Top 5 Indian restaurants in Toronto


Published May 6, 2024 at 4:07 pm

Indian restaurants in Toronto vary greatly, and some specialize in certain items or styles of regional cuisine. That makes it almost impossible to narrow down the rich tapestry of options to just five great ones, but these are spots where many agree the basic building blocks of Indian cuisine are represented very well.

From the most humble and quiet places to buzzy hotspots, pretty much everyone in Toronto loves going out for Indian food. The following are great places to fill up on a standard curry with rice and naan, but also might just be the places where you discover something completely new.

5 – Indilicious

This cozy restaurant at the sleepy corner of Dundas West and Runnymede may be small, but the flavours found inside are big. Dishes like a classic saag paneer are excellently done and even offer a little extra twist like fresh herbs. The naan at this restaurant is stiffer than average, less floppy and pillowy than other spots, though that makes for sturdy scooping.

The chef, Sujoy Saha, was born in Calcutta and has years of experience working in hotels and restaurants in India, Europe and China, and is known for his lamb and chicken dishes like lamb vindaloo, Hyderabadi lamb shank, lamb korma, chicken tikka masala and butter chicken.

4 – Leela Indian Food Bar

Things are done just a little bit differently at this restaurant with locations in the Junction and on Gerrard, and there’s no dish that better exemplifies that than their butter chicken.

Unlike most butter chicken dishes, this one is smoked in its serving vessel, arriving at the table with a smoking lump of charcoal in a small dish inside that’s removed when it lands at the table. This imparts a very smoky flavour that balances out the usual richness of butter chicken. It’s complemented by very soft and velvety naan that doubtless goes well with pretty much any dish on the menu.

There’s a whole section of street food items on the menu including less typical options like eggplant fries. They also have sections on the menu dedicated to charcoal grill items, chaats and biryani.

This is a great place to go if you fancy an Indian-inspired cocktail to go with your food, like a Madras Gimlet with turmeric-infused gin or a Leela Caesar garnished with tandoori shrimp.

3 – Pukka

Indian food gets the gourmet treatment and a touch of fusion flair at this moody restaurant on St. Clair West. You might not usually expect to see duck or pickerel on the menu at a your average Indian joint, but this isn’t just any restaurant.

Duck breast gets an Indian spin with a garam masala crust and wild blueberry curry that actually packs an unexpected amount of heat, pickerel comes with a red pepper curry, and short ribs are braised with black cumin, cloves, cardamom and fennel seeds.

However, if you’re looking for butter chicken, veggie curry, rice, naan, chutneys and raita, you can get all that at Pukka as well, making this a great spot for groups where some have more adventurous tastes and others are looking to stick to what they know.

2 – Banjara

It’s well known that the butter chicken at locations of this popular restaurant is a fan favourite that’s pretty much unmatched. When you’re looking for Indian classics, especially for a large gathering, this is the go-to for many.

The butter chicken is very rich and creamy with a thick texture and sweet flavour, excellent soaked up by some simple but iconic naan or rice. The chicken is tender enough to cut with a fork thanks to being marinated and baked in the tandoor, then simmered in the tomato gravy. Aside from their butter chicken, they’re known for their eye-catching tandoori sizzling plates and affordable lunch and dinner combos.

1 – Dil Se

This unassuming Indian restaurant on Roncesvalles is so good, it’s one of a few in town recognized by the Michelin Guide, and once you taste the food it’s easy to see why.

It’s noted on the menu that the chef’s specialty is the chicken lababdar, a tangy but comforting Mughlai-style dish cooked with onions, tomato and cashew. The onion and cashew melt away a little while still providing texture for the tomato-forward curry. The only fitting companion is the chef’s special naan topped with seeds that add crunch and aromatic flavour to the stretchy, elastic-y, soft bread.

They also offer the lababdar in a paneer version, as well as many other special dishes like galouti kebab and Chicken Kamasutra.

  1. Dil Se
  2. Banjara
  3. Pukka
  4. Leela Indian Food Bar
  5. Indilicious