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Apr 14, 2007 01:43 PM

Life-changing Indian food

Is there an Indian equivalent to Sripaphai – a restaurant that makes you realize you have been put on this earth just to eat its food? I just got back from lunch at Indian Taj in Jackson Heights, and it was good but not much – if any – better than my favorite Indian restaurant in Manhattan, Salaam Bombay. I realize it's probably unfair to judge a restaurant by its buffet, but I found nothing that would make me go out of my way to eat. Is there somewhere that has palak paneer, chicken makhani, curried goat, dosa and the like that would make my eyes cross and prompt me to buy an unlimited Metro Card? I've also posted this on the Outer Boroughs board.

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  1. I've never been to Sripraphai, but it's no secret that you are hardly alone in how you feel about it. I feel the same way about Devi. Actually, the first time I tasted the cuisine created by Co-Executive Chefs Suvir Saran and Hemant Mathur was when they were at Amma. Until then, while I had nothing against Indian food, it was never high on my list of cuisines. However, that first meal at Amma was a total revelation. I had never before tasted Indian food that was anywhere near as extraordinarily delicious. And when they opened Devi, I was thrilled to be able to continue indulging in that superior level of Indian cuisine. It is more expensive than your average Indian spot, but totally worth it. If you have budgetary constraints, you should go there for lunch. The 3-course prix-fixe is $24.07, and all the dishes are taken directly from the dinner menu. Note: The signature tandoor-grilled lamb chops are not to be missed!

    7 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      Thanks for the info:)
      It's not easy finding great ethnic food in nyc.
      I'm still trying to find the perfect rice and beans and i don't mean black beans:)

      1. re: hungrymonkey

        Oh it's easy. Here's a restaurant with eight types of beans.

        1. re: Brian S

          Thanks:) I know the place but i'm puerto rican so trust me it's a little different. There are a few good cuban restaurants but what they really do well is blk beans. Pink or red beans are what puerto ricans and dominicans do differently and harder to find in manhattan unless i go way uptown.I just heard of a place in the lower east side and if its great i'll post it.

          1. re: hungrymonkey

            Castillo de Jagua on Rivington St is great, although their red beans, though good, are not the finest things they do. The stews are.

            1. re: hungrymonkey

              By any chance are you refering to Casa Adela?

              1. re: nyufoodie

                Thats the place i heard of Casa Adela.
                Have you been?

          2. re: hungrymonkey

            red beans and rice and west side coffee shop on church st. those are my favorite so far.

        2. My favorite Indian restaurant, that is life changing IMO, is Banjara in the East Village. It's nothing fancy, but the food is really's not about the scene or the famous chef, just really awesome food.

          5 Replies
          1. re: LFeinberg

            If thats is the best for the price i'll check it out:)

            1. re: hungrymonkey

              i LOVE indian food and have yet to find a good place for indian in my UES neighborhood (anywhere between 72nd/86th).
              any suggestions??

              1. re: bosox

                I love the food at Pongal (vegetarian) on 1st at 65th.

              2. re: LFeinberg

                I haven't been there lately but always found their food reliably tasty though pretty fatty. Very good, perhaps. Great, life changing? No way, as far as I'm concerned.

                1. re: LeahBaila

                  try earthen oven on W72 and columbus. read the reviews (and menu) here and decide for yourself:


                  it's a new place that is always packed. food, breads and chutneys are amazing.

                  1. re: nativeNYer

                    Have you actually eaten there? I went recently and thought that the food was just ok, borderline blech, and the service super slow.

                    1. re: yting

                      yes. i've eaten there at least 10 times and definitely agree with the reviews.
                      i've only done the brunch special once and felt that the service was really bad.
                      the last time i went for dinner, i was disappointed by the service and the chutneys seemed watery. time will tell whether it was an off night or a sign they are declining. did you go recently and did you stop by for lunch or dinner?

                2. The only time I have had outstanding Indian food has been in London or home-cooking. While I think Devi and Tamarind are tops for Manhattan, they really arent as good as the average Indian restaurant in London.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Ora

                    I second Tamarind for Manhattan. But for really authentic Indian, Queens beats the pants off Manhattan any day. I can't compare it to London (never eaten Indian there, sad!) but I haven't been disappointed in Jackson Heights yet.

                    1. re: Ora

                      I've had very good Indian in London (Bombay Brasserie, Vijay's ) but have never had anything that compares to Devi at its best. The average Indian restaurant in London seems to me better than the average NYC Indian restaurant, but who's looking for average?

                      1. re: regondi

                        Agreed. I went to some highly recommended places in London and found them disappointing compared with the best NYC and suburbs has to offer, i.e. Jersey City and Edison, NJ. Even Queens beats the pants off London, in my opinion. I don't know about Devi, but I find it is hard to find Indian food that's genuinely delicious in Manhattan.

                        1. re: HHH

                          I'm fairly well-versed in Indian cuisine and look forward to trying the Devi rec above... agree with the Saravanah's post below as the best Dosa this side of Madras... however, disagree with the above poster's knock on Indian food in London... yes you can find an average Indian restaurant there, but there's no shortage of those in this city either... a place called Simply Indian on the South Bank of London in Borough, is my current standard by which I would compare other Indian meals... simply delicious!!!

                    2. I'd stick with the outer boroughs on this one. Devi is great but a far cry from the Indian equivalent of Sri.