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Jan 12, 2012 06:54 AM

Indian restaurants specializing in particular regions of India?


I teach a class on the Geography of Food at the University and New Hampshire. I am seeking recommendations of Indian restaurants in the Boston area that specialize in the foods of particular regions in India, that aren't simply pan-Indian in style, and don't specialize in Mughal/North Indian cuisine.

Any suggestions? I know about Kabob and Tandoor (Hyderabadi), Tanjore (South Indian), and a few other places, but I'm looking to find more.


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  1. "Tanjore" in Harvard Square divides their menu by region:

    The Hyderabadi restaurant is actually "Kabab and Tandoor".

      1. re: Bob Dobalina

        Royal Bengal is Bengali. It's on Mass Ave in Cambridge, near MIT

        1. re: Bob Dobalina

          I think you'll have a tough time finding pure single-region offerings. Gotta have chicken tikka. Much of Biryani Park's menu is South Indian and they also have the popular Indo-Chinese, a Goanese fish dish, etc. Dosa Temple in Somerville is new and does S. Indian vegetarian. There are a few S. Indian places in Lowell whose names escape me. Up your way is Meena's in I think Nashua (South Indian I believe but not sure). Namaskar in Davis does some Gujurati dishes. Guru the Caterer in Somerville does N. Indian but it's more home-cooking than most. Kathmandu Spice has Nepali but is admittedly fusion; the new Masala in Somerville has Nepali as well as pan-Indian.

        2. The answers you've gotten so far cover the major possibilities in the Boston area. To add a couple of comments: I think you'll find that even when a restaurant claims to offer regional dishes, they're often less distinctive than they should be. Vindaloo is originally a Goan dish, but it's very hard to find a true pork vindaloo with it's sublime mixture of fatty meat and mellowed (through long cooking) vinegar. The various things that are listed under vindaloo in many restaurants bear little resemblance to the Goan original. It's also still quite tough to find places that concentrate *narrowly* on Indian regions. South lndian restaurants offer a mix of dishes from all over the south. It's not yet possible to find a place that specializes in, say, the cuisine of Kerala.

          Reading might be a better way to go, unfortunately, than eating. Penguin India has a very good series of books on regional Indian cookery. The newish book by Ammini Ramachandran is an excellent account of vegetarian Keralite cooking. Niloufer King's My Bombay Kitchen does a very good job with Parsi food.

          7 Replies
          1. re: FoodDabbler

            Thanks to all who've responded so far. I appreciate the suggestions and thoughtful insights.

            I have read about the regional cuisines of India and the other regions we will cover in the class. I posed my questions because students are required to eat an ethnic restaurant and I provide them a list of possible choices.

            1. re: BlakeGumprecht

              I haven't been to India so I can't vouch for authencity, but Darbar has very homey Pakistani food. It's excellent and the haleem seems to representative of Pakistan, very different from Tandoor and Kebab. Darul Kebab has some Bangladeshi influenced things. Tanjore was interesting when it came out, a logical progression from the One World Cuisine restaurant group. Udapi Bhavan, there's two of them around here, is reputed to have tiffin style items, and overlaps a bit with Dosa Temple, which also has two restaurants locally. Dosa Temple's owners hail from the Madras area, and that's what they do in reality.

              Punjab Palace, a sister restaurant to Northern Indian stalwart India Quality, supposedly does Punjabi style, but I find Punjab's menu in Arlington a bit more interesting and the food is just as good or better. It's also one of the nice appointed Indian restaurants around. In a similar nice but not really fine dining category are the two related Tamarind Bay restaurants, one of which specializes in "coastal seafood". Pongal is also pan-regional, I liked the taste of the Goan Shrimp very much. The buffet in their second location in Sudbury is one the best buffets I've seen around here. Touches such as mini dosa cones do it for me.

              Ritu Ki Rasoi does the most interesting pan-regional menu at the moment. They have some very localized specialties, such as Vada Pav, and feature a special regional dinner once a week.

              Indian Chinese food is done by one restaurant exclusively on Newbury St, but it's not very good in my opinion. I'd rather head to Ritu or Dosa Temple for that.

              1. re: tatsu

                Pakistanis might object to you saying that you needed to go to India to check on the authenticity of a Pakistani restaurant :)

                The Indian Chinese place is Mumbai Chopstix. Some of their sister restaurants also serve that sort of fare - e.g. Dosa Factory in Central Square.

              2. re: BlakeGumprecht

                As a curiosity: Do you have a reading list on regional cuisines (Indian and otherwise)?

                1. re: FoodDabbler

                  I do give my students a bibliography of sources available on the geography of food in my university library. I'm presently updating it for the spring semester, which begins in a couple weeks. I can share it on Chowhound once it's complete if people would like that. It's not definitive -- it's limited to sources available in the UNH library and includes only the better of those.

                    1. re: BlakeGumprecht

                      blake, chowhounds will love your list, i'm sure, but you will want to post it on General Chowhound Topics board, not on the Boston board (the mods would move it anyway). but do post a link to it on this thread!
                      here are some recent so indian threads fyi:


                      meena's kitchen in nashua n.h.:

              3. In addition to the many good suggestions here, I'd like to add that the excellent Udupi Bhavan does Indian-vegetarian cooking from the state of Karnataka.

                1. indian dhaba on brighton ave in allston for an extensive selection of indo-chinese dishes