Located in Murray Hill between 25th and 30th Streets (28th and Lexington is the hub), “Curry Hill” is a stretch that is named after the high concentration of Indian restaurants in the area, as well as the growing community of immigrants from South India. If you’re a fan of spicy, delicious (and often cheap) cuisine, then Curry Hill is the dining neighborhood for you. The culinary experience here is like no other in the city, and offers a wonderful opportunity to taste the diverse cooking of India. Choose from old favorites, new establishments, buffet style, or a sit-down-and-serve meal when you dine in these restaurants in Curry Hill.
Dhaba, 108 Lexington Ave
Known for its broad offering of fiery Punjab specialties, Dhaba was founded by Bollywood actor-turned-restaurateur Shiva Natarajan who is behind a bevy of acclaimed Indian eateries in the city. In 2015, Natarajan sold his restaurants to Hemant Mathur, the Michelin-star chef who now oversees the kitchen. A popular choice with locals (you should expect a line), the lunch buffet is served seven days a week at Dhaba. Menu favorites include lamb madras, Aunt Murli’s Chingri Malai with coconut and garam, and the pan-grilled cornbread.
Mughlai Indian Cuisine, 329 Third Ave
Self-dubbed as “The Golden Taste of India,” Mughlai serves up flavor-packed dishes that celebrate India’s culinary traditions. Start your meal with a samosa followed by the lamb biryani, made with slow simmered meat, basmati rice, and whole spices. Be sure to save room for dessert – the house rice pudding (flavored with pistachio and cardamom) is delectable. At Mughlai, the atmosphere is cozy and the staff, friendly.
Desi Galli, 101 Lexington Ave
Don’t be fooled by the simple interior and counter-order style set up. Desi Galli is a reliable spot to satisfy your craving for Indian food. Opened in 2012 by PriaVanda Chouhan and her husband, Desi Galli has a menu inspired by the street food that the owners loved growing up. The meat dishes are great, but offerings like aloo and Paneer Tikka Kathi roll with cumin-flavored potatoes and grated Indian cheese, and vada pav – a potato fritter in an Indian slider bun garnished with tamarind chutney – make going vegetarian, for one meal at least, incredibly easy.
Sahib,104 Lexington Ave
Another offspring from Shiva Natarajan and Hemet Mathur of Dhaba, Sahib is a restaurant specializing in an eclectic menu that takes you on a culinary tour of India. The soft grey, white, and natural wood interior is modern and welcoming, and the food is served a la carte or as fixed-price meals. The lentils with lemon soup and eggplant fritters are must-try starters. For a main dish, the Mughlai biryani with bone-in chicken and lamb madras with coconut, curry leaves, and dry red chilies hit all the marks when it comes to taste and heat.
Haandi, 113 Lexington Ave
Solid and cheap, this no-frills cafeteria-style eatery is a favorite among taxi-drivers who stop in after a shift or while their cars are refueling. Originally from Pakistan, childhood friends and owners Shabbir Sial and Artaza Ali are proud to serve dishes honoring their homeland and North India. At Hanndi, step up to the counter and scout out the colorful, aromatic options behind the glass. Favorites include the vegetable and meat samosas, chicken qorma with thick curry sauce, and herbs and daal gosht with lamb cooked with lentils and spices.