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Apr 22, 2009 07:23 AM

Great Indian? Not too expensive

What is a great Indian place to eat at while in NYC for 2 nights? For either lunch or dinner, not tooo expensive, maybe $40 or $50 total for 2 people? I usually eat at Banjara which I love but would like to try a new place, thank you!

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  1. Devi's Indian cuisine is superb. They offer a 3-course lunch prix-fixe for $25. If you go, the signature tandoor-grilled lamb chops are not to be missed.

    1 Reply
    1. re: RGR

      Devi is good but not what I think of as "not too expensive," though I suppose it technically meets the OP's price point. I recommend Saravanaas, though it is Southern Indian. I would also suggest doing a search for Bigg Jeff's posts re Indian.

          1. re: TampaNativeThatLovesNYC

            I don't agree that Dhaba is best Indian ever. I like the food there, but it depends what you order. (And I assume we are not talking about the buffet?) The menu is a minefield with many similar items. We ended up eating the same thing over and over.

            Nearby Saravanaas is much more interesting food to me, and it's dirt cheap.

            81 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

            1. re: acidity

              Second Saravanas- I always either eat there or Banjara

              1. re: heinlein42

                I third Saravanas. Best dosas in the city.

                1. re: NYJewboy

                  Saravanaas is excellent South Indian food. In addition to the dosa, I love most of the utthappam and the mixed vegetable paratha.

                  If you're in search of North Indian food that is more widespread in the US, I think you'll be better served eating at expensive places such as Devi and Tamarind, or the Bengali/Bangladeshi places in Queens, but I like both Bajara and Haveli on opposite ends of the 6th St Curry Row, for good-enough North Indian.

                  1. re: Jorel

                    I disagree re the expensive places. There is plenty of excellent North Indian to be had without spending an arm and a leg. Devi is OK, but I find Tamarind to be nothing special and not at all worth the price. I'm with you, though, on the Bengali-Bangladeshi places.

              2. re: acidity

                "The menu is a minefield."
                What are your favorite dishes at the two restaurants?

                1. re: wew

                  That's not really my style of ordering, remembering, or posting. I look at a menu, try to call up my Hindi zen, and see what I get.

                  Saravanaas actually has very few items for such a big menu. The plain steamed idli is a GREAT plate, dirt cheap, and if you "are a girl" it's a whole meal. All the other varieties and the donuts whose names I can't remember are not to my taste. The dosas are great, have not tried them all to have a favorite. The thali combo comes with 1/2 good stuff, and 1/2 stuff that's a bit on the sweet side.

                  I've been to Dhaba twice, probably couldn't tell you the name of anything. But I ordered four things that came across as Special K or Rice Krispies smothered in yogurt. One would have been good. Got some other stuff too, but none of it was as good as what I love at Saravanaas.

                  But if everybody doesn't mind, I'm going to go back to posting drive-bys. I don't remember and think in detail like this, I just fire off my thumbs up and thumbs downs, and that's what I look for, people who agree with me rather than particular dishes that do :)

          2. RGR's recommendation of Devi is top-notch for lunch. Various South Indian restaurants also offer very good vegetarian tiffin at lunch time, such as Saravanaas, Tiffin Wallah and Chennai Garden. The food is a spectacular iteration of modern Indian cooking. For dinner, you might go the classic route with a place like Earthen Oven, Dhaba for Northern, Saravanaas or Gaam for vegetarian, or, casual restaurants like Minar or Haandi.

            3 Replies
            1. re: JungMann

              In my experience, Tiffin Wallah is not in the same league with Saravanaas. Conduct the test yourself by ordering idli; Saravanaas is sublime (ooh that indescribable spicy peanut dipping smear); Tiffin Wallah you'll wonder if it was microwaved, roll your eyes at the chutneys. Similar contrast with the dosas.

              Also, I'm a big meat eater, but since discovering how good South Indian cuisine is, I have lost interest in "meat" Indian restaurants. I mention it because the connotation "vegetarian" carries I don't think applies to Indian food. I don't need the "cooked till dry" meat, be it lamb or chicken, served routinely at even the best Indian restaurants.

              The OP should also realize that Devi is expensive, as cheap was requested.

              1. re: acidity

                Tiffin Wallah is not as broadly delicious as Saravanaas; you're quite right, but there are things they do well. But their uthappam is quite good and I remember liking their rasam and navaratan curry. The saag paneer is also nothing to scoff at, especially given the well-priced $7 lunch buffet.

                1. re: JungMann

                  Sarvannas Bhavan is good, but $15 for a South Indian Thali seems a little bit on the pricey side.

                  I've had a couple of meals at the Tiffin Wallah and I've been happy with them all.

            2. Saravanaas for Southern Indain, Dawat for northern indian. Although I do rate Devi very highly as well.

              1. Completely agree with RGR--if you can stretch to $50 plus tax and tip for lunch, Devi would be my unequivocal suggestion. In addition to excellent quality, the atmosphere at lunch time is like a massage for the senses--stepping out of the reality of a busy New York City afternoon into a place that is wholly serene and beautiful.