Though the MICHELIN Guide isn't in the country of India, it doesn't mean the red book is void of the subcontinent’s cuisine. In fact, Indian restaurants are listed in most of the Guides—some of which are in truly surprising cities. Tokyo for instance, is home to three Bib Gourmand-rated Indian eateries, and the first Indian restaurant awarded with a Michelin star in Asia happens to be in Macau.
The food served is just as varied too. While most serve up North Indian fare—think naans and kebabs—others adopt local bounty, like Benares in London, which uses scallops from nearby Scotland. But think that the cuisine’s South Indian brethren is left out and you would be mistaken. After all, the 2017 MICHELIN Guide San Francisco Bay Area and Wine Country has retained the one-Michelin-star rating for Rasa, which pays homage to classics like potato masala and flaky Kerala parathas.
Here, we’ve rounded up eight Michelin-starred restaurants from around the world, with notes from our inspectors:
The Golden Peacock
The peacock, India's national bird, is used for striking decorative effects at this contemporary Indian restaurant at The Venetian Macau, along with copper, glass, screens and Sadeli mosaics. Though the chef hails from Kerala, his menu covers all parts of the country making good use of quality ingredients; through the window you can watch his team working with the tandoor oven. An appealing and good value buffet is provided at lunch.
Shop 1037, 1F The Venetian Resort, Estrada de Baia de N. Senhora de Esperanca, Taipa, Macau
The Song of India
The less-than-convenient location off Singapore’s bustling Orchard Road is quickly forgotten when you climb the few steps of this period bungalow. The stylish interior and regularly changing Indian artwork add to the appealingly sophisticated feel. The menu features delicacies from across India and the kitchen uses both traditional cooking methods as well as modern approaches to create an impressive array of dishes.
33 Scotts Road, Singapore
There’s a reason this resaturant is widely celebrated—opened in 1926, and the first of its kind in London, the classic dishes are prepared with considerable care by a very professional kitchen. Keeping in touch with the roaring 20’s heritage, the interior reflects Maharaja palaces, and features teak dining tables, hand-woven carpets and handmade Ventian-style chandeliers.
Victory House, 99 Regent St, Mayfair, London
Tamarind makes the most out of its basement location via smoked mirrors, gilded columns and a somewhat exclusive feel. The appealing northern Indian food is mostly traditionally based; kebabs and curries are the specialities, the tandoor is used to good effect and don't miss the carefully judged vegetable dishes. Their new sister restaurant, Tamarind Kitchen, is now open in Soho.
20 Queen St., Mayfair, London
Benares (pictured in banner)
Named after India’s holy city, no other Indian restaurant in London enjoys a more commanding location or expansive interior than Benares. Atul Kochhar's influences are many and varied; his spicing is deft and he makes excellent use of British ingredients like Scottish scallops and New Forest venison. The Chef's Table has a window into the kitchen.
12a Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Sq., Mayfair
At Karam Sethi’s Gymkhana, classic and contemporary Indian cuisine with a focus on chatpatta and boldly-spiced shared plates is what you’ll find on the menu. Inspired by Colonial India's gymkhana clubs, the interior is full of wonderful detail and plenty of wry touches; ask to sit downstairs. The North Indian dishes have a wonderful richness and depth of flavor.
42 Albemarle St, Mayfair, London
Attention to detail is what sets Junoon far apart from its desi brethren. The façade is dramatic, but once through the ebony doors, the cavernous setting is both welcoming and plush with treasures from the subcontinent. The large bar exudes class and fun, with two antique jhoolas (swings) crafted from Burmese teak. Then, walk through a 200-year-old wooden arch and carved panels—seemingly afloat in a reflecting pool—to enter the amber-tinted dining room where tables are luxuriously spaced. The kitchen is patently ambitious and quite successful in presenting a contemporary vision of Indian cuisine. Every dish is thoughtfully composed and highlights only products of top quality.
Begin with a thick octopus tentacle sent to the tandoor, emerging crisped, charred, and incredibly tender. Murgh lababdar tastes of pure elegance in seared and braised de-boned chicken drenched in a sweetly spiced, deeply flavored tomato-onion gravy. Desserts are also not to be missed—go for a kulfi tasting.
27 W. 24th St., New York City
In a bustling tech corridor that's also home to Indian expats with high culinary standards, Rasa has managed to find the perfect middle ground. No-joke dishes that aren't toned down for Western palates cater to the likes of software execs and area couples alike, and though the bi-level space boasts a gorgeous, minimalist-mod décor with bright splashes of orange, sleek pendant lights, and stylish dark wood fittings, the focus here is on food. The kitchen excels in elevating the cuisine of South India with solid technique and superlative ingredients.
209 Park Rd., Burlingame, California