Rishi's on George Street has proved popular with the local Indian community thanks to its authentic South Indian cuisine. With a name meaning “purity”, the food is healthy and aims to recreate what would have come out of the chef's grandmother's kitchen. On offer are Medhu Vadai fried donuts made of dal, ginger, curry leaves and green chillies; Tiffin dishes including a vast array of Idli traditional steamed rice cakes, Oothappam thick rice crêpes and rice and lentil flour Dosa pancakes; North or South Indian Thali meal deals; South Indian specialities such as Kuzhambus, no less than 14 types of rice and even a good range of traditional desserts – a course often neglected by even the most authentic of Indian restaurants.
An Aberdeen institution, family business The Jewel in the Crown has been serving up traditional favourites to a fanatical following for decades, and still regularly has queues out the door. Insanely popular and always packed out, there are any number of reasons The Jewel inspires such loyalty: well-priced, consistently excellent, with its own on-site parking and staff that have been there forever and frequently greet customers by name, and a massive menu comprehensively covering every variety of curry you can think of.
Family-run Shri Bheema's, with branches on Belmont Street and at Bridge of Don, has been named as one of the 25 places everyone must eat in Scotland, holds certificate of excellences from Trip Advisor and Visit Scotland, and has been handed plaudits from the British Curry Awards and Aberdeen's Best Curry, including chef of the year and best restaurant. Their mission is to keep things light, and their menu takes in authentic South Indian dishes and street food such as the Sri Lankan/Keralan speciality Kothu Parotta – chopped flatbread mixed on a griddle with minced chicken or lamb, egg and green chillies. Keep an eye out for tasting events like the Indian food melas they've held in the past – a chance to try 40 dishes for £20.
There isn't a hint of the curry house about West End restaurant Cinnamon, a sophisticated establishment producing what it calls Indian nouvelle cuisine. Specialising in Bangladeshi dishes, its contemporary and inventive menu also serves up fusion dishes with a Scottish twist. There's an emphasis on seafood thanks to the wealth on its doorstep and the locally sourced, organic produce it uses include scallops, king crab, lobster, sea bass and salmon as well as Scottish venison, pheasant, duck, rabbit and quail. Previously named north-east restaurant of the year at the Scottish Curry Awards, executive chef Khalis Miah was just last week commended at the UK-wide 2015 Curry Chef of the Year Awards, the only chef from Scotland to be honoured.
Head to Lahore Karahi for outstanding Pakistani cuisine that gives plenty of bang for your buck. Unpretentious, simple and authentic, the setting is a cheerful and casual café style eatery and everything on the menu is under £10 – with starters from £3.50, tandoori starting at £4.50, a huge collection of curries including a wide range of biryanis and lamb or chicken karahi on the bone from £6.50, plus endless vegetarian options and a bulging Indian bread basket. Poppadoms are free and it's even BYOB.