Indian curry restaurants are a dime a dozen in Japan. A lot of restaurants tend to be a fusion of the two different cuisines, resulting in a curry that is neither intrinsically Japanese nor Indian. However, it’s still incredibly tasty.
Curry was first introduced to Japan by the British during the Meiji Era (1896 – 1912), during which time India was under British rule. Since then, Japan has adapted their own version of curry, which is generally sweet and mild. Indian curry, on the other hand, is quite savory and spicy.
In no particular order, here is a list of some of the best Indian curry restaurants in Japan, all one-of-a-kind and privately owned. Beware, some of the spice is not for the feint of heart.
SALMA: Tikka & Biryani
A popular place to stop off at when staying at the Prince Hotel. At lunchtime you can find a buffet, which is very cost effective, but there is also a regular menu with set courses. There are five different curries to choose from and their base level is barely spicy. However the menu specifically states that you can add spice if you wish. Overall. the food is very tasty, but the additional side dishes might just be pushing too much food. The price is right, though.
Located smack dab in upscale Ginza, Kybher is fortunately an affordable place to eat. There are three daily curries, ranked from very spicy, medium, to no spice. The staff speaks just enough English to convey this, and the curry promptly arrives with accompanying naan, rice, or half naan-half rice combo. The place is cozy and relaxed and prices are very reasonable during lunch time.
An upscale restaurant in an upscale neighborhood of Shibuya. Priya is a relatively small place, but getting a seat isn’t too much of an issue. The proprietor is very friendly and walks around checking on customers and even manages the cash register. The base level of spice has some kick and more spice can be added upon request. The menu is simple and there’s a daily special curry. During lunch, unlimited naan bread or rice is offered.
Another upscale restaurant, If you choose to dine-in you at Ajanta, you will be directed to the second floor, where the kitchen and main dining floor are located. The menu is extensive, featuring both northern and southern Indian cuisine, as well as wide range of curry. They also feature alcohol infused lassi drinks, and a spicy cola called “masala cola.” On the dinner menu, naan or rice is not included and must be ordered in addition to the main course. The bottom floor, where you checkout, has a shelf of curry packets, so you can make Ajanta curry at home. There is also a vending machine for ordering bentos, perfect when you’re in need of a quick curry fix.
Last, but certainly not least, is the highest rated Indian restaurant in all of Tokyo, across the board. This is especially apparent when you first approach the building, as there is usually a queue at all times. Fortunately, the staff at Dhaba India is very efficient at table turnover, so the line moves quickly. However, it is not the type of place to take your time eating and have a casual conversation. The atmosphere is clamorous, and the heady smell of Indian spices permeates the air. The curry is amazingly delicious though, and there’s three different types with varying spice levels to choose from on a daily basis.