The epicurean alchemists at India House, winner of Chicago magazine's Best Indian Buffet designation, draw inspiration from many places: the cuisine of Bombay and Delhi, Indian street fare, and homestyle tandoori cooking. The menu's more than 250 items please vegetarian and meat-eating palates alike with curries and kebabs that use the flavors of fresh cilantro, chilies, and coconut. A reviewer for the Chicago Tribune praises the restaurant?s ?incredibly tender tandoori chicken,? and Chicago magazine says the fiery "Hyderabadi-style mahi-mahi ? is a must." Midday lunchers can dig into a buffet whose myriad options make it difficult to decide which delicious curries should be ladled over naan and rice.
People eat three times a day to prevent rebellious stomachs from escaping in search of peanut brittle, their natural prey. Today's Groupon uses the power of South Asian cuisine to placate restless tummies: for $15, you get $30 worth of international cuisine and drinks at Shanti: Taste of India in Dorchester. This Groupon is not valid for Shanti's lunch buffet.
More than 10 years ago, Shanti opened to provide the South Boston area with fresh, authentic Indian food. After realizing that the subcontinental focus limited the range of noshing experiences, the founders soon expanded their menu to also include Pakistani and Bangladeshi dishes. Now, stylish lamb, beef, and goat parade onto plates in a variety of spice suits, including the Indian gosht vindaloo ($11.99) and the Pakistani gosht kadai ($11.99). A well-equipped squadron of nine vegetables guards the nabaraton korma's creamy sauce ($10.99). Authentically stamp a palate-passport with the shrimp bhuna, seasoned shrimp imported from Bangladesh ($12.99). Tour the menu by blindfolding yourself, spinning around, and pointing randomly at your dinner, or engage the knowledgeable staff in a friendly game of 20 Questions to receive a personal recommendation.
The rich red walls and tablecloths give Shanti a regal ambience that reaches its full and inevitable consummation when the delectables arrive in gilded dishes. At the nod of your head, goblets full of beer ($3–$6.95), wine ($5.50–$7.50), or a creamy yogurt lassi ($3.99) levitate to the table in anticipation of exuberant toasts. Reservations are suggested for parties of eight or more and can be made online here.
More than 100 Yelpers give Shanti an average of four stars. Eighty-eight percent of more than 90 Urbanspooners recommend it, and three Insider Pagers give it a four-star average.
- This is amazing Indian. Since we don't really know anything about Indian food, we always end up asking questions; the staff always helps us choose the best meal for us. – Cassie M., Yelp
- Shanti is the real deal - high quality food at reasonable prices. – Mark P., Yelp
- This is some of the best Indian food I have had. I come here with my family and we each get different things and share. The flavors are so rich. ─ Emma M., Insider Pages
When Madonna, Michael Jackson, Michael Jordan, and Roger Ebert have all dined at the same restaurant, and guests praise their attentive service and attention to detail Check, Please!, it says something. It speaks to the food's quality, the establishment's longevity, and the clientele's diversity. Newly redesigned after more than 30 years in business, Standard India Restaurant is one of the oldest Indian eateries in Chicago, one of the first in the country to offer thali-style dining, and one of the few independent restaurants anywhere that's fed more than one million guests since its inception.
Originally established on Devon Avenue by Pardip and Bimla Kamboj, Standard India has since changed locations and been passed to their son and daughter, who perpetuate Standard's success with the same traditional, freshly prepared North Indian fare. In addition to their popular all-you-can-eat grand buffet, Standard promotes an innovative and authentic thali experience, during which diners eat from frequently refilled sterling-silver tins that Denise brought back from New Delhi.
In the kitchen, chicken, lamb, and seafood sizzle in a handcrafted clay tandoor, and chefs expertly spice vegetarian- and vegan-friendly curries as well as gluten-free dishes. All meals can be paired with the guest's choice of beverage, as the eatery boasts a BYOB policy free from irksome corkage fees.
Vermilion has garnered a great deal of press and accolades over the years. From being named one of Chicago magazine’s Best New Restaurants of 2004 to gracing the pages of Esquire in an article titled "15 More Restaurants Not to Miss," the restaurant is no stranger to the spotlight. And at the heart of its success is Rohini Dey, a former consultant who, in 2003, decided to dive whisk first into the restaurant biz. Inspired by her Indian heritage, Dey set out to re-engineer the country’s traditional approach, fusing contemporary homeland flavors with elements of similarly bold Latin cuisine.
At Vermilion’s Chicago and New York City locations, the chefs craft meat and vegetarian fusions. Some of their most successful creations include the Gourmet-lauded duck-vindaloo arepas, lobster tail stewed in coconut-and-curry-leaf gravy, which was named the top dish worldwide by USA Today in 2004, and the tandoori skirt steak, hailed by Esquire. The decor mirrors the artful approach to dining, with sleek white spaces accented by black-and-white photos taken before the invention of color. Both locations also incorporate lounge areas that often come to life as fusion music, specialty cocktails, and a global wine list circulate the space.
There's nowhere for heat to escape within a tandoori oven. Inside this sweltering cylinder of clay, chefs stoke the flames to cook everything from flat naan bread to three-dimensional lamb and chicken. It's fitting then, that Klay Oven Restaurant has a name echoing this traditional Indian method of cooking?and a bite into anything on the menu proves that there's no need to alter these time-tested techniques. Popular orders include tandoori murg, a dish of stir-fried meat simmered in gravy. Outside of the oven, chefs use homemade cheese cubes to cook paneer dishes and fill puffed samosas with lamb, peas, ginger, and coriander.
Of course, all of this happens away from customers' hungry eyes. They're too busy sipping mango lassi beneath the dining room's golden tin ceilings, or perhaps drinking something more potable at the solid wood bar. At select times, Klay Oven also serves buffets (both of the vegan and meaty variety).
At Bombay Spice Grill, you don't have to grab a table to enjoy the spices and sauces of Indian cuisine. Instead, Executive Chef Sunil Kumar designed a menu full of Indian meats, tofu, curries, and toppings that can be customized into a flavorful meal-on-the-go. Though the sauces come in traditional varieties such as curry, tikka masala, spinach, and vindaloo, the preparation veers from the methods of India to create healthier dishes. Chefs eschew cooking with ghee—Indian clarified butter—and instead use olive oil for heart-healthy wraps, sandwiches, salads, and bowls. And though wraps come with a slice of freshly baked naan or roti bread, clients can opt to make their dish gluten-free by swapping out bread for quinoa or rice. Guests can even customize their dish to be vegetarian and vegan, with ingredients clearly denoted on the menu. And to pair with a main entree, they can grab traditional Indian sides such as samosas and rice pudding.