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Recs for Indian food in NOVA/DC?

Disclaimer: I was born in the good ol' USA but my parents are Indian, meaning I was exposed to Indian food growing up. Been to India a few times. Also, I lived in Chicago which has delicious, authentic Indian food all over the place. While meat n potatoes, and American food remains my fave, once in awhile I do get craving for Indian and I'm so jaded in DC, I've decided to just wait to eat Indian when I visit the restaurants in Chicago.

HOWEVER, maybe someone here has a tip?

Ok, I KNOW that nothing will be perfect. But all I seek is quality cooking, realistic flavors. NOT store-bought curry sauce smothered in meat that will fool someone who has not eaten Indian before. Thus far I've tried:

*Minerva: Bombed out. Burnt meat appetizers.

*Angheethi: Bread was great! Appetizer was great!!! Then...Lamb curry was chewy and made from grocery store sauce. And I swear the "butter chicken" was NOT in an Indian based tomato sauce, but Ragu, or Paul Newman's marinara sauce, I kid you not., I'm not exaggerating.

*Raaga: Nope.

*Bombay Bistro: This was passable.

*RAVI KABOB: It's Pakistani/Afghani, but close enough. This place has been delicious, and tastes real!

I was hoping that a Hound could pull off a miracle and suggest a place with authentic Indian food. Decor could be marble floors, or a shack is okay too.

Thanks!

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  1. Have you tried these places?

    Haandi (Bethesda)
    Tiffin (Takoma/Langley Park)
    Udupi Palace (T/LP)
    Woodlands (T/LP)

    5 Replies
    1. re: Chocolatechipkt

      in Ashburn, my Indian friends enjoy Mirchi- they say it's more authentic than the more popular (i.e., american-ized flavors) Indian restauarants in town. I haven't tried it yet- the last time I had authentic Indian food it was in Manhattan and I cried thru the whole meal because I thought I could handle Chicken Vindaloo.... wooo! so while I can only recommend it by proxy, I DO want to try it soon. I just won't make the mistake of thinking I'm srong enough to handle Vindaloo at a REAL Indian restaurant! :)

      http://www.mirchiindiancuisine.com/

      1. re: Chocolatechipkt

        I'll 2nd the Haandi rec, though I frequent the Falls Church location.

        1. re: Aza Mila

          The Bethesda one is much better. I don't know what it is, but it is definitely better. Haandi is Bethesda is easily the best Indian restaurant in the DC area -- well I can only speak for DC and close suburbs -- but it is generally underrated, IMO. Still busy but I don't see how Heritage and Indique get higher ratings. Haandi is way better. It is also better than Rasika for standard Indian fare -- though Rasika has some great appetizers and non-traditional dishes, and a better bar/hip scene.

          1. re: masonuc

            haandi in falls church is mediocre and underspiced across the board.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. Passage to India in Bethesda--not NoVA/DC, but well worth the trip. Some--including me--say it's the best metro DC has to offer. Two newer restaurants--Ghar-e-Kabab and Shangri-La--have very good Indian/Nepali food, as well. The former is in Silver Spring, the latter on Wisconsin Ave. in Bethesda.

          Passage to India breaks down the menu by region--east, west, south, north--and has veg and non-veg items from each. And they will make you dishes not found on the menu, like vindaloo and biryani. But don't look for classic south Indian veg like dosas, etc. For that, it's hard to beat Woodlands.

          1. Not claiming to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination. Give Mayuri a try - in Reston.

            There are also two Indian Chinese places in Herndon. Masala Wok and one run by the Minerva folks.

            1. I always enjoy Dehli Club in Clarendon for good basic Indian. Also like Heritage India in Dupont.