The Best Indian Restaurants And Curry Houses In New York City

Indian food
Indian food | Photo by Lior Shapira on Unsplash
Enrichetta Frezzato

From the familiar smell of tangy spices to the tenderness of tandoor-grilled meats, Indian cuisine boasts an intensity of flavour paired with an unmatched comfort food factor. The foodies of New York City have long been tempted by India’s culinary heritage, and numerous informal curry houses, as well as more upscale establishments, can now be found across the metropolis. Here are ten of our favourite Indian restaurants in NYC.

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Tamarind TriBeCa

Ceiling high windows allow light to flood into the two floors of Tamarind TriBeCa, creating an airy and luminous atmosphere. Floors are covered in marble and teak wood and tall limestone columns reach high above it create an elegant feel. The award winning chefs at Tamarind are masters of India’s diverse culinary heritage, providing diners with a chance to travel across the mosaic of different traditions that populate the vast subcontinent. The tandoori ovens produce superb meat and fish specialities, a must-try together with the Punjabi mutton, a northern Indian dish of baby goat in a cardamom sauce.


After 20 years of cooking across the best Indian kitchens of New York and gaining two Michelin stars, chef and tandoor master Hemant Mathur co-founded Tulsi. Since then the restaurant has quickly established itself as one of the top destinations for excellent Indian dining in NYC. The ambience at Tulsi is extremely refined and an elegant touch gleams though the details of the cream decor and dark wooden furnishing chiselled with emerald detailing. An enthralling voyage through Indian cooking, the menu that Hemant Mathur has crafted for his diners combines an inviting chef’s tasting menu with an array of options ranging from Mangolorean Paneer to rogan josh, a lamb dish of Persian origin that has become one of the signature plates of Kashmiri cuisine.


Junoon is the Hindi word for ‘passion’, and passion is definitely what flavours chef Vikas Khanna’s considerately picked blends of fresh spices, hand-ground daily in the restaurant’s spice room. The spice room is at the heart of this luxurious, Michelin starred Indian restaurant in the artsy Flatiron district. It is here that elaborate and flavoursome combinations are mixed to create the innovative take on traditional and contemporary Indian cuisine that characterises Junoon’s approach to culinary art. Bouncing across a multitude of regional traditions, the menu spans classic cooking methods like tandor (clay oven) and handi (curry) dishes as well as tawa, sigri and patthar (cast iron, open fire, and stone cooking) to offer signature flavors. These include the patiala shahi goat, slow-cooked in a sauce of green chillies, tomato, yoghurt and cilantro, or the Goan piri-piri shrimp, prepared with chilli sauce, avocado, and citrus salad.

Malai Marke

The stretch of East 6th St between First and Second Avenue is informally referred to as Curry Row. In this little corner of New York, famed as Little India, is possibly one of the best places to start a culinary exploration in the city. With drinks served in mason jars and lines of metal bowls and spice drawers decorating the rustic brick walls, Malai Marke has a light, contemporary feel that many other restaurants along the same street lack. Whether sat at a table or at the bar counter, guests can pick from a vast menu featuring meat dishes as well as a range of vegetarian and vegan options. Highlights include the paneer kurchan (creamy cheese with fenugreek) and bindi sasuralwali, based on okra prepared with onion and tomato.

The MasalaWala

Paneer Butter Masala

Located on the Lower East Side, The MasalaWala stands at the crossroads between high end dining and an authentic Indian street food experience. Paintings on the walls picture roadside food stalls typical of South Asia, while owner Roni Mazumdar brings the traditional street food from those stalls right to his tables, giving a fresh twist to the habitual idea of an Indian restaurant in New York. With particular care dedicated to running an environmentally friendly business, MasalaWala’s list of Indian classic mains is accompanied by a range of street side bites, chaats, and kati rolls. A signature Manchurian appetiser made of cauliflower florets prepared with ginger, garlic and mixed spices is an popular favourite.

Brick Lane Curry House

The idea that inspired the opening of Brick Lane Curry House was the recreation of a British-style Indian cuisine typical of curry houses in the UK. With five branches now spread across New York and New Jersey, the concept can certainly be deemed a successful enterprise. Just like its sister restaurants, Brick Lane Curry House Downtown, located on the stretch of East 6th known as Curry Row, gravitates around curries arranged on the menu according to their degree of spiciness: flaming vindaloos, hot madras, and tangy bhuna follow mild tikka masalas and kormas on the menu, all available with meat, fish, cheese or vegetables. Adventurous spirits are dared to take on the phaal challenge: consuming this ‘excruciatingly hot curry’ will reward brave souls with a free chilled beer and the prestigious Phaal Curry Monster certificate.

Chote Nawab

Named after a 1960s Indian film, Chote Nawab translates as ‘little prince’ and is partially based around the cooking style of the old Nawab kitchens in the city of Lucknow, in Uttar Pradesh. Kebabs are among the specialties this town is known for, and Chote Nawab offers many palatable choices, tunde ka kebab standing out as a deliciously tender lamb patty dish. Other influences that converge to shape the menu at this Lexington Ave restaurant are biryanis from Hyderabad, cooked in sealed pots according to traditional recipes, and other plates from the states of Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. A colourful modern design, concrete walls and murals provide a vivacious background to the restaurant’s eclectic combination of authentic Indian tastes.


Elaborate chandeliers hang from the ceiling to dimly light the geometric designs and white leather seats at Chola. Opened in 1998, this restaurant offers a range of different regional culinary traditions in India, with a strong focus on those from the southern states, blending the traditional flavours of its cuisine with the modern style of its ambience. On opening the menu, guests will be impressed by the ample choice. A selection of soups, vegetarian and non vegetarian starters, and dosas (Indian crepes) compliment the array of tandoor dishes, chicken, lamb, goat, shrimp, vegetarian, and vegan mains options. Many praise Chola’s baskets of varied kebabs, while chicken chutneywala, infused with mango puree and green masala, is a must try main.


Indian Masala

With an entrance colourfully signalled by its unmistakable bejewelled elephant, Vatan transports its guests into the atmosphere of a warm Indian courtyard with banyan trees, thatched canopies and bright painted tables. Specialising in vegetarian food, the restaurant’s aim is to bring to New York the flavors of the traditional cooking style of Gujarat, a state in the northwest of India. The culinary culture of the region offers inspiration for the prix-fixe menu on offer. Guests can enjoy a spectacle of little dishes parading to their tables, including batatavada (potato balls fried in a chickpea flour batter), a delicate selection of samosas, ful cobi (based on cauliflower and green peas), and much more.

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