These Indian Restaurants Will Captivate Your Palate in Westchester

For spice-wary novices and longtime lovers of Indian food alike, this is your official guide to eating this South Asian cuisine.

There’s always one in the bunch: “I don’t eat Indian; I don’t like curry.” And then there’s the trepidatious, “Indian food is too spicy.” Neither is reason enough to avoid one of the most varied, palate-pleasing cuisines in the world. No doubt, curry is ubiquitous in Indian cooking, but it’s just one of more than 40 flavorful, aromatic spices that combine to create both subtle and intensely tasty dishes. As for the heat, a solid proportion of popular recipes have none. So, if you’re a vindaloo virgin (read on, you’ll get it), this is your go-to guide for sampling staple dishes found at typical Indian restaurants. For those who’ve been cozying up with curry since the last century, consider this a bucket list of where to dig in when craving Indian in Westchester.

Tastes of the Tandoor

When dipping a toe into the tantalizing world of Indian cuisine, start out with meats, seafood, and vegetables that are gently marinated, and then slow-roasted in the tandoor, an urn-shaped oven fashioned from clay and traditionally fired by coal.

Indi-Q Indian Bistro & BBQ

Armonk; indiqarmonk.com

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When barbecue is casually referenced in the name of a restaurant, you seek out seekh kebabs of minced chicken and lamb that are lightly seasoned with common spices (garlic, onion) and rolled onto skewers speckled with sliced onion, bell peppers, and green chilies. The tandoor elicits a toasty smokiness, and a mixed-grill kebab platter, composed of chicken and lamb (minced or cubed), plus shrimp, is the right way forward.

Neha Palace

Yonkers; nehapalaceyonkers.com

At this banquet-style restaurant that’s housed in an elongated building between the shops of Cross County Center and an auto-service station, roasted veggies and savory paneer (Indian cottage-cheese-esque cubes) emerge from the tandoor, along with simple bone-in tandoori chicken and sizzling salmon and shrimp tikka marinated in yogurt, garlic, ginger, and white pepper.

Neha Palace
Courtesy of Neha Palace

Tandoori Taste of India

Port Chester; tandooritasteofindia.com

The tandoor never rests at this modern eatery where delicately seasoned chicken and shrimp prove that subtlety is indeed a hallmark of Indian cooking. Rough-cut hunks of chicken are marinated in ginger, garlic, yogurt, sour cream, and white pepper, then popped in the tandoor for flavorful, crowd-pleasing chicken malai. Succulent New Zealand lamb chops and roasted whole branzino elevate the scene at any table.

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Tandoori Taste of India
Tandoori Taste of India. Photo by Tashography.

Chutney, Sauces & Sides

These menu staples will add even more flavor to this flavor-forward fare.

Tamarind chutney: sweet/sour, reddish-brown dipping sauce for breads (naan, papadam wafers)
Tamarind chutney: sweet/sour, reddish-brown dipping sauce for breads (naan, papadam wafers). Adobe Stock/ Dipalis.
Green chutney: cool, slightly spicy, tangy dipping sauce of mint, cilantro, garlic, spices
Green chutney: cool, slightly spicy, tangy dipping sauce of mint, cilantro, garlic, spices. Adobe Stock/ visual.
Raita: chilled yogurt with shredded cucumber; slather on spicy vindaloo to quell the heat
Raita: chilled yogurt with shredded cucumber; slather on spicy vindaloo to quell the heat. Adobe Stock/ Fomaa.
Yellow dal: soft, tender lentils cooked with mustard seeds, curry leaves, cumin, garlic
Yellow dal: soft, tender lentils cooked with mustard seeds, curry leaves, cumin, garlic. Adobe Stock/ Annapustynnikova.
Dal makhani: tiny black lentils and kidney beans simmered with classic spices
Dal makhani: tiny black lentils and kidney beans simmered with classic spices. Adobe Stock/ Indiapix.

Classic Curries

A step beyond simple tandoor roasting, stew-like “curries” are the logical next move in any Indian-eating foray. Marinated, tandoor-roasted meats, fish, and veggies are simmered in rich, flavorful gravies — some spicy, many mild — seasoned with a mixture, or masala, of bold, complex spices.

Coriander Modern Indian

Larchmont; corianderny.com

In a sleek space in the heart of Larchmont’s bustling restaurant district, classic curries like chicken tikka masala, revered for its mild, easy-to-please creamy tomato sauce, are a consistent standby for both new and experienced diners, complemented by chef-led seasonal specialties. Tangy chana masala, in which slowly simmered curried chickpeas bob about in a zesty tomato-onion gravy with fresh cilantro and red onion, brings a medium-level heat to the table and joy to vegetarians and bean fiends everywhere.

Mughal Palace

Valhalla; mughalpalace.com

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All the signature curry stews are finely executed at this cozy spot on the main drag, including curries with beef, a rarity on Indian menus. Rogan josh, a popular dish that clocks in at medium-hot, bathes cubes of chicken, lamb, or in this case, beef, in a zippy onion gravy (spiced with paprika, royal cumin, cardamom, and clove), while beef vindaloo, cooked with chili paste and potatoes, is hotter than Hades in the shade.

Raga

Croton-on-Hudson; raga.mobilebytes.com

A lengthy list of curries graces the menu at this tavern-style Indian restaurant that boasts an impressive array of lamb and goat, game meats common in India. Goat is on-the-bone in a traditional curry-forward sauce, and tender lamb finds its way into all of the popular stews, including tikka masala (creamy tomato), saag (creamy spinach), spicy vindaloo, robust rogan josh, and mild, creamy korma (coconut, ground almonds, and cashews).

Spice Village

Tuckahoe; spicevillageny.com

About half of India is vegetarian (namely, Hindus and Buddhists), so while there will always be so-called “veg” offerings at Indian restaurants, a vegan menu is harder to come by. At this inviting village downtowner, an extensive menu of authentic, well-prepared Indian food is on offer with classic curries for vegan diners, ranging from fiery mixed-veggie vindaloo to smoky baingan bartha, mashed eggplant cooked with chilies, ginger, tomatoes, and coriander leaves.

Rice & Biryani

Aromatic, long-grain basmati rice accompanies every entrée at an Indian restaurant. Plain Jane plays nice with everything, but zesty lemon rice (seasoned with mustard seeds, turmeric, curry leaves, and often dotted with peanuts) takes a meal to new heights. Biryani is a hearty mixed rice dish (similar to Chinese fried rice) seasoned with signature spices and topped with vegetables or meats, enjoyed as a hearty side or a main.

rice & biryani
Adobe Stock/ SMD Images

Buffet Bonanza

Lunch buffets are a thing at Indian restaurants, allowing eaters the opportunity to sample a variety of tastes and textures in one sitting.

RaaSa

Elmsford; raasany.com

Weekend lunch buffets at this bright and airy Indian, helmed by husband-and-wife chefs, provide the perfect opportunity to swan dive into a staggering array of creative, homespun Indian cuisine that includes all of the popular, standby dishes (curries and non-saucy items from the tandoor). Taking turns at the stove, Priya Kapoor-Salian shares a taste of the recipes she tinkered with as a young girl who found it impossible to stay out of the kitchen and off the Food Network. “The buffet gives our guests a chance to try the dishes on our menu, but I also add some of our off-menu items,” allowing diners to preview goodies from the specials board.

RaaSa
RaaSa. Photo by Andre Baranowski.

Royal Palace

White Plains; royalpalacecuisines.com

“When you think of Indian food, you don’t just think of one dish; you think of variety,” says Anu Mitter Nagpal, co-owner of this longstanding strip-mall sensation where the lunch buffet beckons daily. “So many things you can put on your large silver plate.” Featuring all the expected classics, the menu is born her father’s recipes; he’s been the “proud owner” for the past two decades and still jumps into the kitchen on occasion. Sunday is the most extravagant day to buffet (yes, we just made that noun a verb) with dosas (elongated savory lentil-rice crêpes), which are not-so-common in Westchester, appearing as a tempting, appetizer-like treat.

Royal Palace
Photo courtesy Royal Palace

Inventive Indian

These creative spots serve up classic Indian cuisine with a bevy of ultra-palatable Indian surprises.

Coromandel

New Rochelle; coromandeltogo.com

At this casual, bistro-style eatery, every Indian dish under the Delhi sun finds a place on the sprawling menu that includes two words rarely, if ever, uttered at an Indian restaurant: pizza and tacos. Be that as it may, there are easily two-dozen pizza and taco selections to choose from, all playing host to traditional tandoor meats and authentic saucy curries. Roasted chicken tikka fares well in a taco or atop a thin crust, while pizza and tacos of chole (chickpeas), paneer (cottage cheese), or lamb curry turn out to be not as foreign as they sound.

Coromandel
Courtesy Coromandel

NH44

Hartsdale; nh44indian.com

Named for India’s longest highway (stretching 2,555 miles, north to south), and inspired by myriad truck-stop cafés along the way, Chef/Owner Jeevan Pullan proffers culturally important classics and popular roadside grub — from kebabs to curries with spices he grinds himself. He’s driven by the mission to offer old-school Indian favorites with a creative twist and “keep it really simple and healthy,” he explains. That translates to a handful of crowd-pleasers like chicken tikka masala (with an organic bird) paired with highway-style creamy lamb stew, highway aloo (potatoes) with tempered chili and garlic, slow-braised salmon with a house spice blend, and chili cheese coconut naan (bread).

NH44
Courtesy of NH44

Mango Lassi

Wash it all down with a chilled yogurt drink sweetened with mango juice!

Mango drink
Adobe Stock/ Maria

Curry in a Hurry

These fast-casual, grab-and-go spots are small in stature but huge on authentic Indian offerings, perfect to satisfy a sudden craving or for novices who want to get adventurous in the privacy of their own kitchen.

Calcutta Wrap and Roll

Ardsley; calcuttawrapandroll.net

This small village spot was founded with the goal of introducing authentic “street” rolls (India’s answer to a wrap sandwich) to Westchester, but its menu has blossomed into a complete lineup of Indian favorites, most notably its vegan offerings. Must-haves include satisfying aloo gobi, consisting of potatoes and cauliflower with fresh ginger and tomato, and aloo bhindi which features okra.

India Café

White Plains; indiacaferestaurant.com

At this tiny, neon-lit takeout joint (with a sister restaurant a few doors down), lunch specials are a big draw with all the expected tandoori and curry classics, including seldom-seen beef, paired with hearty servings of well-prepared basmati rice.

Jaipore Xpress

Briarcliff/Ridgefield; jaiporexpress.com

Vibrant and artfully adorned, this petite café is fast-casual at his core, but presents as a proper sit-down restaurant, albeit a small one, with all the right menu items. Chef and local restaurateur, Jeevan Pullan runs the show and his lunch specials are a steal, with main courses (veg or non-veg) served with naan (bread), rice, and dal (lentils) of the day. Pro tip: Treat yourself to an appetizer of crispy lasooni gobi, chickpea-flour-battered cauliflower in a tangy garlic-tomato sauce.

Jaipore Xpress
Courtesy Jaipore Xpress

Shirley’s India

New Rochelle; shirleysindia.com

If you know, you know, and those in the know can be found salivating at a small walk-up window as they wait for their order of specialties whipped up by a talented South India native. The menu features all the curries and tandoori specialties you’d expect at a full-on restaurant, but at a friendly takeout price point. Dishes are soul soothing, but Shirley’s shines with appetizers of butter-chicken empanadas and marinated, deep-fried, addictive chicken 65.

Bread

It might be a sin to eat at an Indian restaurant without breaking bread.

Papadam: crisp wafers made from a flour or paste of lentils, chickpeas, rice, or potatoes
Papadam: crisp wafers made from a flour or paste of lentils, chickpeas, rice, or potatoes. Adobe Stock/ Uckyo.
Naan: a leavened, oven-baked flatbread, served plain or topped with garlic, onions, meat, or cheese
Naan: a leavened, oven-baked flatbread, served plain or topped with garlic, onions, meat, or cheese. Adobe Stock/ Alixim.
Poori: deep-fried puffs fashioned from unleavened whole-wheat flour
Poori: deep-fried puffs fashioned from unleavened whole-wheat flour. Adobe Stock/ Ecummingsoo.
Paratha: unleavened, layered flatbread, sometimes stuffed with potatoes or minced lamb
Paratha: unleavened, layered flatbread, sometimes stuffed with potatoes or minced lamb. Adobe Stock/ Uckyo.
Roti: whole-wheat flatbread
Roti: whole-wheat flatbread. Adobe Stock/ Jehangir Hanafi.

Street-Food Sensation

Bold, complex, and multi-dimensional, Indian cuisine is also playful and highly munchable when it’s reminiscent of the small bites sold out of street carts that roll all over the country.

Chutney Masala

Irvington; chutneymasala.com

Co-owner/Chef Navjot Arora covers every important culinary base on his extensive, superbly executed menu, and his selection of authentic street food is no exception. “It’s a great way to educate diners about the varieties of flavors and textures throughout the country,” he says. Tableside preparations of vegetarian and non-veg street-food standards include always-vegetarian chaat (snack), like tikki cholley chaat (potato patties, curried chickpeas, tangy chutneys), and pani poori: crisp semolina shells filled with flavorful tamarind water. For a heartier taste of quintessential street food, consider kati rolls (layered with spiced chicken or cheese), common on the streets of Calcutta and akin to a regular wrap sandwich.

Chutney Masala
Photo courtesy Chutney Masala

Little Mumbai Market & Little Kabab Station

Pleasantville, Mount Kisco

At Chef Bonnie Saran’s slew of “little” eateries, expect a chill, downhome vibe and an on-point appearance by standout street food. Little Mumbai Market offers an array of elevated Indian and American eats and specializes in street food items, like grilled, whole-wheat Frankie rolls (the wrap sandwich of Mumbai) and bhel puri: puffed rice, potatoes, onion, and tamarind and mint chutney (dipping sauces). Little Kabab Station is a full-on Indian café with a couple of street food favs, including sensational samosas, best described as fried triangular pastries stuffed with spiced potatoes, onions, and peas (with or without meat).

Little Mumbai Market is an Indian restaurant
Little Mumbai Market. Photo by Doug Schneider.

Masala Kraft Café

Hartsdale; masalakraftcafe.com

Serving only vegetarian and vegan fare, this fast-casual on the main drag dishes up all the expected Indian favs with a strong focus on street food, including a variety of dosas (elongated savory lentil-rice crepes) filled with potatoes, paneer, and more; crispy vada, fried lentil and rice doughnuts, with or without vegetable fillings; kathi rolls with stir-fried okra or paneer; and luscious samosa chaat, which involves crushed samosas, yogurt, chickpeas, cilantro, and sweet chutney.

Masala Kraft Café is an indian restaurant.
Indian restaurants dish up tempting street food in Westchester. Courtesy of Masala Kraft Café

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