The Best Indian Restaurants In Seattle

Here’s where to go for the best biryanis, dosas, and tandoori wings in town.
a tabletop spread of Indian dishes, like basmati rice, samosas with chutneys, curry, and garlic naan.

photo credit: Brooke Fitts

You can find a handful of great Indian restaurants within Seattle’s city limits. But to get a full picture of the best options in the Seattle area, head north, east, or south. We'd crawl across I-90 on all fours to eat at these spots—specifically for dosas longer than a forearm, special occasion dinners fueled by tikka masala, and never-ending baskets of naan. If you’d like to do the same (minus the perilous freeway stunt), let’s get to it.


photo credit: Brooke Fitts



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This busy Redmond restaurant serves some of the best North Indian food our area has to offer. The place has two huge dining rooms with dark wood and colorful string lights, sizzling skillets of tandoori chicken whizzing by, and a menu longer than War and Peace. We especially like the gobi manchurian that stays sturdy under the weight of a sticky and tangy glaze, plus smoky angara butter chicken and a bhindi masala that tastes as comforting as it looks. Come here for a birthday dinner with a big group, or get dishes to go—Kanishka’s so popular they have an entire separate space next door dedicated to take-out. 

This small industrial building in Kirkland may not seem like much at first glance, but they make flawless Kerala specialties. The gunpowder dosa is their best dish—it’s soft and dusted with a sour lentil chile powder that sparkles in the light coming from the giant skylights above. Order that with the peppery, onion-packed nalla molagu chicken curry and some malabar parotta that pulls apart like ribbons. And don't even get us started on the crispy pakoras with chunks of kale, red onions, and cashews dredged in a chickpea batter.

Located inside one of those brick Pioneer Square buildings that survived the Great Seattle Fire, Nirmal’s is a Seattle institution. With ambient lighting that casts a pleasant glow and sleek wood tables, it’s one of just a few great Indian restaurants in Seattle proper that makes you feel like changing out of Crocs, and it has a menu that rotates frequently. The owner usually walks around making sure that your extra-sweet paneer makhan masala and chunky yellow dal are cooked just right (and they are). Order the tandoori chicken—it’s served with such a thick layer of yogurt and spices, you won’t need any chutney. This place is perfect for a date night, a corporate card-funded lunch, or a big group dinner involving lots of buttery roti. 

photo credit: Brooke Fitts



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There’s a reason this place has just as many take-out orders as sit-down customers—and it’s the lamb dumm biryani. Naan N Curry’s version isn't only full of tender lamb, nutty rice bits, pockets of fragrant saffron, and fried onions, but it’s somehow even better as a leftover. If you want to appreciate it right away, sit in a quilted booth at the Issaquah location. Beyond the biryani, their tikka masala and Pakistani specialties like charred malai boti and balti chicken deserve special mentions. And the restaurant's Renton location is just as good, but it only offers takeout.

Annapurna Cafe belongs among the greats for their Tibetan momo alone, stuffed with spiced chicken and served with spicy peanut chutney that we’d like to slug from a beer bong. The Capitol Hill spot also excels in the art of the classics. Tikka masala, palak paneer, stewed lamb, and fish korma are all worthy of neglecting any other dinner plan you’ve got. It’s all just as good whether you’re hanging out in the decked-out basement dining room clinking bottles of Kingfisher or picking up multiple plastic tubs of good stuff to bring home and reheat.

Pabla Indian Cuisine shares a Renton stripmall with a dentist's office, dry cleaners, and a Fred Meyer. Which means you could technically get your errands done and have some exceptional Indian food, all in one trip. This kosher and vegetarian restaurant was once known for its extensive lunch buffet, and now is a takeout-only spot. But that doesn't mean the quality has changed. No meal here is complete without their spicy eggplant bhartha and saag aloo scooped up with onion-stuffed kulcha. There’s also a small market with ready-made freezer versions of their popular dishes if you want to stock up on dal channa before the next half-inch snow warning comes along.

Taste Of India’s outdoor dining room covers half of a city block in the University District, with a massive pergola and a dorm room’s worth of string lights. The kitchen is a well-oiled machine—complimentary and perfectly crisp potato and pea samosas arrive soon after you take your seat, and everything on the wide-ranging menu come out quickly, too. Don't miss the tandoori wings, silky butter chicken, shimla paneer, or Taste Of India’s best dish: coconut curry with fish so tender that you could enjoy it even after getting dental work done.

Come to this quiet Greenwood spot for a weeknight dinner sans drama. The moody black-and-red dining room smells like sizzled garlic, and you can sop up gravy-drenched aloo gobi with naan that’s nearly half an inch thick. Best part is, even at prime dinner time, the small place doesn't get crowded. Yes, it’s hard to believe this kind of calm plays out on a busy stretch of Aurora, but just order more sadheko chicken momo and don’t question it.

On weekends, this otherwise tame dining room in Issaquah gets filled to the brim. The buzz is warranted, thanks to the restaurant’s dosas. We particularly love their thin masala paper roast version with lacy edges. These all come stuffed with a smooth curried vegetable and potato mash filled with pops of ginger, plus a light coconut chutney and slightly spicy sambar for dipping. And for something sweet, after inhaling a dosa so big it could have its own zip code, grab a handful of mukwahs on the way out.

For an exciting weeknight bouncing crocks of excellent curries back and forth like a game of pong, Saffron Grill in Northgate is the only way forward. The encyclopedic menu is overwhelming at first glance, but we’re big fans of their signature curry—a tasty thick tomato gravy that breaks down chicken and clings to tandoor-charred naan. It’s all happening in a huge bustling dining room with a lot of comfy plush booths and friendly servers that say things like “Having fun?” instead of “Still working on those?”

Spice Waala is a terrific lunch takeout spot with locations in Ballard and Columbia City that serves roti filled with the likes of paneer masala, chicken tikka, and ground lamb. All are worthy of a try, but our favorite is the aloo patty that tastes even better when rolled up with their delicious green chutney. The kathi rolls run about $8 each, and they’re big enough to keep you full for a few hours. Add some fries with the aforementioned chutney and a peanut hot fudge soft serve sundae for dessert.

This Bellevue counter spot has a lineup of Punjabi vegetarian dishes with such a variety of deep flavors that the occasional colorful expletive is warranted. Use the onion kulcha—with red onion, green chilies, and whole spices baked into every square of dough—to scoop up heaps of sweet paneer tikka and bhindi masala, and let the profanity commence. Keep this place in mind for a takeout dinner or casual weekday lunch on the Eastside.

If anybody tries to tell you that the Seattle area lacks dosa options, bring them to Dosa House in Bellevue and prepare to act smug. There are more than 40 varieties at the bustling casual-counter service place, where you’ll find families gathered at long tables to accommodate the massive dishes. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the choices—including Indian-Chinese fusions like the noodle dosa—but quantity doesn’t dilute the quality. If you only have room for a couple, get the Chettinad dosa with its tender potato filling and hints of cardamom, alongside the onion chili version for some spice. And fill your table with a few non-dosa sides like the paani poori that’s so flaky and delicate it should be served on a tiny velvet pillow.

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