The 13 best Indian restaurants in Boston

The best Indian restaurants in Boston serve authentic regional specialties in both traditional and fine dining settings
Surya Indian Kitchen
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Surya Indian Kitchen Surya Indian Kitchen
By Gerrish Lopez |
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When you need quick take-out, a dose of spice, or a spot where both vegetarians and omnivores can enjoy a meal, your local Indian restaurant is a good choice. Boston is not lacking in options for great Indian food, and you can find places that specialize in different regional cuisines. Enjoy a spicy vindaloo in homey surroundings, or a murgh malai kebab in an ornate Indian setting. Lunch buffets abound, offering a great way to sample a range of flavorful specialties. When you’re craving a good curry, check out our list of the best Indian restaurants in Boston, and for more options for your non-meat-eating friends, check out our lists of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Boston.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Boston

Best Indian restaurants in Boston

1
The Maharaja
Photograph: Courtesy The Maharaja
Restaurants, Indian

The Maharaja

icon-location-pin Harvard Sq

You’ll feel like a maharaja dining here, amidst ornate Indian decor and place settings, with a view of Harvard Square through floor-to-ceiling, second-story windows. Traditional Indian hospitality means you’ll be well taken care of as you enjoy authentic cuisine. The menu features dishes like murgh malai kebab (chicken marinated in herbs and cream) and bhindi do pyaza (sauteed okra), not often found on other Indian menus. Check out the daily lunch buffet, packed with delicious options including vegetarian and vegan.

2
Shanti
Photograph: Courtesy Shanti
Restaurants, Indian

Shanti

icon-location-pin Dorchester

Shanti’s location in Dorchester was once a hidden gem, but word spread and now fans can enjoy their classic Indian cuisine in Cambridge and Roslindale too. It can be difficult to choose from the extensive menu, but it’s hard to go wrong. From the “Chaat Corner” and tandoor oven specialties to fresh roti, everything is expertly prepared. Khorma, bhuna, biryanis, and veggie dishes are all fragrant and well-spiced. For more authenticity, the staff is happy to increase the spice level if asked.

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3
India Quality
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/James D.
Restaurants, Indian

India Quality

icon-location-pin Fenway/Kenmore

This long-standing spot in Kenmore Square has served Northern Indian specialties for decades. The quality of the dishes reflect the care put into the recipes that the owner brought with him from his native Punjab. Favorites include bhelpuri (a spiced puffed rice appetizer), spinach poori bread, coconut korma, chicken goa, and goat specialties. Low prices are a draw at lunchtime. You’ll want to try sweets like house-made kulfi ice cream or kheer pudding, too.

4
Punjabi Dhaba
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Will W.
Restaurants, Indian

Punjabi Dhaba

icon-location-pin Inman Sq

Inspired by the roadside restaurants along India’s highways, this small Inman Square spot specializes in heaping portions of fast, flavorful Punjabi dishes. Fill your tray with chatt (crunchy snack mixes), pakoras, tandoori items, curries, paratha, and more. There are lighter items and western-inspired dishes for the less-hungry or less-adventurous, and special platters for the indecisive. Whatever you choose, you’ll enjoy spiced delights for a reasonable price. In keeping with its no-frills approach, Punjabi Dhaba is cash only.

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5
Himalayan Bistro
Photograph: Courtesy Himalayan Bistro
Restaurants, Indian

Himalayan Bistro

icon-location-pin West Roxbury

Take a trip to West Roxbury for a taste of Nepal. The massive menu includes both Indian and Nepalese cuisine, so you can have saag paneer with your momo. Try tandoori specialties, biryanis, and a range of fresh, hot breads. Special Himalayan dinners offer a sampling of menu favorites, and monthly additions include lesser-known dishes like seafood timuri masala or a chef’s special like cherry naan.

6
Mela
Photograph: Courtesy Mela
Restaurants, Indian

Mela

icon-location-pin South End

For a higher end Indian dining experience, with modern lighting and sleek decor, Mela delivers. Start off with an Indian-inspired cocktail as you peruse the lengthy menu. Duck jalfrezi and baingan bhartha (a baked and sauteed eggplant dish) are standouts, and the do-it-yourself hot stone entrees are a fun date activity. There’s even an organic section of the menu. For a different kind of brunch, Mela’s weekend buffet is fresh and flavorful.

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7
House of Kebab
Photograph: Courtesy House of Kebab
Restaurants, Indian

House of Kebab

icon-location-pin Somerville

Casual and comfortable, Somerville’s House of Kebab serves hearty and flavorful classics with a large selection of kebabs. Standards like samosas, tikka masala, dosas, and biryani are favorites, and the various kebab platters (featuring different meats and spices), naan wraps, and regional curries are worth sampling. Try a cool mango lassi and save room for sweet, exotic desserts.

8
Surya Indian Kitchen
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Surya Indian Cuisine
Restaurants, Indian

Surya Indian Kitchen

icon-location-pin Cambridgeport

For more selective diners, Surya offers North Indian cuisine with wellness in mind. Vegans are welcome, gluten-free options about, and all meats are both halal and antibiotic-free. Classic dishes like biryanis, daal, and masala are flavorful, spicy, and satisfying...yet feel lighter and healthier. Sit-down dining is available, but Surya is a great option for healthy takeout.

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9
Tikki Masala
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Tisa H
Restaurants, Indian

Tikki Masala

icon-location-pin Jamaica Plain

This low-key spot in Jamaica Plain serves authentic North Indian dishes with a few South Indian dishes. Go for the goat—korma, masala, jalfrezi, and more—or stick to something more familiar like chicken vindaloo, mixed vegetables curry, tikka masala, or palak paneer. All are flavorful with a good spice level; fresh squeezed lime juice cools any lingering burn. Takeout is popular here, especially less messy options like dosas or tandoori wraps.

10
Dosa-N-Curry
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Abhi J.
Restaurants, Indian

Dosa n Curry

icon-location-pin Somerville

Dosa n Curry is popular with vegans and vegetarians for its all-vegetarian menu. But the quality of the South Indian, North Indian, and Indo-Chinese cuisine satisfies meat-eaters too. Rich, flavorful dishes include dosas, veggie curries, parathas, utthapams, and bhajjis. The lunch buffet offers a generous sampling of their specialties. Lassis, shakes, and homemade desserts provide a sweet finish.

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11
Indian Pavilion
Photograph: Courtesy Indian Pavilion
Restaurants, Indian

India Pavilion

icon-location-pin Cambridgeport

India Pavilion has been serving North Indian specialties in Central Square for more than 30 years and doing it well, standing out amongst others in the area. Favorites include paneer pakora, lamb saag, chicken korma, and a selection of slightly non-traditional entrees. The lunch buffet is a great deal and offers more than 15 items.

12
Kashmir
Photograph: Courtesy Facebook/Kashmir
Restaurants, Indian

Kashmir

icon-location-pin Back Bay

With its prime location on Newbury Street and sidewalk patio for outdoor dining, you might think Kashmir would cut a few corners. But the Indian cuisine offered here is high quality, and reasonably priced for the neighborhood. Specialties like achari goat (goat roasted with pickles and spices) and kashew mutter gobi (a curry with cauliflower, peas, cashews, herbs, and spices) are popular. Vindaloo, korma, roti, tandoor, and other classic specialties are equally satisfying. Whether dining inside or people-watching on the patio, Kashmir is a classic spot for Indian food in Boston.

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13
Tanjore
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Nashrah R.
Restaurants, Indian

Tanjore

icon-location-pin Harvard Sq

Northern and Southern Indian cuisine are both represented on the menu at Tanjore. Five different varieties of dosa are available alongside tandoori specialties, chaats, and soups. Traditional favorites are identified by their respective regions of India, so you can get a geography lesson with your jalfrezi. Check out the lunch buffet, an affordable spread that includes chai tea and naan and feature the not-so-common goat curry as an option.

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