Where To Eat A Great Kathi Roll In NYCYou don’t have to eat this Kolkata-style street food while standing out on the street. But it’s probably more fun that way.
We usually prefer to eat Indian food sitting down, but we'll make an exception for kathi rolls. This popular street food, originating in Kolkata, employs a convenient cheat code: just wrap your veggies or protein up in a paratha or roti and you’ve got a medley of flavors you can eat in whatever position you’d like. Stop by one of the spots on this list the next time you’re in the mood for a masala-heavy meal to go.
Inside this tiny Indian street food shop on MacDougal, you’ll find one of Manhattan’s tastiest spice challenges. Thelewala really takes it up a notch with their chicken phaal roll, and we recommend just closing your eyes letting it happen. But if you were to take a peek inside the thick, flaky roti, you’d find chicken, egg, and a formidable looking habanero chutney. If you're sensitive to spice and would like to leave without your tongue hanging out of your mouth, order the chatpata and chapli rolls instead.
There are two kathi roll options at this hippy-dippy cafe in Woodside—a rich chicken curry or vegetable masala mix—and they don’t actually roll them up unless you take yours to go. Eat in and you get a plate with a quartered, flaky paratha that’s just as delicious in its “deconstructed” form. (If you really want it rolled up when there, let them know before they make it.) Everything on the menu is made to order by the incredibly accommodating married couple running the place. This means that you’ll wait for longer than you’re used to at a cafe, but the food tastes truly homemade.
The menu at Al Naimat in Jackson Heights has the word count of a novella, with every new chapter more intriguing than the last. If you skip ahead to the kathi roll section, you can try a few of their strongest dishes in one neatly wrapped package. We’re partial to the kebab roll, a perfect paratha wrapped around a tender beef kebab with enough herbs mixed into the meat to count as one of your daily servings of vegetables. Whatever you go with, get it to stay. With its bustling orange dining room and friendly chalkboard illustrations, Al Naimat is the sort of place where we’d unironically stick a “Good Vibes Only” sign on the wall.
Momos are obviously the main attraction at this Nepalese mainstay in Woodside, but don’t sleep on their chicken or veggie kathi rolls: a thick roti containing thoroughly seasoned chicken tikka, or vegetables coated in a gravy of sweet and spicy sauces. Momo Crave’s rolls are large enough for you to make a meal out of just one of them, and at that size, nabbing one for under $7 is a steal.
Tikka Indian Grill serves some of the city’s better Indian-American takeout at its four locations in Brooklyn and Queens, but the Astoria location has an exclusive kathi roll menu. Smoked eggplant, egg burji, keema—whatever you choose, you’ll get a medley of sauces and spices in your mouth that should be followed by a thick mango lassi. Stick around the casual tile-floored dining room, or grab a few rolls to go before you hop on the N train at the 30th Ave station down the street.
Of all the markets to monopolize in Manhattan, The Kati Roll Company bet on simple street food and won. There are around five vegetarian and five meat kathi roll options at this chain’s multiple New York locations. These include shami kebab, chicken tikka, an egg roll with tons of mint chutney, and our personal favorite, a tangy achari paneer roll flavored with spicy vegetable and fruit pickles. The Bryant Park location has a few tables if you want to take a quick breather with a cup of chai.