With the winter season upon us, it is no wonder we start to crave warm, inviting spices, making Indian cuisine a go-to. With so many options in such a big city, it may be hard to narrow down the hautest picks. Here are the Top 5 Indian Restaurants that are sure to satisfy those winter blues.
Junoon, which is the Indian translation of the word “passion,” embodies just that. The modern Indian Restaurant developed by Restaurateur Rajesh Bhardwaj offers authentic Indian cuisine in an ambient, artistic atmosphere. The menu is directly drawn from the different regions of India comprising an unparalleled mix of dishes that will surely satisfy all palates. And it doesn’t stop there- the interior of Junoon is just as original and authentic as its cuisine; it was designed by Architect and designer Tarik Currimboy who mixed Old World Indian influences along with modern touches to this beautifully lit restaurant known as a “place of gathering.” The highlight? The Junoon Walk, located in the restaurant, which is a 50-foot walkway of a Corten steel basin crafted by sculptor Michael Tong.
27 W. 24th Street
Devi is the first Indian restaurant to get a Michelin star. Rakesh Aggarwal, owner of this Indian hot-spot had his hand in some of the most powerful gourmet destinations in New York, with a resume that includes The Oak Room and 21 Club. With such a diverse background, Aggarwal took his career back to his roots with none other than Indian culinary authority, Suvar Saran. The authentic menu offers a mix of traditional and regionally-inspired Indian cuisine. Don’t miss the Crispy Okra Salad, Manchurian Cauliflower and Tandoor-Grilled Lamb Chops for a burst of flavors and spices only Devi is capable of concocting.
8 E. 18th Street
Tamarind, the culinary concept by Avtar Walia, is known for its authenticity- both in decor and cuisine. Occupying 4,500 square feet of a former warehouse space, the restaurant has been transformed into an elegant and vibrant scene. Boasting private mahogany booths, strategically placed around the perimeter of the restaurant to create the effect of an Indian village street, along with its seductive and authentic cuisine makes it a true Indian-food staple. With two locations, the original in the Flatiron neighborhood and the latter on Hudson Street, each has its own inviting personalities. Walia has expanded the brand by adding additional rooms to each space; a zen-like sipping room known as the The Tamarind Tea Room in the Flatiron location, with a similar expansion, aptly named The Lotus Room at Hudson Street, which aptly incorporates India’s national flower, Lotus into every dish.
41-43 E. 22nd Street 99 Hudson Street
Not your conventional Indian restaurant, Vermillion is a fusion of both Indian and Latin cuisines, offering a palatial twist that is sure to get those taste buds dancing. In a former life, Rohini Day’s day-job was that of a global economist. During her travels through the US and India, Day was inspired by the flavor-bursting ingredients of both cultures. With the help of consulting chef Ambarish, Vermillion came to be in both Chicago and New York; now considered a staple in Indian haute cuisine. We suggest the Crab Konkani is a house favorite which is sure to please every palate.
480 Lexington Avenue
Serving up the best in Indian cuisine to the likes of both Midtown and the UES, Dawat is by no means ordinary. With a driving force such as Ms. Madhur Jaffrey in the kitchen, who is regarded as the world’s authority in Indian food, it is no wonder that Dawat has garnered such a following. Meaning “invitation to feast,” Dawat’s overwhelming portions focus on the northern region, and the dishes are sophisticated, yet eclectic. Most of the patrons in Dawat are their regular fans; the kind of fans that come for the hautest Indian cuisine not the scene (which is a bit long-in-the-tooth). Skip the scene and try the Cornish hen with green chiles for a shock to your taste buds, or stick with the more contemporary dishes such as baked eggplant with tamarind sauce.
210 E. 58th Street