Best Indian Restaurants in  New York City
Photo: JoannaTkaczuk/Fotolia

New York is home to an array of outstanding Indian restaurants that serve cuisine akin to that found in Indian households or India itself, including amazing regional specialties, takeout tikka masala, and handheld snacks. Next time you've got a craving for curry or tandoori, check out these Indian restaurants in New York City, which boast some of the best curries around.

»The MasalaWala

The MasalaWala


Meaning "the merchant of spice," The MasalaWala is a hip, cozy spot in the LES neighborhood and ideal for all types of dining, from family-friendly dinners to romantic first dates. Immersing diners in a sensational culinary experience without the fuss of first-class fine dining, The MasalaWala serves traditional Indian food with a twist in a creative and casual atmosphere. The menu boasts a range of modern small plates of South Asian street food as well as signature Indian curries and traditional entrées such as lamb vindaloo, chicken tikka masala, and Akbari vegetable biryani, using only the freshest, healthiest, and authentic ingredients.

Manhattan: 179 Essex Street, New York, NY 10002, Phone: 212-358-9300 / Queens: The Falchi Building, 31-00 47th Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101 Photo: The MasalaWala

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»Awadh

Awadh


Located on the Upper West Side, Awadh is a newcomer to New York's Indian scene from the owner of the Gaurav Anand (Moti Mahal Deluxe). This uptown eatery offers a menu that focuses on dum pukht, the traditional slow-cooking method from the regions of Northeastern India where cuisine is simmered on low for hours in exotic spices and thick sauces. Diners can tuck into Awadhi specialties from the state of Uttar Pradesh in the restaurant's double volume, dark-wood spaces, including masala-wrapped whole fish, simmered lamb shanks, leg of lamb, and galouti kebab (minced lamb patties), all of which are low and slow-cooked in a sealed, heavy-bottomed pot. A selective wine program accompanies this outstanding cuisine.

2588 Broadway (97/98 St.), New York, NY 10025, Phone: 646-861-3241, 646-861-3604 Photo: Awadh

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»Babu Ji

Babu Ji

Named after what is known as the self-appointed neighborhood ambassador who knows everyone and everything that's happening the village and unashamedly indulges in food and hospitality and revels in his food, Babu Ji is an eatery in the East Village with this same ethos in mind. Reflecting its original outpost in Melbourne, Australia, Babu Ji is a stylish restaurant that serves a changing menu of modern Indian street food along with a self-serve beer refrigerator that's packed with a variety of craft brews. The menu features cross-regional curries, Indian street food, and tandoori specialties as well as an impressive wine list and an extensive selection of craft beer and imports.

175 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009, Phone: 212-951-1082 Photo: Babu Ji

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»Amma

Amma


Breaking away from tradition and serving food on individual plates rather than family style, Amma, which means "mother" in Hindi, offers a seven-course tasting menu as well as an à la carte menu boasting a variety of delicious home-style Indian dishes. Favorite plates include thick, buttery tandoor-grilled lamb chops perfectly complemented by pear chutney, crispy fried okra, or bhel puri, and tender chicken tikka masala with a delicious tangy sauce. Also on the menu are Cochin crab cakes and tandoori chicken, with bread and rice as extras on the side. Gracious, friendly staff are on hand to help with interpreting the menu, in true Indian style.

246 East 51st Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues), New York, NY 10022, Phone: 212-644-8330, Fax: 212-644-8250 Photo: Amma

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»Benares

Benares

Taking its name from an area known for its veggie-based specialties in the northeastern state of Uttar Pradesh, Benares is overseen by virtuoso chef Peter Beck (of Tamarind fame), who manages and serves a region-hopping menu of fare that includes a robust selection of fresh seafood and hearty vegetarian dishes. Tuck into mouth-watering delights such as chicken vindaloo, lamb rogan josh, and lauki ka kofta – warm squash dumplings enveloped in a cumin-laced paneer and creamy sauce. Less common, but just as delicious, specialties include kozhi varutha, a chicken curry from southern India spiced with ginger, garlic, and roasted chilies and thickened with coconut milk.

240 West 56th Street, New York, NY 10019, Phone: 212-397-0707 Photo: Benares

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»Bengal Tiger

Bengal Tiger


Tucked away in an unassuming second-floor locale on 56th Street, Bengal Tiger is a casual eatery that serves a regional menu of Indian favorites for lunch and dinner. Meat-lovers and vegetarians alike have an array of delicious choices, including chicken and lamb vindaloo, chicken tikka masala and korma, and creamy homemade curries. Vegetarians can tuck into mouth-watering saag paneers, baigan bhartha (roasted mashed eggplant), and curried chickpeas known as chana masala. Bengal Tiger offers a selection of dining options from an á la carte and three-course prix fixe menu to catering trays with a variety of small plates. Tandoori bread adds an extra bite, and a range of sweet Indian desserts such as kheer (cashew nut rice pudding) and rasmalai (farmer's cheese discs thickened with milk) add the final touch to an unforgettable meal.

58W 56th Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10019, Phone: 212-265-2703 Photo: stocksolutions/Fotolia

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»Brick Lane Curry House

Brick Lane Curry House


Newly located on 2nd Avenue, Brick Lane Curry House specializes in phal, a hot habanero curry that is popular along London's famous Brick Lane restaurant row. The coolly elegant interior is the perfect setting for the nine super-hot curries on the menu, which are ranked by burn level, the hottest of which comes with a description of being "more pain and sweat than flavor". The restaurant became famous overnight for its "how-hot-can-you-go challenge," which was featured on television, while the rest of the menu is modeled after the curry houses of Brick Lane in London and features kebabs, khurmas, and light tandooris.

99 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003, Phone: 212-979-8787, 212-979-2900 Photo: Brick Lane Curry House

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»Chola

Chola


Chola offers an eclectic mix of traditional Indian cuisine and new-age, off-beat, more regional types of food in a casual, inviting atmosphere. Boasting a vast menu of delectable choices this restaurant offers everything from baskets of varied kebabs, including cardamom-perfumed lamb sausages, chicken kali mirch, and buttery langar wali dal to saffron-coated chunks of tender lamb chunks with a delicate cashew sauce and the southern Indian specialty of Savitri Amma's idli (steamed rice cakes) served with fresh coconut chutney. Don't miss Martha Stewart's onion naan, although everything ordered on the menu promises to tantalize the taste buds and leave a marked memory.

232 E 58th Street, NY 10022, Phone: 212-688-4619 Photo: Chola

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»Darbar Grill

Darbar Grill


Darbar Grill is a popular NYC restaurant in Midtown that offers exceptional Indian food and unparalleled service in an elegant, relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant serves an array of delicious fine Indian cuisine for lunch and dinner as well as delicious dessert options and includes a prix fixe menu with an "All-You-Can-Eat-Lunch-Buffet." The evolving menu also features house specialties that include appetizers such as samosas, bhel puri, and paneer tikka, while entrées feature eggplant bhartha, beetroot malai kofta, lamb tikka masala, and shrimp biryani, accompanied by naan, rice, tandoori bread, mixed pickles, and a range of other sides.

157 E 55th St, Penthouse, New York, NY 10022, Phone: 212-751-4600 Photo: Darbar Grill

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»Dawat Haute Indian Cuisine

Dawat Haute Indian Cuisine


One of the first Indian fine dining establishments in New York, Dawat offers a classic Indian culinary experience with an award-winning chef (and Bollywood actress) at the helm. Billing itself as being a "house of haute cuisine," Dawat (meaning "invitation to a feast") serves a menu of regional and traditional specialties, including crab nazakat, corn chaat, palak ke pakore, lasooni gobi, and the all-time favorite, chicken tikka naan. Lobster shehnaz features delicate lobster folded into special marinade and tomato sauce, while the chicken chettinad is a flavorful South Indian spicy chicken dish made from coconut milk, fennel seeds, cumin, cardamom, peppercorn, coriander, cumin, and cardamom.

210 E 58th St, New York, NY 10022, Phone: 212-355-7555 Photo: Dawat Haute Indian Cuisine

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»Dhaba

Dhaba


Dhaba is a unique restaurant located down the road from Chote Nawab that serves a menu of authentic Punjabi cuisine, including various types of tandoor and traditional street food. Owned by Shiva Natarajan, founder of other popular restaurants such as Chola, Thelewala, Kokum, Malai Marke, Chote Nawab, and Haldi, Dhaba serves an exciting menu of authentic and traditional cuisine from several regions of India, ranging from Calcutta and Chennai to Kerala and Punjab. Coastal Indian dishes include konju pappas (shrimp cooked with tomatoes, kokum, and coconut milk) and fish moilee (fish cooked with coconut, turmeric and ginger), while spice-lovers will delight in the mouth-watering (literally) lal maas – a Rajasthani specialty with extra hot red chilies.

108 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10016, Phone: 212-679-1284 Photo: Dhaba

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»Indian Accent

Indian Accent


Based at the Le Parker Meridien New York, Indian Accent offers an innovative approach to Indian cuisine. Headed by celeb-chef Manish Mehrotra, Indian Accent is the first international outpost of the South Delhi blockbuster and world-renowned restaurant Rohit Khattar and offers fine Indian dining in an exquisitely elegant setting complete with a gold-leafed wall. The unique menu combines progressive ideas in Indian cuisine with traditional integrity and features prix fixe options, á la carte menus, and a chef's tasting menu. Highlights of the menus include an amuse bouche of warm naan imbued with a sharp Danish blue cheese, paper roast dosa with mushrooms and water chestnuts, scallops served with turmeric potato, and Kerala moilee.

123 West 56th Street, New York, NY 10019, Phone: 212-842-8070 Photo: Indian Accent

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»Junoon

Junoon

Legendary chef Viksa Khanna presents an unrivaled, high-end Indian experience in the heart of Chelsea. The soul of this luxe eatery is its glassed-in spice room, where the culinary team hand-grinds and mixes house blends each morning in preparation to add to the five elements of Indian cuisine presented on the menu, namely handi, sigri, pathar, tawa, and tandoor. Highlights of the region-hopping menu include a pungent, seven-spice coated slow-braised lamb shank, tandoori octopus with goda masala and aloo bonda, and nadru matar makhana served with English peas, crispy lotus root, puffed lotus seed, and roasted tomato sauce. The cuisine is organized around traditional methods of Indian cooking, including tawa (cast-iron), tandoor and handi (pot cooking), sigri (fire pit), and pathar (stone), and is accompanied by an award-winning wine list.

27 W 24th St, New York, NY 10010, Phone: 212-490-2100 Photo: Junoon

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»Malai Marke

Malai Marke

Another of Shiva Natarajan's Indian eateries, which include other popular restaurants such as Chola, Thelewala, Kokum, Dhaba, Chote Nawab, and Haldi, Malai Marke serves an exciting menu of authentic and traditional cuisine from several regions of India, ranging from Calcutta and Chennai to Kerala and Punjab. Located on 6th Street, once known as "curry row," this South Indian restaurant serves an array of delicious meat and vegetarian dishes ranging from small plates of onion bhaji, layered eggplant imli baigan, and spiced chickpea luchi bhaji to entrées of seekh kabab (skewered lamb rolls), lamb dhansak – a famous Parsi dish with lamb, lentils, and spinach – and chicken chutney wala with green chutney and mangoes.

318 E 6th St, New York, NY 10003, Phone: 212-777-7729 Photo: Malai Marke

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»Mirch Masala

Mirch Masala

Meaning "hot spice," Mirch Masala serves a variety of tandoori-style dishes, paratha rolls, tandooris, and curries in a relaxed setting. Located on Macdougal Street between 3rd and Bleecker Streets, this popular New York hub serves some of the best Indian dishes in town, including shuruaat (appetizers), tandoor (meats and vegetables cooked in a special grill oven), subji (vegetarian), biryani (special rice), naan, and paratha as well as soups, sides, and salads. End the meal with sweet Indian desserts such as kheer, rasmalai, carrot halva, and kulfi.

95 Macdougal Street (Between 3rd Street & Bleecker Street), New York, NY 10012, Phone: 212-777-2888 Photo: Mirch Masala

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»Moti Mahal Delux

Moti Mahal Delux

One of over 100 locations across South Asia, Moti Mahal Delux is New York's import of the international Indian eatery. Located in the heart of the Upper East Side, Moti Mahal Delux is renowned for its unrivaled tandoori chicken and signature "butter chicken," which is served in a velvety sauce of creamy tomato, but also offers a menu packed with delectable Indian dishes from different regions around the country. Moti Mahal's takes diners on a journey back to the Mughal Empire, when chefs used the tandoor, or clay oven, for cooking chicken, and boasts dishes such as kadi patta jheenga, kaali daal, and masala (a fragrant curry prepared with a choice of goat brain, crab, chicken, or shrimp).

1149 1st Avenue (63rd Street), New York, NY 10065, Phone: 212-371-3535 Photo: Moti Mahal Delux

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»Nirvana

Nirvana


Named for the mindset that one exists in, Nirvana is a heavenly abode in which to dine on fine Indian cuisine. Boasting a warm and inviting atmosphere that is cozy and dimly lit with exposed brick walls and crisp white tables with fine china and elegant glassware, Nirvana is a cross between the simple Indian restaurants of Murray and the vibrant East Village eateries, creating a class of its own. Nirvana's menu features a fusion of north and south Indian culinary traditions, featuring the best cuisine of both regions, much of which is specially cooked in custom-made tandoor brick ovens and served with exceptional service. Highlights of the menu include a complimentary shrimp amuse-bouche drizzled with tamarind sauce and sprinkled with chopped coriander leaves, and rosemary malai chicken cooked in a rich rosemary yogurt marinade and served with barcardi chaas (Indian style buttermilk).

Nirvana, 346 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016, Phone: 212-983-0000 Photo: Nirvana

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»Pippali

Pippali

Pippali is an upscale restaurant that serves imaginative Indian fare and award-winning wines in a modern, minimalist space on 27th Street. Headed by Mumbai-born chef Peter Beck (of Tamarind and Benares fame), Pippali is named for a long black pepper that combines spicy, tangy, and sweet flavors and serves a menu that does the same. Focusing on lighter, veggie-centric versions of South Asian cuisine, highlights of the delicious changing menu include appetizers of rice papadum crisps served with a mango chutney, entrées of chicken tandoor madula with mild green chutney, anjeeri tikki beet patties with fig-and-mint stuffing, and peetalu kofta (a simple crab cake in sweet ginger coconut milk with a star anise finish). Finish off the meal with a delicate pistachio ice cream topped with bamboo rose syrup and sea salt.

129 E 27th Street, New York, NY 10016, Phone: 212-689-1999 Photo: Pippali

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»Saravanaa Bhavan

Saravanaa Bhavan


Located on the Upper West Side, Saravanaa Bhavan is a hugely popular Southern Indian vegetarian restaurant with branches in 10 countries. Offering a 350-dish-strong menu of vegetarian delights from the country's southern regions, Upper West Siders can snack on over 25 versions of dosas, thin crêpes with fillings like hot chutney or spiced mashed potatoes, poori, and lentil doughnuts. Other highlights that can be found on the menu include a variety of uthappams, including onion peas, tomato chili, and vegetable, as well as thalis and a rice corner and a bread corner with freshly baked chapati and parotta.

413 Amsterdam Ave, Manhattan, NY 10024, Phone: 212-721-7755 Photo: sumnersgraphicsinc/Fotolia

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»Spice Symphony

Spice Symphony

Spice Symphony in Midtown East offers home away from home-style cooking from different regions of India and promises a personal dining experience like no other. Using a blend of sophisticated spices and flavors, the menu presents a range of authentic Indian cuisine, Chinese food with Indian spices, and a sumptuous coastal menu with highlights including Chinese bhel, a unique version of the traditional Indian street food known as bhel puri, Mr. D'Rozario's calamari, and garlic paratha. Dessert includes light delights such as delicate alle belle (sweet Goan crepes rolled around grated coconut) and gulab jamun, two perfect balls of fried dough filled with saffron syrup and coated in pistachio dust.

150 East 50th Street, (Between Lexington & 3rd Ave), New York, NY 10022, Phone: 212-300-4869 Photo: Spice Symphony

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»Tamarind Tribeca

Tamarind Tribeca


Opened in 2001 by Avtar Walia and named in honor of one of his favorite ingredients, Tamarind is a New York City classic. The well-known Indian restaurant offers fine Indian dining at its best in a softly lit, elegant setting with a delectable menu to match that features traditional and classic Indian dishes such as chicken tikka masala and seekh kabab. Other dishes that delight at every turn include nizami keema, a mouth-watering lamb appetizer that combines tender grilled strips with soft minced meat and pillowy naan, and a rich, vibrant Punjabi mutton curry made with "fall-off-the-bone" tender goat meat. The twin tandoor ovens also produce sumptuous seafood dishes, such as a moist sea bass sprinkled with a blend of roasted spices and smothered in a layer of thick yogurt.

99 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013, Phone: 212-775-9000 Photo: Tamarind Tribeca

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»Thelewala

Thelewala


Located on a stretch of MacDougal Street where dollar slices and overstuffed shawarmas are available all night, Thelewala is a bustling new spot that serves classic Indian street eats in a compact, modern storefront. Bright and fresh, the eatery has a counter and stools and serves a short menu of delicious street food and light night fare at reasonable prices. Owned by Shiva Natarajan of Dhaba and Bhojan fame, Thelewala's menu features lime paneer rolls, buttery paratha with red onions, coriander and minced chilies, chaat-like behl pori, and jaal mori with lime, peanuts, red onions, and kamal namik (black salt).

112 MacDougal Street, New York, NY 10112, Phone: 212-614-9100, 212-614-9200 Photo: Whitebox Media/Fotolia

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»Tulsi

Tulsi


Serving excellent Indian cuisine in a bright setting with tables separated by sheer curtains, Tulsi glitters on East 46th Street across the street from Sparks. Owned by Hemant Mathur, once owner and chef at the bejeweled Devi in the Flatiron district, Tulsi offers the same ambiance and superlative cuisine, including his famous gamey lamb chops. Other signature dishes on the menu include sweet and fiery Manchurian cauliflower with caramelized ketchup, a delicate duck moilee softened by coconut milk, and a creamy curried monkfish with pomegranate sauce. Roasted to crispness, the tandoori prawns are served with okra and tingling eggplant chutney and should not be missed.

211 E 46th St, New York, NY 10017, Phone: 212-888-0820 Photo: Tulsi

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»Utsav

Utsav


Established in 2000 by Tokyo-based restaurateur Emiko Kothari, Utsav (meaning "festival" in Sanskrit) is a contemporary restaurant located on the Avenues of America with a stylish décor in warm hues and a creative menu of excellent Indian cuisine. Inspired by the utsavs in India, which are an explosion of colors, sounds, and rituals culminating in a sumptuous feast, Utsav's menu features dishes that reflect the culinary traditions of northwestern India. Highlights and signature dishes on the menu include exceptional tandoor specialties such as tantalizing kebabs, savory tandoori aloo (potato), sublime dal, succulent tandoori leg of lamb, and irresistibly fresh bread.

1185 Avenue of the Americas (PLAZA), New York, NY 10036, Phone: 212-575-2525 Photo: Utsav

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»Vatan

Vatan

Vatan serves an all-you-can-eat prix fixe menu with a variety of traditional Gujarati-style Indian food. The restaurant boasts an exotic setting with a fake banyan tree, a booth with a thatched roof, and a mural of women doing chores and serves the same three courses to every customer: An appetizer thali, an entrée thali, and a decadent dessert, totaling 21 dishes. Appetizers include yellow muthia, chewy khaman, and sev puri, while entrées are offered in mild or hot versions and feature toor dal, ful-cobi, bhaji, and chole, to name but a few dishes. Extra sides include puffy puri, pulao, rice, and peas, which are perfectly paired with all the dishes, and sweet desserts offered are mango ice cream, milky masala chai, and mukhwas.

409 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016, Phone: 212-689-5666 Photo: Vatan

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25 Best Indian Restaurants in New York City