Top 10 Indian restaurants in the Twin Cities

Indian food: the spice of life
Indian food: the spice of life

See also: Top 10 street eats in the Twin Cities Top 10 cupcake shops in the Twin Cities Top 10 dive bars in the Twin Cities

Could Indian food be the perfect regional cuisine? Its exquisite blending of perfectly balanced spices beckon equally in the sultry days of summer or on frigid winter nights. Its tastes are so delicious they'll satisfy a picky child, yet so complex they'll gratify the pickiest foodie. Dishes are rich enough for a raja, but affordable enough for a student, and they are easily tailored for vegetarians or carnivores, for timid diners or heat-seeking adventurers. When that craving strikes - and you know it will - here are our Top 10 choices for Indian food in the Twin Cities.

10. Jewel of India

Top 10 Indian restaurants in the Twin Cities

Located in the Seven Corners neighborhood of Minneapolis between downtown and the University of Minnesota, Jewel of India is one of the best ethnic food options on the West Bank. Their daily lunch buffet is expansive and affordable, stocked with delicious curries, biryani,tandoori and vegetarian specialties, and plenty of naan to sop up the spicy sauces. Parking can be a challenge, but the pleasant, aromatic space makes a worthwhile pre-theater or post-class dining destination. The extensive menu also includes beer and wine. (1427 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis;612.339.0002)
9. Gorkha Palace

Top 10 Indian restaurants in the Twin Cities
Jana Freiband

This Northeast Minneapolis restaurant is on a tucked-away block between Surdyk's and Ground Zero, but its small dining room has a welcoming feel, its walls and banquette upholstery awash in the warm, earthy tones of chiles, turmeric, and garam masala. It is co-operated by two Nepali women who offer a seasonally changing menu of mostly Nepali and Indian dishes with a few Tibetan items in the mix. The more common dishes are as good as any. Tandoor-baked chicken sekuwa is tender, smoky, and expertly seasoned. Curries such as the machha, or tilapia, version are subtly but richly seasoned. Also worth noting: Gorkha is one of the few ethnic restaurants in town to emphasize sustainable business practices by purchasing local meats and dairy and operating a composting program. (23 4th St. NE, Minneapolis; 612.886.3451)
8. Biryani Cuisine of India

Top 10 Indian restaurants in the Twin Cities

Mixing traditional Indian dishes and ones created by their own chefs, Edina-based Biryani offers an inviting meal for those looking for more than just cookie-cutter Indian food. With a focus on Bangladeshi and northern Indian cuisine served in a semi-formal atmosphere, some of the menu highlights include goat rezala--with the meat sauteed with a unique mix of seasoning and curry - and salmon Indian style. You'll also find several traditional entrees, from curry to vindaloo to Greek masala, each offered with various meats. And don't forget the array of varieties of the titular dish. Vegetarians also have a number of options. Most entrees are between $12 and $17. A buffet featuring 30 items from the menu is offered daily. (7078 Amundson Ave, Edina; 952.946.0009)
7. Chindian Cafe

Top 10 Indian restaurants in the Twin Cities
Bre McGee

Chindian serves a typical array of American Chinese fare at typical prices, but touches like using beef from Thousand Hills Cattle Co. and the inclusion of Indian and Malaysian dishes on the menu raise it to a higher level. Popular menu items include vegetarian samosas (handmade pastries stuffed with fresh vegetables and spices in a signature mint sauce) and Madras Chicken (served with carrots, onions, pea pods, dried chilies, and curry leaves). Dishes such as the Indian fried noodles (wheat noodles, chicken, tofu, eggs, sprouts and scallions, garnished with a lime wedge) and the Indian hot and sour soup (tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, curry leaves, mustard seeds, dry red chilies and rasam spice) are tasty and reasonably priced. The abundance of gluten-free options are well-marked on the menu, and they now serve beer and wine along with homemade ginger tea and lemonade. (1500 E. Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis; 612.676.1818)
6. Tandoor

A much-beloved Twin Cities establishment, family-owned and operated Tandoor has pleased long and hard with its traditional Indian dinners combined with the stylish zest for life maintained by Tandoor's owners. This Bloomington restaurant has been serving up quality Indian dishes for over 20 years. They offer a daily lunch buffet (with a special Maharaja buffet on Saturdays), and plenty of vegetarian options in addition to treats like walleye curry with coconut milk, chicken tikka masala with dal makhani, and, of course, plenty of tandoor dishes. Their kebabs and bread are prepared in a traditional clay oven, and the mango ice cream is house-made. (8062 Morgan Cir., Bloomington; 952.888.5020)
  5. Namaste Café

Top 10 Indian restaurants in the Twin Cities
Tony Nelson

Located in a converted Hennepin Avenue house, Namaste has an ambiance that's both cozier and more elegant than most south Asian eateries. Its sunny walls and sparkling hardwood floors make it an inviting spot to linger over a glass of wine or pot of chai. The restaurant trades in Nepalese cooking--dal, chaat, several curries--that tends to be lighter and fresher than most local Indian fare and offers several vegetarian and vegan options. Try their award-winning chai in one of the many variations (eucalyptus, anise, spicy Masala, vanilla nutmeg, coconut crème, etc.) The menu of Himalayan favorites, such as gentle, complex curries featuring everything from lamb to black-eyed peas, or mamacha dumplings, will complement your chai perfectly as you overlook the busting Uptown neighborhood from their inviting front porch. (2512 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis;612.827.2496)
4. India Palace

Top 10 Indian restaurants in the Twin Cities
Photo from India Palace

With outposts in Plymouth, Burnsville, Roseville, and Woodbury, India Palace has the suburbs covered in 360 degrees when it comes to quality Indian food. The décor is festive enough at each restaurant, but none is exactly overflowing with atmosphere. Think neon signs and practical brick strip mall ambiance. But the utilitarian spaces let them focus on the most important thing: the food. India Palace offers a great lunch buffet, whose individual dishes shine brightly, despite the impressive variety of options on offer. The dinner menu covers specialties from all regions of India, broken down into sections by kind of protein. The generous portion of garlic naan is perfect for dipping into any of their distinctive, buttery curries. Service is efficient and knowledgeable, and there is free parking available at all the locations.(4 metro locations; website)
3. Bombay Bistro

Top 10 Indian restaurants in the Twin Cities
Tony Nelson

Bombay Bistro is the rare experience in local Indian dining that persuades you to take off your coat and stay awhile. With a clear glass facade reflecting the art deco Foshay Tower, the low-ceilinged banquet room comfortably accommodates a weekday rush of downtown worker bees for the lunch buffet, featuring a hand-picked variety of regional specialties from the subcontinent: a vegetable curry bread from Mumbai called pav bhaji, fried dough filled with spiced potatoes called paani poori, and other street snacks. Evenings are more mellow, with soft-spoken couples sipping mango lassis in soft upholstered armchairs under chandeliers, or ordering something harder from the full bar, and dining on staples of Indian cuisine like rich and velvety saag paneer or succulent lamb. (820 Marquette Ave, Minneapolis; 612.312.2800)
2. Dancing Ganesha

Top 10 Indian restaurants in the Twin Cities
Tony Nelson

Chef Swamy Mariyadas designed a menu for this upscale, downtown hot spot that includes everything from snack foods found in India's streets to Continental-style fare served in its fancy hotels. The menu reaches across India's regions and beyond its borders, with vegetarian dosas from the south; tandoori, or clay oven-cooked, meats from the north; and seafood from the western coast. There are dishes with Chinese, Afghan, and even Anglo influences, such as mulligatawny soup, the famous dish Indian cooks created to please the British Raj. Menu highlights include the Chicken 65, crispy boneless chunks of poultry battered in yogurt, lemon, egg, and chilies served with red onion and lemon wedges, and Indian staples such as the Chicken Tikka Masala (rich and buttery) and the Aloo Gobi (a lighter dish of spiced cauliflower and potatoes sans a heavy cream sauce). (1100 Harmon Pl., Minneapolis; 612.338.1877)
1. Gandhi Mahal

Top 10 Indian restaurants in the Twin Cities
Tony Nelson

It's impossible to walk into Gandhi Mahal and get that first heady, intoxicating whiff of garam masala, coriander, and fenugreek and not become instantly ravenous. Start your meal with the avocado chutney and garlic naan bread -- sort of an Indian spin on chips and guac -- or the toasty eggplant pakora. Vegetarians, the lactose intolerant, gluten-free, and omnivores will all find plenty of options on the menu of northern Indian specialties. Changing seasonal menus offer even more options, such as the rich chashi motor paneer, a silky sauce made with ground almonds and cashews that smothers fresh peas and a mild-tasting homemade fresh cheese, or a marinated bone-in rack of lamb that, like most of the dishes here, is big enough to share. Leave room for dessert. Their saffron-pistachio ice cream will blow you away. (3009 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.729.5222)
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Use Current Location

Related Locations

Gandhi Mahal

3009 27th Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55406


Dancing Ganesha

1100 Harmon Place
Minneapolis, MN 55403


Bombay Bistro

820 Marquette Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55402


India Palace

936 Prairie Center Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344


Namaste Cafe

2512 Hennepin Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55405


Tandoor Restaurant

8062 Morgan Circle S.
Bloomington, MN 55431


ChinDian Cafe

1500 Hennepin Ave. E.
Minneapolis, MN 55414


Biryani - Cuisine Of India

7078 Amundson Ave.
Edina, MN 55439


Gorkha Palace

23 4th St. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413


Jewel of India

1427 Washington Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55454


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