This coming Saturday is Diwali, the autumn festival of lights celebrated by Indian and South Asian diasporic communities. It’s a time for sweets, family, and lots of flaming diyas. Whether you’re looking to make a reservation for a special prix-fixe Diwali dinner or you want to pick up some mithai for the weekend, check out what’s happening around NYC this Diwali.
If you’re looking for an upscale dinner out to celebrate with family or friends, Paisley in Tribeca is offering vegetarian and non-vegetarian Diwali dinners on Saturday night (November 14th). Each meal comes with three rounds of multiple small plates, and every guest gets to leave with a goodie bag. You can also supplement your dinner by ordering from Paisley’s a la carte Diwali menu, which includes chaat, fried paneer rolls, and a tandoori cornish hen. At the time of publishing our Diwali guide, there are still plenty of outdoor and indoor reservations available.
This South Asian, woman-owned ice cream company has Diwali celebration boxes available for pick-up at their shop in Cobble Hill. Each $80 box comes with gulab jamun and carrot halwa ice cream cakes, as well as ghughra ice cream, and four masala chai ice cream sandwiches. If you don’t want to commit to a full box, you can also order a frozen gulab jamun cake that’s soaked in saffron syrup and sandwiched between rose-cinnamon-almond ice cream. Just know that Malai is only taking pre-orders until November 14th, so get on it if you want the goods.
This year Baar Baar in the East Village will be decked out in flowers, diyas, rangoli, and outdoor heat lamps for their Sunday night Diwali dinner (November 15th). Each $60 pre-fixe meal will come with a special new kachori chaat, as well as other Indian dishes from their daily menu. You can book your table online or call 212-228-1200 for more details.
In case you’re looking to pick up some mithai, beeline to the dessert counter at this old-school Jackson Heights spot. You’ll see refrigerated rows of pistachio barfi and coconut laddoo. Food is sold by the pound here - just make sure to bring cash and don’t leave without a few very good pakoras on the way out.
It’s (sadly) possible you won’t be with your family and friends for Diwali 2020 (you win again, pandemic). If you want to send some love in the form of chocolate, Elements Truffle in Union City, New Jersey is shipping Diwali dark chocolate boxes all over the country. All of the dark chocolate at Elements is made in small batches in the US without any refined sugar or dairy. This year, their Diya boxes have bars like rose chocolate and cardamom, spicy cayenne with cinnamon, and ginger with black pepper. You can place your order for two-day shipping here.
Just inside the front door of this Bangladeshi shop, you’ll see an assortment of samosas, paratha, and kabobs, as well as sweets like fruit-studded burfi, swirls of jilabi, and roshgolla. And you should probably order all of those things. Walk past the seating area and you’ll see a separate counter in the back where you can get some quick momos with a side of fried noodles.
Bengali Sweet House
This Jersey City spot has both savory and sweet Diwali specials available for takeout or delivery so you can celebrate at home with more than just kheer for one. They have everything from sweet gift boxes with three different types of barfi to a two-pound order of fafda and pakora and papri combos. You can find Bengali Sweet House on a bunch of delivery platforms or call them at 201-798-9240 for pick-up orders.
Both the UWS and Union Square locations of Daily Provisions will be selling mango, coconut, and cardamom crullers to celebrate Diwali this year. It’s only available from November 14th to November 20th, so plan your cruller trip accordingly.