You won’t find good Indian food in New York.
Whenever I eat Indian food in major cities, it is usually my suspicion that I am being served high-quality freezer food, instead of a thoughtful meal cooked from scratch. The meat is always perfectly cubed, as if it was precooked, simply heated up and drowned in curry sauce. The same goes for other dishes. I enter expecting what I’m used to at home—meat and vegetables so tender that they fall to shreds under my fork, every sinew and fiber utterly saturated in tasty, aromatic curry mediums. For the longest time, I just thought Indian restaurants were subpar and overpriced, but eventually, I serendipitously stumbled upon a few places that met my expectations.
1. Haveli Indian Restaurant (Florence, Italy)
Haveli, with its exquisite décor—silver chandeliers and embroidered velvet of Indian royalty—is one of the most beautiful restaurants I have ever been to. Furthermore, they have the decency to list which menu items are pre-frozen. I ordered menu items that weren’t listed as frozen, and sure enough, Haveli’s array of Indian culinary treats and lassis delighted my taste buds. Location: Viale Fratelli Rosselli, 31 50144 Florence, Italy
2. Kerala (Kyoto, Japan)
Spicy flavors aren’t really characteristic of Japanese cuisine, so I was pleasantly surprised to find an Indian place that didn’t tame their dishes too much. The Japanese even have their own curry (カレー) that tastes more of sweet flavors than fiery ones. But in the intimate dining space of Kerala, surrounded by statues of Ganesh and paintings depicting scenes from Hindu mythology, I enjoyed some authentic-tasting murgh makhani and palak paneer. They also had delicious, crispy paratha and a nice wine selection. Location: Kawaracho, Nakagyoku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 604-0827, Japan.
3. India’s Restaurant (Houston, Texas)
Offering a large, humble interior, India’s Restaurant focuses on its cooking. The menu includes the chef’s recommendations and his extra special recommendations. The varied, extensive buffet is generous and of high quality. Everything is delicious and tastes homemade. The service is spectacular, and the waiters all want to make sure the food suits your tastes. I regret returning up north, where now I have to pay higher prices for food that doesn’t even compare. Location: 5704 Richmond Avenue Houston, TX 77057 USA