Chicago Indian Restaurants
Great Places on Devon and Beyond

Ask Chicagoans to recommend an Indian restaurant, and they'll probably name one of the many venerable spots in the Little India neighborhood on West Devon. Rightly so, since some of city's first establishments, such as Standard India Restaurant, opened here more than 30 years. But today, Indian restaurants dot the city, and while some chefs concentrate on perfecting traditional North and South Indian dishes, some see the expanded scene as an opportunity to experiment with the tradition's exotic spices, tandoor ovens, and iron woks.
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Wicker Park: Michelin-Winning Nepalese

The menu juxtaposes the Indian subcontinent's spice-rich dishes with Nepalese food, known for its milder character and lack of dairy. The chefs value presentation, plating their creations on white dishware, which serves as a stark canvas for the ingredients' vibrant colors. Such modern touches won cumin a 2012 Michelin Bib Gourmand award.

Near North Side: Tawa and Kadhai Dishes

Founder Jagmohan Jayara's menu spans more than 250 items, representing dishes from street fare to royal delicacies and regions from Delhi to Maharashtra. House specialties, served in a dimly lit, plush dining space, include Tawa and Kadhai dishes, which develop their flavors from cooking on iron plates and woks.

Hyde Park: Indian-Soul-Food Fusion

Hailed as one of Hyde Park's “oddest and most enduring restaurants, Rajun Cajun befuddles visitors—in a good way—with its collision of Indian and soul food. Pair tandoori chicken with macaroni-and-cheese and peach cobbler, or fried chicken with samosas and rice pudding.

West Town: Halal Michelin Winner

A 2012 Michelin's Bib Gourmand winner, Jaipur takes its name from the capital of Indian state Rajasthan, but its menu spans multiple regions. Halal ingredients transform into dishes that include seafood, lamb, and vegetarian specialties. White furnishings balance the dining room's deep reds, and downtown's lights loom above the patio.

Park West: BYOB Indian

Chef and owner Hema Potla brings the dishes of her hometown Hyderabad to Chicago. The fragrant dishes rely on staple spices including chili powder, cumin, and garam masala to flavor sizzling cuts of chicken, lamb, and fresh cheese.

West Ridge: BYOB Vegetarian

Uru-Swati tantalizes diners with an all-vegetarian menu. Chefs focus on South Indian specialties, such as lentil-and-rice crepes called dosas, along with prepare sweetened or salted yogurt drinks known as lassi.

West Ridge: Punjab Flavors

For nearly 40 years, Sabri Nihari's chefs have cooked the colorful, aromatic dishes of the Punjab[12] region, which straddles India and Pakistan's borderlands. Traditional dishes such as samosas and biryanis open for unexpected delicacies, such as a charbroiled chicken boti that turns solid red after marinating in yogurt, ginger, and garlic.

Evanston: Himalayan Cuisine

Sandwiched between the Indian mainland and Tibet lies Nepal, and the chefs of Mount Everest Restaurant specialize in this nation's culinary heritage, a mash-up of Indian and Nepali cuisine. Traditional tandoori and masala dishes collide with Nepali food such as chicken momo, spiced minced meat steamed within a thin wheat-bread shell.

Lakeview: Thali Dining

More than 30 years ago, the Kamboj family helped launch Devon Avenue's Little India neighborhood with Standard India Restaurant. Its fresh North Indian cuisine attracted visitors from Madonna to Michael Jackson. Now in Lakeview, the Kamboj clan features both family-style thali dining and a buffet.

Andersonville: Reinterpreted Indian

Jim Dragatsis and Sandeep Malhotra met at a cocktail party and bonded over a shared vision of modern Indian cuisine. Together with chef Joe Moore, the trio reconfigures time-tested Indian recipes into dishes such as a paneer-stuffed lamb burger. Opening soon.

West Ridge: Indian Lunch Pails

The chefs at this Zagat-rated restaurant specialize in the dishes you'd find in tiffins, the interlocking metal containers that carry Indian workers' lunches. Profiled on ABC7 News' Hungry Hound segment, Tiffin's menu offers up dishes starring tandoori meats and saffron-scented rice, along with fresh lime soda.