South Africa’s third largest city is a dynamic fusion of Indian and African culture, which combined makes for a tempting culinary scene. Traditional North and South Indian dishes meet delicious South African specialties, creating a unique food heritage that is as captivating as its glorious coastline. We’ve put together a guide to the best Indian restaurants in Durban to seek out during your stay at The Oyster Box Hotel.
Mali’s Indian Restaurant
As one of the most popular spots in the neighbourhood, Mali’s serves exceptional South Indian food. The restaurant’s Chettinad curries – a fusion of tamarind, red pepper and curry leaves – have garnered special attention, but don’t overlook the rest of their extensive menu. From tender butter chicken to the potato-filled, pancake roll dosa, this is Durban cuisine at its most enticing.
Local favourite Goundens has earned itself a well-deserved reputation for its South African specialty, bunny chow – a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled to the brim with flavourful curry. But this café-style joint also serves a range of more traditional Indian-style curries in its casual and authentic space. Try the eatery’s mutton bunny for tender, melt-in-your-mouth perfection.
The Little India Restaurant
Live South Indian music adds a unique flair to The Little India Restaurant, where modern décor meets classic Indian cuisine. Fragrant aromatic spices characterise its dishes, which include crab masala and sugar bean-filled bunnies, as well as various types of Manchurian, an Indo-Chinese deep-fried dish with a kicking accompaniment of garlic, ginger and green chillies.
The Oyster Box
In addition to setting out to discover the exceptional Indian restaurants in Durban, visitors can taste the region’s Indian cuisine at The Oyster Box Hotel. Aromatic tandoori is served up in scenic surroundings on The Ocean Terrace, where the hotel’s popular curry buffet is also held, while Indian-inspired plates are on offer within The Palm Court’s sumptuous buffet.
Jewel of India
Generously sized home-cooked curries are served up in traditional and friendly surroundings at Jewel of India. You’ll also find tandoori dishes, samosas, naan breads and other delicacies, which reflect the authenticity of Durban’s Indian culinary offering, and keep locals coming back.
For mutton curry overflowing from a crusty chunk of fresh bread, head to The Oriental, whose bunny chows are its pièce de résistance. Part of the Workshop Mall, The Oriental offers seating upstairs as well as a takeaway-style outdoor section where visitors cluster en masse. Spare ribs and steak also feature on the menu, but it’s the crab curry (as well as the bunny chows) that really stands out.
Impulse By The Sea
Impulse By The Sea’s crab and prawn curries have achieved legendary status in Durban, and for good reason. Bursting with flavour, they’re served in copper bowls in an upbeat environment that’s complimented by ocean views. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, while the varied menu includes dishes like golden, crispy samosas and fondant bunny chows, alongside its seafood offering.
A new location on Newport Avenue has recently thrown Indian Summer into the spotlight. And it’s for all the right reasons, with distant ocean views creating an idyllic backdrop for tucking into its pan-Indian cuisine. The Malabar fish curry is exceptional, as are the deliciously indulgent, butter-fried balls of paneer. A range of traditional deserts is available to satisfy the sweet tooth; try the cardamom-spiced kulfi.
Back at The Oyster Box Hotel, guests can experience the diversity of South African cuisine with their family and friends at the recently launched Chef’s Table where a five-course menu is prepared right there at the table, adding a touch of drama to an exquisite meal.
Image credits: Cover photo of saag paneer curry © iStock / rez-art. Curry in Durban © Jeera. Crab masala © iStock / naufalmq. Vegetable samosas © iStock / Elmik. Curry shrimp © iStock / Lauri Patterson. Sambar Dosa © iStock.