It can be nice to take give our taste buds a break with a sugary treat or a flaky pastry, but sometimes we want to challenge our mouths with spiciness. If that’s what you’re looking for, give Indian cuisine a try. They pack their dishes full of chilies and other spices that make your tongue feel like it’s on fire. But if you go to one of these restaurants, you’ll be rewarded for braving the heat with enough flavour-packed mouthfuls to make you glad you took the risk.
Restaurant Le Taj
We love Indian cusisne so much that we want to eat as much of it as possible, and this is the perfect place for us to do just that. If you come by on weekdays between 11:30 and 2:30, their lunch buffet will get you all of the delicious spicy and savory food you have room for. Pay a visit whenever they’re open to watch their chef prepare yummy dishes like chicken xacouti and garlic shrimp in their clay tandoor.
Photo cred - Louisa Lui
Restaurant Kuljit India
It can be hard to tell how great a restaurant is by seeing it, and this place is a perfect example. It might not look like much, hidden as it is inside a Ville Saint-Laurent strip mall, but don’t be fooled—it’s got amazing Indian food. The family-run joint has a mind-boggling array of sauces and inexpensive plates to fill your stomach without emptying your wallet.
There’s a ton of great food in NDG, but this place offers some of the best. The name doesn’t lie—there’s not much seating. But if you can grab one of the few tables, or are willing to get your grub to go, you’ll find some delicious Indian cuisine. They focus on offering healthy food, but they don’t compromise on taste.
Taj Mahal de L’Ouest
You might find a classier atmosphere at the Old Port location of this restaurant, but you’ll find equally delicious food at a much lower price on Sherbrooke. Both locations are known for offering a wide selection of authentic Indian food to satisfy anyone who likes their food spicy. Their Murogh Bhoona spotlights some of the tastiest tandoori chicken in the city.
Maison Indian Curry
Their name doesn’t lie—they make some damn fine curry here. On top of that, though, you’ll also find a range of dishes such as paneer, saag, and vindaloo, all priced at under $10. Wash ‘em down with one of their Indian beers for a complete Indian culinary experience. If spice isn’t your thing, they accommodate requests to tone down the hotness and take it easy on your taste buds.
It can be hard to eat for cheap in the Ghetto. Thankfully, the guys at Namaste are here for you. They offer up inexpensive, authentic-tasting food prepared with modern methods to be healthier, but no less delicious than their traditional counterparts. For a special treat, try their gulabs, which are a delectable milk-based dessert.
You might need to read the descriptions of the dishes they offer here, since many of them are hard to find outside of Southern India, but once you taste them you’ll know that it’s worth the effort. Their specialty is a rice flour crepe known as a dosa, which comes with different fillings offered in a variety of levels of spiciness. Dip ‘em in one of their tasty chutneys or sauces to give yourself a “dosa” of delicious Indian cuisine.
Bombay Mahal Restaurant
The dishes are served family style here, but it’ll be hard not to eat a whole by yourself once you get a taste. Butter chicken can be found at a lot of restaurants, but no one else does it quite like Bombay. The tomato-based cream sauce goes perfectly with their flavorful chicken for a platter that simply tastes of indulgence. Make sure to grab some of their fluffy naan to soak up the extra sauce—you won’t want to waste any.
This restaurant’s been in the city for over twenty years, and they’ve been offering Montrealers a tasty sampling of Indian cuisine since the beginning. For meat lovers, their mixed plate of lamb sheekh kabab and chicken is a can’t miss. Vegetarians need not fear, though—their vegetable pakoras are a gloriously deep fried concoction of veggies and batter, complimented by their spicy or sweet and sour sauces.
Come here to find all of your favorites, executed at an extremely high level. Whether you’re looking for tandoori chicken, lamb biryani, or shrimp vindaloo, they’ll help you get your fix. If you’re a newcomer to Indian cuisine, or just in need of a little guidance, their House Suggestions offer yummy combinations of various items on their expansive menu.
If you’re in the West Island and craving Indian food, this is the joint to check out. Even if you weren’t planning to be in the area, it’s worth making the trip just to get a taste of their sweet and rich mango lassi. You’re definitely going to want one after you experience the spicy kick of their curry.
Pushap Restaurant & Sweet Shop
It can be tough to make a decision. Thankfully, you won’t have to if you order the thali at Pushap, at least when it comes to your food. The $6 plate comes with two dishes, lentils or chickpeas, bread, rice, and cabbage salad, so you’ll be able to sample a variety of flavours. If you still have room, the titular sweets are bursting with flavor and very affordable at just $5 a pound.
If it’s affordability you’re looking for, you just might want to stop in here: no meal for one person here costs over $10, even with tax. It’s not like they compromise on taste, either—their tasty curry dishes go perfectly with the naan, salad, and rice they come with. If you like your meal (which you will), you can even get stuff to take home from their extensive prepared foods counter.
There are lots of great BYOB places in Montreal, but this one lets you pair your bottle with Indian culinary favorites like palak paneer and chicken tikka masaala. Before your main dish, give their samosas a try, because they’re packed to the brim with chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, and spicy deliciousness. If you’re still hungry after that, treat yourself to one of their flavorful mango lassis.
Even if it weren’t flawlessly prepared, the guys at Mysore would have earned a spot on our list for the sheer amount of food they generously heap on their plates, but thankfully you don’t have to compromise quality for quantity here. Their curry and saag dishes don’t skimp on the spice, so make sure you order a healthy serving of naan to counter the hotness.
Star of India
As we’ve seen, there are lots of great Indian restaurants around the city, but this place was one of the first. Since their inception over thirty years ago, they’ve been providing Montrealers with a vast selection of authentic dishes from the cuisine. You can even order beef here, which can be a bit hard to find at Indian restaurants, but happens to go extremely well with curry.
For more, follow Max on Twitter @mbled210
This newcomer only opened in 2013, but since then they've taken the Montreal Indian scene by storm. They offer traditional dishes like onion bhajji and pakoras. But they also mix Indian cuisine with food from other cultures like American, Thai, and Italian for bizarre-but-awesome hybrids like California chicken tandoori pizza and kheema poutine.