Sitting inside Bombay Pizza Company, owner Viral Patel watched the Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate, waiting alongside family and friends for a mention of his Slumdog pizza, a fusion of Indian and Italian flavors. After the 30-second spot, the restaurant erupted into a standing ovation.
Patel's journey to that moment first began when he quit his job in restaurant management to travel around India learning how to cook. Hoping to one day open a restaurant of his own, Patel returned to the United States and became interested in pizza, buying his own pizza stone and experimenting with new recipes, which fused Indian flavors with the traditionally Italian pies. He opened Bombay Pizza Company with the help of his mother, Sonali, who also inspired the Sonu's Rita pizza, which combines house-made cilantro-mint chutney with a margarita pizza. Soon after the restaurant opened, it was awarded Houston Press's Best Pizza in 2010. In addition to pizza, the menu features Indian street fare such as the kati roll with tandoori chicken and paneer and traditional Italian dishes such as lasagna and chicken parmagiana.
Today, Bombay Pizza Company has two locations, the original in Houston and a second, larger location in Sugar Land. Both eateries feature saffron-hued walls, the soft glow of Thomas Edison–style filament light bulbs, and photos of Bombay residents performing daily activities including washing clothes, fishing, and playing chess. The Sugar Land location also features an outdoor patio, microbrews on tap, and a private dining area.
Mint Spice Bistro's made-to-order dishes are lovingly blended with fresh ingredients and spices for fusion-filled flavorful entrees. Start by appointing one of Mint's dinner appetizers—such as flaky samosas ($5–$7) and ginger- and garlic-seasoned lamb kebabs ($8)—as ambassador to your mouth, granting it diplomatic immunity to assassinate hunger pains and double agents at will. Afterwards, treat tongue buds to succulent broiled-salmon tandoori ($14), fiery curry vindaloo ($12–$15), and the decadent korma, a three-part harmony of almond, cashew, and pistachio cream sauce with garlic, lemon, and naan ($10 for vegetables, $12 for chicken, $14 for lamb). Pair dishes with sides such as jalapeño and goat-cheese naan ($3.50) and the daal makhani, a combo of gently simmered black lentils cooked with tomatoes, cilantro, and a touch of cream ($6).
The aroma of exotic spices and herbs swirls through Naseeb Indian Restaurant, reaching diners as waiters present North Indian cuisine at maroon-clothed tables. There, modern pendant lights illuminate platters of tandoori-baked chicken, lamb, and shrimp, plus traditional biryanis of long-grain Basmati rice and slow-cooked proteins. The cooks use Punjabi-style recipes to create six styles of tandoori naan, old-fashioned vegetable curry, and vegetarian dishes, which come with Indian cheese, creamy sauces, and the hearty type of vegetables backyard shrubs never seem to produce for some reason.
The decision to serve only vegetarian food at Udipi Cafe is not just a dietary choice, but also a cultural and religious one, evident in the altar to Krishna and the deity statues that dot the restaurant. Udipi recipes use only aboveground ingredients (which means no garlic or onions), resulting in dishes such as pineapple curry and lentil-rice pancakes.
Pavani Express waters fledgling belly gardens with a veggie-centric menu of delectable Indian cuisine. Fill metaphorical breadbaskets with the literal flatbread of chapati korma (two pieces, $4.99) or grow walrus tusks of flame with hot and spicy noodles ($6.99). Garlic fried rice ($5.99) wards off any vegan vampires prowling the restaurant while the cheese and spinach-loaded saag paneer ($7.99) bestows diners with faded anchor tattoos and disproportionately muscled forearms.
Chef-owner Nirman Shah spells Kurry Walah's name with a K for Katy, but his menu's curries are classic with a C. Using Halal meat and traditional recipes, Shah crafts chewy breads, spiced stews, and fresh seafood entrees that pull from a variety of regions. North Indian cuisine, Hyderabadi dishes, and Indo-Chinese fusion all make appearances on the vegetarian-friendly menu. Patrons savor these colorful dishes between the light yellow walls of the dining room.