Best Indian restaurants in NYC
Beyond the requisite chicken tikka masala (one of the best we’ve had), dishes delight at every turn at this stunning spin-off of the Flatiron District's Tamarind. But the most consistent pleasures come out of the twin tandoor ovens, visible from the main dining room: superlative lamb chops that are tangy, spicy and tender, and moist sea bass slathered with thick yogurt and a subtle blend of roasted spices that enriches the flaky fish without overwhelming its delicate flavor.
Indian Accent at Le Parker Meridien New York 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.
Designed by the film-set decorator and Wes Anderson collaborator Kris Moran, the space is a circus for the senses. A Monday night feels like a Saturday, buzzing with the din of voracious crowds chasing crunchy, chickpea-battered onion rings or stir-fried chicken and chilies. Naan is the gateway drug—puffed, buttery and pocked with char—but the kulchas, pillowy griddled flatbreads stuffed with chicken and split chickpeas or bacon and cheese, are the truly dangerous addiction.
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.
The heart and soul of this luxe Chelsea eatery is its glassed-in spice room, where the team hand-grinds and mixes house blends each morning. Seven whole spices, including star anise, cloves and cardamom pods, are deployed in a pungent, burgundy-hued curry that coats a lamb shank, slow-braised until the meat nearly slides from the bone.
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 biryani—in the eclectic space lined with collages of Indian newspapers.
Specializing in phal, a habanero curry that’s popular along London’s Brick Lane restaurant row, Curry House issues a how-hot-can-you-go challenge to every diner. The nine types of curry are ranked by burn level. Because the menu warns that phal, the hottest, is “more pain and sweat than flavor,” nonasbestos palates should go with gentle but bouncy jalfrazi sauce, which is excellent over lamb.
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.
Upper West Siders can snack on dosas at the second New York location of this respected Southern Indian chain, which has branches in 10 countries. Twenty-five versions of the thin crêpes, offered with fillings like spiced mashed potatoes or fiery chutney, are on the menu.
The region-hopping bill of fare includes a robust selection of seafood and vegetarian dishes. The restaurant takes its name from a city in the northeastern state of Uttar Pradesh, an area known for its veggie-based specialties. Of the latter, we loved the lauki ka kofta, hearty green-squash dumplings smothered in cumin-laced paneer and a buttery, tomato-based makhani sauce.
Gaurav Anand (Moti Mahal Delux) focuses on dum pukht, a slow-cooking northern tradition, for this uptown Indian eatery, named after a region in the Northeastern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. In the bilevel, dark-wood space, tuck into Awadhi specialties like simmered lamb shanks, masala-wrapped whole fish and leg of lamb, all low-cooked via a sealed, heavy-bottomed pot.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the number of options at Chola, since you’ll rarely go wrong with whatever you get. A basket of varied kebabs straight from the tandoor includes lamb sausages perfumed with cardamom, while Savitri Amma’s idli (steamed rice cakes) arrive with fresh coconut chutney, a southern Indian specialty. Also worth a mention that the varied spices are balanced with care.
It’s not all smoke and mirrors at this theatrical Indian bar and restaurant (even though there’s a heck of a lot of smoke and fire fanning from the dishes and drinks). No matter where the ingredients hail from, the dishes are all done with a swish of flair and the chops to match. All the world’s a stage, or at least all of aRoqa is.
Stick to your guns and order the juicy seek kebab, lamb rolls with fresh coriander and spices at this Upper West Side locale. The naan is piping hot and can be topped with ingredients like fresh garlic. Malai kofta, a sweet version of vegetarian croquettes, is made with cottage cheese and steeped in a spice-infused tomato puree; it’s better than the run-of-the-mill chicken tikka masala.
Amma is the Hindi word for “mother,” and if you let Mom take care of you at this restaurant—there’s a seven-course tasting menu per person—you’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.