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Sep 29, 2012 10:58 PM

Best chicken tikka masala in London

I love Indian food. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area in California, and I have to admit, I'm pretty spoiled when it comes to Indian food...particularly near where I live (Fremont, California), and work (Sunnyvale, California), Indian food is authentic, plentiful, and pretty damn tasty. I've also been to India a few times, mostly in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh which has very spicy food.

My traditional benchmark for good Indian food is chicken tikka masala, which is my favorite dish. Where can I find the best version of this in London? I am definitely not afraid of spicy/hot food (the spicier, the better), so I'm hoping to find a version with a good spicy kick, but also a good balance of the other flavors.

I'm staying at the Staunton Hotel near the British Museum, so any good recommendations close by would be appreciated, though I'm willing to travel for the best, as long as it's reachable by public transportation.


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  1. You'll be aware that chicken tikka masala isnt an authentic Indian dish, nor is it a particularly hot or spicy dish. You'll be less likely to find it on the menu of "good" places, although it;s a standard offering at every high street curry house.

    Perhaps you'd like the very similar (although less mono-dimensional) murgh makhani as offered at Moti Mahal (my favourite Indian restaurant in the capital - although bear in mind I only visit as a tourist so don't have a local's knowledge as to where there might be better murgh makhani)

    7 Replies
    1. re: Harters

      Well done Harters.

      Some info for you: butter chicken (murg makhani) was created at the original Moti Mahal in Delhi as a way to use up the scraps of chicken fallen on the tandoor floor. If you find chicken tikka masala on menus in India, it will mean butter chicken with chicken tikka pieces instead of chicken scraps.

      The chicken tikka masala so beloved of the Bangladeshi run curry house is, as you point out, completely alien to Indian shores.

      1. re: howler

        Chicken Tikka Masala is authentic in the UK though given it was invented here :)

        In addition to the very fine establishments recommended in this thread, I'd also reccomend needo They do very some very good tikka there I find.

        1. re: spli

          why do you reserve that authenticity honor solely for tikka masala? shouldn't you also similarly honor curry house vindaloo, dhansaak, rogan josh etc?

        2. re: howler

          Thanks, H. I knew about butter chicken being created at the original MM but not the story about scraps.

          It's often been suggested that chicken tikka masala was invented in Scotland and there's aGlasgow restaurant claiming it as their's.


          1. re: howler

            I'd had true-blue British chicken tikka masala in Dhaka, Bangladesh - talk about reverse-acculturation :-)

          2. re: Harters

            Yes, I realize it isn't an authentic Indian dish, but I thought that since it was supposedly invented in London that I can find the best versions here :)

            I have seen it in many Indian restaurants in the US, as well as in India when I've traveled. I've found that versions of chicken tikka masala that I've tended to like the most are those with a bit of a kick.

            Most butter chicken that I've had has been fairly mild, but I wouldn't mind getting some of that either if you can recommend any.

            1. re: arlenemae

              Hi arlenemay! London has some fantastic Indain food treasures...I'm just not sure searching for a Tikka Masala will unearth them necessarily! :) If that is all you are after....then fairy nuff!

              However, if you harbour a secret desire to encounter the vibrantly spiced, life-affirming best that London has to offer...howler and Harters are certainly the guys to point you in the right direction.

          3. Chicken Tikka Masala : ubiquitous & dangerous.
            You may wish to check any restaurant you consider at :


            21 Chapel Market London N1 9EZ

            111-113 Commercial Road
            London E1 1RD

            Drummond Street NW1

            Kind regards,

            6 Replies
            1. re: Patra19

              hint: when you see 'masala' spelt 'massala', it is an immediate give away that bangladeshi fakery is afoot.

                  1. re: howler

                    I guess all the Indian chefs went to California and we were left with Bangladeshis

              1. re: Patra19

                Thanks for the recs...will check these out!