10 Great Restaurants for Indian Food in Manila
Go beyond curry.
(SPOT.ph) You’ve probably tried most of the international options available around the Metro by now. But one of the cuisines that we rarely get to talk about is Indian—yes, Indian food in all its spicy, robust, and savory glory. The sound of a rogan josh or palak paneer might be intimidating at first, but you’ll see they’re not as daunting as they seem to be if you keep an open mind. Here’s a curious noob’s guide to some of the most talked-about places for authentic Indian food in Manila.
Located just across Century City Mall, Royal Indian Curry House (or RICH) has a massive selection of traditional Indian food. And because their 19-page menu might be too overwhelming especially for first timers, here’s where you can begin: Tandoori Chicken (P409), juicy roasted chicken marinated in lemon, ginger, yogurt, garlic, black rum, and a lot of spices. And because naan is a staple in Indian cuisine, don't pass up an order of RICH’s Cheese Naan (P209)—pillowy soft and just decadently cheesy.
Royal Indian Curry House is at 5345 General Luna Street, Poblacion, Makati City; and Building G9-14, SM By The Bay, Seaside Boulevard, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City.
Swagat Indian Cuisine
With its expat population, it’s safe to say that Makati has a potpourri of cuisines. For one, the city has its fair share of Indian restaurants, so you might consider hitting up Swagat Indian Cuisine if you find yourself in Legazpi Village. Regulars are particularly fond of the Chicken Korma (P210), which is an evolved version of the chicken tandoori. The dish is made up of a skinless and boneless chicken marinated in a blend of spices, yogurt, ginger, and garlic, then sautéed with butter, tomatoes, and cream. Their Roti (P20), on the other hand, is a crowd-favorite flatbread to have alongside their mains. Fans of yogurt will want to try Swagat’s Sweet Lassi (P50), a sweet yogurt-based drink that goes great with just about anything on the menu.
Swagat Indian Cuisine is at G/F The Columns Legazpi Village, Amorsolo Street corner Arnaiz Avenue, Legazpi Village, Makati City.
Little India Healthy Cuisine
Next time you’re musing about where to eat around Teachers Village, put Little India Healthy Cuisine on your bucket list. There’s no shortage of what to order, but we’d begin with their bestsellers, like a plate of Samosa (P60/two pieces) or deep-fried vegetarian pastries filled with spiced potatoes and nuts. Their Mushroom Curry (P165) is simple but packed with flavor, while the Palak Paneer (P210) pairs perfectly with some warm naan. It’s basically homemade cottage cheese swimming in a bowl of puréed spinach sauce, a specialty in most Indian houses.
Little India Healthy Cuisine is at 24-F Malingap Street, Teachers Village, Quezon City.
Om Indian Kitchen makes for a perfect spot to visit if you’re new to Indian cuisine. Their short but straightforward menu covers all the basics like Samosa, which is available in two different flavors: Vegetarian (P40/piece, P115/three pieces), packed with potatoes and green peas; and Non-Vegetarian (P50/piece, P145/three pieces), with a generous keema (minced pork) filling. Both are served with a tangy and refreshing tamarind dipping sauce, adding contrast to the snack's deep flavors. Don’t leave without trying the Mutton Rogan Josh (P395), a lamb dish that’s braised in an aromatic curry popular in the Kashmir region of India. Still hungry? Don't be shy and go for the Butter Chicken (P265), or chicken curry with a tomato and cashew gravy that has a whisper of sweetness and heat behind every bite.
Om Indian Kitchen is at G/F The Grove by Rockwell, E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue, Pasig City.
With their many branches scattered all over the Metro, it won’t be hard to find a New Bombay near you. And whenever you find yourself in one of their cozy restaurants, don’t miss the chance to try their best-selling dish—the Biryani (P285), a platter of long-grain basmati rice cooked with your choice of protein: Chicken, Egg, Fish, Mutton, or Shrimp. Their Garlic Naan (P80) is also an excellent take on naan—perfect for anyone who likes that garlicky kick. You might also find yourself staying a bit longer for dessert: The Gulabjamun (P125), a deep-fried powdered-milk ball served in a warm bowl of sweet, sticky syrup, is a treat that tickles the taste buds.
See a list of New Bombay branches.
Pooja’s Café is a hole-in-the-wall joint that whips up authentic Indian dishes like you’ve never seen before (at least in Manila), and it doesn’t hurt that their menu is budget-friendly. Try the Paneer Butter Masala (P200), or marinated cottage cheese served in a spicy and creamy tomato curry gravy, or their no-fail Samosas (P150), which are lip-smacking and brimming with spices. On the other hand, their version of the popular South Indian classic, the Chicken Tikka (P200), is served with a tangy tomato cream sauce, bringing a burst of flavor in every bite.
Pooja’s Café is at G/F King's Court, 2129 Chino Roces Avenue corner Dela Rosa Street, Makati City.
Kabab & Curry
You might miss Kabab & Curry along Jupiter Street if you don’t keep your eyes peeled. The restaurant’s menu covers all the fundamentals of Indian cuisine, like the famed Chicken Tikka (P210/single, P395/double), which has just the right amount of heat to keep you chasing spoonfuls, especially when eaten with their special tamarind-and-yogurt sauce that really gives the dish that extra kick. For rice devotees, they even have five kinds of Biryani to choose from: Beef (P395), Chicken (P375), Mutton (P495), Prawn (P495), and Fish (P495). No one leaves with an empty stomach here. No one.
Kabab & Curry is at 20 Jupiter Street, Bel-Air, Makati City.
Mantra Bistro is another spot in Makati that brings together the all-stars of Indian cooking. Their Paneer Tikka (P365), or paneer in a rich and zesty tomato gravy is a perennial favorite among diners, while the Rogan Josh (P535) made of tender mutton is swimming in an aromatic, delectable classic curry. For those who want a filling vegetarian option, the Dal Makhani (P370), or black lentils slow-cooked in a pan of tomatoes, butter, and fresh cream, is your best bet.
Mantra Bistro is at The Grand Midori, G-07, Bolanos Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City.
Ziggurat is an all-in-one joint for the adventurous eater to get your taste of Indian, Mediterranean, African, and Middle Eastern cuisine. They’ve got a huge selection of curry dishes to choose from based on the protein of your liking such as Chicken (P250), Beef (P275), Lamb (P380), Duck (P380), Goat (P380), plus a variety of seafood and vegetable options. If you want something a little out of your comfort zone, you can have your choice of meat with the Bengal Yellow Curry, made with yogurt, turmeric, mustard, cumin, raisins, and ginger. Their Gulab Jamun (P110) also makes for a sweet end to your meal.
Ziggurat is at G/F Sunette Tower, Durban Street corner Makati Avenue, Poblacion, Makati City.
If the name doesn’t tip you off, then you should probably know that Naan makes some mean, well, naan. Choose from their thali (or platter) sets complete with the said flatbread and a couple of sides: Grilled Chicken Tikka (P150), Beef Brisket Masala (P160), Pulled Pork Tikka Boti (P140), or Falafel and Hummus (P150)—or you know, come back and try them all. Another great, flavorful dish you have to try is their Lamb Shank Korma (P595), a massive serving of smoky lamb shank braised in a savory tomato-based curry with cashew paste. Their Mango Lassi (P100) also serves as a refreshing yogurt drink, perfect for anyone looking for some familiar sweet notes.
Naan is at Unit 1, D-Strip Building, 20 United Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig City.