Diner Most-Loved

The Buzziest Indian Spots in NYC

Spice up dinner and order from these iconic restaurants.

12 min read
8/31/2022
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New York is bursting at the seams with excellent Indian restaurants, but if you want to know which places are the best and most buzzworthy, look no further than this curated list. These 25 restaurants remain the most talked about and most beloved Indian spots in New York, and they’re all available for delivery on Caviar, so dig in.

Junoon

Junoon, the Flatiron restaurant that opened in 2010 from Rajesh Bhardwaj, is a modern Indian restaurant that pulls out all the stops — and has the impressive accolade of earning a Michelin star eight years in a row. Some of the restaurant’s high-concept plates include smoked masala ribs cooked over charcoal and rubbed with a vindaloo spice rub; farm-raised lamb chops with tamarind-glazed Brussels sprouts and a leek puree; and tellicherry duck, a dry-aged Crescent Valley duck breast presented in a tellicherry peppercorn sauce. For dessert, satisfy your sweet tooth with a combo of Junoon’s chocolate bars: toasted coconut and toasted almond are an excellent way to end the meal.

Junoon

Adda

Chef Chintan Pandya and restaurateur Roni Mazumdar opened Adda in Long Island City in 2018, and it remains one of the city’s most discussed Indian restaurants. In 2022, Pandya and Mazumdar were recognized as Game Changers in the industry by Food & Wine. Order the seasonal saag paneer, which comes with the market’s freshest vegetables. Biryani, a traditional spiced mixed rice dish, can be ordered with vegetables, chicken, and goat (the latter is especially stunning and rich). And the tandoori poussin, a compelling, juicy barbecued marinated chicken, should be on everyone’s must-order list.

Ambo

This casual, counter-service restaurant in the East Village has earned high marks from critics and locals alike for being as affordable as it is delicious. You can build your own plates here, choosing between a base (basmati rice, turmeric rice, mung bean sprouts), beans (black dal, yellow dal, chana masala), a protein (chicken tikka masala, paneer tikka masala, dal wada), veggies, and toppings. Order a refreshing chhaas made with yogurt, toasted cumin, and black salt; it’s the ideal drink accompaniment for the Indian meal of your making.

GupShup

Opened in Gramercy in 2018, GupShup is a dramatic Indian restaurant that has captured the attention of fine diners and celebrities alike. Interpretive dishes, like the butter chicken wings with makhani sauce and sesame, the paneer cheese rolls with coriander pesto and chili mango chutney, and the chicken seekh kabab with pickled onion and mint chutney are worth the price of admission. But classics like butter chicken, black dal, and saag paneer also do not disappoint. 

GupShup


Veeray Da Dhaba

The East Village welcomed Veeray da Dhaba in 2020, a Punjab restaurant from Punjab native Sonny Solomon, Michelin-starred chef Hemant Mathur, and Punjab native Binder Saini, the former executive chef of (the now closed) Queens hotspot Kurry Qulture. Replicating Punjab roadside restaurant culture, Veeray da Dhaba serves casual food like chicken malai kebab, tandoor-grilled boneless chicken spiced with ginger and garlic and served with a homemade plum chutney. Don’t skip the peerless jackfruit biryani, a layering of steamed basmati rice, green jackfruit, potatoes, and cauliflower flavored with saffron, rosewater, and spices. On the side: the cooling, deceptively complex cucumber raita.

Sahib

This modern Flatiron spot is known for its expansive take on Indian cuisine. For instance, order the kori gassi, a spicy coconut chicken curry from the city of Mangalore, or head to Kolkata, the native home of lasoni gobi: cauliflower, onions, and tangy tomatoes tossed together. A rose lassi, a buttermilk-based drink featuring the delicate flavor of flowers, is the ultimate end to a meal from Sahib.

Masti Indian Grill

Opened in Williamsburg in 2020, Masti Indian Grill & Chaat Bar offers Bengali dishes, savory street food (otherwise known as chaat), and British-inspired curries. Ruhel Amin and executive chef Abdul Jabbar, both of whom hail from Bangladesh and spent time working on London’s esteemed Brick Lane, bring years of experience to the table. The compelling hariyali chicken, skewered chicken served with a creamy green marinade, is a knockout, as is the madras curry, made with dry red chiles, coconut, and curry leaves (you can choose between paneer, chicken, vegetable, bone-in goat, lamb, or shrimp for your protein). End the meal with a soothing, ginger-spiked masala tea.

Indika House

In Bushwick, this Indo-Chinese spot offers a fusion menu that is dazzling and interesting. Cross-cultural items, like the gobi Manchurian — cauliflower cooked in a sweet and spicy sauce — are worth the order. The hakka noodles (Indo-Chinese noodles sautéed in a wok with vegetables and protein) are savory and toothsome. Order the Indian mixed pickles and one of the restaurant’s many superlative chutneys on the side, though it’s hard to choose between mango, tamarind, and mint. 

Indika House

Dosa Royale

Clinton Hill’s Dosa Royale offers some of Brooklyn’s best South Indian food, with a heavy emphasis on the dosa, a thin, batter-based crêpe that comes filled with everything from potatoes to cheese to green chiles to carrots. The uttapam dosa is a stunning experiment in deliciousness; it’s a thick dosa studded with onion, tomato, and green chiles. The chicken dosa is another standout order, and it comes with ground chicken and deep and complex spices. But don’t disregard the roster of fantastic curries. The eggplant kulambu, for instance — jewel-like baby eggplant simmered in a sesame, peanut, and coconut curry — is an absolute must-order.

Dosa Royale

Indian Table

In 2020, chef Eric McCarthy opened Indian Table, a restaurant in Cobble Hill focused on the food of Goa — and one of the only restaurants in NYC that serves that particular regional cuisine. Here, you’ll find delicate, pomegranate-filled samosas; tender jhangizi boti kabab, or lamb marinated with spices, ginger, and yogurt; and chicken xacuti, chicken slow-cooked in coarsely ground toasted poppy seeds, sesame seeds, star anise, fennel, and coconut. The luscious kulcha — a style of bread — comes in numerous iterations. Order the bacon and find crisp pieces embedded within the bread as you devour it.

Angel Indian Restaurant

Jackson Heights welcomed this culinary jewel from chef-owner Amrit Pal Singh, a former Adda chef, in 2019. Here, paneer is homemade (order it in the Paneer PB 35 with peppers, onions, and spices) and spices take the front seat. Try the vegetable moilee with mustard seed, coconut milk, onion, and ginger or the prawn chettinad made with curry leaves, coconut, cloves, and ginger. End on a sweet note with a Punjabi lassi, a buttermilk-based drink made with green cardamom, pistachio, and saffron.

Dhaba Indian Cuisine

In Murray Hill, Dhaba, a Punjabi restaurant specializing in, among other things, tandoori chicken (the meat is marinated in yogurt and spices before being cooked in a tandoor, or clay, oven), is among the city’s finest. In fact, there’s an entire menu section dedicated to the tandoor, including succulent lamb chops, a mixed grill of kebabs, bone-in chicken, and skewered shrimp. And although the menu feels nearly endless, with categories like lamb and goat, chicken and daal, vegan dishes and British curry house specialties, there’s really no wrong answer when it comes to Dhaba’s sublime Punjabi cuisine.

Dhaba

Jackson Diner

Since 1980, Queens’ Jackson Heights neighborhood has bowed down to the Jackson Diner, where traditional diner food steps aside for Northern Indian food. The spicy tandoori wings combine the tradition of casual diner food with the deep, smoky flavor of the tandoor. Potatoes in a spicy vindaloo sauce and finished with creamy coconut is as satisfying a comfort food as any. And who needs french fries when you can have a side of chile garlic fried rice? This diner has stood the test of time for a reason.

Awadh

Opened on the Upper West Side in 2014, the critically acclaimed Awadh converted to a take-out-only model in 2022. Gaurav Anand’s concept is based around the cuisine of Awadh in Northern India: slow-cooked meats, kebabs, and biryani. Order the nali ki nihari, lamb shanks that have been simmered overnight in an aromatic stock. The khaas korma — chicken tikka, saffron, and cashew gravy — is equally delicious and should be on your list at this buzzy resto.

Desi Galli

This East Village hot spot offers Indian street food for those seeking the coolest, trendiest take on Indian. Do not pass go without ordering the chicken tikka kathi roll, a handheld offering filled with yogurt-marinated chicken (bonus: the wrap is gluten-free). A cheeky take on poutine, the desipoutine marries Indian flavors with American sensibilities; french fries are smothered in tikka sauce and grated paneer for a dish that’s out of this world. Drink an ice-cold lychee mazza as a refreshing and sweet coda to this playful meal.

Desi Galli

Malai Marke

The East Village’s Malai Marke opened in 2012, thanks to Shiva Natarajan, a Kolkata native who has opened over a dozen restaurants in New York over the course of the past 20 years. Representing South Indian cuisine, this vegetarian-friendly and spice-heavy restaurant has inspired a prodigious following. Don’t sleep on the Spicy Club offerings, especially the phall, a British-style curry with green chiles and habañeros, and the lal maas, a Rajasthani dish made with red chiles. For dessert, order the restaurant’s gulab jamun, cardamom milk balls in sugar and rose syrup.

Malai Marke

Tamarind

Avtar Walia opened this glossy Tribeca location in 2011 (a Flatiron location, now closed, preceded it), focusing on Northern Indian food, and crowds have flocked to it ever since. Dishes and atmosphere are upscale in nature. Order the samosas, which come with an umami-rich dipping sauce. The chile crab, the restaurant’s take on a crab cake, features impeccable jumbo lump crabmeat as well as chile, sour-sweet tamarind, and plenty of garlic. And the tamarind scallops are pan-seared with a coating of turmeric, garam masala, and poppy seeds before getting a quick bath of lemon juice. They’re tangy, punchy, and perfect — it makes sense that they should wear the title of the restaurant.

Chola

It may have opened in 1998, but Chola continues to break new ground when it comes to coastal Indian cuisine. This Midtown East spot has an impressive seafood menu. Don’t pass up an opportunity to enjoy the Kerala Boatman’s crab poriyal, a traditional crab curry from the Goa region of India; it’s rich with whole crab, turmeric, and garlic. The lobster malai tikka, a stew of fresh lobster meat, tomatoes, butter, cream, ginger, and simmering spices, is another rich and unctuous seafood dish that is simply unforgettable.

Chola

Delhi Heights

In Jackson Heights, you’ll find this Indian and Nepali restaurant which offers a sprawling menu for those looking to branch out and has served as a popular neighborhood hangout since its opening. The momo, a version of dumplings that come filled with beef, aloo, chicken, buffalo, or vegetables, are a must-order; get them either steamed or fried. The mok thuk, a creamy, rich soup with the momo of your choice, is another winner. The menu is also full of Indo-Chinese, Nepali, and Indian specialties with enough variety to fit just about any mood. 


Kailash Parbat

This Kips Bay spot, one of the most popular for Indian food delivery in all of Manhattan, offers the full spectrum of Indian food, representing most regions expertly. Order the Punjab specialty, chole bhatura, to begin: fried Indian bread served with chole masala, or curried chickpeas and onions. From there, order the khatte meeihe baigan, marinated eggplant that is finished with tangy onions and tomatoes. It’s a traditional dish often served at Muslim weddings, and you can order it at home with just a click of a button.

OM

Michelin-starred chef Eric McCarthy was born and raised in Goa and brings his sensibilities to Om on the Upper East Side. (He also owns the aforementioned Indian Table in Brooklyn.) The outstanding chicken ginger kebab marries tender chicken, fresh ginger, mint, and other fresh spices for a grilled dish that offers up more than the sum of its parts. The necessary lamb rogan josh is dusted in cardamom and anise and finished in a scarlet sauce made from paprika. From baby eggplant to okra, there’s plenty for vegetarians, too.

Dosa Delight

Jackson Heights’ Dosa Delight offers both North and South Indian fare and has spent the past 37 years refining it — and it’s gotten no less popular over the decades. Crispy onion bhajia, or onion fritters, are coated in gram flour and spices, deep-fried, and then served with a rich tamarind and mint chutney for dipping. Order any of the paper-thin dosas (the mushroom masala version, filled with sautéed mushrooms and potatoes and served with sambar and coconut chutney, is a top-notch favorite) for a meal that’s among Queens’ best.

Moti Mahal Delux

The Upper East Side’s Moti Mahal Delux opened in 1975 and still draws a consistent and enthusiastic clientele. Clay-oven specialties, like murgh tandoori (grilled chicken cooked in a tandoor), cream murgh tikka (cream cheese and cardamom–marinated grilled chicken), and khumb kebab (chargrilled ricotta, herbs, and mushrooms) are definitely standouts, but don’t shy away from slow-cooked dishes like the rich and savory khumani kofta — apricot dumplings, soft Indian cheese, and a cashew-based gravy.

Bhatti Indian Grill

This North Indian restaurant in Rose Hill opened in 2009 and continues to draw acclaim from the city’s Indian food devotees for its affordable yet upscale offerings. Snack on the restaurant’s bhunney aloo ke kulhey, cheese-stuffed grilled potatoes, followed by raunak-e seekh kebab, minced lamb skewers with herbs and spices, tossed in a lamb sauce. Order the rose rasmalai for dessert, a traditional East Indian sweet made from cottage cheese and sweetened condensed milk.

Bengal Tiger

Find this low-key Indian gem in Midtown West, and check out what locals have been talking about. Spice-laden entrées abound: The chicken makhni, or butter chicken, is cooked in a clay oven and served in a sweet and buttery tomato sauce. The lamb korma comes in an unforgettable almond-cashew sauce, and the traditional vegetable tikka masala, showcasing sautéed mixed vegetables in a light tomato cream sauce, is among the city’s finest. 


Author

Hannah Selinger

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