Family-run since 1966, there’s very little doubt that Rajdoot is probably the city centre’s oldest Indian restaurant – and it’s still just as good as it was all those years ago – in fact, it’s better. Winners of countless awards over the last 50 years or so, you can’t go wrong with Rajdoot – one of the most authentic curry house experiences, it’s a class act and a Manchester treasure.
Rajdoot Tandoori, Carlton House, Albert Square, Manchester M2 5PE
Scene Indian Street Kitchen
There’s a lot more to Scene than just meat in spicy sauce, with a selection of street food style favourites, shishas and a heated terrace overlooking the river Irwell. Scene excel at their starters and sides with tandoori grills and delicately spiced chaats prepared in the open plan kitchen. With a selection of street food and smaller Indo-Chinese dishes to choose from, as well as a huge selection of curries and grills, there’s something on the menu for everyone. If you’re feeling adventurous – try their Phall, it’s not on the menu but it’s the hottest curry that money can buy.
Scene Indian Street Kitchen, 4a Leftbank, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3AN
Asha’s opened their doors on Peter Street a couple of years back, and it has to be said the place feels a lot different to your usual curry house. Not only does it look stunning, both upstairs and down, but the food here is very special – with many contemporary twists on traditional Indian classics. If you like the sound of enjoying dishes using some quality local meats you might not be used to, tasty cocktails and homemade chutneys all in ornately decorative setting, Asha’s might just be the one for you.
Asha’s, 47 Peter Street, Manchester
Indian Tiffin Rooms
When it first opened up in Cheadle, getting a table at Indian Tiffin Rooms was quite difficult – not only is it so small that it would struggle to seat a family of Borrowers, but it was also so good that everyone wanted to get involved and enjoy some top-class Indian street food dishes. Made to represent the many different cuisines throughout the country, you get dosas, curries, puris and even kebabs with about 90% of it either vegan or vegetarian. Luckily for everyone not living in or near Cheadle Village, they’ve opened up a newer, bigger restaurant on First Street, so you won’t have to get on the dreaded X57 to enjoy yourself.
Indian Tiffin Rooms, Chapel St, Cheadle SK8 1BR
also First Street, 4RL, 1 First St, Manchester M15.
We’ve all had Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi – but most of us haven’t ever really had the opportunity to explore the cuisine of Sri Lanka, apart from a select few who live in Stockport. Archchi’s is a dark kitchen concept that began in 2021 and will be heading to this year’s ample festivals, events and markets with family home-cooked recipes and dishes.
Specialising in Southern Indian dishes and specialities, Amma’s Canteen is undoubtedly somewhere for Chorlton to be proud of, and is a huge favourite amongst locals and visitors alike. The husband and wife team behind it, Ganga and Saju, have created a menu featuring a wealth of family recipes and traditional favourites, with dishes coming from mothers, aunties and cousins from across India, from Kerala to Chennai. Order something from their ‘Curry Pot’ – I highly recommend the unique Naadan Keralan Beef Curry, or the Kari Kulambu; slow-cooked lamb scented with smoked garlic and mint.
Amma’s Canteen, 285 Barlow Moor Rd, Manchester M21 7GH
There are two Kabana’s that you probably know about; the one in the Northern Quarter and its sister operation on Cheetham Hill Road. This place has been there for more than 30 years and is a bona fide curry institution – still serving up a hungry throng of punters day-in, day-out. The curries here are super tasty, packed full of flavour and made fresh every day using only the very best ingredients. It can get quite rowdy in here but that just adds to the experience. The Northern Quarter Kabana is excellent too by the way.
Kabana, 133 Cheetham Hill Rd, Cheetham Hill, Manchester M8 8LY
This Charming Naan
It doesn’t get much more Viral Content than The Smiths-inspired curries and Indian pie and mash now, does it?! The best thing is, the puns are on point and so are the curries. You can get the likes of ‘Last Night I Dreamt That Some Bhaji Loved Me’ and ‘Girlfriend in a Korma’ and they’re not just well-named – they’re absolutely banging! They’re currently operating out of Band on the Wall and the Rose & Monkey Hotel in the Northern Quarter, and have introduced a new menu of calzone and India-inspired tacos to entice you in.
Well-known throughout the suburbs as an excellent place for a proper decent curry, Chapati Café recently added MediaCity to it’s list of locations – bringing Rice n Three to the busy TV workers on the docks. Their cuisine is Gujurati-inspired, with a big focus on Thalis – a mixture of daily changing curries served on traditional Indian trays with accompanying rice and sides. Perfect.
496B Wilbraham Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9AS
Unit 4 The Garage, Blue, MediaCityUK, Salford M50 2TG
Potyo Coastal Indian
Specialising in ‘coastal’ Indian dishes, Potyo in Wilmslow serves up some wonderful curries from the Malabar region – the diverse southwestern shoreline which takes in a vast plateau from the high peaks of Kuttanad to the famous Keralan Backwaters and, of course – Goa. As you’d expect, there’s plenty of fish, such as their signature Meen Polichottu, roasted fish wrapped in a banana leaf with Konkan coastal masala, as well as the classic Goan Prawn Curry, Boatman Fish Curry, plus a diverse menu of Sharing Plates a la tapas.
Potyo, 9 Bank Square, Wilmslow SK9 1AN
If any time we’ve ever put anything up on Manchester’s Finest about curries there’s always one or two blokes who comment saying ‘Where’s Sanskruti!!?’ Well, here it is. So, stop asking. They certainly deserve to be here on this list though – offering up some of the best veggie and vegan curries and dishes in the city – and easily one of the most diverse menus out there.
Sanskruti, 93-95 Mauldeth Rd, Manchester M14 6SR
Located in one of the dirtiest alleyways in the city, Cafe Marhaba is a shining oasis on an otherwise forgettable end of Back Piccadilly, and the source of the pinnacle of Manchester’s ‘Rice & Three’ lunchtime curry options. Some people are staunch supporters of This & That, others adore Yadgars – but the Marhaba lot – and there’s certainly a lot of us – consider this place to be the very best. I’m extremely biassed in this debate – but you seriously cannot go wrong with the daily curries on offer in here – so if you’ve never been in – give them a go.
Cafe Marhaba, 36 Back Piccadilly, Manchester, M1 1HP
0161 228 7377
Roti Food & Liquor
An Indian – Scottish fusion?! That’s never going to work! WRONG! This Chorlton (and now Sale) restaurant welcomed our food writer Tim earlier this year and he was certainly impressed with their unusual offerings. Haggis Pakoras, Masala Spiced Scotch Eggs, Fish & Chips, Indian Chip Butties, Curried Pork Belly and loads more – this place is mad but it definitely works!
Roti Food & Liquor
559 Barlow Moor Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 8AN
24 Stanley Square, Sale M33 7ZE
Little Aladdin Vegan Cafe
Little Aladdin’s on High Street is a 100% fully vegan curry house, with a notoriously superior Daal, served alongside a daily changing menu of up to seven meat-free dishes. This place has been in the Northern Quarter since before the area became ‘the Northern Quarter’, when they’d feed the hungry workers of the warehouses and factories that lined the streets. Today, it’s still a prime spot for some lunch – and great value for money too.
Little Aladdin, 72 High St, Manchester M4 1ES
Tikka Chance on Me
A fantastic street food operation run by Michael Anderson, an Irish Mancunian who was working in Logistics until 2019 when he decided to jack it all in and pursue his lifelong dream of running his own food business. As a result – Tikka Chance On Me was born. Taking inspiration from the vast array of Indian ingredients and regional dishes that Michael has always loved, he’s come up with an impressive menu of treats, from traditional curries to dishes that are a little more unique. Alongside the UK’s national dish (Chicken Tikka Masala), you’ll also find a regularly changing menu of curries, from a hearty Lamb Kofta Curry, to a delicacy from Sri Lanka – Black Pork Curry which consists of a pork shoulder cooked with tamarind, coconut and black pepper.
Mowgli Street Food
The Mowgli journey began when Nisha Katona MBE launched a restaurant in Liverpool, followed by Manchester less than a year later. Now Mowgli has two sites in the city, one in the Corn Exchange and the other on University Green on Oxford Road. The food here is excellent, as are the curries – serving up the kind of food “that Indians eat at home… where if you want to know what it’s like to go round an Indian mate’s house and get something cooked by their mum – this is it!”
Mowgli Street Food, 16, Corn Exchange House, 37 Exchange St, Manchester M4 3TR
The name ‘Indique’ comes from a mix of the words ‘Indian’ and ‘Unique’ and this Didsbury favourite is certainly both. You’ll find a range of authentic classic dishes, plus some dishes that you’re unlikely to see elsewhere in the city including their Lau Mussallam, a marrow stuffed with potato, cashew nuts and cottage cheese, or the Lagan Ki Bathak, seared duck breast served in a spicy tomato and cashew sauce. The menu is packed full of surprising and highly authentic offerings from across India – and it’s a real pleasure to explore and taste something completely different from your usual curry offerings.
Indique, 110-112 Burton Rd, West Didsbury, Manchester M20 1LP
A huge Levenhulme favourite, Aunty Ji’s has recently introduced an Indian Brunch menu that includes a spicy Full English, Breakfast Thali and even Pancakes but with an Indian twist. Their curries are wonderful, too, with a small but considered selection of classics including a Paneer Tikka, Butter Chicken, Mattar Paneer and one of the best Tarka Daal’s you’ll ever taste.
Aunty Ji’s, 987 Stockport Rd, Manchester M19 2SY