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Best Indian Food Restaurants in CT?

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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: Ima Foodie

                      How is Zaha? Any good?

                      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

                    1. SCARGOD - If you are willing to drive, the very best Indian place I've been to yet in this entire region is up in Northampton, MA. I have never experienced such amazing Indian food and literally drive there specifically for this one restaurant. Only open for dinner - northern most street in town around the corner from the old Inn.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: MasterofLightChick

                        I believe you mean India House Restaurant, at 45 State Street, which is just off Main? Does it look like it is in a house? I added to the restaurant info. Interesting that everything is gluten-free.
                        There is another called India Palace on Main...
                        They are only 20-30 minutes from Bradley International, depending on how you drive.

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                        India House Restaurant
                        45 State St, Northampton, MA 01060

                        1. re: Scargod

                          Yes, it is the India House restaurant. I see they've been #1 since 1984 and it is really a quick drive from Bradley. Just across the street is a really cool & unique bread bakery called Ghost something (?) & around the corner are 2 coffee shops with great desserts & lots of good vegan selections. Overall, Northampton is a great dining town, IMO.

                          -----
                          India House Restaurant
                          45 State St, Northampton, MA 01060

                      2. If you ever find yourself east of Hartford, do yourself a favor and try Utsav in Vernon. Myself and others have raved about it on this board. I have eaten there more times than I can count and have never had a bad dish, let alone bad experience. The service is as great as the food. They always send over a little something extra too, like dessert, or dessert and port wine if you've ordered wine with dinner.

                        http://www.utsavcuisine.com/

                        1. If you like spicy Indian, you should go to Priya in Rocky Hill. There is lunch buffet and a Sunday dinner buffet. Both are spicy. There are some unusual selections in the buffet compared to other Indian places I have been to.

                          http://www.hartfordpriya.com/buffets....

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                          Priya Indian Cuisine
                          1860 Silas Deane Hwy, Rocky Hill, CT 06067

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: bulldog69

                            Thanks for this suggestion. It is not too far for us and easily accessible from I-91. There are lots of Indian words I don't know yet, but I see they are all translated when you go to their menu page. I might even consider the buffets...

                          2. Coromandel in either Norwalk or Darien is a no-brainer and highly recommended.

                            Head to Fairfield and visit Banglore. Food is very good and they make a great ginger martini!

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

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: fcmenutalk

                              It's Bangalore. While searching I came across a recommendation for Bombay Bar and Grill in Westport. I see it is mentioned above. Been there? Both easy to get to if you are travelling I-95 (an important quality for me).

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                              Bombay Bar & Grill
                              616 Post Rd E, Westport, CT 06880

                              Bangalore Restaurant & Bar
                              1342 Kings Highway Cutoff, Fairfield, CT 06824

                              1. re: Scargod

                                Unfortunately, I have not. My wife is not as crazy about Indian as I am - so we don't usually make it a priority when going out. Plus, we're so close to "Bangalore" we usually default to going there.

                            2. A friend recommended Udupi Bhavan in Middletown - she liked it better than the Thali restaurants! I haven't been yet.

                              -----
                              Thali
                              87 Main Street, New Canaan, CT 06840

                              Udupi Bhavan
                              749 Saybrook Rd, Middletown, CT 06457

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: ElsieB

                                Kattyeyes mentioned it: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6953...
                                Vegetarian only and very "casual". I updated the restaurant info. They have a website.

                                1. re: ElsieB

                                  Visited Udupi B. a few weeks ago. I second the recommendation. (Casual may be an understatement, but there were quite a few Asian families happily dining there.) My eyes were bigger than my stomach and I took home enough to make a couple of delicious lunches.

                                  1. re: DonShirer

                                    This is a second for Coromandel.
                                    We love the Norwalk outpost and it is closer for you New Havenites.
                                    Lunch Buffet is the best deal in town ($11). Great Food, great staff.

                                    -----
                                    Coromandel
                                    86 Washington St, Norwalk, CT 06854

                                    1. re: Tony Salomone

                                      AH, but the New Havenites are well served by both Thali's in town. I prefer the all veg location.

                                2. No love for Swagat in West Haven? It's been good the 3-4 times I've been. I even led a group to lunch there from my department at Big Ivy U.

                                  -----
                                  Swagat
                                  215 Boston Post Rd, West Haven, CT 06516

                                  1. Hi all, I've got to mention one place nobody's mentioned yet. It's distinct... not a restaurant atmosphere but more of a little dive. They serve "chaat" which is the name for snacks... not meals. samosas are an eg of chaat. well, this place makes terrific samosas, pani puris, vada pav's all vegetarian snacks... we love it. It's called Chaat House. It is in West Haven just off the 95. 315 York St., West Haven, 203-441-8167. It's actually just a small kitchen in an Indian grocery store. The nice thing too is we get our spices and local indian shopping done, then stop by the beauty parlour for eyebrow threading, and then stop by the halal food eatery and pick up some terrifically authentic biriyani to go. A fun day.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Mrs. PT

                                      Oh, no, more Indian restaurants to fall in love with....just what I needed :)

                                      I've been to the grocery part to stock up on spices. Will have to stop in next time I have a hankering for samosas.

                                      And it's clear that I should try Coromandel. I'm surprised no one mentioned Zaroka (or Royal India, where the food is pretty good although the ambiance is less than perfect...unless you enjoy watching your reflection eat) which is one of my favorite restaurants in the city...not greasy, unlike India Palace, which is the McDonald's of Indian food, but nothing beats the nap that follows dining there :)

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

                                      Zaroka Bar and Restaurant
                                      148 York St, New Haven, CT 06511

                                      Royal India Restaurant
                                      42 Merrimack St, Haverhill, MA 01830

                                      1. re: Mrs. PT

                                        This sounds promising. I'm going to check it out. Thanks for the tip.

                                        I might skip the eyebrow threading tho'.

                                      2. We really like Little India on Hopmeadow Street in Simsbury. Consistently good food, good portions, reasonably priced and very friendly owner. Try the Chicken Chaat cold appetizer, the best we've had! This location has been at least three different Indian restaurants over the years, but this is the best one by far.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: StevenCT

                                          Thanks for the info that this rest has changed. I tried it for the first time about 10 years ago and loved it. The last 2 times I went, about 4-5 years ago, it was dreadful and I haven't been back. I will have to give it another go.

                                        2. We have become huge fans of Indigo Indian Bistro in Manchester. Terrific variety, wonderful preparations and extremely gracious service. A true winner!

                                          On the other side of the river, Bombay Grill in Avon has been the most impressive by a fair margin.

                                          -----
                                          Avon Indian Grill
                                          320 W Main St Ste 4, Avon, CT 06001

                                          1. If you are willing to drive I would recommend Pintus Indian Palace in West Springfield Ma. Great authentic Indian food with a wide array of entrees to choose from.

                                            -----
                                            Pintus Indian Restaurant
                                            217 Elm St, West Springfield, MA 01089

                                            1. I'm sure it's probably already been mentioned 100x, since I am incredibly lazy and just do not feel like verifying that it has been i am going to go and say it again, but you should check out Coromandel's location near exit 19 off 95S. The food is seriously legit, and the restaurant itself is beautiful.

                                              Recommended eats: dosa app, and lamb phall. Hope you like spicy!!

                                              -----
                                              Coromandel
                                              17 Pease Ave, Southport, CT 06890

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: fcmenutalk

                                                For high quality luncheon buffets, I recommend Ustav or Indigo Indian Bistro. Namaste in Southington was pretty good, but their Naan on a steam table is disappointing.