Indian Food – Which Restaurants are in Cape Town’s Premier League

“Our cricket loving Event Coordinator Kate Rawbone recently spent three weeks in India following the IPL cricket tournament and came back raving about real Indian food.”

“Our cricket loving Event Coordinator Kate Rawbone recently spent three weeks in India following the IPL cricket tournament and came back raving about real Indian food.”

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Our cricket loving Event Coordinator Kate Rawbone recently spent three weeks in India following the IPL cricket tournament and came back raving about real Indian food. That caused a great deal of heated debate amongst the team in the Travel Concepts office on which was the best Indian restaurant on our doorstep. So if you are coming to Cape Town and fancy a spot of the spicy stuff, read on to see our individual favourites.


Opinionated as ever our MD Richard Holt reckons that you get better food in any ten Indian restaurants in most UK cities than is on offer in Cape Town. However recently he had to literally eat his words after visiting the new Enigma Bombay on the Beach in Muizenberg.

“My eyes were opened to Enigma Bombay on the Beach when it was referred to me by one of the food critics at Food 24. She told me that it was the best food in Town, so with a certain amount of skepticism I gave it a go. Brilliant is the word that comes to mind. As soon as the owner told us he was originally from the curry district in Birmingham, I knew I was in good hands. It was just my sort of Indian, simple to say the least- you wouldn’t go here for the décor or silver cutlery but the food was excellent and the naan bread probably the best I have ever had.”

Richard’s tip, “Take your own wine enjoy the simple surroundings and the atmosphere and let the food speak for itself.”

Our head of travel, Mandi Johnson-Aliverti, opted for a more up-market Indian dining experience at The Bombay Brasserie which can be found at the new Taj Hotel on the corner of Whale and Adderley Street.

Mandi says of her experience, “I have never eaten in such a chic Indian restaurant in South Africa. Beside the food being top class, the presentation, service (the waiters were excellent!) and ambience, makes it the full package. It was comparable to the restaurants I have eaten in, when travelling in India. The chef is from a Taj Hotel in India and has cooked with the Taj Group for more than a decade. Unlike some other Indian Restaurants, this is not the place to get take aways. The food is highly priced, although I think a great experience for special occassions. The dining room with blue glass chandeliers, peacock crochet on the chairs and cut glass, makes the whole experience a memorable one that I would certainly repeat.”

Mandi’s top tip, “Be sure to order the palak paneer – its something you wouldn’t want to miss!”

Having tasted some of the best Indian food that India had to offer, Kate had trouble choosing just one favourite! She explains,

This was my 2nd trip to India since 2006, and for me this amazing country is divided into 2 fantastic culinary zones: North and South. Well known dishes like Lamb Rogan Josh and Butter Chicken of the north are firm western favourites, but as you head south you get to sample the Briyani’s of Hyderabad and then of course the coconut based Kerelan and Goan specialities. I am completely torn between the two but must admit, my favourite meals included vegetarian thali’s – I was completely addicted!!

The best thali in Cape Town resides at Masala Dosa. Situated in the heart of Long Street this South Indian restaurant was a breath of fresh air when it opened as there aren’t many (if any!) South Indian restaurants in Cape Town. Named after the popular south Indian breakfast dish, a dosa refers to a crispy rice and lentil pancake served traditionally with a potato curry, coconut sauce and a veg and  lentil broth called sambar. Their dosas are really good, but I would first attempt a thali if you haven’t ever done so. Served in a standard round silver dish (traditionally it would be served on a large banana leaf!) it is a delectable combo of about 3 puris, rice, a dry vegetable, a vegetable with gravy, sambar, rasam, dal, curd, a chutney or pickle, a papad and to finish off, a sweet. Masala Dosa is easy on the pocket and service is quick and friendly. Definitely a must do when your in the CBD.

My second choice of best Indian in town is a combination of factors: food, experience and just plain cool!  The Eastern Food Bazaar ticks all the boxes for me! This is India at its best and what’s great – it has the prices to match! Lamb Rogan Josh (with rice) for R30, naan bread for R8 (yes, you read correctly!) and all the north Indian cusine you’d come to expect for a fraction of the price. There is loads to choose from, so one visit is not enough! The portions are extremely generous and the food very tasty. This is pure Cape Town casual dining, so you order and pay at the till point and then pickup your food from further down the counter. Dining there is quite festive as you can sit downstairs amongst the hustle and bustle of it all, or go upstairs for a quieter dinner. Whilst you’re there, be sure to take in the decor – it is part of the experience! The walls and wooden pillars are ornately carved and various mixed antiques and artifacts are scattered about. A couple of things to keep in mind: The Eastern Food Bazaar is Halaal, so no alcohol is served and it closes at 9pm. Secondly, this is not fine dining, so expect plastic knives and forks. My suggestion: eat there at least once to experience The Eastern Food Bazaar in all its glory. If you want a glass of wine with that curry, get take aways and take the best of India home with you!”