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Best Indian Food Restaurants in CT?

Because I live near New Haven I tend to focus on what is within thirty minutes of me and up the I-91 corridor to Hartford.
I feel I have been spoiled by Thali (and Thali II), in New Haven and may unfairly judge all restaurants by them. I also don't know the regional differences in Indian food. All I know is I love it and I love to cook simple dishes that are Indian style/flavored. I just don't want oil-soaked, not so fresh, mediocre/dull experiences. I'm not interested in take-out places or those that specialize in lunch buffets. Quantity/cheapness is not our goal.

Besides Thali I have enjoyed Darbar. Star of India was ho-hum. Tandoor is typically too oily and ordinary. Kohinoor in Meriden disappointed us and I understand it is now Roti Boti (Pakistani-Indian). I intend to try Coromandel, in Orange. I've not tried Kashmir or anything else in Hartford.

What is your favorite and why? Where is the spicy Indian?
I'd always consider restaurants in other areas if I'm in the vicinity. Garmins/nav's are great for that.

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Coromandel
25 Old Kings Hwy N Ste 11, Darien, CT 06820

Thali
4 Orange Street, New Haven, CT 06510

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  1. All I can say about Coromandel in Orange is that the Salli Boti is to die for. From their menu, this is "lamb cooked with onions and spices, sweetened with apricots and topped with crunchy potatoes." I'll pass on the buffet that'll give you a sampling of several different dishes. Not that it's bad; I just don't like to deviate from perfection. Thanks. Now I'm hungry.

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    Coromandel
    25 Old Kings Hwy N Ste 11, Darien, CT 06820

    1. The two best down state in lower FFD CTY are Thali and Coromandel. Jfood prefers the Thali in New Canaan and The Coromandel in Darien.

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      Coromandel
      25 Old Kings Hwy N Ste 11, Darien, CT 06820

      Thali
      87 Main Street, New Canaan, CT 06840

      10 Replies
      1. re: jfood

        JFOOD - have you tried the little hole in the wall in a strip mall on Route 123 in Norwalk (at Route 7 exit)? I'm pretty sure you once wrote about egg & cheese sandwiches from a place across the street. Wish I knew the name but I've been going there quite a bit to enjoy their low key Indian street food and chapatis and it's always filled with Indians. The three men working the place are great and friendly.

        An Indian client of mine also gave a shout out to something called Punjabi in Bridgeport, which sounded like it was in the Black Rock area on Fairfield Avenue.

        1. re: MasterofLightChick

          jfood thought you are speaking of Diamond Deli for the egg heart attack sandwich. He also thought you were speaking of Cafe Brasso, but that is not Indian. If you are speaking of the mall across rte 123, no he has not eaten there but has been in the Asian supermarket there whiuch is the best in the area.

          1. re: MasterofLightChick

            haven't heard of Punjabi. There is an Indian/Pakistani restaurant in Black Rock on Fairfield Ave/Post Road called Zaha (in the space formerly occupied by Spice N Ice). Have heard from one person that it's good but have not tried it myself.

            1. re: MasterofLightChick

              MLC-I believe you are thinking of Bonani.
              They were originally in Westport many years ago, then moved to Norwalk on Rt.1/ Strawberryhill Ave and then again to his present location on Rt. 123 across from the Broad River playing field.
              As you surely know, he does mostly takeout. He will also cook the food to meet your preferences.

              1. re: makko

                No, I know Bonani in Norwalk and do go there - I like the chapatis. This Indian client specifically said this place was in the Black Rock area and had been going every night about a month ago. I wish someone else knew of it. I may do a drive by of that strip and try to find it. He said it was filled with India diners.

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                Black Rock Cafe
                Wrentham, MA, Wrentham, MA

                1. re: MasterofLightChick

                  in the Black Rock area is an Indian & Pakistani restaurant called Zaha - perhaps that's the one you're thinking of. In the space that most recently was occupied by Spice N' Ice on Post road.

                  1. re: MasterofLightChick

                    also, sometimes people confuse the Black Rock area (i.e. on the Fairfield/Bridgeport border) with Black Rock Turnpike in Fairfield. If they meant the latter, there is a place called Bonani (not sure if it's related to the other locations), primarily takeout.

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                    Black Rock Cafe
                    Wrentham, MA, Wrentham, MA

                      1. re: MasterofLightChick

                        The decor is left over from the first (of three other) Indian restaurants that used to occupy this space, and the service is minimal at best, but that's not why you come here—you go to Zaha for really good Indian food at dirt cheap prices. Where else can you get an entree is this part of New England for six bucks? The food is really tasty, and they aren't afraid to make it hot. I like the chicken tika masala and the vegetable briani. The breads are always good too, yet every time we eat here it is empty! Zaha is one of those yet to be discovered jewels in Fairfield, but you better discover it fast or it will disappear like all of those other Indian restaurants that used to be here before it.

                2. re: MasterofLightChick

                  It's called Bonani's. On New Canaan ave. We eat here all the time, it's good, hearty and best of all, it's worth the price.

              2. You might also want to check out Stamford's Indian scene, catering to the burgeoning upscale Indian population. Tawa on Summer -- formal upstairs, relaxed in the breadbar downstairs --leads the field, one of four Indians in a one block radius downtown, including a Coramandel branch, and a new vegetarian on Atlantic that I haven't tried yet and also the very tasty Chili Chicken in Bulls Head, offering the really interesting sino-indian cuisine created by the Chinese ex-pats in Mumbai and ND.. Also the Indian influenced curries at Little Buddah a Thai place on Summer and Bridge are fantastic, but the seating is cramped. They travel well as takeout, tho.

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                Tawa
                211 Summer Street, Stamford, CT 06901

                1 Reply
                1. re: louuuuu

                  A small cluster has indeed formed, but Coromandel is OK however not as good as the one in Darien. I haven't been to Tawa since it moved to Summer St, but thought is was quite good at its old location. I had a dosa at the new veg place, Navaratna, that was pretty good...I have to get back for the thali. I have not been to Meera yet, but others who have been there think it is the laggard in this group.

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                  Coromandel
                  25 Old Kings Hwy N Ste 11, Darien, CT 06820

                  Tawa
                  211 Summer Street, Stamford, CT 06901

                2. My favorites are Thali (New Canaan), Coromandel (Orange), and Bombay (Westport). There's a tandoori shrimp dish at Bombay that's a particular favorite.

                  1. Down in Stamford... as Louuuuu mentioned, Tawa is fantastic. I haven't been to Thali, but I find it a step above Coromandel. Bread bar downstairs, formal restaurant upstairs. And very nice food.

                    There's also Navaratna, the new South Indian vegetarian restaurant in Stamford is very good (though I need to do a lot more exploring there...).

                    Stamford has become a nice little Indian mecca...

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                    Coromandel
                    86 Washington St, Norwalk, CT 06854

                    Tawa
                    19 High Ridge Rd, Stamford, CT 06905

                    Thali
                    87 Main Street, New Canaan, CT 06840