The Best Indian Restaurants In NYC

Here’s where to go for the best biryanis, dosas, and garam-masala-covered crabs in the city.
The Best Indian Restaurants In NYC image

There are so many Indian restaurants in NYC that committing to one can be daunting. That’s why we made this guide. On it, you'll find the best spots in the city to eat tandoori meats, South Indian stews, street snacks, dosas, and more from around the country. If you’re in the mood for a casual meal, hit up the cafeteria in the basement of a temple in Queens or the iconic dosa guy in Washington Square Park. For more of a sit-down, special occasion-worthy experience, we have options for that, too. Whatever kind of meal you’re looking for, you’ll find something on this list of our favorite Indian restaurants in NYC. 


photo credit: David A. Lee


West Village

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Semma is an exceptional restaurant that serves South Indian regional specialties in a charming West Village space. Everything on the menu is great, but no meal here  would be quite right without a few of the meaty dishes that are harder to find in NYC. We especially love the vat of tender Goanese oxtail and spicy dried lamb. The nearly flawless menu and stylish ambience made Semma one of our Best New Restaurants of 2021.

Masalawala & Sons is from the team behind Semma and Dhamaka (another place you'll be hearing about shortly). This Park Slope spot reimagines staples from the city of Kolkata and surrounding region of West Bengal, with an emphasis on seafood. Get the fish wrapped in banana leaves, or fried fish with kasundi, a tangy mustard, on the side. The food is on par with what you'll find at Masalawala's sister restaurants, and you'll want to spend all night in the big, festive space.

This basement-level cab stand has been selling vegetarian Indian chaat and curries on the north side of Houston Street since the early 1990s. It’s an irreplaceable gem of the East Village, and anyone who lives in the area should come here regularly. Stop by for a samosa chaat, steaming bowls of chana masala, and a brown paper bag filled with crunchy fried pakora. You'll have an incredibly filling meal for $10-15. 

Dhamaka may be located in a big, bright food hall, but it'll provide one of the most memorable meals of your year. You’ll try dishes from four or five different regions of India—some of which are impossible to find elsewhere in New York City. You’ll also pay considerably more than you’re used to paying at a food hall (roughly $100 per person, in our experience), but you'll eat some of the best Indian food this side of Mumbai. Zig-zag from fried and grilled snacks to fragrant spiced curries—but don't forget to order the gurda kapoora, tomato-y goat kidney and testicles served with buttery pao.

Not only is Delhi Heights one of our favorite Indian restaurants in Jackson Heights, it also happens to serve excellent Nepalese momos. In that way, it’s like your admirable friend who goes to the gym all the time but also stays out late every weekend. From the Indian menu, we love the Punjabi-style palak paneer, thin garlicky naan, and spicy goat kadai. But no meal at Delhi Heights would be complete without an order of beef and chive momos. These steamed dumplings are easily some of the best in the neighborhood. Considering the other options in Jackson Heights, that’s pretty impressive.

This vegan dosa cart in Washington Square Park is as legendary a landmark as any New York City monument, and so is the dosa man (Thiru Kumar) who runs it. NY Dosas serves South Indian staples like dosas filled with curried vegetable and potato, as well as roti and samosas every day except Sunday, from 11am to 3pm out of a little cart by the dog run in the park. All of the dosas are served with coconut chutney and sambar, and you can pay with cash or Venmo.

If you’re not already someone who dreams about eating goat as much as a coyote dreams about eating goat, go to Adda and all of that will change. This Long Island City spot makes our favorite Indian goat dishes in the city, including a steaming biryani sealed with a layer of baked dough, and an excellent junglee maas curry. You can easily have an amazing sit-down dinner here for under $30, and we think that’s something you should prioritize in the next week or so of your life. The interior has a casual, fun feel, with newsprint-covered walls and lots of bar seating, but Adda still feels like a nice enough night out for a date or an unfussy birthday dinner. 

There isn’t a lot of room in this casual, basement-level Hell’s Kitchen spot, but don’t let that prevent you from trying to fit as many of their fantastic biryanis on the table as you can. Hyderabadi Zaiqa makes 14 different varieties of the South Asian rice dish, including a fluffy, fragrant gongura chicken version and our favorite—the heavenly, heavenly goat dum biryani. For a place with roughly 15 seats, the menu is surprisingly extensive and also includes Punjabi, Indo-Chinese, and coastal South Indian options. Everything costs less than $20, so bring a group for an overachieving weeknight meal.

Vatan is essentially an all-you-can-eat buffet where you never have to stand up to get seconds, thirds, or fourths of mini samosas and chana masala. At this completely vegetarian Gujarati-style spot in Kips Bay, you’ll pay roughly $45 for three courses, and you can ask for as many helpings as you want. Each course comes on a thali with about 12 different dishes: our favorites are the fried potato dumplings, the bhaji with spinach and corn, and the sweet gulab jamun. Even without the prix fixe situation, eating here feels special—your table will have a thatched roof over it, and you’ll sit next to a wishing well and a massive tree.

At Omar’s Fine Cuisine in Prospect Heights, a single string of Christmas lights invites you to enter a fluorescent-lit, tile-floored room that looks like it used to be your everyday pizza shop. It still is, technically. Inside, you can get Indian food, pizza, and bagels made fresh every day. We can feel your skepticism burning through the screen, so let’s get right to the verdict: The Indian food is incredible, the dense and chewy bagels are worth a morning pitstop, and they have great Indian fusion pizza—a rare find—on the menu. 

With dozens of Indian restaurants along Lexington Avenue in Kips Bay, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by choice. We’ll make it simple. Just head to Pongal, a vegetarian restaurant with a novel-length menu that you can order blindly from and still leave happy. Most of the dishes can also be made to suit vegan and Jain dietary needs, which makes it an ideal spot for groups. The under-$15 lunch special is one of the best deals in town, and you’ll want to return repeatedly to try all 12 different kinds of chaat. We also love the Pondicherry masala dosa. There’s not a lot going on here in terms of decor, but you won’t miss it, because you’ll be very focused on your food. 

Seva is one of those places you won’t be able to shut up about until at least two people from your social circle try it for themselves. This Astoria restaurant is great for groups, and we love sitting at an outdoor table when the weather is nice. If you want to keep things affordable, you could go for the prix-fixe sampler, which includes an appetizer, an entree, and dessert of your choosing—but then you'd be missing out on the beautiful thing that happens when intensely flavorful chicken tikka, lamb saag, and aloo gobi join forces on your plate. Make a reservation, bring friends, and see who can best handle their spice when the lamb vindaloo hits the table. 

This Hindu temple cafeteria in Flushing is well known among the Indian community and the most serious of Indian food enthusiasts.You’ll see temple-goers and tourists alike flock to the fluorescent-lit basement for idlis, sambar, and big buttery dosas. Everything on the menu is vegetarian, and you won’t find better dosas in town. It’s a barebones operation with communal tables and folding chairs, but it's got just as many devotees as the deities upstairs. Buy some take home snacks while you wait in line to order, and make sure to check out the gift shop on your way out.

Imagine a big bowling alley, but take away the lanes, stupid nicknames on the monitor, and unflattering velcro shoes. And instead of frozen chicken tenders and mozzarella sticks, imagine that this bowling alley serves kashmiri kabab and keema mutter. This is the old-school Americana you’ll find at Jackson Diner, a spot that’s been in Jackson Heights since 1980. The Northern Indian dishes, like tandoori meats and curries, are mostly within the $15-20 range, and each portion is large enough to feed an entire school bus of children.

Much like an heiress in a jewelry store or a non-heiress at the prize counter of an arcade, all you have to do at Raja Sweets & Fast Food is point to what you want. There’s no menu at this counter-service spot in Jackson Heights, and it’s always packed with people drinking tea and eating chaat. We’d suggest ordering some fried things by the pound, like the excellent and crispy samosas and pakoras, plus a dessert from their refrigerated display case. Just know that Raja Sweets is cash-only, and best for when you want something quick.

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