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Devi or Tamarind?

  • j

My parents are visiting in a couple of weekends, and I'd like to take them for Indian on Saturday night. It's one of their favorite cuisines, so I've narrowed it down to these two for an upscale, maybe more interesting than the norm Indian meal. Any advantages that put one over the other?


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  1. The last time I was at Tamarind was about a year and a half ago, but I was underwhelmed. Nothing about it stood out.

    I was at Devi in December and had an excellent meal. Everything was delicious and I would highly recommend it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: valerie

      Both are excellent choices. Tamarind has a much more extensive menu, with more bread choices. Don't miss the Naan e Tamarind, which is filled with chopped fruits and nuts. For the bread alone, my wife prefers Tamarind.

      Devi is more of an adventure. The food is slightly more modern and fusion-y, such as a sprinkling of parmesian on some dishes, but retains wonderful Indian spicings. The menu is more focussed, with fewer items, but more high spots. Both offer the Manchurian cauliflower, but Devi's is better, more subtle and fresh tasting. Tamarind's vegetables are delicious as well, but more conventional, and they don't offer them as side dishes (as they do at Devi), so they are in the $15 range.

      The lamb chops at Devi are mind-blowingly good, maybe the best I have ever tasted.

      Decor: Devi seems smaller and more intimate, with beautiful fabrics and colors. More timeless. Tamarind is more modern in feel.

      Both have nice wine selections that let you stray from the cliches.

      You'll drop some serious coin at either place.

      You won't be sorry at either place, but for a one-shot experience, I'd give a slight nod to Devi.

      1. re: ahnyc

        I've done the tasting menu with wine and Devi, and it was excellent. Quite a bit of food though!

    2. Been to both, recommend Devi over Tarmarind. I think Tamarind is overrated. I prefer Tamarind for lunch-they have a good deal on a combo platter. At Devi I recommend the lamb entreeand the cauliflower appetizer.

      Report back on your decision and experience. I would appreciate your opinion.

      1 Reply
      1. re: eve

        I agree with this. Never understood the Tamarind appeal.

      2. Hey Jules,

        Did you consider Tabla? Another high-end Indian place in the same area with some interesting dishes......

        1 Reply
        1. re: Scott V

          good suggestion--of the 3, Tabla is my favorite. Though, less traditional.

        2. I have been to Tamarind and Tabla. Both are sort of silly restaurants. Nothing special except for the prices. At Tamarind they tried every trick in the book to jack up the bill. It was sort of funny. We order a bottle of wine. The appatizers mysteriously appear as soon as we are out of wine. So we have to order a 2nd bottle. Then my wife orders a $45 bottle of wine. When the bill comes it is a $300 bottle of wine. You wont find any Indians eating at these restaurant its purely for white folks. If the only Indian in the restaurant is waring mc hammer pants with a turban might want to try a different place.

          1. Thanks, guys! I had sort of ruled out Tabla because I've taken my parents to Bread Bar -- though I know the main dining room is a different experience. Perhaps I'll reconsider. As for Hector's posting, ironically an English-Indian friend told me he enjoyed Tamarind. Whatever the final decision, I'll report back.

            1. Went to Tamarind for the first time last night on the recommendation of several friends and I thought the meal was excellent. My friend who is a regular at the place and Indian did all the ordering for us so it is possible we got the benefit of his familiarity with the menu. Each dish we tried was well executed, flavorful with interesting ingredients and some nice heat. Particularly enjoyable were the goat and the halibut dishes. Only criticism was that the Chicken tikka was a bit dry. The garlic naan was fresh and flavorful as well. We drank a Napa Syrah recommended by our waiter which paired surisingly well with the food (I wouldn't have thought of that particular combination myself.

              All in all we're eager to go back and would recommend it as more than a step above some of the other indian places we've tried (albeit with commensuratelly steeper prices). Have not tried Devi though so unfortunately cannot offer a comparison. Please let us know what you decide and how it turns out!

              It was also nice to come away from the table without that heavy, food coma sluggishness that greasy food sometimes causes.

              1. Tamarind gets a lot of criticism on this board, and I think that much of it is indeserved. That said, IMO, both Tamarind and Devi are excellent choices. I've eaten many times at both restaurants and can tell you that you will have a good meal at either one. Both are upscale, though Devi certainly has a more formal, traditional feel to it. Tamarind' is airier, trendier and much more modern. The differences in menu have been well-covered on this thread, so, all other things being more or less equal, perhaps you should make your choice based on what type of food options you are looking for. For vegetarian, tandoor and combo options with various breads, go for Tamarind. For more formal, classic entree dishes, go for Devi, which probably edges out Tamarind ever-so-slightly in the fine cooking category.
                In case it makes a difference, Tamarind has a creative list of Indian-themed cocktails. I don't typically drink wine with Indian food, and have enjoyed several of them.

                1. JulesEV,

                  Being Indian, I can tell you Tabla is definitely not Indian in the traditional sense. Not that I have anything against the restaurant; I've been to the Bread Bar and Dining Room and both are great, but just not Indian. Maybe "Indian Influenced." I've also been to Tamarind and Devi, and for me, the real difference between the two is that 1 is upscale with a more traditional menu (Tamarind). What I mean by this is that they offer a menu with dishes that you are likely to get in an Indian household. Devi on the other hand is Indian (not fusion) but taken up a notch - and not what you would traditionally make at home in and Indian household. You would make the same dishes in essence, but in a simpler way at home. Both restaurants are upscale - but I prefer the decor at Devi. Thus the choice depends on if you want a more traditional menu or a menu that is more inventive.

                  My personal rec would be for Devi - but different strokes....

                  Hope you and your 'rents have a great meal whatever you choose.

                  1. Devi, Tamarind, and Chola are the top three Indian restaurants in Manhattan. You can't go wrong with any of the above.