From establishments focusing on home style Indian food to those presenting modern dishes, here are five of the best restaurants to hit up when you are craving top notch Indian food.
This Woodley Park restaurant has been around a while, but recently went through a facelift and a menu update. The result is a restaurant that holds true to the mashup that makes its name – India + Unique. A blend of dishes from North and South India are offered. Some of the standouts here are the Cauliflower Chili Fry, Morel Vegetable Stew, and an absolutely incredible complex fish curry. Drinks such as the Garam Masala Gin and Tonic or the Mumbai Mule are equally innovative and a perfect complement to the flavorful food. Their bottomless brunch is an excellent choice to try a variety of plates (and be in Indian food heaven/coma).
3512 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
This is not so much a restaurant as it is a café and market that serves food. And tasty food, at that. They have a regularly changing seasonal menu but I can definitely vouch for the authenticity of flavor in the dishes they offer. The pooris (puffy fried breads) with a spicy potato curry is comfort food at its best, the South Indian dosas, idlis and uttappams are a nutritious, tasty and filling meal, and the kati rolls are an easy “hand held” option. Always end with a ginger chai at their chai bar – and enjoy the Indian “biscuits” that come with it. Their cooking classes are absolutely fantastic for those interested in learning to make a variety of Indian dishes at home.
1603 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Some of the best contemporary Indian food to be found, Rasika has been a significant player in the upscale modern Indian scene for many years now. It’s absolutely well-deserved and easy to see why. Perennial favorites such as the palak chaat (crispy spinach served tossed with tangy tamarind chutney, sweet date chutney, and yogurt) and the black cod with dill are must get items, but don’t sleep on some of the less common items such as Andhra chicken curry (calling all spice lovers) or the bagara baingan (eggplant in a peanut based sauce that’s savory, spicy, tangy and sweet all at once).
633 D Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004 or 1190 New Hampshire Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20037
Indigo is a fantastic spot to get a taste of traditional Indian food that actually tastes homemade, and is the closest you will come to tasting how Indians actually cook food at home. A family run affair, Indigo’s food is authentic, flavorful, and well spiced and the menu frequently changes. Try the chickpeas, the home style chicken curry, or any of the stuffed parathas – flatbreads roasted on a griddle with a variety of fillings. The restaurant itself if kitschy, colorful, and one of a kind.
243 K St NE, Washington, DC 20002
What’s an all vegetarian restaurant focusing on cuisine from South India doing on this list? You just have to go find out for yourself! I’m South Indian, and this is my local fix when I need some familiar tastes. Specializing in “pure vegetarian” cuisine from South India, the menu includes masala dosas (thin, crispy rice crepes filled with a potato and onion mixture), a variety of rice dishes (rice is the staple in the south), and much more. Steer clear of any “familiar” sounding items (anything that includes the word paneer!) and try the milder and lighter flavors of the southern Indian dishes instead. Go all out with the South Indian thali – an assortment of curries and vegetables that are typical of the food from this region of the country.
8046 New Hampshire Avenue, Langley Park, MD 20783