Say goodbye to canned corn and cream-drenched curries. In the past few years, a host of new restaurants have begun offering regional Indian dishes geared towards Berlin’s growing South Asian population (and Europeans who don’t fear the chili), joining the brave few that have been doing so this whole time. From Mumbai to Kerala, Amritsar to Hyderabad, here are our favourite spots.
At Indique you can take a culinary journey across the vast country of India with their taster menus, which feature dishes from all across the country. You can also order a la carte of course, and we highly recommend trying a selection of their amazing chaat, including a delicious crispy golguppe.
- Indique, Ziegelstr. 29, Mitte, details.
For South Indian cuisine and a great drinks menu, the colourful Mr Chai-Wala in Charlottenburg delivers on all fronts. Their chefs have all been recruited from high-end restaurants across South India, and you can absolutely taste culinary mastery behind every dish.
- Mr Chai-Wala, Kantstr. 31, Charlottenburg, details.
A significant part of chef Bahadur’s menu overlaps with that of your average Berlin Indian restaurant, but here’s the thing: it’s better. Way better. Here, a ubiquitous dish like tandoori chicken becomes a revelation, tender and smoke-kissed from the hot clay oven. Similarly, the creamy lentil stew dal makhani transforms from a forgettable side dish to a star in its own right, thanks to a 12-hour cooking time that lends it a depth of flavour you won’t find elsewhere.
- Bahadur, Sigmaringer Str. 36, Wilmersdorf, details.
Gapshap in Wilmersdorf is a newly opened offshoot of Bahadur, now serving up bold North and South Indian food in a modern ambience. Street food, grilled kebabs, and dishes from all over the country await spice-curious eaters.
- Gapshap, Güntzelstraße 19, Wilmersdorf, details.
When in Moabit, make your way to this pint-sized spot for suitably spicy and very satisfying Punjabi-style vegan and vegetarian dishes. You could get full just off the selection of flatbreads, from the expected naan to potato parathas to the harder-to-find kulcha, puffy white bread stuffed with cauliflower, mixed vegetables or cheese. Anything from the tandoori oven, from paneer to a soymeat version of chicken tikka, is a must. If you simply can’t live without meat, Agni has a second, non-vegetarian location in Prenzlauer Berg.
- Agni, Kaiserin-Augusta-Allee 1, Moabit & Prenzlauer Allee 154, Prenzlauer Berg, details.
Only delivery is available from Tiffin, but if you live in the area you should make it your new go to for take out. The two owners, Sachin Obaid and Suleman Thakar, have been praised by food critics and Michelin star chefs alike. Your weekend take out just got a serious level up.
- Tiffin, Berliner Allee 15, Weißensee, details.
Groundbreaking when it opened in Prenzlauer Berg in 2014, Aparna Aurora’s South Indian-inflected restaurant now boasts a sister location in Neukölln as well as three branches in Portugal. It remains one of the best places in town to get a dosa – thin and crispy, tangy from three days of fermentation and filled with spiced potatoes, tandoori chicken or a chili-cheese mix. Don’t sleep on the curries, which you can sample a la carte or as part of a generous vegan, vegetarian, chicken, lamb or fish-centered thali plate. Wash it down with the all-time classic Nimboo Pani, a surprisingly refreshing lemonade punched up with Indian black salt.
- Chutnify, Sredzkistr. 43, Prenzlauer Berg & Pflügerstr. 25, Neukölln, details.
If the location in the five-star Adlon Hotel didn’t clue you in, this is the fanciest Indian food you can get in Berlin, elegantly presented on custom china in an immaculately designed dining room. It’s also some of the best. Chef Manish Bahukhandi makes no compromises in translating the food of Northern India to a European fine dining setting, using premium spices and organic meat in exemplary versions of butter chicken and mutton seekh kebab –plus tandoori broccoli and potato gunpowder salad for vegetarians.
- India Club, Behrenstr. 72, Mitte, details.
House of Tandoor
House of Tandoor is your place if you’re looking for authentic and punchy North Indian classics. We advise you that you stick to the tandoori dishes when ordering, as the other stuff on the menu is less consistent.
- House of Tandoor, Meinekestraße 18-19, Charlottenburg, details.
No Indian list would be complete without this Potsdamer Platz behemoth, a branch of the beloved vegetarian chain that’s hugely popular among South Asians living abroad. What’s all the fuss about? In a word, dosas. There are literally dozens of varieties of the crepe-like South Indian dish on offer here, each as crisp and perfectly engineered as a box of McDonald’s fries. Our favourite: the Ghee Roast Masala, so huge it’s impossible to photograph without standing on a chair. The idli, uttapam and vada – all made from various formulations of rice and lentils and served, like the dosas, with sambar and chutneys – are stellar as well.
- Saravanaa Bhavan, Potsdamer Platz 5, Tiergarten, details.
Opened mid-pandemic, Swadesh quickly became popular for its selection of South Indian street food classics (there’s a North Indian menu too, but it’s less reliable). The dosas are crisp and airy, nearly the size of your head and filled with creamy potatoes or paneer cheese. There’s also a particularly good version of sambar vada, donut-like lentil fritters served in a mildly spicy vegetable soup. Swadesh has two locations – one on Mercedes-Platz and a cosier, less tourist-packed restaurant in Schöneberg.
- Swadesh Mercedes Platz 4, Friedrichshain, & Maaßenstr. 5, Schöneberg details.
Think you know what to expect at a Berlin Indian restaurant that advertises itself as a “Cocktail Bar” first and an “Indisches Grillrestaurant” second? Think again. The signature dish at this Halensee hidden gem is the Hyderabadi biryani, a knockout mix of chicken or lamb, rice, saffron and spices slow-cooked in a sealed pot and served, along with raita and the nutty gravy mirchi ka salan, to nearly every guest. But the standard curries, made with dried chilies and whole spices instead of powders, deserve your attention too Make sure to tell your server that you can handle your chili, otherwise you’ll be served a sad and flavourless mess.
- Tandoori Nächte, Bornimer Str. 4, Charlottenburg, details.
You come to this South Asian supermarket for Indian goodies like spice mixes, frozen parathas and Alphonso mangoes. You stay for the crispy-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside potato samosas, fried in huge batches. You can even make a meal out of them if you order them as a chaat, i.e. coated in chutney, chickpeas and chopped onions, tomatoes and coriander. Add in a cup of fresh sugarcane juice and you’ll feel transported to Mumbai right there on Kottbusser Damm, or from their second location on Boxhagener Straße.
- Zora Supermarket, Kottbusser Damm 93, Kreuzberg & Boxhagener Str. 80, Friedrichshain, details.
Mrs Gagan Deep Kaur comes from Shimla, a small town in the mountains of north-eastern India, and her restaurant Khushi delivers a really homey vibe alongside its great curries.
- Khushi, Kollwitzstr. 37, Prenzlauer Berg, details.
With a pleasant terrace and good cocktails on offer, Niwana out in Steglitz is a popular local favourite. They’ve been there for over 20 years, serving up simple and fresh food.
- Nirwana, Schloßstr. 48a, Steglitz, details.