Whether you’re looking for high-end tasting menus, traditional, homey dishes, or more contemporary takes on Indian cuisine in the Windy City, we’ve got you covered.
Here are four Michelin-recommended restaurants to head to when you’re looking for a delicious and satisfying Indian meal:
What It Is: Located in the South Loop, Chicago Curry House offers a “generous sampling of Nepali cuisine augmented by dishes from or influenced by our neighbors,” per the restaurant’s website.
What Our Inspectors Say: “Maybe you sniff the wafting aromas of ginger, garlic and cumin first; maybe you hear the sitar tinkling its welcoming notes as you enter. Either way, you know immediately that Chicago Curry House is a commendable showcase of Indian and Nepalese cuisines. The lunchtime buffet lets you eat your fill for under $12, with crispy papadum and baskets of naan; while dinner features an à la carte of faves including Nepalese khasi ko maasu with bone-in goat bobbing in a velvety cardamom- and black pepper-sauce. Tandoori chicken is a smoky, moist delight; and butter chicken, creamy and rich in a tomato- and garam masala-spiced gravy, is done just right. The staff has helpful suggestions for dealing with the area's draconian parking restrictions; call ahead for tips.”
What It Is: A blend of Nepalese and Indian cuisine found on Wicker Park’s bustling Milwaukee Avenue.
What Our Inspectors Say: “While fans of the sub-continent love Cumin for its clean and modern surrounds, linen-lined tables struggle to contain the myriad plates that pile up during its ubiquitous lunch buffet. Paintings of mountain scenes decorate crimson-red walls and prep diners for an authentic range of flavorful food hailing from the Himalayan frontier. Get gnawing on namche sekuwa or tandoori goat flecked with spices and paired with crunchy green peppers. Then soak up pieces of buttery naan in a hearty vegetarian stew (aalu tama bodi) combining potatoes, bamboo shoots and black eyed peas. Cool things down with sweet and milky mango kulfi.”
What It Is: Chef-owner Marisa Paolillo’s bistro showcasing her decade-long travels across India.
What Our Inspectors Say: “Named for the country’s most popular condiment, everything in Mango Pickle—from the colorful artwork and accessories to the richly layered curries—honors a deep appreciation for the South Asian country. While dishes here riff on the classics, there are flavorful surprises at every turn. The creamy tomato-onion sauce of butter chicken is ramped up with earthy mushrooms and sundried tomatoes for a Mediterranean twist. Chana masala is spiked with ginger and garlic confit, and cod siolim kalwamche boasts a heady aroma of star anise and fennel.”
What It Is: This Indo-Pakistani spot has been a part of the crowded stretch of West Devon Avenue for over two decades.
What Our Inspectors Say: “As with many Southeast Asian restaurants, vegetarian dishes abound—but that's only the beginning of the diverse menu. Whole okra pods add a grassy, peppery bite to beefy bhindi gosht, and delightful chicken charga, an entire spatchcocked bird marinated in yogurt and lime, is rubbed generously with spices before crisping up in the deep fryer. No alcohol is served in deference to many of the abstaining clientele, but you won't miss it; buttery naan and creamy lassi with homemade yogurt help to balance out the spice-fest.”
Hero image courtesy of Mango Pickle.