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Four new Indian restaurants in Macao to keep on your radar

After an uneventful stretch for the city’s Indian dining scene, there’s a moment of renewed excitement with four new restaurants open now or opening soon
  • Justindia, Bombay Palace, Taal and Woodlands are the new kids on the block, offering greater choice for local fans of Indian cuisine

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UPDATED: 11 Jun 2024, 3:52 pm

While Macao prides itself on its global dining options, it has rarely moved the needle when it comes to Indian food. A shining exception was the Golden Peacock at the Venetian – the first Michelin-starred Indian restaurant in Asia, no less. But its closure during the pandemic left fans of Indian restaurants in Macao crying into their salty lassis.

To be sure, there are places where you can get a serviceable curry in Macao – and some, like Goa Nights, Indian Spice and Zam Zam, that are worth a special trip – but the scene has been lacking in novelty. Until now. The recent opening of three new Indian restaurants, and the imminent opening of another, has shaken things up almost overnight. 

[See more: Indian grocery stores in Macao: 5 must-visit shops to spice up your life]

Jonesing for some biryani, sizzling tikka or something more refined? Here are four new Indian restaurants to try or look forward to.

Justindia

Justin Paul, formerly of the Michelin-starred Golden Peacock, has opened a new venue, Justindia, in NAPE
Justin Paul, formerly of the Michelin-starred Golden Peacock, has opened a new venue, Justindia, in NAPE – Photo courtesy of Justindia

Good news for local gourmands: the Golden Peacock may be no more, but its Kerala-born chef Justin Paul has opened his own restaurant in NAPE. Justindia is the new, fitting home for his standout modern take on Indian cuisine. Its menu reflects a global trend to elevate Indian cuisine through fine-dining approaches – something that Paul has long practised.

You can’t miss the intricate, Mughal-style façade of the restaurant. Inside, a burgundy and deep blue palette sets a cosy mood in an intimate dining room, where one of the walls is hung with vibrant paintings, each representing a region of India. 

At the end of the room lies the bar, helmed by a bartender who formerly worked at the Four Seasons Mumbai. He mixes up cocktails ranging from classic to signature, and even customises drinks based on your preferences. 

Thali meal sets are served for lunch, including a plant-based option. Come evening, two tasting menus are available (one comprising 7 dishes and another featuring 11 dishes), promising a journey across the subcontinent through a multitude of flavours and colours.

[See more: Our pick of Macao’s best Portuguese restaurants]

Look forward to creations such as the chicken tikka covered in a baby beetroot sauce and pomegranate (one of the chef’s signature dishes at the old Golden Peacock), the superb pumpkin prawn rasam soup, and the delightful black cod – an unusual ingredient in Indian cuisine – served over a sauce made of fermented green chilli, cumin and spices. Wine pairing is available too.

Best for: Weekday lunch and special occasions
Opening hours: 11:30 am to 12:00 am
Address: Rua de Bruxelas 59, NAPE district, Macao
Reservations: Book via direct message on Instagram

Bombay Palace 

Budget-friendly and authentic India fare is the hallmark of Bombay Palace, where there are plenty of vegetarian offerings - Indian restaurants Macao
Budget-friendly and authentic India fare is the hallmark of Bombay Palace, where there are plenty of vegetarian offerings – Photo courtesy of Bombay Palace

Ritesh Kumar – who is also the yoga instructor behind Macao’s long-established Yoga Light studio – long felt that the city was lacking options for authentic and affordable Indian food. That drove him to open Bombay Palace, just one block away from MGM Macau.

As guests enter the two-storey eatery they’re greeted by figures of the gods Radha and Krishna. Styled in bold tones of orange and blue, the space features Indian floral motifs and patterns framed by Mughal arch cut outs. A few decorative pieces are evocative of yoga, a nod to Kumar’s connection to the holistic practice. 

There are a few dining tables upstairs, as well as a private room for cosy gatherings. A bartender has also recently joined the team and is currently developing the restaurant’s cocktail menu. 

The budget-friendly menu focuses on the cuisine of the Jaipur region and features the dishes that many Indians grew up with, executed in homely fashion by two chefs hailing from the Western and Northern regions of the country.

[See more: Here are 5 great places to enjoy Vietnamese food in Macao]

Expect all your usual favourites as well as a wide vegetarian selection. Both starters on the menu are meat-free and there are eight plant-based curries besides. Save room for the kheer dessert – a creamy rice pudding that has resemblances to the Portuguese arroz doce.

Best for: Casual gatherings and family meals 
Opening hours: 11 am to 11:30 pm
Address: Avenida Dr. Sun Yat Sen 1303, Macao
Reservations: (853) 6818 0486

Taal

Taal’s samosa chaat is a refined take on the popular street snack - Indian restaurants in Macao
Taal’s samosa chaat is a refined take on the popular street snack – Photo by Craig Sauers

Taal, which has branches in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, bills itself as a pan-Indian restaurant, but leans toward northern fare. It’s a solid addition to the city’s burgeoning Indian food scene, offering delicious, affordable food and friendly service.

Blue-green walls adorned with Indian tapestries and paintings mark interiors of this two-storey eatery just off the bustling Avenida de Horta e Costa – where Indian competitors are scarce.

[See more: Top 5 restaurants in Macao for Macanese food]

We loved the samosa chaat – a smashed samosa bathed in sauces and popular street snack – as well as the clay-oven chicken malai kabab, marinated in cashew nut sauce and good for those who don’t want to be overwhelmed by spice. The rib-sticking dahl makhani, a Punjabi dish of kidney beans and lentils stewed with butter and cream, also wins raves.

The dahl makhani is only one of the meat-free dishes on the menu, which has nearly four pages featuring plant-based options, making Taal a great pick for vegetarians.

Best for: Casual gatherings and meals with the family. Private dining room available
Opening hours: 10 am to 10 pm
Address: Rua do Almirante Costa Cabral 10-14 B, Macao 
Reservations: (853) 6589 6644

Coming soon: Woodlands

A vegetarian thali, or set meal, served at one of Woodlands’ Hong Kong branches - Indian restaurants in Macao
A vegetarian thali, or set meal, served at one of Woodlands’ Hong Kong branches – Photo courtesy of Woodlands

Vegetarians rejoice: Macao is finally getting a branch of this popular Hong Kong plant-based restaurant chain. With a history spanning over four decades, Woodlands has three branches in Hong Kong and is one of the oldest Indian vegetarian outfits, if not the oldest, in Macao’s neighbouring SAR. 

[See more: Discover 5 of Macao’s best vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants]

Woodlands is known for a convivial atmosphere and is always packed with Indian families enjoying a menu that’s long on South Indian specialties. This is the place to come for your dosa, uttapam and idli. It also offers several different types of thali – an Indian set meal composed of several small dishes of curry and soup, with rice and bread.

The Macao branch will be open for all-day dining, with plans to introduce Sunday brunch shortly after the launch. In the meantime, you can always count on its weekday buffet lunch for variety and value. 

Keep an eye out for this upcoming vegetarian haven in the NAPE district, slated for a June opening.

Best for: Vegetarian food
Address: Avenida do Governador Jaime Silvério Marques 95, NAPE district, Macao

UPDATED: 11 Jun 2024, 3:52 pm

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