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Indian restaurants

I noticed on menupages that most of the Indian restaurants are on W Devon Ave and surrounding area.Is this my best choice of area to be looking for Indian food? Staying in E Chestnut ave but willing to travel for something good. I would rather stay away from the more common Bangladesh places and get into something a little more street foodish.

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  1. Devon Avenue certainly has the biggest concentration of Indian restaurants in the city. However, there are Indian restaurants in other parts of the city as well. Near East Chestnut (which is a Street, not an Avenue), Gaylord on Walton is probably the closest, and India House, Klay Oven, and Indian Garden are not far, either. Only a little further is Chicago Curry House in the South Loop. Are the restaurants on Devon in West Rogers Park better? Not necessarily; the ones I've tried along there have had their ups and downs, and I haven't found any particular one that is consistently better than those elsewhere around the city and suburbs.

    All in all, I think you're as likely to find good Indian food in restaurants in other parts of the city as you are along Devon. But if there are other aspects of Indian goods and culture that interest you - the spices and foods at Patel Brothers, or maybe the shops selling clothing, books, videos, etc - then a trip to Devon Avenue is definitely the way to go.

    1. The area around Devon is the place to go. It's the Indian and Pakistani neighborhood.

      Per wikipedia: Devon's Desi corridor is one of the best-known and largest communities of its kind in North America. It exists mainly on Devon between Ravenswood Ave. and California Ave. South Asian shops, restaurants and grocery stores abound along this strip, and it has become a popular tourist destination. Vivek Mukherjee of Rediff.com writes, "There are similar desi markets in New Jersey, at the famous Oak Tree Road or in the Bay Area, but nothing like Devon Street. [...] Devon Street's sidewalks are even speckled with the paan stains".

      1. Devon is your best bet, imo. If you've never been to "Da Bomb" as it's referred to by some, it is North America's second biggest concentration of Indian Restaurants & shops. Some city in Canada is number 1. While I'm not familiar in the distinctions (like Bangladeshi) if you are looking for anything specific, I can maybe point you to a few places that have that item. There are a few "snack shops," plenty of sit down restuarants, and also plenty of "joints" as well. There are also a few "sweets" shops, and grocery stores.
        I haven't been there in a while. I might have to plan a stroll myself while the weather cooperates!

        1. If you aren't driving, take the Red Line subway at State & Chicago in the direction of Howard and get off at Loyola. Right outside the station there will be a bus stop where you wait for the 155 Devon bus. Ask the driver to call Western Avenue (about 8 minutes but not a nice walk). At Devon & Western you will be surrounded by Indian and Pakistani businesses.Walk west on Devon (same direction the bus was going) to encounter dozens of restaurants,most of which have an inexpensive lunch buffet or you can order from the menu. My favorite is Viceroy of India. Street also offers stores selling saris and elegant jewelry, religious objects, sweets, and wonderful groceries---buy some spices to take home. Devon Avenue is like going abroad without a passport. BTW if you keep walking the Indian area turns into a Russian area then an Orthodox Jewish area. Note that the pop name of Devon changes from Ghandi Marj to Golda Meir Boulevard. Best street in Chicago.

          -----
          Viceroy of India
          2518 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60659

          10 Replies
          1. re: Querencia

            WOW thanks for all the great info and even directions on how to get there. It sounds like just going to Devon can be an adventure and maybe a chance to pick up a Bollywood movie and some incense.Looking forward to a foodventure and some purchasing. Thanks tacobloggo

            1. re: tacobloggo

              I get to Chi a few times a year. Haven't gotten to try Cumin, but I look forward to my next trip to check it out: 1414 Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622-9214
              (773) 342-1414
              Their website doesn't seem to work for me but you can check the menu on menupages if you're interested.

            2. re: Querencia

              why isn't this a nice walk from the red line? any problems going at night? How easy is it to grab a taxi? is it like NYC always around or L.A. never find one?

              1. re: tacobloggo

                >> why isn't this a nice walk from the red line? any problems going at night?

                It's primarily a matter of distance. The Indian restaurants line Devon Avenue between Western Avenue (2400W) and Sacramento (3000W). The Loyola el stop is a mile and a half east of Western and a block north of Devon. Yes, you could walk it, right up Devon, but it will take you a while to do so, maybe 35-40 minutes, which is a long, long walk. Also, Devon is a busy commercial street with bus and truck traffic, so it's not the most pleasant or scenic walk. Whereas the CTA #155 bus runs frequently, and it only costs an extra 25 cents for the transfer, if you're using a transit card to pay. I would take the bus day or night, not for safety reasons, but for time, convenience, ease, etc.

                For a schedule for the #155 bus, see www.transitchicago.com/assets/1/bus_s...

                >> How easy is it to grab a taxi? is it like NYC always around or L.A. never find one?

                In the downtown areas, it's like NYC, very easy. Away from downtown, taxis cruise the main streets; they're fairly easy to flag down, but they're not as numerous as they are downtown. They can be hard to find in bad weather, especially in a sudden downpour. You can also phone the taxi companies and they can send one.

                1. re: nsxtasy

                  Thanks nsxtasy that helps a lot.The bus it is.

                  1. re: tacobloggo

                    Incidentally, you don't have to get off the bus at Western; it proceeds up that entire strip, so you can get off at whatever stop is closest to where you want to go. If you want to start at Patel Brothers, which is the largest Indian grocery store there, it's at 2610 West Devon, and the nearest bus stop to get off is at Devon and Rockwell (2600W). (Patel Brothers is actually a nationwide chain - www.patelbros.com ).

                    1. re: nsxtasy

                      So the bus goes up all of Devon? I would like to get off at Western and walk until the culture changes and maybe walk a little more especially if I can just get back on the bus and not have to walk back. Good idea nsxtasy. So am I right that the neighborhood changes to Russian? Than what adventures do I have in store for me after that?

                      1. re: tacobloggo

                        Devon bus runs west to Kedzie, 3200 west, which is one mile west of Western (2400 west). Beyond Kedzie the street quickly becomes sort of suburban in character (one side of the street is in a suburb) and not particularly interesting for walking. You have entered the land of the car and Home Depot.

                        The transition to Russian is well under way by 2800 west.

                        1. re: Eldon Kreider

                          O.K when I see home depot and lawn mowers it's time to head back.

                        2. re: tacobloggo

                          >> So the bus goes up all of Devon?

                          Yes.

                          >> I would like to get off at Western and walk until the culture changes and maybe walk a little more especially if I can just get back on the bus and not have to walk back.

                          Here's the way the CTA fares work, assuming you have a fare card of some sort. (If you pay cash, you have to pay a full fare every time you board, no transfers.) Let's say you start out on the el, to take it up to the Loyola stop. $2.25 is deducted from your fare card at the el station. You are then allowed two more fares, as transfers, within the two hours after that $2.25 is paid; the first transfer deducts 25 cents and the second transfer is free. So if you get off the bus at Western, you can get back on the bus anywhere you like (as the second transfer) for free, as long as it's within two hours of your initial boarding of the el.

                          >> So am I right that the neighborhood changes to Russian?

                          Most of that neighborhood, which is called West Rogers Park, was largely Jewish for many years, and there are still a few Judaica shops and food stores (Tel Aviv Bakery) near the western end of that same 3/4 mile strip, right before you reach Sacramento (3000W). (Note that Chicago's street numbering system has 800 house numbers to a mile, so Sacramento, which is 3000W meaning 3000 West Devon is at the corner of Sacramento, is 3/4 mile west of Western Avenue, which is 2400W.) I'm not aware of that being specifically a Russian area (other than many of the Jews originally coming from Russia), although there's a Georgian restaurant, Tbilisi, along that stretch, a few doors down from Tel Aviv Bakery on the north side of Devon.

                          Once you get past Sacramento, it becomes less pedestrian-friendly; you cross McCormick and Devon widens out. It's really just that 3/4 mile between Western and Sacramento with all the ethnic places that's of most interest as a pedestrian.

                          There are other through streets in Chicago, ones where you could walk for mile after mile and see different food stores and ethnic restaurants: Clark Street, Broadway, and Lincoln Avenue all have long stretches where they go through various ethnic neighborhoods. For more about the food neighborhoods, including some where there are businesses that conduct food tours, see these discussions:

                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/437740
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/527608

              2. My favorite South Asian restaurant is a total hole in the wall but it has the BEST chili ghosh chicken that leaves me dreaming of it for weeks. It's called Ghareeb Nawaz and it's also on Devon but you'll notice that it has the longest line of taxis outside of the restaurant. If Indian taxi drivers think it's worth it, then it must be truly authentic!

                -----
                Ghareeb Nawaz Restaurant
                2032 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60659

                1 Reply
                1. re: LailaC

                  Interesting, very interesting. I love GN for what it is, but it's very spotty on what's good there. I would LOVE to either know what the menu name is of what you are talking about, or describe what you are talking about so I can go try it there.

                  I will tell you that the boneless chicken biriyani is a staple order for me, and that their nehari literally changed my life. I have similar dreams about their nehari. Totally mouthwatering and delectable. GN is also the place I go to get breads for a take out meal no matter where else I'm getting the entrees from. I think the naan is 50 cents, and paratha is 75 cents. Total steal.