With our guide to the Best Indian Restaurants in Chicago, take a culinary tour through the vibrant and varied flavors of India. A kaleidoscope of Indian flavors awaits you in Chicago’s dining scene, ranging from the fiery delights of South India to the aromatic spices of North Indian cuisine. Whether you enjoy spicy biryani, creamy butter chicken, or vegetarian treats like paneer tikka, our carefully chosen list of eateries guarantees a genuine and remarkable Indian dining experience. Come along as we investigate the best places to experience the mouthwatering dishes and rich customs that have made Indian food a favorite around the world. Here in the Windy City, get ready to enjoy the essence of India.
Tandoor Char House
Tandoor Char House is a production of brothers Fahim and Faraz Sardharia who were inspired by their parent’s Indian and Pakistani roots, and their love of sharing delicious meals with good company. The Sardharia brothers learned their culinary skills in the warmth of their parents’ kitchen, where their father roasted Halal meats while their mother simmered stews on the stove. If you’re stopping by for the first time, start with a fun appetizer that packs a punch a flavor like the masala ceviche or the chaat fries. The restaurant marinates all of their entrees for twenty-four hours, and they’re only cooked once you order them to make sure your barbeque is as juicy and seasoned as possible when it reaches you.
Cumin serves Nepalese and Indian cuisine, bringing the best of the Indian sub-continent and the Himalayas to its unique dishes. Near Wicker Park and Sola Salon Studios, the restaurant situated on Milwaukee Ave and Evergreen is an ideal spot if you’re staying at the Wicker Park Inn. Starting in May 2010, Cumin’s combination of authentic Indian and Nepalese flavors and cooking styles has drawn acclaim from Michelin’s Bib Gourmand from 2011 to 2019, Zagat, Yelp and Check Please Chicago. The restaurant’s Executive Chef, Tandoori Chef, and Sous Chef work together to design flavorful plates that make Cumin the ultimate Indian dining experience. Cumin uses a variety of cooking methods to coax the Indian and Nepalese seasoning into their meals. The restaurant uses a barrel-shaped clay oven to cook their meat, which brings out a richer and more full-bodied taste. The menu includes Indian staples like Chicken Tikka Masala and Chicken Vindaloo and Nepalese dishes like Chicken Momo and Gorkhali Khasi.
A modern Indian restaurant in the heart of the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago, Superkhana International serves Indian-ish food for brunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday. Superkhana International is dedicated to supporting other small businesses in Chicago and providing a livable wage for their employees by adding a service charge to all checks. Serving brunch, dinner, beer, wine, and cocktails, Superkhana International is a terrific spot to stop for brunch or dinner if you’re looking for seasoned, contemporary Indian food. At Superkhana International, I loved the sweet potato Kaju rip and dip and the pork vindaloo. If you’re looking for something healthier, try the winter Subzi with root vegetables or the Superkhana house salad with baby romaine and maple tahini vinaigrette. The restaurant has a menu section specifically for spicy dishes but choose carefully because they’re very hot.
Rooh Chicago delivers progressive Indian dishes in a vibrant atmosphere. Rooh combines modern gastronomic techniques and styles with regional Indian flavors to create contemporary versions of traditional dishes. Rooh means soul or spirit in Hindi, and the restaurant is committed to bringing the spirit of India to Chicago through each unique and tasty dish. Rooh uses fresh local ingredients in traditional recipes to bring the city into every bite. I recommend trying the avocado and chickpea Bhel to start, and then tasting some of Rooh’s famous lamb shank nihari with fresh ginger, rose, and chili oil. If you’ve got dietary restrictions, Rooh has gluten-free and vegan options to choose from. Before you leave, try something sweet like the house-churned Thandai rose ice cream or the mango sorbet.
Sabri Nihari Restaurant
Sabri Nihari serves Pakistani dishes in a modern atmosphere in the West Ridge neighborhood of Chicago. The restaurant is the perfect place to stop after a walk in nearby Warren Laurence Park, or a service at the Jamia Masjid mosque of Chicago. Surrounded by other South Asian markets, and restaurants, Sabri Nihari stands out as one of the oldest spots in the neighborhood. Focused on providing a memorable dining experience for every guest, Sabri Nihari has been recognized by Michelin’s Bib Gourmand four times. Over the last twenty-five years, the restaurant has served around five point two million people total. Sabri Nihari’s signature dishes include beef Nihari, chicken Boti, and Karahi Gosht. If you’re looking for something more familiar, try the chicken Makhani – similar to butter chicken, or the Karahi chicken with garlic, ginger, and green chilis. If you’re a more adventurous diner, Sabri Nihari also serves the Pakistani staple brain Masala, curried brain eaten with flatbread.
Vermilion is a bright and modern Indian restaurant serving Indian and Latin fusion cuisine. In the River North neighborhood of Chicago Vermilion is an ideal spot to grab dinner after a show at the Marina City Goldberg and may be a perfect place to stop if you’re staying at the Courtyard Marriott in the River North area. Vermilion melds Latin, Indian, and American cuisines together to create a special menu including tapas, fusion entrees, select regional Indian dishes, and indulgent desserts. Combined with global wines and Latin and herb & spice cocktails, Vermilion is a favorite for date nights or work meetings. Do not leave Vermilion without trying the Tellicheri crab masala or the Kochi lamb chops, both are delicious. If you’re with a group, Vermilion’s small plates are great for sharing and pack a punch of flavor despite being smaller. Make sure to try the restaurant’s “Ode to Chicago” cocktails, like the famous Devil in the White City cocktail.
Vajra is a high-end Indian and Nepalese restaurant. The restaurant has a modern and serious feel with dark wood and white walls, vintage brass installs, and contemporary decor. While the vibe is more upscale than your typical takeaway spot, Vajra is still casual enough for drinks after work or a first date night. The restaurant is focused on providing flavorful, spiced authentic Indian and Nepalese food with aromatic wines and fresh sweet desserts. While at Vajra make sure to try some of the chef’s winning dishes like Malai Kofta curry or the Paneer stuffed capsicum. Looking for something more classic? Try Indian staples like Saag curry or cashew Tikka Masala. Vajra offers vegetarian and gluten-free options as well as desserts, so make sure to try the mango mousse cheesecake before leaving.
The Spice Room
The Spice Room makes Northern Indian food come alive in its small storefront. Though the outside of the Spice Room may look rustic, the inside is designed with bare wood tables and vibrant modern art to keep the focus on the food. A cornerstone of Indian food in the Chicago community, the Spice Room is known for its outstanding cuisine and excellent service. Located on West Armitage Avenue and North Richmond Street, The Spice Room is down the street from Palmer Square Park, and next to the Armitage and Francisco bus stop if you’re riding from elsewhere in the city. If you’re a first-timer at The Spice Room you’ll find its menu is split up into vegetarian and nonvegetarian options, and then separated by type of meat. I love lamb dishes, and the Spice Room makes one of the best lamb Vindaloo’s I have ever had. Before you leave, the okra Masala is another must-try dish.
Established twenty-nine years ago, Ghareeb Nawaz is family-owned and operated and caters to diners all across the city with all-day service seven days a week. The restaurant has branches on West Devon Avenue, West Roosevelt Road, and East Roosevelt Road in Chicago. On West Devon, Ghareeb Nawaz is near Old Grove Park and Glass Court Swim and Fitness making it a good spot for lunch or dinner after a workout. On West Roosevelt, Ghareeb Nawaz is across from the James Turrell Skyspace. Ghareeb Nawaz isn’t just a nice place to stop for lunch or dinner, the restaurant also serves breakfast specials for ninety-nine cents every morning from eight am to noon. The specials include cooked veggie curry and potato curry, served with Paratha bread. The chili chicken Biryani is also a favorite of mine but be prepared for the spice.
Indian Garden Restaurant
Indian Garden Restaurant is a vibrant, 2nd floor, Indian restaurant serving traditional dishes near the Chicago riverwalk. Surrounded by other ethnic restaurants, Indian Garden stands out with its colorful decor and filling lunch buffet. The restaurant is proud to serve a variety of Indian regional dishes from Bombay to Delhi, bringing the essence of Indian cuisine to life using traditional spices. Indian Garden strives to bring the warmth and heart of India to each dish, taking diners on a voyage through exotic aromas and tastes. This restaurant may be best for those staying in hotels near the riverwalk. I recommend trying one of the house’s special dinners if you’re dining at the Indian Garden Restaurant for the first time. The specials are mixed plates containing favorites like Tandoori Chicken, Naan, and Rogan Josh and they also include the restaurant’s gluten-free plate. Vegetarian options are available for most appetizers and entrees, and the desserts are a must-try.
Gaylord Fine Indian Cuisine
Gaylord Fine Indian Cuisine offers Northern Indian classic dishes and some Southern Indian meals. In downtown Chicago near the Lakefront Trail and the Oak Street Beach, Gaylord Fine Indian Cusine is situated in an upscale neighborhood near the Gucci and Montblanc boutiques. Close to the Hotel Drake and the Four Seasons Chicago, the restaurant is a must-stop if you’re staying downtown. The eaterie’s service style is inspired by the oldest Eastern traditions, and diners rave about the helpful staff. Trying Gaylord Fine Indian Cuisine for the first time? The diner’s most popular menu items are Indian staples like Aloo Gobhi and Shahjahani, but the more adventurous eater will try the Tandoori Jhinga and Bengan Bhartha. The restaurant makes a lot of vegetarian options, and a few soups or Shorbas, that are less familiar but just as delicious.
Udupi Palace Restaurant
Udupi Palace Restaurant is a vegetarian Indian restaurant in the West Ridge area. Right next door to Tiffin the Indian Kitchen, Udupi Palace Restaurant is also on West Devon Avenue and North Maplewood Avenue next to the Shree Ganesh Temple of Chicago. The restaurant serves South Indian food in the heart of what is known as Little India in Chicago and is dedicated to making vegetarian versions of traditional dishes. The head chef of Udupi Palace Restaurant has been working in the restaurant industry in Chicago for the last twenty-five years, bringing authentic Indian cuisine to every diner they serve. If you’re stopping at Udupi Palace Restaurant, try the potato and lentil dumplings (Aloo Bonda) to start. Then try the homemade Indian cheese curry with green peppers (Kadai Paneer), and finish with the sweet Badam Halwa aka ground almonds cooked in honey and butter. Every dish at Udupi Palace Restaurant is one hundred percent vegetarian and authentically cooked.
Chiya Chai Cafe
Located on West Diversey Avenue and North Milwaukee Avenue, Chiya Chai Cafe is a modern Nepalese lounge serving chai, coffee, alcohol, and a small food menu. Near Pinot’s Palette and the Hopewell Brewing Company, Chiya Chai Cafe may be the perfect spot for a lunch date or dinner after painting. With locations near the river, on the Chicago Loop, and in Logan Square, the cafe provides a relaxed atmosphere and casual lunch and dinner. Named for its famous Chai, Chiya Chai Cafe sells it in the shop and to go, so you can bring your delicious drink home with you. On your first visit to Chiya Chai Cafe, get some chai and some hot curry wings. Though the wings are spicy, the creaminess of your cold chai will cool your mouth and prepare you for even spicier meals. The restaurant serves Samosa’s and Chaats, small plates, savory pies, Momo dumplings, curry bowls, bread, larger dinners, desserts, and coffee.
Why Trust Us?
When it comes to local restaurant recommendations, we pride ourselves on being a reliable and trustworthy resource. Our suggestions are not just based on our personal experiences, ensuring a more authentic and well-rounded perspective, but also on extensive online research. We diligently searched the internet and reviewed 5 credible sites and blogs, including Timeout.com and Tripadvisor.com.
We compiled all the findings in one location and sorted them by the frequency of mentions to ensure you receive top-notch recommendations. We strive to present you with a curated list of establishments that truly stand out, allowing you to enjoy the best dining experiences possible.
Interested in the sources we consulted? Check out the list of all 5 sites we referenced below this paragraph, offering transparency and an opportunity for our readers to explore further. Our commitment is to deliver trustworthy and unparalleled recommendations, helping you make informed decisions on your culinary journeys.