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  • The Infatuation

    The Best Indian Restaurants In Austin

    By Nicolai McCrary,

    Richard Casteel

    Choosing where to eat Indian food in Austin can be a daunting task, right up there with deciding on pizza toppings or picking a favorite parent. That’s why we ate at all of them to point you in the direction of the very best. So when you feel a void in your day that can only be filled by tangy chaats, crispy dosas, and steaming hot momos, consult this guide as a little lifeline.

    And, before you yell at us, we’re aware that a lot of the best Indian food in the area is in Round Rock, Cedar Park, and other surrounding suburbs. For now, let’s talk about Austin.

    Richard Casteel

    Sangam Chettinad Indian Cuisine

    Trying to walk into this South Indian spot on a Saturday afternoon is like showing up at an exclusive sneaker drop that happens to be in a North Austin strip mall. The crowd spills out onto the sidewalk and the phone won’t stop ringing. Be patient—the rich and spicy chettinad chicken is worth the wait. It's just one of about 200 items on the menu, which gets broken into vegetarian and non-vegetarian sections. If you already know what you want, congratulations on being decisive. For everyone else, just order the weekend-only thali combos that come with an assortment of curries, dhals, yogurts, pickles, and rice.
    Richard Casteel

    Saffron South

    Saffron is the type of place that turns a random Tuesday night into what feels like a memorable Saturday. The relaxed dining room is nicer than its Westlake strip mall exterior might lead you to believe, and you can BYOB for a small corkage fee to make the whole meal a little more special (there’s also a small bar). The menu leans 80% Indian, with a few Nepalese specialties making up the rest, and you should incorporate both sides into your order. Start with some samosa chat and some momos to kick things off, then work your way through as many of the Indian curries as you can (we like the lamb rogan josh). Don’t worry about over-ordering—the curries taste even better the next day or when you get the midnight munchies later.
    Richard Casteel

    Desilicious Cafe

    Desilicious is more about the food than the dining room. The AC only kind of works, pre-filled metal pitchers of water sit on all of the tables, and the TV is always playing Indian pop music videos through tinny speakers. None of this matters because Desilicious Cafe in North Austin has perfected a menu of over 80+ varieties of dosa, chapathi, parotta, and other South Indian staples. They’re open for lunch and dinner, but it’s especially well-suited for an early visit, since they offer a lot of classic Indian breakfast dishes, like idly and pongal, plus a really great cup of chai.
    Richard Casteel

    Tandoori Lounge

    On paper, Tandoori Lounge sounds incredibly exciting. It’s open until 3am, house beers cost $2, and the name calls to mind a room full of reclining chairs and an endless supply of charred meats. The reality is a little quieter, but don’t let a tame dining room in South Austin stop you from coming. The menu features a mix of North and South Indian classics, plus a handful of Indo-Chinese dishes. But the real reason to visit is for anything cooked in the tandoor oven. All of the meats are heavily marinated, incredibly tender, and finished with ample char.
    Nicolai McCrary


    Kuppanna in North Austin may serve bottomless dosa on Wednesday nights, but we're more excited about their flaky parotta. It’s hot and buttery, and should be the centerpiece of your order, accompanied by a few bowls of tender kongu mutton gravy, vegetable korma, and whatever else you decide on. It’s the star of the show trapped in a supporting actor’s role.
    Nicolai McCrary

    Biryani Garden

    As the name suggests, biryani is the specialty at this Indian restaurant in North Austin that serves nearly two dozen varieties, including an Arabic goat mandi only offered on the weekends. The biryani is tasty, if a little light on the meat. So our favorite things here are actually the chats and village-style goat curries. We’re not sure what village it’s styled after, but we can only imagine that happy goats roam its lands and the air is filled with the fragrant aroma of cloves, cardamom, and other toasted warming spices. Goat is what you’re here for, in some form or another.
    Nicolai McCrary

    Himalaya Kosheli

    Stop by Himalaya Kosheli in North Austin during the day and you’ll find yourself face-to-face with a buffet featuring every Indian and Nepali korma, masala, and curry under the sun (OK, about 12-15 of them). Better yet, show up in the evenings and skip the buffet entirely. The a la carte dishes are generally punchier, and taste distinctly like they haven’t been sitting out on a hot line. And, if you’re good with spice, get the tender Himalayan goat curry. It's rich and savory, and goes especially well with an order of garlic naan.
    Nicolai McCrary

    Clay Pit Contemporary Indian Cuisine

    For years, Clay Pit was one of the best value lunch buffets Downtown . The all-you-can-eat days may be gone, but it’s still a reliable spot for a lunchtime vindaloo bowl—served with rice and a salad—or some Friday night tikka masala and a chakra martini made with coconut water. The flavors here aren’t as pronounced as what you'll find at other Indian restaurants on this guide, but you can count on soft and tender meats, warm and fluffy rice, and a dark, cavern-like dining room that manages to stay very cool even during Austin’s warmer months.

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