Indian cuisine can be incredibly diverse and in a place like New York City, there is a huge choice of restaurants available to the diner who is looking for a place to have an amazing, authentic meal. The best thing to do is usually to get a recommendation from someone who has been to a place before. However, this is not always available. The next best thing is to look for reviews. Again, it depends what you are looking for. Some people want to eat Indian food that is just like the food that you would have if you went to someone's house. Some prefer British Indian cuisine, some cuisine that has a mix of different influences. Whatever you are looking for, you will be able to find it in New York. It's just a matter of looking.
For most New Yorkers, looking for a curry means heading to 'Curry Hill', affectionately known as such due to its proximity to Manhattan's Murray Hill. This area spans Lexington and 3rd Avenue in the East 20s and 30s. There is a veritable sea of great Indian cuisine restaurants, Panjabi meets Gujurat and Kerala. However, the good places are not just here and you might need to look around the city a bit in order to find your favorite.
Here, we present five of the absolute best Indian restaurants in the Big Apple. Try them out and we can guarantee that you will not be disappointed (a big claim we realize, but we are confident with our choices). The list is in reverse order, finishing with what we believe is the best Indian restaurant in the city.
Dawat is certainly among some of the most innovative restaurants in the city and the food is both delicious and varied. Lemon rind, curry leaves and mustard seeds drive the agenda and generally the place sticks to traditional, great tasting ingredients. Dawat literally means 'invitation to a feast' and this restaurant is the brainchild of the Bollywood actress and famous writer of Indian cookbooks Madhur Jaffrey.There are lots of tandoor and curry dishes and the smells are incredible. The style of the place is simple and elegant with some fantastic colors. Certainly a must visit.
Benares is a city in Uttar Pradesh in northern India and this particular New York restaurant takes its influences from the food and cuisine of this special region. Banarsi saris line the walls and every day more than 90 people descend to enjoy the spoils of Benares. Uttar Pradesh is mostly known for its vegetarian cuisine so this is a great restaurant to come to if you are a vegetarian or don't really fancy any meat. A particularly standout dish is Kashmiri Soup which includes roasted turnip and beetroot, pigeon peas, fennel, ginger, garlic and cumin. It is not all vegetarian however and there are plenty of meat dishes on the menu, from chicken to lamb.
Located in Flatiron district, Junoon offers a touch of real style and sophistication. It can be found on the border with Chelsea and is renowned for its palatial style grandeur. The huge room is filled with lots of beautiful lights, pools with lotus flowers floating within and lots of pink hued limestone statues and statuettes. Junoon means passion - and there is lots of be found at this restaurant. The menu is truly wonderful with lots of glorious dishes to pick from. It is especially good for its fish dishes, which include a Goan Shrimp dish with peri peri sauce, a wonderful grilled monkfish with serrano chillies and a well known chicken dish called Malvan. These come particularly well recommended.
Found in Midtown East district, Chola is perhaps one of the more famous Indian restaurants in New York City. It also comes at a real steal. You can come and tuck into the lunch buffet for just $16 which is insanely cheap given the quality of the food. Dishes include bhuni gobi matter and saag aloo. There are also some brilliant a la carte dishes if you would rather go down that route with your eating. The menu is massive with tandoori dishes available alongside goat and chicken curries, lots of chili dishes and several Anglo-Indian dishes. This is a very comfortable and friendly restaurant which will be sure to fill you well and make you happy.
Found in Tribeca, this Indian restaurant changed the way that people looked on Indian restaurants and Indian cuisine. The service in this restaurant is absolutely second to none and you will feel as if you are royalty. The menu often changes and is very varied. A particular favorite are the fritters with banana, spinach and cheese. Often there can be found couples having dinner, business associates and other smartly dressed people. This is a restaurant to go to if you want a good evening or a good lunch. It is set in contrast to many of the cheap and quick Indian takeaways that can be found in the rest of the area. They are doing something different at Tamarind and they are doing it really really well.
Some people in New York will challenge themselves to finding a good Indian restaurant at every metro stop. Whilst this might sound like it might be difficult, in reality, there are loads of amazing Indian restaurants all over the place. The restaurants selected above represent the best of the best but you should remember that there are hundreds if not thousands of other places out there. The fun part is usually taking a bit of a risk and trying out new places.
You should be wary if a place looks really dingy or dark or has not had very many good reviews. However, largely it is an exciting and a good way of going about it. A good sign is usually if there are lots of people in the restaurant. Hopefully, reading this article has got your taste buds urging you to go out, explore and find an Indian. It is wonderful food, incredibly diverse and absolutely delicious, no matter your spice tolerance!
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker