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Indian Food In Seattle

p
Psiweaver Oct 10, 2010 10:22 PM

Been craving some amazing indian food where's the best places in the greater seattle area that I should go and hit up. Looking for top quality Bharta, Tikka Masala, etc.

  1. c
    cocktailhour Oct 12, 2010 03:29 PM

    I usually go to Chutney's on Queen Anne. I think it's solid North Indian classics. It satisfies my need for my mom's home cooking, although of course nothing can beat that!

    > it seems as though thats the case for almost everything i've looked for so far in seattle.

    I think different people have different opinions on what is "top-notch" in Seattle and we are never all going to agree. As one example, there is a thread here on great (i.e., top-notch) Mexican food in Seattle. I strongly disagree that there is any great Mex here, but that doesn't mean everyone else is wrong. we just a have a different definition of "great."

    Seafood is top-notch in Seattle, especially salmon and halibut at any kind of restaurant, not one labelled just "seafood." Oysters are amazing. Lots of choices for local, organic, sustainable in proportion to chains within the city limits. these restos may be new American, Italian-inspired, etc. but they all deliver really great meals.

    17 Replies
    1. re: cocktailhour
      lavaca Oct 13, 2010 09:07 AM

      The demographics of the region simply aren't conducive to top-tier homestyle ethnic restaurants. That's why the "Show me great [Mexican/Thai/Chinese/whatever]" threads tend to turn quickly into "okay, show me pretty good [Mexican/Thai/Chinese/whatever]" threads. The general bias against places south of I-90 doesn't help too much, either.

      (Apropos of that, doesn't Kent have the region's largest Indian community? The only place from that area mentioned in the other threads is Punjab Sweets.)

      1. re: lavaca
        e
        equinoise Oct 13, 2010 09:33 AM

        Agree with your point that demographics count, but disagree with your conclusions, at least on a region-wide categorical basis. Bamboo Garden is "top-tier" Sichuan. Facing East is top-tier Taiwanese. Huong Bin and Pho Bac are top-tier "homestyle" Vietnamese, and TT/Long are top-tier fancier spots. I wonder if La Carta would be considered excellent Oaxacan or El Quetzal excellent DF/antojitos...? I haven't explored those regions or other US cities with huge Mexican communities to know the better, but I enjoy those two for what they offer.

        As for Indian, I think at times we are hoping for something that is nebulously defined, and certainly isn't "homestyle." The comparison to Vij's in Vancouver is often made, but that place, from everything I've heard, isn't homestyle at all, but instead a very unique fusion/modern style (which reminds me of the late Devi in NYC, which I did enjoy). My benchmarks are set based mainly on more traditional cooking at my favorite regional or pan-regional places in New Jersey, which has a massive immigrant community. On that basis, the regional dishes offered at Spice Route (Southern/Tamil), Naan N Curry, Kebab Palace, and Kebab House (Northern/Pakistani) and Pabla in Renton (Punjabi) compare quite favorably; the chaat and dosai at Mayuri and Udupi do not.

        That bias against South Seattle you mention--and also the Eastside--may explain why many of these options aren't explored and recognized.

        -----
        Bamboo Garden
        202 106th Pl NE, Bellevue, WA 98004

        Naan N Curry
        709 S 3rd St, Renton, WA 98057

        Spice Route
        2241 148th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98007

        1. re: equinoise
          p
          PAO Oct 13, 2010 12:14 PM

          No, La Carta Oaxaca is not top tier. Their pozole is but a pale imitation of what you get in little greasy spoon places in Oaxaca, for example (where you can get pozole blanco, pozole rojo, and pozole verde). La Carta is good, but top tier? No.

          1. re: equinoise
            lavaca Oct 13, 2010 01:47 PM

            Don't get me wrong - there are great ethnic restaurants in the region, it's just that there aren't as many of them as people seem to expect there to be, and the ones we do have are often located well outside of the neighborhoods inhabited by the average Chowhound or Yelp user. Now that the light rail line is open along MLK Way, perhaps more people will notice just how many Vietnamese and East African restaurants there are in Seattle.

            For great Mexican: Taqueria La Estacion in Burien and maybe Huarachitos and Barriga Llena in Seattle - but that's another thread.

            1. re: lavaca
              e
              equinoise Oct 14, 2010 11:54 AM

              Have you been to El Quetzal yet? I think it is better than Huarachitos for D.F. style food.

              1. re: equinoise
                lavaca Oct 15, 2010 08:48 AM

                I was told that El Quetzal served lousy tortas, and that the only dish worth ordering was the huarache, so I haven't made an effort to visit yet. What else do they have that's worth trying?

                1. re: lavaca
                  e
                  equinoise Oct 18, 2010 09:16 AM

                  I actually enjoy like the tortas, and even more so, the pambazos. I haven't had anything there that was bad, except for the tortilla chips, which are too thick and hard.

            2. re: equinoise
              p
              pusherman Oct 14, 2010 09:46 AM

              Agree, there is a real problem on this board that everyone wants to compare Seattle against the national best. How's the Indian? Well, it's not as good as Vancouver... How about the Mexican? Well, it's not as good as LA / Texas...

              I think the Chinese / Taiwanese / Japanese / Vietnamese here is reasonably good, not the best I've had anywhere but very respectable. I haven't found a go-to place for Indian yet, but I suspect I need to be outside of Seattle proper for that, and I haven't really worked through the East Side places (or, apparently, the South End). And while Tex Mex doesn't really exist here, the California-style and interior is actually respectible.

              1. re: pusherman
                s
                Seattlerain Oct 15, 2010 12:15 PM

                Agree, there is always going to be better restaurants somewhere...but the way some people talk on this board and other boards one would think that Seattle is at the absolute bottom of the culinary scale...

                1. re: Seattlerain
                  p
                  PAO Oct 15, 2010 12:27 PM

                  The original questioner wanted "amazing", "top quality" Indian food. I believe there is general consensus that such is not to be had in Seattle. Ditto Japanese, ditto Chinese, ditto Mexican. It is beyond me why we don't have better Japanese restaurants. Mexican and Chinese are somewhat more understandable. Are there good restaurants in all these categories in Seatte? Yes, and that was made clear above. But amazing and top quality? No.

                  1. re: PAO
                    p
                    Psiweaver Oct 15, 2010 12:55 PM

                    My problem is that there doesn't seem to be anything that Seattle does do absolutely top quality and amazing in for any type of food. I say this after moving up here from LA about 3 or 4 months ago. Literally everyone I've asked about top quality food says oh for that you should go to vancovuer etc. Most cities actually have something that they top out in and seattle doesn't seem to have that. Very disappointing.

                    1. re: Psiweaver
                      c
                      cocktailhour Oct 15, 2010 05:52 PM

                      In terms of New American, Seattle has some great choices. Local, organic, seasonal. I would say that SF's food scene is ahead of Seattle, but Seattle is ahead of many other places. I am not sure where you have been yet or what you are looking for, but Seattle is a great food city. Quintessential Seattle: salmon, halibut, clam chowder. Iconic foodie restos--Dahlia, Flying Fish. They really paved the way for many others. Classic dishes--Paseo's sandwich, Salumi. and etc. You can't get decent Tex-Mex here, and I don't care for Cal-Mex and don't go to many taco trucks. I am an amateur at sushi. but there are others foods here.

                      -----
                      Flying Fish
                      2234 1st Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121

                      Salumi
                      309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

                      1. re: cocktailhour
                        p
                        Psiweaver Oct 15, 2010 07:32 PM

                        I've been to how to cook a wofl, anchoives and olives, salumi, kisaku and a few other places.

                      2. re: Psiweaver
                        e
                        equinoise Oct 18, 2010 09:37 AM

                        Again, I consider the handful of Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants I mentioned above to be as "top quality" as one could reasonably expect given the price point and cuisine in question. Others have spoken favorably, for example, of how Bamboo Garden compares against the "concensus" best Sichuan in NYC.

                        Seriously, what makes a Chinese or Mexican place serving $8-13 dollar dishes "amazing"? What are the benchmarks? I think it is the subtle touches and details and apparently authentic flair that set them apart, more than some pervasive overall difference in quality.

                        -----
                        Bamboo Garden
                        202 106th Pl NE, Bellevue, WA 98004

              2. re: lavaca
                b
                BallardFoodie Oct 16, 2010 07:50 AM

                I also think population numbers play into this, too. LA, as a comparison, has 4 million people in LA proper. SF has 800k and seattle has 600k. Extend those numbers out to metropolitan areas and Seattle still lags far behind either of those cities. No doubt, the racial composition of those populations differs substantially due to too many reasons to list. We have many good things that compare well to those cities. Yet, invariably, Seattle will lag behind in quality and quantity (which some may argue creates quality due to competition).

                Getting back to the original topic, the place that we frequent the most, due in part to where we live, is the Kabab House in Greenwood (Pakistani/Indian).

                -----
                Kabab House
                8202 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103

                1. re: BallardFoodie
                  p
                  PAO Oct 16, 2010 09:07 PM

                  BallardFoodie makes very good points

                  1. re: BallardFoodie
                    b
                    Brunhilde Oct 18, 2010 05:46 PM

                    Kabab House is also my family's favorite, and where my Karachi-born brother in law always insists on going.

                    -----
                    Kabab House
                    8202 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103

              3. Tom Armitage Oct 11, 2010 08:32 AM

                I suggest using the search function in the upper right-hand corner of the page for the Greater Seattle Board. Type in "Indian" and click on the icon and you'll be on your way. Here are a couple of threads to get you started: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/645996?tag=search_results;results_list and
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5653...

                5 Replies
                1. re: Tom Armitage
                  p
                  PAO Oct 11, 2010 09:29 AM

                  Tom gives you a good resource, keeping in mind that, in my opinion, there's no "amazing" or "top quality" Indian food in Seattle or surrounding areas, only "good", at best.

                  1. re: PAO
                    p
                    Psiweaver Oct 11, 2010 08:37 PM

                    that was what I was curious about. I did a search but didn't find anything that people seemed to find absolutely top knotch it seems as though thats the case for almost everything i've looked for so far in seattle.

                    1. re: Psiweaver
                      Charles Oct 12, 2010 07:41 AM

                      There is this review http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/voracious/2010/10/cajetan_mendonz_makes_the_best.php in the Seattle Weekly blog voracious this morning...

                      Also sounds like Sheehan is doing some serious Indian guide this week http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/voraci...

                      1. re: Charles
                        p
                        PAO Oct 12, 2010 01:38 PM

                        Thanks for the tip on Mendonz. Will have to try him out. I frequently go to Mayuri's chaat house. But that's chaat, not really full on, sit down meals.

                        1. re: Charles
                          e
                          equinoise Oct 13, 2010 09:04 AM

                          Too bad that Mendonz doesn't make some Goan food--his menu on facebook consists of lowest common denominator stuff that every Seattle Indian restaurant serves: tikka masala, samosas, chicken biryani, kebab roll. These are all northern dishes in origin (or Anglo ones). I'm not seeing anything listed that is "southern style" food as the Weekly reviewer claims. I'm not saying that he serves bad versions of what is offered at his stall....I haven't tried it.

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