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Very fancy/unique Indian food experience?

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Hello all,

I want to thank someone who did something very nice for me by getting them a hefty gift certificate for a really great and expensive meal. Ya know... Something you wouldn't do every day... and something that will really show my appreciation.

This is going to be a surprise but in order to help dictate the choice, I asked this person what his favorite kind of food is, and he said Indian is probably tops on his list.

I have this feeling that the "best" Indian isn't necessarily going to be the "fanciest." But I'm really going for great food and a fancy, out of the ordinary experience.

I noticed that Boston Magazine named this as the best Indian restaurant in 2007:

India Samraat
51A Massachusetts Ave.
Boston, Massachusetts
indiasamraat.com

Any other suggestions?

Thanks!

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  1. Mantra, in Downtown Crossing -- excuse me -- in the Ladder District.

    It reminds me a lot of Tabla in NYC. Although I've never been that impressed with the food-to-value ratio (at either place), it's certainly a fancier, trendier vibe than your garden variety Indian place.

    http://www.mantrarestaurant.com/

    1. Banq on Wasington St. in the South End is certainly fancy, and is a French-Indian Fusion-y type of place. The decor is simply amazing.

      Mela on Tremont St. in the South End has been very good when I've gone (it's more traditional Indian food), and scores tons of fancy points. I've never been to an Indian restaurant that gives diners and amuse bouche before. They also put some serious thought into presentation, which isn't that common in my experience. Kashmir, Mela's sister restaurant on Newbury St., has equivalent food although isn't quite as high on the fancy scale (still fancier than most).

      The majority of Indian restaurants seem to be roughly equivalent on what I'd categorize on fanciness: decor, wait service, presentation of cuisine. It might be worth looking up some of the "best Indian" threads as well, although some of the best for food score much lower on fanciness (hello, India Quality).

      1. Thanks for the suggestions so far! I hadn't heard of either of those.

        1. Masala Arts in Needham has an interactive spice bar that has has looked interesting when I've been there. The chef works with a small number of people to blend spices individually for a selected menu of ingredients. The spice bar itself is elegant and inviting. It might be too suburban and too hands-on, but it would qualify as unique and probably special.

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          Masala Art
          990 Great Plain Avenue, Needham, MA 02492

          1. IThe spice bar sounds good. Do they pull it off there?
            My favorite'upscale' Indian in the area is Kushboo in Lexington. Nice decor and better service than many Indian.