Venerable Edinburgh institution which has fed loyal fans simple Indian food since 1979.
Unfairly overshadowed by the cheaper, more student-friendly Mosque establishments across the square, Kebab Mahal has long been an excellent location for budget curry in a hurry. You can also takeaway (there's no delivery service), though off site their side dishes seem a little lacking in flavour, with undercooked aloo ghobi, bland naan and cheap-tasting veg. Curries such as lamb biryani and a suitably coconutty korma are better executed, with a good, creamy texture to the korma and tender chunks of meat in both. Those with delicate palates beware, though, as each dish packs a surprising level of heat, especially those traditionally considered mild.
One of Edinburgh’s oldest Indian takeaways, Kebab Mahal generates such loyalty in its customers they’re apt to direct you to a table and recommend the tandoori chicken before heading home with their own juicy kebab tucked under their arm. They’re not wrong; from a beautifully crisp and sizzlingly spicy vegetable samosa to a sweet and tangy coriander-infused chicken karahi, this is good-quality stuff. The restaurant itself might not be much to look at and there’s very little space inside, but Kebab Mahal is a great stop-off on the way to or from a play at the Festival Theatre or a night out on the tiles during the Fringe. You won’t be able to pre-load here – it’s alcohol free. If you enjoy an old-school curry you'll find all the classics from a red-hot madras to a creamy korma. And it's all served up under the watchful eye of Zahid Khan, who has been serving hungry Edinburgh punters since 1979.
- High point: Simple good quality curry that defies expectations
- Low point: You'll be lucky to find a seat, so be prepared to wait
- Notable dish: Karahi Murgh
- Delivery: Free
- Provides: Halal options, Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Outdoor tables
- Music on stereo: Nothing
- Capacity: 26
- Largest group: 26
- Open since: 1979