Whichever part of the globe you want to eat from, you’re going to find the opportunity in New York. The state’s diverse blend of nationalities, ethnicities, and cultures guarantees one seriously varied restaurant scene, offering every type of cuisine imaginable. Be it Japanese, Chinese, French, Greek, Spanish, Italian, or Mongolian, you’re going to find it in New York. Sometimes, though, only a curry will do… or maybe a lassi. Or perhaps a dhal… let’s face it, when the need for something spicy, warming and comforting arises, Indian restaurants are our main go-to. The only problem is choosing which of the state’s many fine examples to choose from. Fortunately, help is on hand with our round-up of the 20 best Indian restaurants in New York.
Where: 206 Ninth Ave, NY
Kicking off our list in style is the delightful aRoqa. While the menu is inspiring (expect such treats as Ghost Chili Chicken Kebab, Bhatti Murgh Ki Champ, Lasuni Gobi, Goan Shrimp Curry, and Amul Chicken Kulcha), the true charm of this great little restaurant is the ambiance, which manages to be elegant and homely at the same time. To round off your meal, don’t miss out on the chance to sample a signature “Powderfinger" cocktail, an amazing blend of sugar beet vodka, strawberry, aged balsamic and pink peppercorn specially created by Head Mixologist Stephen Thomas.
Where: 232 E 58th St, NY
Described by New York Magazine as the "Best Traditional Indian Restaurant" in NYC, Chola is positively dripping in accolades… which may explain its loyal celebrity fanbase of the likes of Harrison Ford, Calista Flockhart, Chaka Khan, Woody Allen, Anthony Hopkins, Aishwarya Rai, Shahrukh Khan, Amitabh Bachan, and numerous other Hollywood and Bollywood celebrities. Its extensive menu features everything from lassis & bhajis to Goan mussels & vindaloo dishes… for those who can’t bring themselves to leave the comfort of their home, there’s even a take-out menu (although with the kind of great ambiance the dining room affords, you may just want to make the effort of booking a table).
Where: 45 Murray Street, New York, NY 10007
Want authentic Indian cuisine served in a warm, welcoming environment? Then you may want to head to Benares on 45 Murray Street. Its extensive menu allows you the chance to sample treats from all corners of India, while the soft lighting and peaceful vibe are sure to make you feel right at home. The prices are reasonable, and you can even order take out online… what more could you want?
17. Saravana Bhavan
Where: 81 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016
As the largest South Indian vegetarian restaurant chain in the world, Saravana Bhavan knows good, authentic Indian food when it sees it, and it’s not hesitating in serving it up to its hungry customers for some very competitive prices. Choose from fresh, healthy treats like Onion Rava Masala Dosa (thin crispy wheat & rice crepe stuffed with mildly spiced mashed potatoes & onions), Medhu Vada (a crispy lentil doughnut served with sambar and chutney), or Tomato Onion Chilli Uthappam (thick rice and lentil pancake topped with tomatoes and onions and chili). Meat may be conspicuous by its absence, but you’re unlikely to miss it with a menu this good.
Where: 60 Greenwich Ave, NY
“Loved everything about our first dinner at Rahi. The waitstaff were all lovely and attentive, the food was interest and delicious. Can’t wait to go again”, says one reviewer on Open Table. A quick glance through the other reviews proves this is no isolated example: the contemporary Indian restaurant Rahi is the kind of place that demands loyalty, whether its for the great ambience, the playful take on classic cuisine, or the delightfully friendly wait staff.
15. Brick Lane Curry House
Where: 79 2nd Ave, NYC
We all know the Brits love a good curry, so where better to taste a truly great korma or vindaloo than an authentic British style curry house? Prices are more than reasonable (chicken curries come in at $20, lamb at $21, goat at $22, fish at $22, shrimp at $23, paneer at $18, tofu at $17, and vegetable at $17), while the flavors are consistently excellent. The ambience is relaxed and informal, the service is just the right side of attentive, and there’s a fun element running throughout the restaurant that knocks the stuffing out of some of the snobbier additions to the NYC restaurant scene.
Where: 31-31 Thomson Ave, Long Island City, NY
For a contemporary Indian dining experience, Adda is hard to beat. Chef Rahi serves up a playful menu of vibrant, cutting edge dishes, giving a NYC twist to traditional Indian classics. The stylish décor and stunning art pieces create a funky, modern ambience, while the service is exemplary. No visit is complete without at least one of the house cocktails- the Memsaheb (a blend of gin, dragonfruit syrup, lemon, and aquafaba) and Gaal Gulaabi (cardamom infused tequila, agave honey, and lemon) will blow you away.
13. Punjabi Grocery and Deli
Where: 114 E 1st St, NY
Regardless of whether you get a yearning for Indian food in the morning, afternoon, or evening, the Punjabi Grocery and Deli is ready and willing to serve. The prices are more than reasonable, while the food is sublime: key highlights of the small but delightful menu include the delectable samosas (served with chickpeas, yogurt and a variety of sauces) and the lamp over a choice of rice. With a relaxed ambience, a great service, and a superb deli, it makes a sound addition to the NYC restaurant scene.
12. Spice Symphony
Where: 150 E 50th St New York, NY 10022
Spice Symphony may not be the cheapest option around, but its divine celebration of traditional Indian food makes it a great place to blow the budget. Its award-winning range of coastal curries from Goa, Konkan, Karwar, Allepy, Madurai, and Kolkata (to name just a few) are likely to convert even the most diehard mac and cheese lover to the delights of global cuisine. The wine list, meanwhile, is expertly tailored to bring out the best in the numerous dishes on offer. Service starts at 5.30 and runs to 10.30 – just be sure to book ahead, as tables tend to go fast.
11. Tamarind Tribeca
Where: 99 Hudson St., at Leonard St
Want authentic Indian cuisine at an affordable price? Then head to Tamarind Tribeca on Hudson St in NYC- if the menu doesn’t floor you with its great range of vibrant dishes, the great service and fabulous ambiance surely will.
10. Zaika New York
Where: 230 E 44th St New York, NY 10017-4335
With a quiet, zen like atmosphere, a great range of menus (including the ever popular Prix Fixe Indian Lunch Menu which starts from just $14.95 per head), a solid wine list, and the option to take out, Zaika New York is the ideal spot to relax and unwind with a good bottle of red, some fabulous food, and some great company.
9. Jackson Diner
Where: 37-47 74th St., nr. 37th Rd., Jackson Heights
Don’t be deceived by the word “diner’ in the title of the fabulous little restaurant: long considered one of the prime destinations on the NYC food scene, Jackson Diner may have a fun, funky décor, but there’s nothing lightweight about the food. The menu is a smorgasbord of authentic, beautifully rendered dishes from all corners of India, giving customers the rare chance to eat their way through the subcontinent in one sitting. The great selection of tandoori breads come particularly recommended.
Where: 102 Lexington Ave., nr. 27th St, NY
With a fresh, flavorsome menu bursting with regional specialties and evergreen favorites, this 60-seat restaurant is a stunning mishmash of the old and the new. The service is cutting edge, the ingredients taste freshly picked that morning, while the décor of mustard yellow walls and stunning murals of historic Calcutta is delightfully old school. Reasonably priced and family friendly, this is casual dining of the highest order.
Where: 2588 Broadway, nr. 98th St, NY
For an authentic culinary experience in an elegant, contemporary space, the Awadth is hard to beat. At the pass is head chef Gaurav Anand, who’s managed to create a menu of refined dishes full of vivid, perfectly balanced flavors. Whether you’re a committed carnivore, a pescatarian, or a full-blown vegetarian, there’s enough on offer to please every taste and appetite.
Where: 27 W. 24th St., nr. Broadway, NY
With a blend of authentic old favorites and creative, inventive surprises, even the hardest to please gourmet is sure to find something to tickle their taste buds on Junoon’s extensive menu. Competing for attention with the menu is a décor that combines elegant stylings with comfortable finishing’s, and an award-winning wine list that marries perfectly with the delectable range of mains, appetizers, and deserts.
Where: 108 Lexington Ave., nr. 27th St, NY
No trip to the Big Apple is complete without at least one visit to the upscale Dhaba restaurant on Lexington Avenue. Headed up by chef Hemant Mathur, chef Kholil Ahmed Syed and chef Jangbu Lama, the restaurant has become one of the best places in NYC for a true taste of authentic Indian cuisine, with specialties including Paya soup, Achari Gosht, Lamb Biryani, Chicken Kali Mirch, Goan Fish Curry, Saag Paneer, Punjabi Kad. It may be on the pricey side, and tables may be hard to find, but it’s well worth both the expense and the effort.
4. Moti Mahal Delux
Where: 1149 First Ave., at 63rd St, NY
Moti Mahal Delux may be a chain restaurant, but as chains go, it’s one of the very best. Credited as the first restaurant to come up with the idea of Tandoori chicken and butter chicken, Moti Mahal Delux has a vital part to play in the history of Indian cuisine… and an equally vital one to play in its present. Prices are supremely affordable, the food is surprisingly luxurious, and the setting is elegant and contemporary. If you don’t believe our word for it, check out what the food critics are saying. “Moti Mahal Delux offers recipes that are distinguished principally by inventive flavor combinations and the finesse of ‘Mughlai’ cuisine, a "bargain in any neighborhood for food that provides a surprising flavor of luxury" says Pete Wells of The New York Times
3. Ganesh Temple Canteen
Where: 143-09 Holly Ave., Flushing, NY
The Ganesh Temple Canteen has been keeping hungry New Yorkers happy since 1993. Its extensive vegetarian menu places a strong focus on fresh, quality ingredients, all treated with the love and respect needed to create the truly exceptional South Indian dishes the canteen has become famous for. If you want authentic flavors, a community feel, and a hospitable service, this little Flushing treat of a restaurant is a must-visit.
1. Indian Accent
Where: 123 W. 56th St., btw. Sixth and Seventh Ave, NY
According to its website “Indian Accent’s menu explores progressive ideas in Indian cuisine while maintaining traditional integrity.’ A quick glance through the range of exquisite treats on offer tells you just how well its meeting its brief. Appetizers such as sweet potato shakarkandi, kohlrabi, and crispy okra compete for attention with mains like fenugreek chicken and crisp parsnip home-style curry; baked sea bass with patrani butter and berry pulao; and braised lamb ribs, cumin sunchokes and saffron korma, while the desert selection is equally tempting. The décor is contemporary, the ambience is warm and welcoming, and the service is exemplary. For a fresh, inventive take on Indian cuisine, Indian Accent is in a league of its own.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker