Lal Qila in Palatine has authentic Muslim curries, but no alcohol. Curry Hut has excellent momos, the Nepalese dumplings that are made from beef. Mount Everest is reliable and the service is good. Other than those 3, the drive to Devon is your best bet, with Hema's kitchen taking the top spot for us.
Bombay City in Gurnee is consistently good, I've been going there for several years now and prefer it to Curry Hut by a small margin. Theiir lunch buffet is definitely better than Curry Hut's. I like the Curry Hut atmosphere a bit better but for the food I'd recommend Bombay City. Haven't tried Peacock, will have to check that out. I didn't care much for Himalaya, but have only been there for a lunch buffet a few years ago--it was OK, nothing special.
I've been to Tiffin quite a lot over the years (as my "go to place" on Devon Ave.), and the past few years I've found it disappointing, to the point where I'd consider other places instead when I go to Devon.
On the other hand, I like Mount Everest in Evanston and Curry Hut in Highwood a lot, and they have been consistent in my visits. At this point I would say either one is better than Tiffin, sad to say.
One other candidate is Bombay Kabab House on Howard Street in Evanston. It's pretty good but I think I would give the edge to Mt. Everest.
I'm very fond of India House in Buffalo Grove. The lunch buffet is excellent.
Besides Peacock (which is also very good) there's another Indian restaurant in Vernon Hills called Saffron (http://www.saffroncuisines.com). I've only eaten there once, but it was good. It's on Route 60 (of course) in the strip mall by the Dominicks.
Curry Pot in Gurnee:
We were there for two hours on a weeknight from 6 to 8 and not another soul was seated though one take out order was picked up. Dinner service is completely a la carte (so you will have to order rice, bread, raita, etc., separately). Our meals included two orders of two each medium sized samosas filled with mild potato mixture, served on a few chopped leaves of somewhat withering iceberg lettuce. A thin yogurt and chili chutney and standard tamarind chutney came on the side. Shrimp malabar was in a very mild coconut curry sauce, not at all spicy as one would think a malabar curry to be. Shrimp, though on the sparse side, was perfectly cooked. The chicken chettinad was medium hot with a nice balance of warm spices, acid, poppy seeds, chili, curry leaves, and fennel seed. Basmati rice was aromatic, not overcooked, with visually attractive shredded vegetable touches. Unfortunately, the cucumber raita we ordered contained no cucmber. We passed on any bread but had dessert. There was no kheer available but the unadorned slice of mango kulfi was a bit grainy. Two balls of gulab jamun were tender and quite hot.
It must be said that the property was badly in need of a good cleaning! We were put off by the dirty walls, booths, chairs, cutlery and even the menu, which had a sticker across the flyleaf instructing the customer to add $1.00 to every price. Proprietor should give it all a good scrubbing, repaint, change out the stained tablecloths, and make sure the dishwasher is working properly. Most distracting was the wide screen on the wall, loudly broadcasting an Indian entertainment program, complete with provocative Bollywood dance productions non-stop. Small venues such as the Curry Pot could be a success if the ambiance matched the food: warm, flavorful, and distinctive. Even kitchy decor can succeed if it is clean and inviting. Then the cuisine, somewhat ungenerous and plainly presented at this restaurant, though tasty good enough, should shine.
While I'll never be mistaken for an authority on Indian food, I definitely enjoyed the food at The Curry Pot in Gurnee (Washington Street and Hwy 21/Milwaukee Ave). I went once for dinner, and then went back for the Sunday buffet. I went away more than satisfied both times.
The first time I went, the wait staff was just what I needed - patient with my uncertainty, and helpful in offering suggestions. On the second visit the service was average. Decor was simple, plain.
There are perhaps a dozen Indian restaurants in the five or six blocks from 500-1000 East Schaumburg Rd.
Udupi Palace Inc. (Non-Veg.)
730, Schaumburg Rd.,
Schaumburg, IL 602194
Phone : (847) 884 9510
Gaylord Fine Indian Cuisine
555 Mall Dr
(between Higgins Rd & Kimberly Dr)
Schaumburg, IL 60173
India House Restaurant
1521 W Schaumburg Rd
Schaumburg, IL 60194
939 W Wise Rd.
We live in Highland Park and used to eat at Peacock a lot until Curry Hut opened. The setup is similar to Mt. Everest in Evanston and for good reason. The operators worked at Mt. Everest so they carry similar Nepalese dishes. We find the food there excellent - basically good enough to keep us from traveling to Devon Ave. on a regular basis. We also find that when we are in the mood for Indian food, we usually stop at the nearest place so if we are up in the Vernon Hills area, we go to Peacocks and in Evanston, Mt. Everest. We have heard good things about the Curry Pot in Gurnee but we never heard of Bombay City until this posting so now we have another place to check out. Good luck. Don
I have eaten at The Curry Hut, India House, Mt. Everest, and The Peacock. The one I like better than any of these is Himalayan Restaurant, in Four Flaggs shopping center on Golf Road in Niles (very swank location, next to a Driver's License facility and workout place). Indian and Nepalese food are served. The ambiance and menu are similar to Mt. Everest, but the food is even better.
There are 2 good places I've been to up north. One is The Peacock on Route 60 in Vernon Hills in the strip mall across the street from Hawthorn Mall. Great lunch buffet every day. Also really good chicken makhani. There's also a place in Buffalo Grove that some people argue is better called India House in a strop mall on Route 83. I've been to both and find them to be pretty equal. The ambiance is slightly better at India House. There's also a Curry Pot restaurant in Gurnee, but I haven't been to it yet.
Evanston isn't exactly a "northern suburb" but they do have a really good Indian (Napalese style) restaurant, Mt. Everest at 630 Church St. (847-491-1069) They serve an excellent all-you-can-eat buffet lunch for $8.95. Also, depending where you are - Mt.Everest is about two blocks east of the Metra Davis Street Train station (and across from public library.)
Other than that, we always head to Devon and Western...
Here is a place in Highwood, which is easy to get to from most of the Northern suburbs:
410 Sheridan Rd.
I ate there once. Nice decor, good service, and a typical menu of northern Indian with the addition of some Nepali dishes. I thought is decent, although not as good as going to Devon Ave.