The name Tiffin comes from a word used in India for the lunchtime meal, which has always been a highly cherished part of the day. The owners of this West Devon Avenue establishment truly approach it as such, and have succeeded – their restaurant has won two Silver Platter Awards, awarded by the Illinois-based Food Industry News. Tiffin has an extensive menu featuring traditional favorites and if you’re new to Indian food, fear not, because each menu item has a detailed description of what to expect. Tiffin manages to put together everything you’re looking for in a restaurant – excellent food, a charming atmosphere, and reasonable prices.
Tiffin, 2536 West Devon Ave, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 773 338 2143
The cuisine from different regions in India varies wildly, and at ‘The IG’, as they call themselves, the menu is not limited to just one region. For those who have trouble deciding between all the choices, they have special dinners put together with several courses in a way that accentuates all the flavors. Even better, they have dinner options for many different dietary styles. Vegetarian? Vegan? Gluten free? The IG has you covered.
The Indian Garden, 247 East Ontario St #2, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 312 280 4910
Hema herself is the owner of Hema’s Kitchen, and she has gone out of her way to make it a home for everyone who comes in. The prices are reasonable and the dishes are perfect for sharing, so it’s a great place to come and experience the tastes of India. Hema’s Kitchen is known for having very spicy food, so those who prefer milder fare are advised to ask for milder versions, which they will happily prepare. If you’re looking for the most home-cooked experience possible, Hema’s Kitchen is definitely the place to go.
Hemna’s Kitchen, 2439 West Devon Ave, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 773 338 1627
Naansense gives visitors a bit of a different spin on Indian food. Instead of the traditional preparations, Naansense gives you a chance to exercise your own creativity to put together combinations of traditional flavors and ingredients. They have their own suggestions for Naanwiches (sandwiches with naan bread) roti rolls, salad bowls, and rice bowls, or you have the opportunity to choose your own meat or vegetable, toppings, and sauces. The chefs were both raised in Western countries but from Indian descent, so this restaurant is their way of putting Indian food squarely into the 21st century.
Naansense, 171 North Wells St, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 312 578 8825
Uru-Swati is a true feast for your senses. When you walk in, your eyes will immediately register the beautifully painted walls – abundantly lively and cheerful. This restaurant specializes in South Indian cuisine and gives you an excellent chance to try a meal including paratha, which is a flatbread eaten throughout South Asia. For a real treat that you can share with your friends, try a paper dosa, a thin crispy crepe, served with your choice of filling and measuring in at about two feet.
Uru-Swati, 2629 West Devon Ave, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 773 381 1010
Mysore Woodlands is another fantastic place to go and sample South Indian food, and a great place to try any number of dosas with very exciting fillings. They also offer uthuppam, which is known to some as Indian pizza, as it is a very thick crepe with the toppings cooked directly into the batter. This variety of fast food can be difficult to find at many Indian restaurants in the States, but here they have several choices of different toppings, whether you’re looking for spicy, cheesy, or just plain. Mysore Woodlands also has specials for lunch and dinner that come with several courses, including dessert and all the sauces and toppings necessary to perfectly bring out a range of flavors.
Mysore Woodlands, 2548 West Devon Ave, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 773 338 8160
The menu items at Ghareeb Nawaz are so reasonable in price that you’re bound to want to try more than one. It’s not an overwhelmingly long menu, but as this restaurant has recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, each dish is prepared with the kind of care and experience that can only come from years of working to perfect it. Ghareeb Nawaz has an especially good selection of biryani, or rice dishes. If you’re bored of chicken or lamb, you can even have goat biryani. Another delicious choice is the boneless butter chicken.
Ghareeb Nawaz, 2032 West Devon Ave, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 773 761 5300
India House Restaurant offers the best of Indian cuisine. The dishes are all elegantly served with gorgeous bowls and serving spoons and the ambiance is perfect for a fancier night out. The colors and spices will work together to warm you up even on the coldest Chicago winter days. One special item to try at India House is their Hyderabadi Khana menu, which offers several recognizable choices like various biryanis and curries cooked Hyderabadi style. This style includes many exciting spices and flavor combinations and the venue is a great place to expand your Indian repertoire beyond the admittedly delicious mainstays such as chicken tikka masala and lamb rogan Josh.
India House, 59 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 312 645 9500
The beautiful red and white interior of Jaipur will make you feel as if you’ve stepped out of Chicago and into the subcontinent itself. Jaipur is the gorgeous capital of the Indian state of Rajasthan and at the restaurant, they do their best to capture the flavors of this ancient city in their cooking. They also make an effort to cook heart healthy, locally sourced food and their extensive menu has something to suit even the pickiest eaters. Their tandoori dishes, cooked in their own tandoor oven, come particularly highly recommended. Not only can you get dishes such as tandoori chicken and lamb, but they also have seafood options like mahi, tiger prawns, and lobster.
Jaipur, 847 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 312 526 3655
Tandoor Char House
The chef at Tandoor Char House brings both his Indian father’s and his Pakistani mother’s influences into his cooking before contributing his own special something to his recipes. This is another place to try some perfectly seasoned and grilled meat from the tandoor, but one of the menu’s most exciting features is the fusion section, where you can find things like a chicken tikka pizza, fajitas with Indian flavors, or penne tikka masala. You can find another good fusion option in the dessert section, with the scrumptious mango cheesecake, which includes a ginger cookie crust.
Tandoor Char House, 2652 N Halstead St, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 773 327 2652