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Best Indian resto's in Boston (for musicman and others)

I was reading a post by musicman over on the London board, comparing some of the better London Indian restaurants with what Boston had to offer. I wanted to ask those who have experienced Indian food outside Boston and the US what their favorite Indian restaurants are in the Boston area. I am not typically guided by restaurant reviews of Indian restaurants because most critics have little idea what they are talking about for Indian, but CH'ers have put me on to great stuff in London and I was hoping for some good news on the Boston front.

Just for reference, in my non-bell-curved scale, Tamarind Bay in Harvard Square is good but not very good (would feel ok taking my parents there, but wouldn't tell them to expect a great meal). Is there anything truly exceptional out there? And if not, anything at least very good? I'm trying to set the bar high here.

A second question -- are there are non-Punjabi/north-Indian Indian restaurants in Boston that are good or better? For reference, some of those old-time places serving dosas in Central Square I would rate as less than good.



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  1. Lots of posts about Indian food in Boston, just search the board.

    My favorites are Namaskar in Davis Square and India Palace in Union. I've never been to India Quality, another board favorite.

    1. Rani in Coolidge Corner.

      I also really enjoy Punjab Cafe in Quincy, small, simple, great people who run the place. The Sat/Sun buffet is always busy.

      1. India Quality in Kenmore is fantastic, and so inexpensive!

        1. Hi BB -

          Just logging on from the safety of my own home, after an excellent visit to London! As with some of the replies you'll see below, I am a big-time, long-time fan of India Quality in Kenmore Square. (And son of dry-fried okra fame is darn near fanatic about it!) Also, about a year ago the IQ folks opened a place called Punjab Palace in the Allston section of Boston. I apologize for not being literate about the regions / styles involved, but there is a difference between the two restaurants (e.g., IQ does Saag Paneer while PP prepares Palak Paneer).

          And not that you asked, but since I'm jet-lagged and feeling generous: if you like food from that region of the world, I also highly recommend the Afghani food at The Helmand in Cambridge.

          1. I'd recommend:

            India Quality (Boston)
            Tamarind Bay, Cafe of India, Tanjore (Cambridge)
            Namaskar, Kebab Factory (Somerville).

            Like you, I'm not a fan of the Indian spots in Central Square.

            But as good as these are, I preferred both Mela and Moti Mahal in London to any of these.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bachslunch

              Thanks all -- some useful tips here -- I haven't tried India Quality and will check it out when I'm next in town! BB

            2. I really enjoy the homestyle Bangladeshi food at Bengal Cafe in N. Cambridge. I'm a semi-regular at their weekend lunch buffet ($10), which is small but varied. Faves from the last time were sweet and sour eggplant, stewed beef, and a sort of crepe with a caramelish filling (and I'm not a big dessert eater).

              1 Reply
              1. re: Aromatherapy

                Interesting - thanks - will check this out - Bangladeshi food is interesting in its own right. Unfortunately, we most often find Bangladeshi restaurants masquerading as North Indian places, and this does disservice to both. A welcome change then, a place tha wears its Bangladeshi colours with pride... BB

              2. Katmandu Spice (not strictly Indian, but then of course there really are 100+ different cuisines in India) in Arlington and Kebab and Tandoor in Waltham. Both completely unique and NOT your usual americanized Indian.

                5 Replies
                1. re: StriperGuy

                  A strong second to both. K&T is a real hole in the wall, be forewarned.

                  1. re: Aromatherapy

                    I disagree that K&T is a h-i-t-w. Felt completely comfortable and accommodating of families when I was there.

                    1. re: Prav

                      2 years ago, believe me, it was (family-friendly and all that, but tiny and shabby). They moved.

                      1. re: Aromatherapy

                        I should learn how to read the dates of posts. :)

                  2. re: StriperGuy

                    I'll second Katmandu Spice.

                    I'm still looking for a place that serves Keralan cuisine - had that in London recently (http://www.rasarestaurants.com/) and was blown away.

                  3. New Mother India in Waltham is quite good. Namaskar in Davis Square does Chinese-Indian food well, which is a fun twist.

                    1. I'll have to hat-tip for Namaskar and India Quality as well. I've liked Punjabi Dhaba in Somerville as well.

                      Punjabi Dhaba
                      225 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                      India Quality Restaurant
                      484 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

                      1. I don't think Boston has a truly exceptional Indian restaurant. I really miss Dakshin in Framingham.

                        But there are some quite good choices. Somewhere between good and very good perhaps? =) Tamarind Bay would get my first vote, hands down. India Quality and Kebab Factory are good, but not very good. I have long been a proponent of the Helmand for a kind of Punjabi food. Finally, I would say that the Bombay Club does pretty good dosas, but only on Sunday Brunch (or at least, that's how it used to be, I haven't been to brunch there since they moved). I have to say I was not the biggest fan of Bengal Cafe in North Cambridge, but I know so little about Bengali food that I'm not sure my opinion is worth so much.

                        672 Waverly St, Framingham, MA 01702

                        Tamarind Bay
                        75 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                        The Kebab Factory
                        414 Washington St, Somerville, MA 02143

                        India Quality Restaurant
                        484 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

                        Bombay Club
                        1 Faneuil Hall Market Pl, Boston, MA 02109