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Best of Toronto

The Best Butter Chicken in Toronto

Posted by Liora Ipsum / March 31, 2014

Butter Chicken TorontoThe best butter chicken in Toronto is decadent, comforting and addictive. Best had with basmati rice or tandoori'd breads, this dish has become a celebrated staple on menus at Indian restaurants and take-out counters across town.

Initially invented and popularized in Delhi, the dish repurposes tandoori chicken and enriches what were traditionally leftovers with rich ingredients like clarified butter and cream. Recipes tend to differ greatly citywide, though there are examples of sweet, nutty and spicy variations represented on this list.

Here is the best butter chicken in Toronto.

See also:

The Best Indian Restaurants in Toronto
The Best Indian Restaurants in Mississauga
The Best Indian Buffet in Toronto
The Best Dosa in Toronto
The Best Samosa in Toronto
The Best Roti in Toronto
The Best Sri Lankan Restaurants in Toronto

Additional photos by Soul Concept and Jim U from the blogTO Flickr pool.

Pukka

Pukka

Settle in at this contemporary Indian dining room on St. Clair that features an ambitious wine list. Here the butter chicken ($17.90) sees morsels of white meat swimming in a tomato-infused butter sauce. Allow the server to suggest surprising wine pairings. More »

Indian Kiss

Indian Kiss

This fast, fresh take-out joint in The Junction will packs up its butter chicken ($16.45) for optimal at-home enjoyment. Here, the renowned favourite starts as tandoor-fired chicken tikka before being finished in a rich cream sauce. More »

Kamasutra

Kamasutra

Butter chicken ($15) is a signature dish at this Indian restaurant and wine bar on Bayview. Done in a North Indian style, moist chunks of baked chicken are finished with fenugreek, butter and light cream. More »

Maroli

Maroli

The butter chicken ($14) is a standout on the menu at this Koreatown spot. It starts as tandoori chicken, chopped then sauteed with a custom spice blend and creamy cashew-laced tomato sauce that's finished with a splash of whipping cream. More »

The Host

The Host

Order murgh makhni ($15) in the mother tongue at this popular Yorkville restaurant and get ready to devour tender chunks of chicken tikka cooked in a creamy, aromatic tomato sauce. More »

Banjara

Banjara

Two locations earn high praise for velvety butter chicken ($12) offered at varying degrees of spiciness. Mop up every last ounce of the rich tomato-based sauce with accompanying orders of steaming naan served straight from the clay oven. More »

Lahore Tikka House

Lahore Tikka House

On Gerrard East in the heart of Little India, this popular Pakistani curry house offers a deep burnt orange curry ($12.25) loaded with bite size nuggets of boneless chicken breast and served with butter floating at its edges. More »

Cinamon Indian Bistro

Cinamon Indian Bistro

The butter chicken ($12.75) at this charming Indian restaurant in The Beach is one of the menu's most popular dishes. On the sweeter side, smoked breast meat is finished with rich a tomato cream that's enriched by butter and honey. More »

Mother India

Mother India

The butter chicken at this Parkdale spot is available with rice or as a self-contained roti ($12) oozing with a saucy curried chicken centre. Take note that portions are enormous and levels of spiciness should be explored cautiously. Further east on Queen? You can order the same dish at sister-spot Gandhi. More »

Discussion

57 Comments

Alexander / March 31, 2014 at 02:23 pm
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Kamasutra but no Dhabba? LOL. Kamasutra is white people Indian food at best. Bland and inoffensive.
mar / March 31, 2014 at 02:38 pm
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at the risk of sounding bland or inoffensive how is amaya not on this list? Love Lahore, Mother India and Kamasutra and I get that Amaya is a chain but their butter chicken is medicine.
Haim / March 31, 2014 at 02:39 pm
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Ohh oh, the downtown core is gonna be pissed when they find out none of these places are in their hood and how can this be possible? The center of the universe does not have any of the best butter chicken?

Sounds like a potential new campaign promise for Olivia Chow.
Will / March 31, 2014 at 03:20 pm
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Spice Village on Wellesley (formerly Biryani House, now under new management) has a fantastic Butter Chicken that should absolutely be considered for this list.
Nigel replying to a comment from mar / March 31, 2014 at 03:21 pm
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Amaya appears frequently on BlogTO's Dine Safe feature when various locations are cited for health code violations.
Sassinak / March 31, 2014 at 03:27 pm
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What no rashnaa???
Brandon / March 31, 2014 at 03:36 pm
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Maroli FTW! Their Malabar chicken dish is also amazing.
James / March 31, 2014 at 03:38 pm
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Babur is really good, too. My vote for the best is Trimurti on Queen W! (Best lamb dishes, too)
Rich / March 31, 2014 at 03:50 pm
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Apalla has absolutely fantastic butter chicken. A bit on the sweeter side, if y'all roll like that.
Apalla lover / March 31, 2014 at 04:02 pm
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I am totally shocked that Apalla on queen isn't on here!! I have traveled to India, have had Indian in the UK where there's a huge expat community of South Asians and still I love the butter chicken at Apalla the best. It's magic.
Mike / March 31, 2014 at 04:04 pm
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Biyrani House on Hayden street (not to be confused w/ the one on Wellsley) is the BEST!
Soupie replying to a comment from Apalla lover / March 31, 2014 at 04:14 pm
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Sorry downtown, no best butter chicken for you!
Farthead / March 31, 2014 at 04:15 pm
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If Mumbai House on Queen isn't at number 1, your list is wrong.
Simran / March 31, 2014 at 04:15 pm
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Just so you know, most of these places are not authentic butter chicken, so I'm not sure how you define 'best'. You don't put honey , cinnamon, or sugar in real butter chicken. I would recommend the host though, they're pretty good.
Soupie replying to a comment from Mike / March 31, 2014 at 04:17 pm
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Sorry downtown, no best butter chicken for you!

We may need to create 2 new lists to accommodate...Best Butter Chicken on Hayden st and Best Butter Chicken on Queen St W between Niagara and Tecumseth St.
Jet / March 31, 2014 at 04:21 pm
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Glad to see St Clair West become a food destination again for TO log rest list BlogTo
Tristan Cuschieri / March 31, 2014 at 04:21 pm
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Butter Chicken Factory in Cabbagetown on Parliament St. makes a damn good butter chicken curry. My current favourite in Toronto, in fact. Sad it didn't make the list.
Reg / March 31, 2014 at 04:22 pm
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Whilst you may enjoy your special spot for Butter Chicken, you really don't have a comparison unless you've tried them all then you can officially say which is best. Just listing a place as your fav doesn't mean its best until you've tried them all.
Skippy / March 31, 2014 at 04:26 pm
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Amaya is overrated and over priced for what it is. Apalla is where it's at...delicious!!!!
McRib replying to a comment from Skippy / March 31, 2014 at 05:25 pm
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I ate at one of their locations once, it was awful.
Janice P / March 31, 2014 at 05:39 pm
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i like mahar (gerrard st) and why is your featured photo swimming in ghee? ugh
Soupiesucks replying to a comment from Soupie / March 31, 2014 at 05:43 pm
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Oh, yes Haim/Soupie. What downtown REALLY wants is to be swamped by a million Indian restaurants. We sooooo jealous and wish we were more like Brampton... :(

Hersh / March 31, 2014 at 06:17 pm
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Butter chicken varies a LOT and is probably the most maligned dish in Indian cuisine (even in India).

Generally, it requires very few spices and mostly fresh ingredients to achieve its tart and slightly sweet flavour. It's the balance of cream, tart tomatoes and sweet spices (mace & cardamom) with the garnish of pungent fenugreek and a faint kick of kashmiri mirch (which also lends a bright red color.)

Unfortunately, most restos downtown overcook and overspice their butter chickens with cumin, garam masala, coriander... At least for a Delhiite, like me, it's a no go. Kwality, Chawala or tandoori flame in the burbs do an delhi style butter chicken. I haven't had anything close to it in Toronto where they use same pre-made gravies as other dishes (cumin & onion based stuff), sweeten it with sugar. It still has the creamy tomatoey goodness but lacks the fresh tart kick and tastes like anything else.

Host's butter chicken in Mississauga differs from what they serve at Wellington. I think the Mississauga one is better. More creamier, tangy and rich. Downtown version changed last time I ordered. Server said it was organic, healthier version. Well..

Lahore doesn't make a good one. As much as I like how kitschy the place is, they use too much oil (not normal) and don't seem to use fresh stuff. If you are in that area, save your money and grab a thai at Motimahal instead.
Catharine Dooley replying to a comment from Nigel / March 31, 2014 at 07:12 pm
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The BEST Butter Chicken in Toronto is Not in Toronto!
The absolute BEST Butter Chicken to be had is in Barrie, Ontario at a restaurant called SPICE on Dunlop Street.
I have tried many Indian restaurants in Toronto and none of them compare to SPICE in Barrie.
Drive north, it is so worth it!
Simon / March 31, 2014 at 07:20 pm
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This clearly was tasted by a Caucasian or non Indian decent person. Doesn't mean I'm racist so relax. I agree Kamasutra is meant for the non Indian pallette along with The Host. Personally the best was Indian Rice Factory when the late Mrs. Patel was working. True butter chicken is only served dhabba style and is from the west end. Cuisine of India makes amazing butter chicken for weddings and Bukhara out in the westend. Then again the west end has to make decent food or all of Brampton will know it sucks and the reataurant will go under.
Bruce replying to a comment from Rich / March 31, 2014 at 08:05 pm
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Love apalla!
Chris / March 31, 2014 at 08:49 pm
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Curry Twist is my fav... so F U :P
O / March 31, 2014 at 11:11 pm
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Kashmir Family Restaurant - the takeout location at Albion Mall at Finch Ave West and Albion - worth the trek, scout's honour.


Neg replying to a comment from Soupiesucks / March 31, 2014 at 11:13 pm
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There are far worse aspects of Brampton to imitate than the proliferation of good Indian restaurants.
Butter / March 31, 2014 at 11:42 pm
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Kwality and taste of India are better than these places listed. Though I have not had Maroli
Gary / April 1, 2014 at 12:19 am
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I decide what I eat!!! NOT YOU!!
j / April 1, 2014 at 12:55 am
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Actually, Tandoori Time on Jane and Major Mackenzie
Living Toronto / April 1, 2014 at 07:34 am
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A group of us recently visited Pukka and thoroughly enjoyed every dish we had. The warmth of the restaurant and the knowledgeable staff helped to make this brutal winter a little more bearable. http://livingtorontojournal.wordpress.com/pukka/
SecretSauce / April 1, 2014 at 10:02 am
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I have not found butter chicken to my taste in Toronto. The best butter chicken I've had was at the Village food court at UBC! We tried to make our own butter chicken at home, but they are never like in restaurants. Then we heard from a caterer that a secret trick of caterers is to use Campbell's tomato soup when tomatoes are called for. So we tried using tomato soup instead of chopped up tomatoes in our homemade butter chicken. It worked like a charm - just like in restaurants!!!
Editor / April 1, 2014 at 10:09 am
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Well, heck, butter chicken itself has to be the blandest, least offensive 'Indian' dish of all anyway. It seems to be a much bigger in Toronto than anywhere in India.
Bruce Mandrake / April 1, 2014 at 12:06 pm
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Butter chicken: A dish that never traditionally existed in India and a myriad of differing recipes.
Rick replying to a comment from Simran / April 1, 2014 at 12:37 pm
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If you are a white hoser that lives in this city you do....
Sadie / April 1, 2014 at 01:28 pm
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Copper Chimney makes a mean butter chicken. They deserve to be on this list!
Jim Smith / April 1, 2014 at 05:11 pm
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Curry Twist on Dundas is the best...
Rachel / April 2, 2014 at 01:38 am
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Butter Chicken Factory deserves to be on this list. Probably my favorite Indian spot in the city.
Rob / April 3, 2014 at 01:27 pm
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Tiffin Restaurant in Pickering, Hands down the best butter chicken
kyla / April 4, 2014 at 07:23 pm
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I prefer my butter chicken spicy so am constantly searching since I've had chefs refuse to make it that way. Gonna try Pukka this weekend but Gau Indian Village is so good, I'd drink the sauce. Reminds me of Bhombay Bel in Mississauga.
beasty55 / April 6, 2014 at 12:06 am
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How in gods name do you not list Babur. It is THE BEST indian food in the city!
pooja replying to a comment from Alexander / April 9, 2014 at 09:57 pm
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LOL.
Fatima / April 22, 2014 at 09:13 pm
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http://fatimasbridalhouse.com/2014/04/18/butter-chicken/

Here's a great butter chicken recipe :) So easy!
EA / April 29, 2014 at 11:46 pm
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Curry Twist sets the bar.
Michael / May 16, 2014 at 05:55 pm
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having been to banjara a couple of times i must say their butter chicken is a bit disappointing. It is predominantly made of yoghurt and is not even a little sweet, in fact its the total opposite. I want to mention butter chicken factory as my preferred butter chicken spot because its a more sweeter yet not completely tomatoey. I live in cabbage town so i might be a little biased but i like my butter chicken a bit sweet and butter chicken factory is just my taste
foodie / July 19, 2014 at 12:48 pm
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Ok so I tried butter chicken at all the places mentioned on this list and most of the places are not even close to being good. For all the indian and pakistani food lovers there is this restaurant called Desi Village by york University on keele street these guys are making butter chicken the way you want it. From mild to spicy to suicidal and its soo creamy and heavenly. Not to mention they are making butter chicken Burrito yes you read that right its wrapped in a tandoori naan and just when we thought butter chicken couldnt get any better they are now maki g butter chicken kabob masala. If you love butter chicken you have to try this place out it easily tops the list on here and easily the best Butter chicken in Toronto. They do online orders as well and delivers in the surrounding area. I love this place and ot is relatively new but I cant get enough of it. Give them a try and you can thank me later ;)
Michelle / August 24, 2014 at 04:14 am
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The Indian Hut on Church Street has the best butter chicken(and every other thing they serve. Such as aloo gobi, lentil soup, lamb masala, ect.) and they bring fresh naan to your table. So delicious.
Camila / November 14, 2014 at 01:26 am
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Apalla! Apalla! Apalla! Apalla! Apalla!
Kris / November 14, 2014 at 02:07 am
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I love how The Butter Chicken Factory isn't even on the list when their resto's name is "The Butter Chicken Factory"
Jimmy / November 14, 2014 at 06:51 am
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Gau Indian Village at Bloor and Shaw is a must for anyone in search of what is truly the best Butter Chicken in Toronto!
Bill / November 14, 2014 at 12:29 pm
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Curry Twist in the Junction FTW! The butter chicken is a close 2nd to their curry chicken. SO GOOD! oh man, now I want Indian food for dinner :S
LC replying to a comment from Catharine Dooley / November 14, 2014 at 02:06 pm
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Barrie is in Barrie, not in Toronto, and it's not even close enough to be a quick drive. Seriously.
kas replying to a comment from Tristan Cuschieri / November 14, 2014 at 03:14 pm
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I had butter chicken from them during the Cabbagetown Festival and it was delish
kas / November 14, 2014 at 03:16 pm
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I like the Katmandu Restaurant at Yonge & College
http://www.kathmandurestaurant.ca/restaurant.htm
the decor is not the greatest but they have amazing butter chicken
Lola / November 14, 2014 at 03:19 pm
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Toronto IS the centre of the Universe
get over it

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