16 decadent Indian restaurants that are just as good in Australian summer

Tandoori chicken in a banana leaf bowl with two baskets of naan, a small metal bowl of green-coloured raita, and a bigger metal bowl of a white and green curry, served at an Indian Restaurant.

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. 

Choose your destination: 

Best Indian restaurants in New South Wales 

Masala Theory 

Best for: airy al fresco dining 

Spread of curry dishes, cocktails and bubbly at an Indian restaurant.
Image courtesy of Masala Theory via Facebook.

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 

Manjit’s Wharf 

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 

Mr. Brownie 

Best for: refreshing rooftop sundowners 

Image courtesy of Mr. Brownie via Facebook.

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 

Hot tip #1: Don’t skip the appetisers 
It might be tempting to dive straight into the curry section of the menu, but the appetiser section is usually filled with Indian street food snacks that make for delightful tapas-style bites if you’re looking for a lighter meal. Samosas, pakora, pani puri, and more provide flavourful explosions in just one or two bites for a quick afternoon snack. 

Best Indian restaurants in Queensland 

It’s Mirchi Healthy Indian 

Best for: a healthy alternative 

Image courtesy of It’s Mirchi Healthy Indian via its website.

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 

Taj Mahal 

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 

Image courtesy of Mother India Fremantle via its website.

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 

Image courtest of Jasmin via its website.

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 

Hot tip #2: Raita and sambals are your new BFFs 
Spice is an unavoidable facet of Indian food, as it’s layered with aromatic flavours that, if you’re not used to them, can feel overwhelming. Enter: raita and sambals – Indian side dishes that do a stellar job of minimising spice with cooling ingredients such as yoghurt, cucumber, tomato, and mint. You might even step outside of your comfort zone and try fruitier options such as banana and coconut – and soon you’ll find yourself adding sliced banana onto your homemade curries too. 

Best Indian restaurants in Tasmania 

Annapurna Indian Cuisine 

Best for: grabbing a bite in Salamanca Place 

Image courtesy of Annapurna Indian Cuisine via Facebook.

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 

Image courtesy of Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant via its website.

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

Hot tip #3: Use Ayurvedic principles to beat the heat 
Ayurvedic medicine dates back thousands of years and can be used to help you make decisions about what foods work best for your body in each season. In the summer, opt for cooling foods such as milk, yoghurt, ghee, tomato, lettuce, and eggplant to quench your inner fire. 

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 

Ariana Smit

Ariana is a writer based in Cape Town, with a focus on queer identity and sexual and reproductive health and rights. She's spent six years in feminist journalism, writing for publications such as The Tempest and Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women. She has also had prose and poetry published in South African journals such as Prufrock and Ja. Magazine, as well as being shortlisted for the National Poetry Prize in 2021. She's currently working on her debut novel.

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