8 Best Indian Restaurant in Penang for Holiday Makers
Follow Smart Dory’s quick guide to Little India’s best Indian restaurant in Penang. Hunt down the best dishes and eat like a local. Top tips: Bring a huge appetite along.
South Indian cuisine is popular in Penang. This is not to be confused with the Nasi Kandar outlets which are predominantly run by Indian Muslims.
Indian Sweet Shops with platefuls of delectable sweets are delicious to a tee.
The milk-based sweets and desserts are made with grains, dried fruits, and buttermilk.
The names roll off our tongues like velvety silk; Badam Ka Halwa, Besan Laddoo, Barfi, Coconut Khoya Peda, and Mulpua. Of course, these are without a doubt, my favorites.
If you’re on a hunt for the best Indian food in Penang, this blog post is what you need.
Going for a Vegetarian Set Meal
Popular for its mouthwatering dishes, Madras New Woodlands has the best Indian vegetarian food in Penang. This restaurant has both South and Northern dishes on the menu.
A top childhood favorite is the Chana Bhatura. The puffed-up Bhatura is complimented with a perfect serve of Masala Chana, spicy chickpeas. Add on a few dishes like Masala Bendi, Aloo Mutter, and Dosa, you will have the perfect Indian food in Penang.
MADRAS NEW WOODLANDS | Vegetarian Indian Restaurant
60, Penang Street, Penang
Business Hours: 10.00 am—10:00 pm
Our first Rava in an Indian Restaurant
I never forget my first Rava Dosa at Vello Villas. The Rava Dosa, a crispier version of the South Indian Dosa was unlike any other I’ve seen or had. It was deliciously fragrant with the smell of pure ghee. The edges are crisp and almost waffle-like. It’s signature holes and blisters with its moist side showing a sprinkling of ginger and carrot bits.
There is curry leaf, shave coconut, cashew nuts, crushed peppercorns, and cumin seeds. Rava Dosa does not require overnight fermentation like regular Dosa.
It’s made from semolina and chawal flour and buttermilk. It’s great eaten on its own but drowning it in fish curry gravy works best for me.
Vello Villas has the best Rava Dosa for an Indian restaurant in Penang.
VELOO VILAS RESTAURANT | Casual Indian Restaurant
22, Penang Street, Penang
Business Hours: 12 pm – 9 pm (closed 4 pm – 6 pm)
Best Tandoori Chicken in an Indian Restaurant in Penang
A few Indian restaurants are selling this North Indian staple dish. Restoran Kapitan which popularizes the perfectly baked succulent Tandoori Chicken is packed every night. The red tender morsel, charred black on the edges is served atop warm naan.
You can have a choice of garlic or cheese naan bread which costs a few dollars extra. There is a choice of two side mixed curries.
Seating is on the veranda off the street or air-conditioning. if you head upstairs.
Tandoori Chicken and Briyani Set at Kapitan Restaurant, Chulia Street, Penang. Photo: @miezavsrory
KAPITAN RESTAURANT | Indian Restaurant
93, Chulia Street, Penang
Open 24 hours
Indian Restaurants Serve the Best Banana Leaf Rice Meals
One of the top banana leaf rice restaurants was Susila’s in the early 1980s. When the restaurant closed; it moved to the current shop and was renamed Shusi Banana Leaf Restaurant. It has been renovated.
Eating there is a trip down memory lane. I half expect to see Boss in his white shirt and short manning the shop.
Back in the 80s, the banana leaf menu and prices for a Chicken Set was RM3.20!
The banana leaf rice dishes have 3 different vegetarian appetizers, 2 pieces of Papadom and a mound of hot steaming white rice!
Spice it up with your choice of curries, vegetarian dhal, fish, chicken or mutton. Of course, breakfast was a great fluffy dosa with last night’s fish gravy and a cuppa for RM1.
SHUSI BANANA LEAF RESTAURANT | Banana Leaf Restaurant
71 Penang Street, Penang
Business Hours: 12.00noon – 4.00pm and 4.00pm – 9.00pm
Lots of Meaty Mains for Curries
Tasty and affordable, Sri Ananda Bahwan is the popular choice for temple goers to stop by in Little India, Penang.
The sizzle of Dosa cooking on the open grill and meat roasting with Kebabs, Tandoori, and meaty curries is a draw for this Indian restaurant at the corner of Penang and China Street.
There are equally as many vegetarian dishes, snacks, and sweets but it’s the meaty North Indian menu that draws in the crowds daily.
The scent of Mutton or Chicken Korma, Tikka Masala, Kebabs, and Tandoori barbecue meals waft through the air as you walk by.
If you go a little further down the road you will see another Sri Ananda Bahwan (Pure Vegetarian) where the food is cooked without garlic or onions.
Most regulars love to drop by Ananda Bhavan Penang for an Indian banana leaf rice at their George Town outlet.
SRI ANANDA BAHWAN RESTAURANT | Vegetarian-Friendly Indian Restaurant
55, Penang Street, and 25, Penang Street, 10200 George Town, Penang
Business Hours: Daily 7 AM–10:30 PM
Best Butter Chicken Dish
There are two dishes you must try at Karaikudi. Butter Chicken and Palak Paneer which is done perfectly. Well add Fish Tikka and you have my favorite dishes on the menu.
The restaurant has various Naans, Pratha, Dosa and Bread or Briyani.
Rice for your curries with a good selection of vegetarian meals.
We normally start our meal with a refreshing Triveni Juice made with Mango, Pineapple, and Ginger.
KARAIKUDI RESTAURANT | Indian Restaurant
20, Market Street, Penang
Business Hours: 11.00am—11:00pm
Annalakshmi Temple of Fine Arts – Vegetarian Indian Restaurant
The Temple of Fine Arts is devoted to the promotion of Indian fine arts. Besides music, dance, and drama, the center is well known for its culinary arts.
Located on Babington Avenue the premise is in a quiet bungalow within a beautiful garden.
Annalakshmi, its vegetarian restaurant is under the cover of an airy porch at the back of the bungalow. The TFA is run by volunteers.
There is a daily buffet of vegetarian Indian restaurant food, with coffee and tea. In the evening there is an à la carte menu for dinner.
There is no set price. Patrons are asked to pay what they like for what they have eaten. This is in line with their motto is:
“Eat to your heart’s content, pay what your heart feels“.
Annalakshmi Temple of Fine Arts | Place of worship
Address: 1, Lebuhraya Babington, 10450 Penang
Business Hours: Tuesday to Sunday Lunch: 11.30am – 3.00pm and Dinner: 6.30pm – 10.00pm
(Closed on Mondays)
Crab Masala Banana Leaf Rice
Muthu Restaurant Chettinad Mess’s is an off the beaten track Indian Restaurant in Penang. Located on Acheen Street in the George Town Heritage-Enclave, only the regulars know where to find it.
This banana leaf restaurant has no signboard. So you need to be on the lookout for it.
The best part about eating at Muthu’s is to find out your tolerance for spices.
Can you take the heat? If you’re game, dive in the MUST EAT dish of Crab Masala.
Muthu Restaurant Chettinad Mess (shop doesn’t have a signboard) I South Indian cuisine
143, Acheen Street, 11200, Georgetown, Penang
Business hours: Daily 9.00 am—3:00 pm