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Here’s where to get your curry fix in Durban and surrounds (a good curry is worth a drive), in no particular order and as recommended by locals and tested by me.

(Check out the June issue of Getaway magazine, on shelves now, for the full story as photographer Russell Smith and Sarah Duff eat their way through the nation’s curry capital).

 

1. Sunrise Chip ’n Ranch, Overport

Sunrise Chip ’n Ranch is where you head at two in the morning after a big night out to satiate your munchies with a double chip and cheese roti wrap. This hole-in- the-wall takeaway recently featured in a local movie, Attack of the Indian Werewolf, but it’s more famous for churning out tasty budget curries, rotis (locals’ favourites include bean and gravy), bunnies and briyanis.

Address and contact

89 Sparks Road, Overport, Tel 031 209 2020. (Capetonians can get a taste of Durbs’ famous rotis at the Sunrise branch in Main Road, Mowbray, Tel 021 689 3250).

 

2. Little Gujarat, Durban CBD

Little Gujarat in the CBD has vegetarian dishes you won’t find at many Indian restaurants in Durban. The food has Punjabi influences, but it’s the southern Indian masala dosas (rice flour pancakes) and paneer dosas that stand out. Finish with a burfi (a milky sweet flavoured with chocolate, pistachio or mango).

Address and contact

43 Dr Goonam Street, Tel 031 305 3148.

 

3. Gounden’s, Umbilo Road

Gounden’s daily specials include vegetable briyani, mince curry and chops chutney, but most popular are the spicy mutton bunnies, loaded with chunks of melt-in-your-mouth meat.

Address and contact

It used to be housed in a panel beaters, but it’s since moved to 520 Umbilo Road, Tel 031 205 5363.

 

4. Govindas, Chatsworth

A futuristic Hare Krishna temple is an unlikely spot for a meal, and it’s a little-known secret that its downstairs restaurant serves cheap and delicious vegetarian food. If you don’t like it hot, come here for mild curries (try the butternut and potato option). The onion pakoras (deep-fried in a spicy batter), paneer and corn katchories (dough dumplings), and puri patha are also delicious.

Address and contact

Sri Sri Radhanath Temple of Understanding, 50 Bhaktivedanta Swami Circle, Chatsworth, Tel 031 403 4600.

Photo: Russel Smith

 

5. House of Curries, Florida Road

With big-screen TVs and a vibey deck, this is the place to be for an after-work beer and curry. The plate of six mini-bunnies hits the spot after a pint or two, while the chip and cheese roti wraps, and prawn and chicken curry are also delicious. The chip chow – a large plate of chips topped with curry and covered in melted cheese – is perfect munchie food.

Address and contact

275 Florida Road, Tel 031 303 6067.

 

6. Capsicum Restaurant, Umgeni Road

Capsicum Restaurant in a faded heritage building at the Britannia Hotel is a firm favourite among locals and has achieved fabled status over the past 33 years. The most popular dishes include delicately spiced prawn curry, and the exotic bunnies (tripe or trotters). If you’ve had enough bunnies, try a curry-filled toasted sarmie instead.

Address and contact

1299 Umgeni Road, Tel 031 303 2266.

 

7. Patel’s Vegetarian Refreshment Room, Yusuf Dadoo Street

Tuck into tasty vegetable or bean bunnies at this small, informal restaurant in the CBD, which is almost a century old. The sweets are good too: try burfi and boomdhi (small golden balls made from lentil, cake and maize flours, which are fried, then submerged in syrup).

Address and contact

202 Yusuf Dadoo Street, Tel 031 306 1774.

Photo: Russel Smith

 

8. Vintage India, Lillian Ngoyi Road

Vintage India has been cooking up delectable north Indian curries for 15 years. Its claim to fame is the lamb rogan josh, said to be one of Durban’s best. The extensive menu also includes vindaloo made with a chilli paste imported from Kashmir, and la aziz (paneer and vegetables in a tomato and cashew gravy).

Address and contact

20 Lillian Ngoyi Road, Tel 031 309 1328. (It has branches in Cape Town and Joburg, Tel 021 462 5106 and 011 440 4550.)

 

9. Little India, Lillian Ngoyi Road

Little India specialises in southern Indian cuisine, with scrumptious masala dosas served with potato curry and zingy coconut and peanut chutney, and delicious homemade paneer. Other popular dishes are butter chicken and lamb rogan josh.

Address and contact

155 Lillian Ngoyi Road, Tel 031 201 1121.

 

10. Impulse by the Sea, Tinley Manor

Impulse by the Sea’s prawn curries are praised far and wide – and it’s easy to see why: made according to an old family recipe, a generous helping of meaty prawns is covered in a thick, flavourful tomato-based curry. The Natal lamb curry and bunnies in unusual round loafs score highly too.

Address and contact

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167 Sea View Drive, Tinley Manor, Tel 032 554 4626.

 

11. Seabelle, Tongaat

Seabelle, on the beach in Tongaat, is delightfully unpretentious, with so-tacky-it’s-cool decor (think statues draped in gaudy garlands and posters of dolphins in lurid colours). Décor aside, it’s known for its tangy prawn curry, alongside other seafood curries such as crayfish and crab.

Address and contact

62 South Beach Road, Desainagar, Tongaat, Tel 032 941 5551.

 

12. Ocean Terrace Restaurant, Umhlanga Rocks

Ocean Terrace Restaurant at the swanky Oyster Box hotel serves a top-quality daily curry buffet while you take in the seaside setting. Feast on 11 curries and an array of condiments, rice and breads.

Address and contact

2 Lighthouse Road, Umhlanga Rocks, Tel 031 514 5000.

Ocean Terrace Restaurant

Photo: Russel Smith

 

13. Thava Indian Restaurant, Ballito

The Thava Indian Restaurant in Ballito, in the four-star The Boathouse on the Beach, is well worth the drive. Serving traditional dishes cooked by four chefs from across India – Kashmir, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi and Kerala – the restaurant’s menu offers a diverse selection of vibrant meals. The airy restaurant opens up on to a terrace overlooking the Indian Ocean. Starters include fragrant dishes such as potato bonda (potato cubes cooked, seasoned and deep-fried in chickpea batter, for R30) and sesame crumbed prawns (R60), while mains include prawn curry (R125), tandoori paneer tikka (R55) and lamb rogan josh (R95). Thava is open Monday to Sunday, 7am to 10pm, for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Address and contact

The Boathouse on the Beach, Tel 032 946 0300, thava.co.za

Thava Indian Restaurant

Photo: Teagan Cunniffe

 



11 Responses to “13 of Durban’s best curry restaurants”

  1. Qutee

    Hi Sarah,

    The places you have mentioned is a good guide but the taste is not all that great. The place you shoud really try is ”kebabish” in durban.

    Reply
    • Fatima

      Kebabish is sooooo good! I can’t eat hot food but the food there was so good I didn’t mind the bite. First time I had a bunny chow as well. Will definitely go there again if I’m in Durban

      Reply
  2. Philip Pearton

    Indian Summer in Sunningdale Centre off Umhlanga Rocks Drive & Bombay Blue In Kensington Drive, Durban North. Both owned & run by the same proprietor, originally from Mumbai (7 years ago). Outstanding regional cooking (Bombay Chaat & Dosas are special) and the best tandoori cooking I’ve encountered. Prices are outstandingly good value and cooking and ingredients are top notch.

    Reply
  3. Karisha Naraidu

    Panaji in Kensington Drive serves the most divine curries.The food is fresh,suites all palates and has a huge variety of dishes.Its hugely popular with the locals.I encourage die hard curry fans to give this place a visit.They have also been given rave reviews by The Mercury and Sunday Tribune newspapers.

    Reply
  4. jay sherriffs

    you left out house of curries at wilson’s wharf! best lamb or chicken curry ever!!!

    Reply
  5. jay sherriffs

    sorry, it’s called a taste of india, at wilson’s wharf!!!!!!!!! but again i say, best curry ever!!! i’ve eaten ina lot of curry restaurants, in durban, cape town and in london as well, brick lane, but nobody beats a taste of india, but i hav’nt been to the britannia hotel, so i must try their’s as well!!

    Reply
  6. Jessica

    WHY IS INDIAN SUMMER NOT ON HERE?! Sorry for shouting hehe, but you guys have not lived!

    Reply
  7. Sumant

    Hi house of curries on Florida rd was not good at all. I ordered the prawn curry and it was waterry, I had to take a paper towl and soak up the water before eating and then it was tasteless, my wife had the lamb bunny and was bad as well. I think they should go down in the worst 10 bunny joints.

    Reply
  8. Desigan

    Floogys Indian Takeaway has by far the best bunny’s curries and biryani in Durban
    Durbans best kept secret hidden away at Value Center in Springfield Park (opposire Makro)
    apart from the amazing taste their prices are ridiculously low, best value for money!

    Reply
  9. Navindreh

    The best Durban curries for sure is served at Sea Belle, but it’s a bit way out from the centralised part of Durban, well worth the drive to Tongaat / La Mercy area. The Restaurant Capsicum at Brttiannia in Umgeni Road is good on a consistent basis, and not a hit and a miss type of place. A good bunny chow joint should serve a good Durban curry, and if you see lot’s of locals eating there then you know it’s good. I am not a fan of the India style curry, for me the novelty wore off long ago. For the best value for money go into Phoenix or Chatsworth to have a bunny if you passing by.

    Reply

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