The Empress

4.5
354 reviews
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£25 and under
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Indian
Top tags:
  • Authentic
  • Spicy
  • Casual
The best Indian restaurant in the East End? So say The Empress’ loyal following. What we do know is that the quality of service and cooking has been consistently excellent since the Islam family opened their multi-award-winning venture in 1993. That the quality of dishes never falters despite an astonishingly diverse and big menu hints at the kitchen’s expertise. Persian, korai, balti, biryiani, North Indian, tandoori, shellfish – whatever kind of Indian meal you’re after, you’ll get it here. If you try only one of the chef’s specials, make it the lamb rajshai (a medium dish with with baby mangoes). A genuinely welcome from a superb staff and an unique décor of traditional hand-crafted wooden artefacts complete the worthy picture.The Empress has won prestigious awards such as: Top Indian restaurant in the dockland and east London area Top chef and waiter and family Indian restaurant award in the docklands and East London.
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Indian
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Hours of Operation
Mon - Fri: 12:00pm - 2:30pm, 6:00pm - 11:30pm Sat: 6:00pm - 11:30pm Sun: 6:00pm - 11:59pm
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Phone number
020 7265 0745
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Payment Options
MasterCard, Visa
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Dress Code
Casual Dress
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Additional
Gluten-free Menu, Wine
What 354 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.5
service
3.9
ambience
4.5
value
Noise · Quiet
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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m
London
23 reviews
Dined on 4 October 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

The food and service was good. My chicken was a bit dry but the food looked very authentic.

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K
Minneapolis
3 reviews
Dined on 2 September 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I have been to the Empress many many time for fun and business. Their food is amazing and so are the staff. Highly recommend especially as an alternative to Brick Lane that cater more to tourists.

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HF
London
7 reviews
Dined on 25 August 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always excellent and great value. the owners are always very friendly and engaging. A very pleasant environment.

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OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on 30 June 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Absolutely delicious!

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Cleveland
1 review
Dined on 6 June 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We were visiting from the U.S., and were eager to try an Indian restaurant, as we had heard they were excellent in London. The Empress certainly exceeded our expectations. As we had difficulty deciding what to order, we shared several dishes, family style. Everything was delicious! The chicken was wonderfully tender, the sauces and spices were excellent, and the service was lovely. Even our younger son, who can be a bit fussy, really enjoyed his meal. About a 10 minute walk from the Tower Hill underground. So happy we elected to go here!

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HF
London
7 reviews
Dined on 5 May 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is one of the best Indian restaurants in London, the food is authentic and always amazing. For London it is very reasonably priced a must for any curry lover, a hidden gem. as its off the tourist routes its quite cozy although it is getting busier now with its reputation spreading and all the new developments in the area. Best to book at weekends.

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c
London
2 reviews
Dined on 27 February 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

we were visiting The Empress before going to a performance at Wilton's Music Hall. We had a lovely meal with friendly efficient service - would definitely return!

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H
London
2 reviews
Dined on 28 December 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

An EXCELLENT CHOICE!

Great service. Good value. An excellent menu that the waiting staff are happy to talk you through and recommend from. There are some interesting specials on the menu that are worth a try.

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R
London
1 review
Dined on 13 October 2017
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 2

Working in the city .. my main reservation about this place is that it is off the beaten track and quite a distance from the main hub of the city. Staff were attentive but we were there pretty early. Food wise - mango chutney was like a liquid sauce - poor and not enough onion salad. Naan`s were very small to be honest compared with other Indian restaurants. Main dishes were very good to be fair and over all if the location were better it`s a place I`d visit perhaps again. Staff were v friendly and couldn`t be faulted. Over all I`ve given it a 3 star. Had these small issues been different it would have got a 4 star for sure.

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OT
Cincinnati
2 reviews
Dined on 26 September 2017
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 2

Good food but the wait was too long for the food.

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OT
London
79 reviews
Dined on 17 September 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The waiter could not have been more helpful and very friendly. There were two vegans in the party and he was very knowledgable and made good suggestions. The food was very good.

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J
London
2 reviews
Dined on 3 September 2017
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 2

Very few customers in the restaurant on a Sunday evening. However the restaurant also offers a takeaway service and when members of the public are waiting for their food they just sit at dining tables in the restaurant talking to staff which totally ruins the restaurant experience. A takeaway service should be kept separate to the restaurant element. The food we had was nice although service was very poor, probably because they were busy talking to the the takeaway customers. We had to remind them of our wine order otherwise it wouldn't have arrived.
We wouldn't recommend this restaurant and will not be returning as there are much nicer restaurants with much better service and ambience.

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HF
London
7 reviews
Dined on 26 August 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is a great Indian restaurant , slightly off the normal tourist route but an absolute gem. Food is brilliant, service excellent and small enough to have a kind of private intimacy. Well worth the ten minute walk fro the tube stations . There is nothing on Brick Lane to compare to the Empress.

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OT
London
1 review
Dined on 25 July 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food excellent service excellent restaurant

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R
London
25 reviews
Dined on 24 May 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Popped in to the Oliver Conquest gin bar earlier with friends and then walked down to The Empress for a meal afterwards. Service was good and the quality of Indian excellent. Offered the chill vodka shots afterwards fun to try but handle with care. Would definitely return.

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S
Brighton
26 reviews
Dined on 20 April 2017
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

As a group we have been here before several times and never had a problem. However this will be our last visit here as three of the six people attending suffered from severe and prolonged intestinal problems throughout the following day. All three had the lamb chop starter which looked good and tasted good and this is likely to have been the cause of the problem as the three people afflicted had different main courses.

Also when we paid the bill we normally get offered a complimentary drink on the house but, after I asked, I was the only one offered a drink as opposed to everyone - a strange decision.
Thanks for the good times and goodbye.

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m
London
1 review
Dined on 19 April 2017
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Super Essen. Nette Bedienung. Die Tandooris super. Die Pfannen waren aber so heiß und rauchten derart, dass eigentlich der Rauchmelder Alarm hätte geben müssen.

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OT
London
1 review
Dined on 29 January 2017
Overall 5food 5service 2ambience 3

Wonderful food. Service could be better. Had to wait quite long to get the bill.

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HF
London
7 reviews
Dined on 21 January 2017
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

As Excellent as ever, it was the first time my friend had been to the Empress and it was as good as I had said it would be. A Hidden gem and a must for any curry fanatic.

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BG
London
5 reviews
Dined on 30 December 2016
Overall 2food 3service 3ambience 1

We were surprised that the restaurant was so highly rated. The ambiance was poor due to loud Elvis music playing and a large party in the restaurant yelling and singing and staff did nothing to intervene. Having a conversation our table was not possible. Food was average. Service was fast, given the place was nearly empty at 1930 on a Friday night. Overall a disappointing experience

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OT
London
1 review
Dined on 27 December 2016
Overall 3food 5service 1ambience 1

The food was exceptional. Everything else was either bad or comically inept. Waiters did not know what was on the menu and forgot orders. I say waiters because three different people alternated randomly. In the middle of dinner, kitchen staff carried garbage out through the dining room. Again great food but takeout is mandatory unless you like dinner comedy.

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OT
London
1 review
Dined on 24 December 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great experience to spend xmas in London

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HF
London
7 reviews
Dined on 17 December 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Brilliant food , one of London's undiscovered gems and very reasonably priced too. A must for any lover of Indian cusine.

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j
Berkshire
32 reviews
Dined on 7 December 2016
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Food was tasty as usual, and service was fine. Food did not arrive particularly hot though and looked like it has been sat for a while, which rather took the edge off the overall impression. I am a fan of this restaurant and go fairly often. They don't usually get it wrong but this time it just wasn't quite as good as usual. Hopefully it will be better next time.

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OT
London
1 review
Dined on 28 October 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I took a couple of friends from out the country here for an authentic Indian restaurant experience in England, and this was absolutely perfect. The staff are friendly and were able to explain to my friends what kind of meals would suit them, and they were able to make me a great Paneer vegetarian option off-menu. Most of our options were off-menu and made on recommendation.

I'd go here again, great service and food.

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J
London
1 review
Dined on 7 October 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and service would recommend The Empress to all.

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v
London
2 reviews
Dined on 16 August 2016
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 3

Very nice Indian curries. The atmosphere was quiet and cozy, the service was great! The only thing I could suggest is cutting down the size of the menu.

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LE
London
5 reviews
Dined on 15 July 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The menu was very interesting but still had the old faithful selection. The tables were set with clean white linen and napkins and the service was very friendly and efficient. We were not rushed and stayed on to drink another bottle of wine. Very enjoyable and I would go back again.

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OT
London
2 reviews
Dined on 2 July 2016
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 1

Dishes were very spicy compared to dining elsewhere. Service was too fast until we got to desert and then they weren't interested so we left without one.

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FC
London
178 reviews
Dined on 27 June 2016
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Excellent food and attentive service at this friendly and accomplished Indian restaurant. Will be back for sure

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OT
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on 21 May 2016
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We've stayed in the Tower Hanlets area many times over the past decade and wish we had found The Empress earlier. The staff were welcoming and gave excellent suggestions for us. All the dishes Had wonderful spices and worked well together. Service was prompt and efficient. This was likely the best Indian food we have had in at least 10 years and at a very reasonable price. We will definitely be back each time we visit London.

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T
London
25 reviews
Dined on 5 February 2016
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Lloyd's underwriters like their "Ruby Murrays" and despite some teasing about the length of time it took to walk from Lime Street, we had an amusing lunch fueled by excellent Indian fare and cold Cobras.

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m
London
122 reviews
Dined on 31 December 2015
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

to Empress for pre-fireworks dinner on New Year's Eve. It was a first-time visit for our friends who were very impressed with the friendliness of the service & the quality of the food. Chicken nazarkat starter was as tasty as ever & the Indian Shepherd's Pie was yummy. A very reasonably priced bottle of Lanson rose was the perfect accompaniment to the meal

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RJ
London
1 review
Dined on 27 November 2015
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Highly recommended! - the food is always exceptionally tasty, with quality ingredients and subtle flavours. One of the very best curry houses in East London without a doubt.

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O
London
2 reviews
Dined on 24 October 2015
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food is excellent and the service is very good and friendly

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MK
London
59 reviews
Dined on 24 September 2015
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The Empress is a good old fashioned curry house that always delivers. The staff are friendly, the food good and the prices reasonable. The "5th" bowl to go with Pops is very spicy! Rest of the menu is good. Worth a visit.

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LV
Las Vegas
2 reviews
Dined on 24 July 2015
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

We came because of the excellent reviews this restaurant has received. Our experience was mixed. The ambience is fine, with white tablecloths and well spaced tables. Unfortunately we were seated in front of the door, which was very unpleasant since the traffic was constant, and annoying since it was quite chilly every time the door was opened.
The service was just fine, though not especially friendly. It was the food that disappointed. We had one excellent dish, the boneless duck curry was delicious, moist and tender with a mildly spicy sauce. However the lamb with pickled baby mangoes was disappointing. Instead of being meltingly tender, the lamb was chewy and the baby mangoes salty and strong. The braised aubergine was bland and tasteless. The rice was clumpy, which was quite surprising for an Indian restaurant, in our experience. I doubt we'll go back since there are so many Indian restaurants to choose from in the area.

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MB
Miami
9 reviews
Dined on 23 May 2015
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

The food is brilliant every dish we have ordered has been so tasty it's fairly priced the staff are friendly the only down side is the time it takes to get the food, however it's worth the wait we will be back

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L
London
4 reviews
Dined on 6 May 2015
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our visit was timed to fit in with a concert at Wilton's Grand Music Hall. We dined at 6pm just as the restaurant opened. We were welcomed and immediately made to feel at ease. The staff were courteous and friendly. The food was quite wonderful and the best curry we have had for many years. The chicken jalfrezi and the chicken roshuni were super dishes. A good selection of wines too. Highly recommend this restaurant!

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B
London
12 reviews
Dined on 11 April 2015
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Wow what an unexpected find! This place doesn't look much from the outside but the food was excellent. Mussels for starter were incredibly tasty & different from the kind of food on offer at most places. Lamb chops also seemed to satisfy. Everyone was very happy with their mains too. Very friendly staff & excellent service. Would definitely make a detour for the Empress if in the area again.

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