New York Indian Restaurants – Good, Bad & (Mostly) Ugly

Indian restaurants are choc-a-block in New York (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island).

Mysore Masala Dosa, Chicken Manchurian, Lamb Roganjosh, Punjabi Chole, Dhokla, American Chop Suey, Chicken Chettinad, Bisibele Bath, Pongal…whatever be your fancy you can get ’em all here.

Folks, there must be at least 225 Indian restaurants in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island.

Flushing Ganesh Temple has a popular canteen

Sporting names such as Bombay Palace, Madras Cafe, Punjabi Tandoor, Calcutta, Curry Leaf, Gandhi, Lassi, Dosa Diner, Utsav, Indo Munch, Jewel of India, Simla and Taj Mahal, Indian restaurants have become a fixture of the Big Apple.

Although the Murray Hill/Lexington Avenue area in Manhattan accounts for the largest concentration of Indian restaurants, desi eating joints are spread across the greater New York region.

Queens has plenty of Indian restaurants as does Long Island, particularly in Hicksville around Rt 107.

Our passion for Indian food has led us to dozens of desi restaurants in Queens, Manhattan and Long Island over the last 10 years.

But for the most part, the restaurants we’ve been to in New York are horrid outposts of Indian cuisine that offer lousy food with a big helping of bad service.

Manhattan is the worst offender. Be it Downtown, Murray Hill (a.k.a Curry Hill), Midtown or Upper East Side, most Indian restaurants in Manhattan are impostors serving disgustingly bland food.

Indian chefs in Manhattan have forgotten – i.e. if they ever knew it in the first place – that it’s the medley of spices that adds flavor to curries and transport us to heaven. But these chefs are so stingy with the spices, cooking as they do mostly for effete Caucasian palates.

The end result for us usually is a bland mass of unpalatable food on the table.

No surprise then that few Indian restaurants in Manhattan have impressed us.

Brick Lane Curry House (East Village), Copper Chimney (Murray Hill), Chola (Midtown East) and Earthen Oven (Upper West) are some of the good ones serving tasty food.

We liked the food at Salaam Bombay (Downtown) and Yuva (Midtown East) too but their rude service put us off.

The Dosa Cart guy (Thiru is a Tamil from Sri Lanka) serves good Dosas in Washington Square Park.

But for every good Indian restaurant tickling our palate with delicious fare, it seems like there must be at least 10 serving abominable food.

The egregiously bad Indian restaurants we’ve been to in Manhattan include Surya in Downtown, Tiffin Wallah and Masala Bollywood in Murray Hill, Darbar in Midtown East, Utsav in Midtown West, Ayurveda on the Upper West side and Simla on the Upper East side. Forget good or palatable food, these restaurants serve mostly inedible food.

In Queens, Sai Bhavan and the Flushing Ganesh Temple Canteen serve decent South Indian fare.

Next time you happen to be in Long Island, you might want to try Diwan or Dosa Diner.

If you are like us and crave tasty Indian food, check out for reviews of desi restaurants in New York, Queens and Long Island before heading out for your next Indian meal.

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