The Best Indian Restaurant Dishes Cheat Sheet of 2019

If you’re one of those people who says they’re going to try something new at their local Indian restaurant, but never do, then this one is for you! Butter chicken is good but we’re going to give you plenty of other options to add to your favourite Indian cuisine list.

Top side dishes to order at your local Indian restaurant:

  • Naan (garlic, cheese or plain; they’re all good).
  • Onion bhaji (onion slices coated and deep fried in spices and chickpea batter).
  • Saffron rice.
  • Coconut rice.
  • Raita (typically a yoghurt with finely diced cucumber and mild spices, sometimes with mint).

Of course, if you’re more in the mood for Chinese takeaway, we have a cheat sheet for finding new favourites on your local restaurant’s menu too.


Vindaloo is one of the hottest Indian dishes available, often containing scotch bonnets and habanero chillis. However, in Australian Indian restaurants, the heat is often dialed down but it’s still wise to ask for a milder version, if you’re not a fan of it.  

Its texture is comparable to a stew, and is influenced by the Portuguese presence in Goa, where the dish originated. The dish contains vinegar; however, other notable flavours are often the fat from the pork (depending on the type ordered), garlic and chili.


Who knew meat (often chicken or lamb) marinated in yoghurt and spices slow cooked in a gravy of delicious onions, green chillies and even more spices could be so delicious. One of the best parts about korma is it comes in very mild to hotter variations. Simply let your local Indian restaurant know your preference.

Vegetarian and vegan kormas can also be found at some restaurants, normally substituting meat with chickpeas and the yoghurt for coconut or cashew milk or cream.


If you’ve ever tried biryani, you’d fully understand there are good ones and then there are bad ones. A good biryani is made from a recipe that has been perfected over many years and has been practiced time and time again.

But what is biryani? This rustic dish is said to have originated in Persia, and is a simple, yet insanely delicious combination of marinaded meat, rice and spices. Herbs, seeds, onion, dried and fresh fruit and nuts are also common ingredients, but it depends on the recipe.


Those looking for a mild Indian dish, look away now! The word jhal actually means spicy hot, so you know what you’re about to get yourself int for.

Jalfrezi is a little like a stir fry. Meat, turmeric and other spices are fried in oil or fat, with ginger, garlic and more spices added. Onions, capsicums, tomatoes and green chillis are included in the pan and then it’s cooked through and normally served with rice.

Jeera Aloo

Alright, technically this is another side dish but we had to add this in as we know a person or two who have eaten much more than a single serving of these delicious nuggets of joy.

This is a quick and easy dish most Indian restaurants will serve. It’s a simple dish of potato pieces sautéed in mild spices, including cumin. In fact, jeera translates into cumin in English and aloo means potato.

Side tip: Jeera aloo is delicious in a sandwich.

Hungry for some delicious Indian food now?

Check out your local Indian restaurants on Localsearch!

Find the best Indian restaurants in your area

I'm located in


      Feature image: Lior Shapira on Unsplash

      Sarah Russo

      UX Content Writer

      Sarah Russo is a UX Content Writer at Localsearch with a decade of experience in traditional and digital marketing. She has written for and assisted in the social media and marketing strategies for many different industries, including real estate, medical, health and fitness, trades and beauty. When she isn’t nose deep in data, SEO research or her content strategy, Sarah is a gym junkie, foodie and gamer with a brain full of random facts that come in handy far more often than you would think. As a digital marketing all-rounder and lifestyle specialist, her articles provide insight into marketing, advertising and branding for small businesses on the Localsearch Business Blog, as well as some handy lifestyle tips on the Localsearch Blog.