When it comes to Indian food in the United States, there is no doubt that it has authentic elements. However, it is important to keep in mind that India is a vast country, and what is typical varies greatly from region to region. The most common Indian food in the US is from North India, and more specifically, it is usually Punjabi. If you are looking for the best of modern Indian cuisine, then you should check out Rasika West End and Rasika Penn Quarter.
This popular local restaurant and tourist spot has even been visited by former President Barack Obama. The menu at Rasika is unlike any other Indian restaurant, with dishes such as lobster pulao and apple jalebi fritters. Chef Vikram Sunderam has even won a James Beard Award for his creations. The menu also includes more seafood options than a standard Indian restaurant.
Tabla offers a modern take on classic and traditional Indian cuisine, all under the visionary guidance of restaurateur Sandeep Kthary and his team of expert chefs. You can choose from a variety of small and large plates, as well as curries, vegetarian dishes, roti and side dishes. Some of the large plates include leg of lamb with lal dough, paneer pasanda, nargisi kofta and goat's bhuna; small plates include mirchi pakora from Jodhpur, tandoori octopus, Brussels sprout bhel and kurkuri bhindi. The Tabla bar is also known for its signature cocktails that give classic cocktails an Indian twist, such as the Chai Old Fashion.
At Tabla you can also choose the atmosphere in which you will have dinner, with an elegant living room and a quiet dining room to choose from. For a more casual atmosphere, Punjabi Dhaba is the place to go. This modest cult bastion has been attracting university students and professors, hipsters and Indian families alike for more than 18 years. All the food served here is served in prodigious portions, from tandoori chicken to shahi paneer.
Choolaah is one of the few Indian food chains on this list. It offers family meals and Indian buffets that include everything you could want in Indian street food, from high-quality proteins to a variety of masalas. All ingredients are tracked “from farm to table” and only humanely managed, family-raised and sustainably raised animals are used. You can design your own bowl or wrap or select one of their signature dishes such as the Perfect Balance Bowl or the cauliflower and chickpea wrap.
Then add meat, fish, cheese, tofu and vegetables to your liking, as well as side dishes such as masala, daal, bread and rice. You can also enjoy Indian street food options such as samosa chaat and pav bhaji. Forbes names Lehja as “one of the best Indian restaurants in the United States” and the establishment has won several restaurant industry awards. The restaurant emphasizes style while offering a cozy space to enjoy traditional and modern Indian dishes in a relaxing decor inspired by California from the 70s. With four different dining rooms to choose from you can enjoy a different one on each visit.
There is also a social lounge and an outdoor bar and dining area around a burning fire. However, all this does not want to eclipse the food prepared by chef Sandeep “Sunny Baweja” who was a semifinalist for the James Beard Award. Far from simply offering “Americanized” Indian food there are also traditional dishes that are served with a modern twist such as blue crabs from Chesapeake Bay seasoned with turmeric ginger and pink pepper from Tellicherry served with asparagus and scallions or tender Pondicherry shredded duck seasoned with cumin fenugreek garlic onion and curry leaves. For those who like spicy food there is even spicy chicken tikka shaped like a firecracker marinated in ghost peppers. On weekends there is also a brunch menu available. A list of the best Indian restaurants in the US cannot be complete without mentioning Saravanaa Bhavan which offers vegetarian Indian cuisine from all over the world for any time of day.
Their breakfasts are just as appreciated as their dinners with hot dosa pancakes with sambar and hot sauce and tasty pastries doing nothing but delighting customers' taste buds. Other dishes include Dosas Uthappams Thalis breads desserts such as gulab jamun (cheese and milk balls soaked in rosewater syrup) badam halwa (ground almonds cooked with butter honey) among others. Choolah is another international Indian fast food chain with 81 locations around the world that combines its influences in a fun way in well-known Indian dishes with a new twist such as yellowfin tuna bhel made with puffed rice tuna avocado coriander etc. If you have never tried Indian food cooked Southern-style (or Southern food cooked Indian-style) then you have not explored either type of cuisine to its fullest. Karaikudi is another great place to try some of the most popular Indian dishes you have ever tasted. This gourmet vegetarian restaurant offers full buffet menus for lunch and dinner that are diverse enough to satisfy any palate.
If you are short on home-cooked food then you can get similar flavors by savoring your favorite delicacies at most of these restaurants.