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The 18 best Indian restaurants in NYC right now

New York’s Indian food scene covers the breadth of flavors from across the subcontinent

Edited by
Will Gleason
Written by
Victoria Marin
&
Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
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If you’ve spent the bulk of the past two years shying away from eating out due to COVID and are ready to emerge from your pandemic-imposed cocoons, these Indian outposts give you an opportunity to explore the country’s many regional specialties without having to hop on a flight. From fine dining to street snacks, these are the best Indian restaurants NYC has to offer. (Also, many of these places deliver if you’re still staying indoors but eager for a culinary adventure.)

RECOMMENDED: Find more of the best restaurants in NYC

Best Indian restaurants in NYC

  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Queens

A vegetarian Indian food haven in Floral Park, Queens specializing in fast casual bites, savory snacks and colorful desserts. Usha is one of the best vegetarian destinations for generous portions, combo platters that allow you to try a little bit of everything and a menu that strongly demonstrates you don't need meat to have one of the city's most satisfying meals. It's just down the road from Patel Brothers, one of our favorite supermarkets for hard-to-find Indian pantry staples.

  • Restaurants
  • Lower East Side

A steller new addition to Manhattan’s culinary scene mid-2021, Dhamaka offers fare from “the other side of India” that is, the regions and cuisines less familiar to the American palate. Excellent street-food inspired snacks, homemade breads and goat biryani stand out from the wonderfully spicy and texturally diverse menu.

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  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Long Island City
  • price 2 of 4

The restaurant’s name means, “a place where people hang out,” which is the desire of the team behind this Queens spot. Indulge in traditional dishes—buttered chicken on the bone, say, or Lucknowi dum biryani—in the eclectic space lined with collages of Indian newspapers.

  • Restaurants
  • Delis
  • East Village
  • price 1 of 4

Don't save this one for your Instagram. Sloppy, mushy but downright delicious, the large plate of rice comes with your choice of three authentic Indian vegetarian options, such as chana masala (chickpeas) and saag paneer (creamed spinach) for a cheap meal.

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  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Jackson Heights

This no-frills-yet-beloved restaurant is located in Jackson Heights, home to arguably the best Indian food in all of NYC. The menu features mostly northern-inspired traditional Indian dishes. Go for any of the biryanis – a mixed rice dish – or the chole bhature, a combo of chana masala (curried chickpeas) and puri (deep-fried bread).

  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Gramercy
  • price 2 of 4

Vegans, pescatarians and meat eaters alike will delight at the options available at this Union Square area cafe, whose name means “conversation.” You’ll have plenty to talk about as you dig into both their more unique takes on Bombay-inspired flavors like the crispy okra and guacamole or the Gupshup fried chicken, and more traditional offerings, like curried chickpeas and black dahl. Oh, and the butter naan is absolutely divine.

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  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Clinton Hill
  • price 1 of 4

A South Indian staple in Fort Greene, this colorful restaurant is destination-worthy. A slew of apps and curries are heavy on veggies, and feature cheffy-riffs on traditional Indian fare. Butter chicken is grilled before slathered in sauce and fried eggs can be added to five types of rice. Of course, the namesake course, dosas, are top notch, large enough to stretch over the plate and served with an option of toppings. Visit during lunch for great deals! 

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  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Jackson Heights
  • price 2 of 4

This meet-and-eat headquarters for New York’s Indian expat community offers more culinary draws than your standard diner. Watch Hindi soaps on Zee TV while enjoying samosa chat topped with chickpeas, yogurt, onion, tomato, and a sweet-spicy mix of tamarind and mint chutneys. Specials like murgh tikka makhanwala, aka butter chicken (tender pieces of marinated chicken simmered in curry and cream), are fiery and flavorful—be sure to ask for mild if you’re not immune to potent chilies.

  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Upper West Side
  • price 2 of 4

Chef/owner Gaurav Anand (Moti Mahal Delux) focuses on dum pukht, a slow-cooking northern tradition at this uptown regionally-focused eatery, which is named after the eponymous state, an ancient Hindu community. In the bilevel, dark-wood space, tuck into decadent Awadhi specialties like galouti kebab, lamb patties inspired by a dish traditionally served to royalty, and malai lobster masala, a succulent take on grilled lobster that’s served with a creamy saffron sauce.

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  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Kips Bay
  • price 1 of 4

Grab a mango lassi and nizam roll from this Indian street-food shop. Choose from a mix-and-match menu of bread (roti, paratha, the puffy Mumbai bread pav) and fillings (chicken tikka, slow-cooked lamb bhuna, paneer with tomatoes and green chilies). Since the pandemic, the 22-seat spot sports lined with colorful wall hangings and paisley stenciling has also been offering meal kits.

Malai Marke
  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • East Village

Locals know to flock to Malai Marka on the East Village’s “curry row” aka Sixth Street. This low key North Indian restaurant serves excellent renditions of the classics, like saag paneer and chicken tikka masala, and the vegetarian malai kofta are worth seeking out. The extensive menu also has a dedicated section for Calcuttan Chinese cuisine and a “spicy club” for curries that bring on the heat.

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  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Queens
  • price 1 of 4

Tucked in the basement of the Hindu Ganesh Temple you can find this humble cafeteria, dishing out South Indian classics. Savory fritters vadas and Indian-style flatbread uttappam make up the bill of fare. Plus, find 13 dosas (lentil flour crêpes), ranging from mild (masala with potatoes and onions) to fiery (Pondicherry with sliced green chilies). Cooling coconut chutney and a spicy sambar vegetable stew accompany each order.

  • Restaurants
  • Flatiron
  • price 2 of 4

There is not a single wrong choice to be made at this stunning Tribeca-based fine dining restaurant, which is perfect for special occasions – the individual outdoor tents are designed to both insulate diners from one another (a pandemic perk), but also serve to set the stage for romance or celebration. If you’re in the mood to imbibe, go for the The Ultimate Maharaja, a cardamom-infused vodka cocktail that pairs perfectly with nearly everything on the menu. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Midtown East
  • price 2 of 4

Amma is the Hindi word for “mother,” and if you let Mom take care of you at this restaurantyou’ll thank her later. The courteous waitstaff will help you sort out the à la carte menu. You might try crisp fried okra or bhel puri, a lighter interpretation of the classic street food. Thick, buttery tandoor-grilled lamb chops are perfectly complemented by pear chutney.

  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Midtown West
  • price 2 of 4

Indian Accent is the first international outpost of Rohit Khattar and celebu-chef Manish Mehrotra’s South Delhi blockbuster, previously India’s sole representative on the S. Pellegrino list of world’s best restaurants. On looks alone, Indian Accent edges closer to fine-dining than fun-loving.

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  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Midtown East
  • price 2 of 4

Don’t be overwhelmed by the number of options at Chola, since you’ll rarely go wrong with whatever you get. Dine in for dishes like Savitri Amma’s idli (steamed rice cakes), which arrive with fresh coconut chutney, a southern Indian specialty, or take away one of their signature lunch boxes to go, which include an entree, rice, dal, and naan or roti ($14.95-17.95). Also worth a mention that the varied spices are balanced with care.

  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • West Village
  • price 3 of 4

Consider it yet another spin in NYC’s revolving-door restaurant scene: When Tapestry shuttered in March in the West Village, owner Roni Mazumdar was quick to put another modern Indian restaurant in its place. The restaurateur tapped Junoon alum Chintan Pandya to reinterpret regional Indian food with local New York ingredients.

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