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Best Indian in Manhattan?

  • l

Two Indian-deprived women--one from Seattle, the other from SW NH--are meeting in NYC and are dying for Indian food.
What are the favorites?
And both of us have been to India so we'd like the real thing!

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  1. For a special meal, Bukhara Grill (49th between 2nd and 3rd Ave) is amazing (and authentic).

    5 Replies
    1. re: Sharon

      Bukhara Grill has another edition up on East 58th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Aves. (212) 339-0090.

      That said, I think the most exciting Indian restaurant in town is Tamarind, on East 22nd Street, betw. Park Ave. So. and Broadway. The concept includes some French techniques with Indian ingredients. I've never had better venison than Tamarind's tandoori venison chop. Stupendous!!

      1. re: Tom Steele

        Being an Indian, I think Bukhara is more authentic than Tamarind. You might want to try Salaam Bombay if you are in downtown and Dawat which is on the 58th St ( between 2nd and 3rd ). Fav dishes at Bukhara : Paneer Tikka for appetizer, Paneer Makhni for entree. fav dish anywhere : Malai Kofta. Always works great for me.

        If you would wanna try a bit more, try Jackson Diner in Queens ( jackson heights ). excellent north indian food.

        If you want to eat South Indian food, Pongal at Lex Av between 27th and 28th is an excellent choice.. but the NI at Pongal wasn't great.

        All said, there is a this small restaurant at 46th between 6th and 7th called Minar, which is probably the best cheap eat in New York. You can get an excellent NI meal ( three course ) for 10 bucks..

        - VR

        1. re: VR

          MINAR is exellent but I prefer the Minar on 31st between 5th and broadway

        1. re: Sharon

          I think Bukhara is good for the odd kebab etc. but as an overall experience isn't the best Indian in the city. Its important to note that Bukhara Grill in NY is not the same as the one in India (e.g. the one in Delhi, in the ITT Sheraton, which I've been to). The Indian chain sued Bukhara (which copied restaurant concept, decor, even the exact menu design on the piece of wood etc.), and I believe lost. The authentic one in India was 100x better than the one in NY... it blew my mind really.. didn't think kebabs could get to that whole other level

        2. I have not been to either Bukhara or Tamarind, but I just wanted to mention our own favorite, Salaam Bombay down in TriBeCa. It's on Greenwich between Duane & Reade, not far from the Chambers St subway stop. If you go, don't miss their shag ponir. Our second favorite is Chola on E 58th, but the last time we were there wasn't quite as good as previously. Both these places are probably a fair amount less expensive than I gather Tamarind is. Don't know as much about Bukhara but do plan to try both some time.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Wanda

            For less formal alternatives,
            Dimple, a gujarati restaurant with so. indian dishes also (dosas, etc), 30th St between 5th and 6th Aves.
            Shipa Sasturi Pavilian, 83 Lexington Ave. between 26th and 27th (east side of street), a bengali dive with a mostly male (cabdriver) patronage but very nice staff and a tasty steam table with (bony) bengali fish and mutton curries, channa dal and veg curries - a huge meal for $6.
            If you are in the village, Mirchi, on 7th Ave. So. seems to have an interesting menu and has received recommendations.
            In the East Village, I like Madras Mahal or Madras Cafe (cant remember which name it is) on 2nd Ave at around 4th St (west side) for veg so. indian dishes.

            1. re: jen kalb

              All good suggstions for a value meal. If one want's slightly upscale with experiments in south asian ingredients - Coconut Grove in 56th 6th & 5ths. They have some good British beers on tap too :)

              1. re: anil

                Cononut Grove has been replaced by another Indian restaurant called Kishti. I had a pretty decent lunch buffet there, but I don't think I'd call it the best.

              2. re: jen kalb

                The East Village place Jen mentioned is Madras Cafe. And it's between 4th and 5th on 2nd Ave. I'll second this recommendation!

            2. I had an excellent meal at Banjara-corner of 6th St. and 1st Ave. Really wonderful Chicken Tikka Masala.

              1 Reply
              1. re: TMW

                I'll second Banjara, my pick for my favorite Indian in the East Village, anyhow. Their Dumpahkt dishes - a vegetable and pureed cashew stew with a bread lid baked over it - are amazing, as is their Lamb Pasanda, lamb in yogurt sauce. I also love their Banjara Baingun eggplant appetizer, which is baked eggplant stuffed with shrimp and coconut, with a spicy dipping sauce. The Chicken Tikka Masala is also very good.

              2. "Curry in a Hurry" on 29th St and Lexington, it's halal. The two-story restaurant is part self-service (they make the nan in the window), but also has a good menu. Their lamb vindaloo is very good, as hot as it goes. There is a salad bar with all the chutneys and rice pudding. It's quite authentic , you'll see rows of cabs parked around the resto and every cabbie in NYC seems to know this place. It's "grab a table" family restaurant (and Indian and families from all over the world you will see on the weekend) with a rather sweeping view down Lexington from the second floor...(We're very fond of this place and have eaten through two of their "Frequent Eater" cards).

                1 Reply
                1. re: foodforyou

                  This place is famous.. for the taxis etc.. but is a bad version of Indian food in my opinion. Its cheap and fast... some food looks like it has too much neon in it (e.g. infamous neon red/pink tandoori chicken). My parents drove up here once from NJ in the late 1990s and were appalled. I think Dhaba I think is the best non-veg/veg restaurant in Curry Hill... opened some point in 2008. .. much better... and not too much pricier. On cheap price points.. I would rather check out Roomalli or Handi or one of the vegetarian options than Curry in a Hurry.

                2. Definitely check out the Pakistani Tea House on Church at Chambers(?). It's inexpensive, especially if you stick with the vegetarian options. The line at lunch is out the door, and in the evenings it's not unsual to see a line of cabs parked in front while their south asian drivers grab a bite. Plus, if you order bread, you get to watch them roll the dough and cook it in a big clay oven--all right in front of you.

                  1. While probably not "the greatest" Indian restaurant in town, Surya in the West Village (near Chrisopher St) is very good. Place specializes in the cuisine of south India, though they have northern Indian dishes as well. Has a laid back lounge style atmosphere with cool Indian style cocktails and at least half the menu is vegetarian. I recommend, and if you have time, you should go for an enjoyable meal that will not break the wallet.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Jon Altman

                      Surya has a great brunch buffet on weekends.

                    2. I'm stunned, not one mention of Devi, best Indian in Manhattan.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: raji212

                        Well, keep in mind that most of the replies predate Devi's opening.

                          1. re: raji212

                            As many 'hounds will know, Devi has now closed.

                        1. re: raji212

                          Devi was fabulous - but has closed.

                        2. The lunch buffet at Sapphire (Columbus Circle) is one of the best in the city. Interesting salads, elegant (for a buffet) preparation and, for the neighborhood, inexpensive-- $12.95.

                          1. Indian food is my absolute favorite. Without a doubt, the BEST Indian in Manhattan is Salaam Bombay, 319 Greenwich Street, 212-226-9400. It is MUCH better than Chola or any of these other places. Eek

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Feed Me

                              Feed me: I was unfortunate enough to take your advice and try Salaam Bombay. It was disappointing in more aspects than I want to put time into writing about.

                              DO NOT GO THERE. THE FOOD IS TERRIBLE.

                            2. Maybe lessr known, but the best:


                              133 E 45th St
                              Btwn Lexington & 3rd Ave

                              Phone: 212-682-7963
                              Never mind any of the naysayers. This place is the BEST Indian in the East Midtown neighborhood. Period. Actually, for me it is the benchmark and compares as well or above to what you get in Curry Hill (high 20s on Lex) and what was the row of places on East 6th. The Onion Bhajee appetizer is the best I have tried - spicy bundles of fried onions with a savory sweet dipping sauce. I have had this elsewhere with high expectations and no one (trust me) does this like Maharaja. If you want more pedestrian appetizers the Samosa are top notch as is the Mulligatawny Soup, Assorted Vegetable Appetizers (yum) and salads. Entrees also impress. Can't go wrong options are: Beef or Lamb Vindalu (HOT! and flavorful), Lamb Date Korma which as the menu says is cubes of tender lamb smothered in creamy almonds sauce with dates, nuts & raisins (complex, mildly fiery and AMAZING), Chicken Madras, Chicken Balti (spicy and wonderful), and Tandoori which is tender, moist, and has lots of mellow spicy flavor. The naan is wonderful (perhaps only second to Malika, which other than for the Naan I would never recommend) and if you dine in get the exotic, fragrant Kulfi Ice Cream. I am sad to say they needed to move from the comfortable spot they had near 2nd Ave. I have not had the pleasure to dine at their new location near Lexington, but either way I want to point you in the right direction and say: GO! Try! ENJOY.

                              1. For curry hill restaurants I would try:
                                South Indian: Saravanaa (of the Indian chain), Chennai Garde, Pongal or Madras Mahal. I alternate between the 1st two, though I think Saravanaa lacks the requisie amount of tamarind in their sambar.
                                Alternative veg: Tiffin Walla on 28th street is reasonably price and pretty good. Not greasy etc.
                                Non-Veg: I used to go to Copper Chimney on 28th, but chef kept changing. It was great otherwise. Dhaba is a new one that has opened on Lex and is reasonable priced/solid. Roomali on ?27th? has decent kebab rolls to go.

                                I alternate between Saravanaa/Chennai Garden/Dhaba for indian food in that area.