10 amazing Indian restaurants in Houston

by admin

For decades, proper Indian food has been readily available in Houston, but you may have had to venture to Little India to find it. With an influx of new Indian restaurants popping up in neighborhoods across the city, having your curry and eating it too has never been easier.

In addition to serving bona fide street eats like samosas and pani puri, and grilled meats cooked to perfection in a clay tandoor, some restaurateurs are offering top-notch beverage programs and high-end hospitality reserved for special occasion dining.

From the modest corners of the Mahatma Gandhi District to posh spaces in the Galleria, here’s where to find Houston’s best Indian restaurants.

Aga’s has been serving great Indian and Pakistani food in Houston since 2001.

Yelp/Aga’s

Aga’s

It’s worth the drive to the Southwest part of town for a meal at this famed Indo-Pak restaurant, where the crowds pack in day and night. The grilled goat chops, which arrive at the table still sizzling, are legendary. It’s hard to go wrong with any of the restaurant’s chunky curries, biryani platters and spiced yogurt-marinated meat kababs. Desserts are equally worthy, such as the carrot halwa and fragrant falooda crafted with rose milk, vermicelli and basil seeds.

Da Gama Canteen

This M-K-T Heights hot spot is the brainchild of husband-wife duo Rick and Shiva Di Virgilio of Rishi Hospitality, an impressive follow-up to their equally enticing haunt Oporto in Midtown. Da Gama draws inspiration from the former Portuguese territory of Goa, as well as Gujarat and Portugal, resulting in a dynamic menu of tapas-style eats, curries and fusion plates. Start off with yucca croquettes and chutney, followed by wood-grilled Piri Piri chicken, and save room for date cake with dulce de leche.

Himalaya's dal fry, a hearty lentil soup, is entirely vegan.

Himalaya’s dal fry, a hearty lentil soup, is entirely vegan.

Michael Ciaglo, Staff / Houston Chronicle

Himalaya

What this Indo-Pak powerhouse lacks in curb appeal, it makes up for in flavor in a big way. Helmed by multiple James Beard Award-nominated Kaiser Lashkari, Himalaya combines classic Indian and Pakistani dishes like spicy chicken kababs and biryani with dynamic fusion plates like masala-spiced whole fried chicken. With a popular pre-set lunch menu and equally loved BYOB policy with no corkage fee, the restaurant is abuzz with activity from open to close.

Kiran's palak chaat street food dish marries spinach, kale and mint, and is served with tamarind chutney and yogurt.

Kiran’s palak chaat street food dish marries spinach, kale and mint, and is served with tamarind chutney and yogurt.

Kiran’s Restaurant, Photographer / Kiran’s Restaurant

Kiran’s

Kiran Verma’s namesake restaurant has long been synonymous with fine Indian dining in Houston. The veteran chef is an Indian native who incorporates fragrant, hand-ground spices with fresh meat and seafood and seasonal bounty to create soulful dishes like lobster shorba with black truffle butter, crab and corn samosas and tandoori duck breast. Beyond its impressive menu, the restaurant’s elegant tea service, featuring Kiran’s own chai blend and scones presented with jam and clotted cream, is worth a try.


London Sizzler

As its name suggests, this gem tucked in a retail strip in the Mahatma Gandhi District serves Indian eats influenced by British colonialism. Spiced lamb chops and skewered, ground chicken kababs are cooked in the restaurant’s charcoal tandoor, resulting in bite after tender bite of savory meat. Love naan? London Sizzler has sweet, savory and meat-filled varieties. Pro tip: the pub-style space is one of the few in the area that boasts a full bar.

Chicken tikka masala at Mahesh's Kitchen, an Indian restaurant in Sugar Land.

Chicken tikka masala at Mahesh’s Kitchen, an Indian restaurant in Sugar Land.

Kirsten Gilliam

Mahesh’s Kitchen

In honor of their late brother, a chef whose dream was to operate a restaurant in Sugar Land, Shubhangi and Neelesh Musale opened an Indian restaurant in Town Square in his name. Mahesh’s Kitchen combines personal design touches—such as a gleeful photo of Mahesh adorned at the entrance—with a fresh approach to Indian cuisine. Find Gulf dynamite shrimp spiced with serranos, and sweet and fiery mango habanero salmon, alongside traditional dishes like chicken tikka masala and lamb vindaloo.

Musaafer's seafood khichdi is adorned with a spiced ghee-garlic lobster, along with scallops, shrimp and mussels.

Musaafer’s seafood khichdi is adorned with a spiced ghee-garlic lobster, along with scallops, shrimp and mussels.

Raydon Creative

Musaafer

Musaafer, located inside the Galleria, offers a menu inspired by India’s 29 states in an immaculately designed space that feels more like a museum than a restaurant. To wit, dishes like tandoori octopus and filet mignon vindaloo are artfully plated, while whimsical cocktails like the deep purple-hued Empress 1908 G&T serve as a worthy accompaniment to your meal. On any given visit, the experience is a feast for the senses, but partake in a chef-led tasting for something truly exquisite.

Pondicheri's menu serves a handful of different thalis.

Pondicheri’s menu serves a handful of different thalis.

Nick de la Torre, Contributor / Contributor

Pondicheri

Anita Jaisinghani’s café boasts a double dose of deliciousness with its ground level restaurant at the Arrive at River Oaks complex and Bake Lab bakery upstairs. With options like the green dosa with sautéed leafy greens and pumpkin seed chutney, and the butter chicken salad with black garbanzo and goat cheese, Jaisinghani aims to eliminate the stereotype of Indian food being too heavy. But fear not, the Bake Lab has cases full of enticing spiced pastries.

The dahi puri at Shiv Sagar in Houston.

The dahi puri at Shiv Sagar in Houston.

Yelp/Sam C.

Shiv Sagar

Meat is not missed at this all-vegetarian restaurant in the Mahatma Gandhi District, where a large menu of South Indian street eats packs in plenty of fiery flavor. Crisp, golden dosas reveal a savory potato-filled center, and chaat dishes layer fried crisps, yogurt, chutney, tomatoes and onions for a satisfying bite each time. Soothe your palate with popular Indian sodas like Limca and mango-flavored Maaza, or traditional desserts like gulab jamun and pistachio kulfi.

Surya India's prawn mangalorean has a coconut base and is finished with mustard seeds, curry leaves and chiles.

Surya India’s prawn mangalorean has a coconut base and is finished with mustard seeds, curry leaves and chiles.

Melissa Phillip, Staff / Houston Chronicle

Surya India

Helmed by hospitality veteran Sheel Joshi, who picked up Indian-cooking skills from his mother, this Heights gem offers signature dishes like chicken korma, lamb saag and lentils spiced with ginger. The forward-thinking Joshi puts as much effort into sides as his mains, presenting thoughtfully prepared tandoori roti and saffron-spiced rice with peas. Should dishes be too hot to handle, the restaurant boasts a substantial beverage list including sweet mango lassi and wines from around the globe.



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