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Best authentic Indian cuisine

My friends from India tell me you can't get good Indian food at a restaurant in the U.S. They say the only good Indian food is found at someone's house. Maybe so although I am partial to Devi in New York and have had good meals at Masala Art in Needham. My family likes India Paradise in Newton. In college we frequented India Pavillion. This conversation usually brings out strong opinions so I hoping this topic will have a lively thread.

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  1. South Indian veg: Chennai Woodlands
    Hyderabad style: Kabab & Tandoor
    Punjabi: Kebab Factory
    Mixed: Grain & Salt

    2 Replies
    1. re: Luther

      Ok, no one makes dosas like my mother in law, but here in town I do the South Indian thing at Udupi Bhavan when I can make it out there. I like it way better than Chennai Woodlands.

      Bollywood Cafe in Lexington (right over the Arlington line) is terrific -- mostly Punjabi food -- with a very friendly staff (and a BYO policy!). They'll go very spicy if you ask them.

      And then there's Tamarind Bay, which is a very different kind of "authentic." It's not home cooking at all, but the chef was famous in India before being lured to Cambridge. My favorite ancedote about this place is that the owners wanted to offer a lobster dish, seeing as New England is rich in lobsters, so they sent the chef to one of the only communities in India that uses lobster in its traditional cooking so he could learn that preparation and bring it back here.

      My $ .02

      1. re: litchick

        Udupi has been closed for at least a year. Up the street from it though is the best I've had anywhere at Dakshin. Specializes in Chennai dished but cooks from other regions as well.

    2. I don't know authentic Indian from a hole in the wall, but India Quality is fantastic northern Indian "restaurant" food.

      1. A few of my Indian friends like Rani in Coolidge Corner, Brookline. They say that Indian Dhaba in Allston is quite good too, more of a homemade sort of place. I like both. My favorite Indian food comes from JMP in the Super 88 food court in Allston. The only employees are mom, dad, the two daughters and the son.

        1. It's a bit out of the way, but I am quite fond of Punjab Cafe in Quincy for authentic North Indian food. Rangoli in Allston has very good South Indian food. Both of these places have vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.

          1. Adding to the great suggestions on the thread:
            Bengali - Royal Bengal in Central Sq.
            Pan-Indian - Tamarind Bay in Harvard Sq.
            Gujarati - Namaskar in Davis Sq.
            Punjabi - Kebab Factory near Davis Sq.

            3 Replies
            1. re: limster

              Bangladeshi at Bengal Cafe in N. Cambridge (try the weekend lunch buffet, heavy on fish and vegetables)

              The weekend (vegetarian) lunch buffet at Boston Masalaa on 3A in Billerica was better on a recent visit than I had remembered. The flavors were more distinct and vivid. The sambhar in particular had more punch (not enough IMO, but good).

              1. re: Aromatherapy

                I really like the food at Bengal Cafe, and the folks there are super nice, but my lord the service is slow. Part of this is that the kitchen is slow: they seem to make every dish when ordered (obviously this is non-buffet stuff), which is great for the palate, but don't arrive famished or you'll be forced to eat your napkin before the samosas come out. It's certainly worth a visit though, and they have a ton of nice authentic seafood options.

                1. re: litchick

                  Went to Bengal Cafe for a late lunch on Saturday - first time -
                  People are indeed super nice - no problems with slow kitchen, since it was the buffet. One item was out by when we got there - 2 p.m.-ish - late so no worries, although they indicate buffet is open until 3 on Sat.

                  Everything was ok - tilapia - chicken - not sure of the sauces - some curried cauliflower - some spicier stewed OKRA was actually my fave - never thought I would ever say that. My gf and I each got two white, fresh and hot poori - Dessert was sort of like a sweetened rice porridge with hint of cardamom - a riff on typical kheer but lighter, less sweet, more refreshing.

                  Nothing WOW (although the okra was a pleasant surprise), but for $9 a plate, a good deal.

            2. Went to India Quality on Tuesday for the first time in about ten years and had the goat curry, bones and all. It was utterly fantastic; the sauce had the richness and complexity of a great Mexican mole; just blew away any other curry I've had. Can't wait to go back and try something else.

              1 Reply
              1. re: David Pearlman

                The IQ can do a great sauce. I still drool at the mere mention of their vindaloo. Drool, then start sweating.

              2. Diva's Indian Bistro always makes a good Dosa and the atmosphare is fun and hip.

                1. Monsoon in Maynard is the best i've had.

                  1. I can't vouch for "authenticity" but the owner of India Quality told me on my last visit a few days ago, when I asked him if he does the cooking, that what he actually does is create all the spices from scratch - he grinds them up and mixes them. With outstanding results, in my opinion.

                    I worked at the Pru for about 6 years, and there were at least 5 Indian places within walking distance. I tried them all, and find myself going back only to Indian Quality, now that I am only in town a few times a month. Their lunch special prices are hard to beat, and the food portions are big enough that I usually bring home leftovers for a 2nd meal.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tbiscaia

                      This doesn't take away from your comments about IQ but most cooks (home or restaurant) in many parts of India grind their own spices.

                    2. I like Tanjore in Harvard Square