Eating Indian food at the height of summer might feel like personally rebooting the Saw movie franchise, with the cuisine’s reputation for rich textures and sweat-inducing spice levels. But don’t forget that India is hot in more ways than one and the people there find more than enough respite in spicy summer dishes.
Indian cuisine has plenty of light and cooling dishes that’ll leave you refreshed after a day in the sun. Go for yoghurt- and coconut milk-based curries and sides and wash it all down with an icy mango lassi or kulfi. But if you can’t imagine not going for the hottest spice level, just make sure to pick restaurants that have airy al fresco dining areas so you can benefit from that coveted summer breeze.
We’ve rounded up our must-try Indian restaurants that are just as good in the summer across every state so you can indulge in vibrant flavours and aromas for the whole season – including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.
Our experts at Westpac Concierge can secure tables at even the busiest restaurants across the country – no matter what you’re in the mood for. We’ll provide recommendations for the best places to eat and help manage your reservation if you’re a Westpac cardholder and if you aren’t you can check your eligibility below.
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Best Indian restaurants in New South Wales
Best for: airy al fresco dining
Modern industrial furniture, pop art murals, and a persistent mouth-watering aroma – dining at Masala Theory will feel like eating at one of Mumbai’s hip and modern eateries. Shaded outdoor seating is a big draw here in the summer, where you can temper spicy dishes with a cool breeze. Pani puri enthusiasts will rejoice in the restaurant’s curry bombs – a standout interpretation of the crispy semolina puff ball loaded with flavourful curry that you eat in one bite.
📍 545 Crown St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Best for: Darling Harbour views
Escape the summer heat to Manjit’s Wharf, an elegant waterside eatery that’s been offering regional Indian cuisine since 1984, overlooking Darling Harbour. Each dish is a notable departure from family-style Indian restaurants, showcasing sophisticated presentation while staying true to beloved tastes and aromas. Grab a seat at sunset and ask for recommendations for how to pair the extensive wine menu with your chosen dishes.
📍10/49 Lime Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Best Indian restaurants in Victoria
Best for: refreshing rooftop sundowners
Mr. Brownie’s four-storey pub and curry house offers unconventional interpretations of regional Indian dishes in a laidback yet playful atmosphere. Comprising a speakeasy basement bar, beer garden, and rooftop terrace, you can spend an evening soaking up those warm Melbourne nights with sweeping views of the city skyline and the restaurant’s trademark inauthentic cuisine, including its signature Colonel Tso’s Cauliflower – a vegan alternative to the American classic.
📍 343 Clarendon Street, South Melbourne VIC 3205
Best for: heat-extinguishing cocktails
Helmed by Manpreet Sekhon, also known as the ‘Curry Queen’, Masti delivers traditional Indian street food with innovative modern flourishes. Its vegan roti, for example, makes for an uncompromising meal if you’re plant-based, while its Punjabi butter chicken offers a taste of home. If you’re worried about eating spicy food on hot days, the restaurant’s signature cocktail list will have you gulping down refreshing concoctions filled with cooling coconut, mango, and lime.
📍 354-356 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy VIC 3056
Best Indian restaurants in Queensland
It’s Mirchi Healthy Indian
Best for: a healthy alternative
Those in search of light yet hearty Indian cuisine will relish It’s Mirchi Healthy Indian’s colourful dishes that’ll add to your summer glow – including certified organic, gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, sugar free, dairy free, nut free, and low carb options. Grab one of their natural sodas and juices, which will help to kick any lingering heat and try to nab a cushion seat as eating Sukhasana (cross-legged) is purported to have several health benefits, including improved digestion.
📍 284 Given Terrace, Paddington, QLD 4064
Best for: milder North Indian cuisine
Looking for a milder alternative to South India’s spicy curries? Taj Mahal’s high-end North Indian cuisine delivers on flavour while pulling back on some hotter ingredients. Often frequented by India’s high profile cricket teams, the restaurant balances elegance with a laidback feel that everyone will feel comfortable taking a breather in. Just make sure to mop up their delectable curries with soft, buttery naan and chase it all down with a refreshing mango lassi.
📍 710 Brunswick Street, New Farm QLD 4005
Best Indian restaurants in Western Australia
Mother India Fremantle
Best for: group dinners
You’re going to have a rough go of it choosing just one dish from Mother India Fremantle’s extensive menu, which includes a mouth-watering vegetarian and vegan selection and sustainably sourced Aussie seafood. Take four people or more so you can indulge in the banquet option, which includes appetisers and curries from across the menu. Make sure to add yoghurt-based cucumber or tomato raita to your meal too so that you can cool down some of the spicier choices.
📍 23 Forrest Street, Fremantle WA 6160
Mela Indian Sweets and Eats
Best for: kid-friendly dishes
Introducing spice intolerant kids to Indian food can feel like an impossible feat, but family-oriented Mela Indian Sweets and Eats has a kid-approved menu including soothing mango chicken, butter chicken, and nuggets. While little ones munch on their hearty helpings, adults get to enjoy a sizeable menu of street food, dosas, and thalis. Leave enough room to sample the Indian desserts too, which are made with cooling milk.
📍 428 William St, Perth WA 6000
Best Indian restaurants in South Australia
Jasmin Indian Restaurant
Best for: traditional, family recipes
An Adelaide staple since 1980, Jasmin Indian Restaurant’s North Indian cuisine is beloved by locals, even catching the attention of Marco Pierre White who said he’d had ‘the best Indian meal in my life.’ All the spices are ground by hand and curries are made fresh every morning, so you can expect full-bodied flavour. The eatery’s blue cheese naan is a must-try daring entrée best enjoyed with your first drinks.
📍 31 Hindmarsh Square, Rundle Mall, Adelaide SA 5000
Raj on Taj Hyde Park
Best for: shaded al fresco dining
If shaded outdoor seating with cooling fans sounds like a blissful summer lunch venue, then look no further than Raj on Taj Hyde Park, which has an extensive menu of Indian favourites. Vegan and vegetarian options are available, but if you’re keen on meat you must try the tandoori mixed platter to experience the best of the tandoor. Its happy hour cocktails and $5 (AUD) beer with any entrée will help kick any spiciness too.
📍 109 King William Road, Unley SA 5061
Best Indian restaurants in Tasmania
Annapurna Indian Cuisine
Best for: grabbing a bite in Salamanca Place
Tassie is home to three Annapurna establishments, but we recommend its Salamanca Place outpost for its proximity to Hobart’s top attractions. In between shopping at the weekend market or exploring the Salamanca Arts Centre, you can dip into Annapurna Salamanca Indian Restaurant for traditional Indian dishes crafted with stone ground spices and herbs. On especially blistering days you’ll find the mango chicken a soothing and satisfying choice.
📍 93 Salamanca Place, Hobart TAS 7000
Maharaja Indian Restaurant
Best for: catching a cool breeze
Maharaja Indian Restaurant will tweak spice levels to your tastebuds without compromising on its vibrant flavours – and you’ll get to savour it while enjoying the breeze in the al fresco dining area. For groups of four or more the banquet menu has vegan or vegetarian, meat, and seafood options that you must round off with some mango kulfi – a refreshing, milky Indian ice cream.
📍 81A Bathurst Street, Hobart, TAS 7000
Best Indian restaurants in Australian Capital Territory
Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant
Best for: home-style dishes
Highly rated among The Bush capital locals, the Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant is a cosy eatery in central Canberra, which serves homely Indian favourites at inexpensive prices. The low-lit interior might be the refuge you need from the summer sun while you indulge in a tandoori and paratha dinner and the beer and wine menus have an extensive selection of crowd-pleasing options from across the country.
Melbourne Building, 39 Northbourne Ave, Canberra ACT 2601
Rama’s Fiji Indian Restaurant
Best for: tropical flourishes
Located in the quiet neighbourhood of Pearce in Canberra, Rama’s Fiji Indian Restaurant serves fijian-style Indian food that takes a more tropical approach to beloved Indian favourites – with gluten-free and vegan options available too. The eatery also has airy outdoor seating that you can relax in with a mango lassi or iced coconut juice and – to cut the heat even more – make sure to add the banana coconut sambals to give your curry a sweet, cooling taste.
📍 Pearce Shopping Centre, Hodgson Crescent, Pearce ACT 2607
Best Indian restaurants in Northern Territory
Best for: sustainable Aussie ingredients
Saffrron takes pride in Darwin’s local produce, crafting fresh and healthy Indian meals with locally sourced ingredients, especially from the Top End’s thriving seafood industry such as Humpty Doo’s award-winning, sustainably farmed saltwater barramundi. Blending native ingredients with his Tamil Nadu heritage, Chef Selvam Kandasamy serves up refreshing, eye-catching dishes that’ll nourish you throughout the season.
📍 1/55 Alawa Crescent, Alawa NT 0810
Exotic North Indian Cuisine
Best for: soaking up the ocean breeze
Chase butterfly shrimp and pakora with a glass of fizz while overlooking the Cullen Bay Marina and relishing the cool ocean breeze at Exotic North Indian Cuisine in Larrakeyah. Drawing on the gastronomic heritage of Punjab, this restaurant delivers a range of traditional North Indian dishes with vegan and vegetarian options that are all adjustable to your preferred heat level. Try to catch the sunset on lively Cullen Beach beforehand.
📍Cullen Bay, 2/52 Marina Blvd, Larrakeyah NT 0820