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best indian restaurant?

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what are people's opinions on where to get the best indian food in new york? i have enjoyed dawat, vatan, haveli and cafe madras... what else?

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  1. Diwan. Many have been raving about it. I haven't been yet, but it's definitely on my "go to" list. And, btw, Grimes at the New York Times recently wrote a positive review, giving it two stars.

    1 Reply
    1. re: RGR

      Have been to Diwan 4 times. Food is excellent, frankly everything is excellent, plenty of room around the tables, service. It's really expensive. Best off going to Jackson Diner in Queens. Same quality, 1/2 the price.

    2. Try the lamb chops or the chicken lazeez,or for that matter any of the dishes at Tamarind on 22nd Street. One of the best Indian restaurants in NYC.

      1. After 20 years of shopping at Bloomingdales and ending up eating pizza on 57th, I just discovered one of the best Indian restaurants in the city right down the block: Chola at 232 E. 58th. The buffet lunch is high at $13.95 but really delicious with the waiters carrying out hot breads and stuffed crepe thingys and unusual sauces. The waiter told me I'd appreciate the Sat/Sun brunch when they have many different specialties. They even give you a little card that they punch and you get a meal free after 5 visits. The new Brick Lane Curry House down on East 6th street, although nothing much to look at, provided me with one of the best, freshest tasting vegetable curries I've ever had, they are unusual and care about the food. And when you're in a hurry, Curry in a Hurry on Lexington is really great for takeout...all the cabbies eat there.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Victoire

          I agree. Chola has a terrific all-you-can eat lunch buffet. I enjoy the food, the ambiance, and the service. IMO, even though it's $13.95 for lunch, it's a better value than what's offered on East 6th Street or in the East 20s. When I leave, I feel satisfied and the wait staff really pampers you.

          1. re: Flynn

            I second Chola. I personally think it is WAY better than Spicy Mina's (the chowhound favorite across these boards). The vegetarian dishes are sublime, which is a weak spot in most NY Indian places. I always order much more than I or my wife can eat to try many things (she hates that I do that because it is so expensive). On that note, my one criticism of Chola is the price. Indian should not be that expensive, like Mexican, it should be a downscale item. I have a hard time with any cuisine other than European shooting for those prices. As Eurocentric as I am on this issue, and understanding NY real estate, it still seems wrong and seems like greedy overkill.

          1. re: betty

            Personally, Chola blows Tabla away. I base that off the texture of the breads and veg dishes. They do have good sauces though.

          2. cafe spice on university has lovely food. i also love the okra masala at curry leaf on lexington in the 20s.

            1 Reply
            1. re: kristen

              Ditto. Cafe Spice is marvelous. Try the Malai Korma and the Marsala ka gosht. Cafe Spice and Banjara are my top choices for Indian.

            2. My favorite Indian in Queens is quickly becoming Masala. The menu is solid and has a great mix of Northern and Southern Indian items as well as Indonesian.

              1. I haven't myself tried it yet, but all my friends in the city have said that Devi is the place to go... plus I've met the chef.. and he's awesome...so give it a try..

                1 Reply
                1. re: milky

                  Devi is awesome. It's really more of an indian-fusion sort of place, with main courses featuring continental preperations, although they do offer many standards, like samosas. The lamb chops are tremendous, as were the prawns. There was a sort of stuffed chicken dish with a spinach stuffing that seemed more italianate, but was creamy-deliciouse. I went there with a big party and basically gave the waiters carte blanche. The result was a meal that was, while expensive (esp. for what we usually associate with indian), very memorable.

                2. Jewel on India on West 44th would get my vote, certainly not Tamarind, but I guess it's a matter of taste since someone else disagrees.

                  1. Ate at Chola last night. It was fantasic. The daal was very, very good, as was the chicken Chutneywala. Service very good as well, not pricey.

                    My favorite, though, is the dumpakht at Banjara on the corner of 1st Ave and 6th st. A bit pricier than the rest of the places on that strip, but well worth it. Brick Lane had a good start, but went very quickly downhill. Anyone know if it's still awful?

                    1. Salaam Bombay is the best Indian of all time..........$13.95 lunch buffet how can you beat that. Regional Indian at its best.

                      1. Coming from an Indian foodie who has been to it all in NYC, the definitive list:

                        1. Dawat: I have heard this place hasn't been as good lately...I haven't been there in a lonnng time (maybe 8-9 months), but this place has the best Indian food in the city. Not only are the preparations some of the most successful in combining originality with convention, but the execution of dishes also avoids the buttery and oily heaviness typical of most indian curry preparations in restaurants.
                        2. Chola: A close second really...some of the dishes are particularly innovate and fun (green-chili pasted jumbo shrimp, for example) and the standards like chicken tikka masala; this place is literally adjacent to Dawat so just go take a look at both menus and decide since it's a close 1 vs. 2 (even 1a vs. 1b in some instances).
                        honorable mention thereafter (in no particular order): Mint, Devi, Bhukara Grill
                        From here I've found somewhat of a noticeable gap in quality of food. After this, I find a lot of places like Diwan, Utsav, Bombay Palace, Jewel of India, etc. as extremely mediocre compared to these places (even more so considering all of the top Indian restauratns in NYC mentioned here are roughly at the same price point).

                        1. Banjara, on 1st Avenue @ East 6th Street. Their chicken tikka masala and saag paneer are the best I've ever had. It is impossible to have anything other than an excellent meal there. Everyone I've taken there raves about the place.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: alleyesq

                            Second Banjara. We've taken people and sent people and raves all around. Don't forget to try the dumpakht (sp?) either - wonderful pastry covered casseroles.

                          2. Bayleaf on 56 (betwen 5th and 6th) is the best value for money. The weekday buffet lunch is quite simply awesome. On high-end, Devi and Chola are very good.

                            1. If you happen up to Westchester, one of the best Indian restaurants has been in White Plains for over 30 years and currently more vibrant that ever...Bengal Tiger owned by Simson Kalathara...check out reviews by Bob Lape etc.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: gutreactions

                                I think Tandoori in Port Chester is better than Bengal but not sure I think any of ours are better than those in the city. I still have a few to try though.

                              2. Has anyone tried Dimple on 30th Street? It's pretty cafeteria style, so don't go for a fancy atmoshpere. But the food is really good, not the usual menu.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Candida

                                  did dimple re-open?
                                  last few times I went by there(midday midweek) it was closed.
                                  loved their samosa chaat

                                2. my absolute favorite indian restaurant has got to be indian curry mahal on 1st avenue and 5th street in the e.village. it's more bangladeshi indian, but their chaana poori and chicken korma are to die for. i try to go whenever i can. the naan is also very good.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: artfuldestruct

                                    YES!! This is a wonderful little place (and I do mean little)! My husband and I have been going here for 25+ years since college days. Now that we live in Rockaway with no Indian restaurant nearby we eat a terrific meal here and get take out for home. Lamb vindaloo is our favorite.

                                  2. Demerits to the poster who writes that only European food should be "upscale", whatever that means ("fancy", I guess). Rubbish.

                                    I find vegetarian South Indian to be incredibly elegant. I'm surprised that no one on this thread has mentioned any of the places around 28th St and Lexington. There are a few very good vegetarian places within two blocks of one another. My favorites are Pongal on 28th and Chennai Garden on 27th. All dishes are quality, but you should try one of the dosas. You'll be hooked. Chennai Garden has a very good (and cheap) lunch buffet during the week. Another excellent lunch buffet can be found around the corner at Madras Mahal.

                                    Another place I've been dying to give a try is Dosa Hutt in Jersey City. I hear they serve the best dosas and uttapams in the NYC area.

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: owhosane

                                      Pongal was one of my favorite places in all of NYC a few years ago. Then the owner decided to open 'Copper Chimney', which seems to be a borderline failure. A 'fancy' place (expensive and not that great). The bad part is that he lost money, and decided to short the Pongal budget. Pongal got a facelift, and the food got worse. I suspect fresh ingredients were substituted and an overall decline was effected. Now I feel it is mediocre at best. Still, the rava masala dosa is quite good. The curries are not.

                                      1. re: NYJewboy

                                        I haven't noticed a decline in quality at Pongal (28th St. location) and I've been going there for almost ten years. I'm not trying to discount your observations about the food, only that mine differ, but I am interested in your comment about the Pongal budget. Where did you get this information? My girlfriend and I ordered thalis there a few weeks ago and I noticed no change in the quality of ingredients.

                                        I won't go to Copper Chimney because I am usually looking for vegetarian, Madrasi style food. Copper Chimney doesn't seem to specialize in any particular cuisine of India, which is a warning sign, in my view.

                                        Too bad the block lost the wonderful Asaivam, which served great Chettinad fare, only to be replaced by the god-awful IndoWok. NYC needs another Chettinad restaurant. Also, why is there no place to eat Hyderbadi cuisine in NYC? Perhaps more variety would change many people's ideas of merely two kinds of Indian cuisine (North/South), and also the idea that it is not worthy of more lavish treatment (a la the more expensive Italian or French restaurants).

                                        The comment that Indian cuisines should not be "upscale" is outrageous, considering India's love of extravagant feasts. That said, I have found that many of the more expensive Indian restaurants in NYC tend to cater to what they perceive as American tastes. Bah!

                                        1. re: owhosane

                                          Conversation with the owner. Shhhh- he doesn't know who I am.

                                      2. re: owhosane

                                        The crowd has moved from Dosa Hutt to Dosa House just down the street.

                                        1. re: owhosane

                                          i heartily concur with owhosane, and no one has mentioned Saravanah, a classy South Indian newcomer on 26/Lex, loved by everyone i have taken. and no one has shed tears for the demise of Dimples, a great South Indian dosa and dessert hole in the wall now taken over (and changed forever) by Vatan!

                                          1. re: wallythekulak

                                            you mean the Dimple in the 30s?? If so that is not very good news, tho I like Vatan and gujarati food (which Dimple always had) What is Dimple like now??

                                            1. re: jen kalb

                                              Dimple is now called Gaam. I think it is the same owners. They redecorated and it is fancier now. Haven't been for dinner but they have a ridiculously cheap lunch with a ton of yummy food. I think dinner is more expensive now.

                                            2. re: wallythekulak

                                              be sure to to the right saravanaas, 81 Lex. there is a very similarly named restaurant a block north.


                                              love this place!

                                              81 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

                                          2. I love Surya in the West Village -- it's also made it to the Michelin Guide. It's kind of fancy, excellent service, and a very nice garden patio. For something more casual and in Brooklyn, I like Raga, on Smith Street. I'm not sure if this Raga is related to the Raga in Manhattan but I've heard that Raga in Manhattan is not "all that."

                                            1. To me the best I've had is Banjara on 6th and 1st. It's so good I always order some more just to take home with me. I especially love their chicken salan curry. The service is great too. The only thing I've been disappointed with there is their kheer.

                                              1. I had a dosa, two iddlis and a medu vada at Dosa Hut in Jersey City last weekend. The bill was $7. The dosa was almost two feet long, served from a lunch counter in a cafeteria setting. No atmosphere to speak of, just packed tables of people hungrily scarfing down Indian food from paper plates. If this place was in Brooklyn or Manhattan I'd be there all the time. I've been to India a couple times and this food tastes like what you would get at a lunch counter in Chennai. I'll be returning to Jersey City some time in the future to check out Sri Ganesh's Dosa House. Also curious about a new place on this same block called Udupi Shri Krishna Palace (got a nice review in the Village Voice).

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: owhosane

                                                  I think Dosa Diner in Jackson Heights is better than any of the South Indian I've sampled around "curry hill" (28th and lex). The dosas and uttapamas are 6-10 bucks. It's got no atmosphere (unless you count bizarre flourescent border). The uttapamas are sublime!

                                                  1. re: ZestyZ

                                                    Dosa Diner is SUBLIME. I've always wondered why people skip straight to Jackson Diner, but don't usually give Dosa a heads up.

                                                2. Chola!

                                                  I found it right after a trip that hit southern India. I was blown away to finally find fabulous southern indian in NYC. I order from them lots!

                                                  1. I would like to third Banjara for a terrific meal every time.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: elyseNY

                                                      Love Indian Taj in jackson heights. Tawa chicken - divine! I prefer their buffet to Jackson Diner and it's less expensive. Usually less crowded too.

                                                      1. re: elyseNY

                                                        Ditto. And try Cafe Spice on University Place. Marvelous.

                                                        1. IMHO, I think that Indus Valley on the UWS is the best I've had as far as Tikka Masala.

                                                          I'm trying the recommended Banjara and Chola soon to compare, but I am a little nervous to try elsewhere.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: ebb

                                                            As much as I like Chola, for certain dishes I like Indus Valley just as much. Their tikka masala and pickle-lamb are fantastic.

                                                          2. I third, fourth, or fifth Chola (can't remember how many people have recommended it here!). The chaat on their brunch is somewhere between Bombay streetside and my mother's homemade -- trust me, a good combination. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

                                                            On the other hand, skip Devi -- I have posted elsewhere about how disappointing I found it. Suffice to say that it was TOTALLY overrated -- the best thing there were the lamps on the ceiling.

                                                            Tamarind is my favorite for fusion-y Indian food, especially the lotus root bhajia, which I fiend for on a regular basis. Tabla is also a good choice.

                                                            For more traditional North Indian, Salaam Bombay is a good upscale choice -- don't miss their tandoori platter, on which everything is perfectly prepared.

                                                            OK I have to stop -- getting too hungry!

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: maharani

                                                              i completely agree with your assessment of devi. went there last thursday and the food was completely not worth the money. we ordered three apps and two mains(2 of us). they sent us amuses, but didn't course us out with anything else. all in all we were there for a total of 45 minutes in which time my girlfriend hadn't even finished her cocktail. they completely screwed up the pacing of our meal and the place wasn't even full! we left the place severely disappointed and had to take half the food with us since we had been rushed so badly. even the decor failed to impress...

                                                            2. I like Indigo...50th bet 1st and 2nd. Hope it's still there after today's horror.

                                                              1. Hit the streets. There is a gentleman with a dosa cart outside of NYU at lunch. Vegan, delicious! Now that the park is undergoing reno, I am not sure where he will be, but it's worth finding out!

                                                                1. Sri Ganesh's Dosa House in the Journal Sq. area of Jersey City is excellent. Not much atmosphere to speak of. You place orders and pay at the counter, give them your table number, and they shout to you when it's ready. Rarely do multiple dishes ordered together come out at the same time, but the food is fantastic and cheap. Dosas and uttapam are excellent. The madras coffee is amazing.

                                                                  809 Newark Avenue, between Tonnel Ave. and JFK Blvd.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: agentj9

                                                                    I love India Passage on 3ave in Bay Ridge Brooklyn

                                                                  2. I love Madras Cafe, although quality's slipped in the past couple of years. The best is undoubtedly in Jackson Heights - I usually go to Delhi Palace.