Best Indian restaurants
I appreciate all of the great feedback many of you gave for the best fine dining restaurants, as Metropolitan Grill seems to be our only default the couple times a year we venture to Seattle.
My husband is from the UK and absolutely ADORES Indian food. I do too, and have become an accomplished Indian cook because we both enjoy it so much.
However, I know each time we leave our home town, we lust for Indian to fill at least one meal out of town.
What are Seattle's BEST Indian restaurants? We have eaten at one on Queen Anne that was okay, but just okay.
As a guide, we LOVE really creamy korma sauces - more like the British make than like in India.
Abundant ghee and cream are welcome dining companions, believe me!!
The UK has the best Indian food outside of India, bar none. You will be very disappointed with Seattle's Indian food by comparison. I miss my curry delivery boy... :-)
Taste of India on 55th and Roosevelt has many plenty creamy dishes. Real nice. Their sister restaurant Cedars is also nice. Bengal Tiger a bit north on Roosevelt is also good.
I like Kanishka and Mayuri in Redmond. High percentage of Indian patronage. Udupi in Bellevue is also a good place.
Shamiana in Kirkland is not "traditional" Indian, per se. Many people seem to like it.
Hung, I lived in Seattle almost 20 years ago (wow! can't believe it's been that long) and am drawing a blank about how to take Roosevelt to 55th...
From downtown or I-90...what's the best route.
Also, I seem to remember an area that I took dance classes - down by the lake - back then.... I think it was where Kurt and Courtney later lived.. is it Madrona? You take a street from downtown all the way out, through ritzy neighborhoods and get to the lake and some equally beautiful homes.. just can't remember the street. I hate it when things get hazy. I know downtown well, but that's where we spend the majority of our time when we go visit now. I can get around there very well.. However, all of the other areas, like Ballard (just becoming an "area" back in 1990) and the one I mentioned. That's frustrating to be limited to Downtown, Capital Hill and Kirkland. Yikes.
I second Spice Route and India Bistro. I've spent a fair amount of time in different parts of India and always ate well, so I'm picky about Indian food (though not nearly so much as my Indian friends, who also like both places).
Taste of India, however, I cannot recommend. The menu states that it's spiced to an American palate, which it is. (and when Indians talk about spicing, they mean spices, not necessarily hot stuff). So everything I've ever had there I found bland.
We also like Indian food, both eatting and making. As point of reference, our favorite LA places for Indian were called "India's Oven" and some mystery sort of nameless place in a shopping mall on Santa Monica Bvld. on the far east side of West Hollywood near LaBrea.
We are still tasting Indian food but so far, we have been to Cafe ZumZum [downtown on 3d at Marion? only open for lunch but good if you are touring around downtown and carless] which is Indian/pakistani and liked it. We were very pleasantly surprised by the spicing--did not seem to be dumbed down. My husband particularly liked their lamb stuff which was quite yummy. I have enjoyed a number of things with chickpeas and they make an awesome lentil soup that is filled with bits of ginger. note that they can be VERY busy at lunch but service is quick.
We have also been to, and enjoyed, Annapurna which i think is in a basement on Broadway on Capital Hill near the puget sound community college [or is it seattle cc?] Annapurna says it is Indian, nepali and Tibetan. There are definitely some good things on the menu, particularly the dal and the soups [though I think the ones we have liked best were more Tibetan/Nepali than Indian.]. The chicken in the saag has been very tender. The chowpups also love the mango and banana lassi and the mango juice. The chai is also very good when it is chilly out. Another plus for tourists is that its also on the bus line.
The worst Indian food we have had was at the faux indian place in the Westlake shopping center after the Figgy Pudding sing in December. The chowpups were starving and the hour was late so we made a classic BAD BAD BAD food choice. Blech. Even the liberal addition of salt didn't help. Frankly, I still deeply resent that I had to pay for that particular meal.
FoodScribe -- There is no substitute for a drive north to Vancouver BC and a visit to Vij's (11th and Granville). We did it just this Sunday afternoon. Up and back on the same day. The grilled lamb popsicles in a fenegreek cream sauce with potatoes and spinach is so good that I can't bring myself to order anything else. Obviously that drive (and the requisite wait at the border, which clocked in at 40 minutes going, 10 minutes on the return) isn't one you can make often, but there is truly nothing that compares. Look him up on the web.
As several others have pointed out, Indian food in Seattle cannot be compared to that which is found in London or even New York. Still, there are some decent options, including Udupi Palace on the Eastside in Bellevue. It's a vegetarian southern Indian restaurant that is quite good.
Most of the other suggestions are also fine, except Cedars in the U-District. I've been there a few times and have never understood why anyone could recommend it. The service is generally poor, the food preparation pedestrian and not especially flavorful. A better option in the same neighborhood would be Tandor on University Way NE. It's a small, storefront operation but the food is consistenly good. I'm especially fond of their thali's.
Best of luck.
re: Square Business
Or even the new India Bistro on 65th and roosevelt. I too have not understood the Cedar's phenomenon. I live nearby I WATCH them move the food from taste of India over to cedars'. Cedar's does not make that food. It's a gold minivan, watch for it!
Taste of India has decent, albeit greasy indian food. I do not understand why you would want to eat that same thing, trucked around the corner and reheated...
And India Bistro is better anyways.
For more creamy renditions--also for a bit of spice, I also like Anita's Bistro on 80th and 15th.
I am no expert on authenticity, but we love India Bistro in Ballard. I have had Indian in London and Nairobi, and I think it can stand up on it's own.
One thing I have noticed about British Indian is there are more accompanying chutneys and cooling relishes, that I don't see here as often. Again not an expert, just an observation.
I also concur with Vij, best indian i have ever had - but if we aren't careful the 'hound staff will ban us to the Canadian board. Tread lightly.