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Photograph: Adda/Noah Fecks

The best Indian restaurants in NYC

Indian food in New York is more exciting than ever

By Time Out New York editors

Sure, you can order another round of tikki masala from takeout and delivery, but why stay in when you can spend a night out at some of the best Indian restaurants in NYC? Explore the country’s many regional specialties, found in fancy restaurantscheap eats favorites or handheld snacks. Put down the phone and go out to the best Indian restaurants NYC has to offer. Fans of the recently-shuttered and beloved, Bombay Bread Bar still have so much food to look forward to across the five boroughs. 

RECOMMENDED: Find more of the best restaurants in NYC

Best Indian restaurants in NYC

Usha Foods
Photograph: Emma Orlow

1. Usha Foods

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.

Photograph: Courtesy Adda

2. Adda

Restaurants Indian Long Island City

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. 

Punjabi Grocery
Photograph: Noah Fecks

3. Punjabi Grocery and Deli

Restaurants Delis East Village

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.

Photograph: Courtesy of Dhaba on Instagram

4. Dhaba

Restaurants Indian Flatiron

This addition to the restaurant empire from Shiva Natarajan (Chola) serves Indian staples late into the night. It's one of our favorite desinations in Midtown East's Curry Hill.

Jackson Diner
Photograph: Dominic Perri

5. Jackson Diner

Restaurants Indian Jackson Heights

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, 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.

Photograph: Michael Tulipan

6. Awadh

Restaurants Indian Upper West Side

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. 


7. Rajbhog

Restaurants South Asian Jackson Heights

Sugar fiends can find over 70 types of Indian desserts at this 1970's-era eatery. On the sweet side choose from countless varieties of burfi (condensed milk candy), peda (soft, milk-based cookies) and halwa (crumbly, nutty fudge). Savory snacks, like chickpea-flour noodles and crackers are also available.

Desi Galli
Photograph: Courtesy of Desi Galli

8. Desi Galli

Restaurants Indian Kips Bay

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). The 22-seat spot sports colorful wall hangings, paisley stenciling and TVs showing sports events.


9. Ganesh Temple Canteen

Restaurants Indian Queens

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.

Photograph: Courtesy of Amma

10. Amma

Restaurants Indian Midtown East

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.

Indian Accent
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

11. Indian Accent

Restaurants Indian Midtown West

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.

Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/zagatbuzz

12. Chola

Restaurants Indian Midtown East

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. 

Photograph: Courtesy Adda

13. Rahi

Restaurants Indian West Village

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.

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

14. Pondicheri

Restaurants Indian Flatiron

Following the success of owner Anita Jaisinghani’s game-changing Houston restaurant of the same name—it garnered the chef a James Beard nomination for Best New Restaurant when it opened in 2012—the all-day Indian café  got a New York sister with this NoMad successor. The 135-seat outpost—a cavernous, 5,000-square-foot space sporting New Delhi–imported tiled walls, bright, mural-painted walls and cobalt-blue banquettes—features a.m. Houston favorites like breakfast roti with masala eggs and cilantro chutney, and paneer-stuffed paratha with cashews and currants.


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