New York City's Best Indian Restaurants

It's all about the curry.

When cooking Indian food, there are certain unwritten rules.

Always use fresh, not dried, spices. Don't rush the cooking process, as it takes time for complicated flavors to develop. And, most importantly, don't be afraid to mess up. Whether you're trying to nail down that perfect chutney or you're debating between heavy cream and yogurt, searching for the correct viscosity and texture for your korma sauce, Indian cooking is tough. It's an art that requires years of practice.

Great Indian home cooking, much like great Italian home cooking, requires a certain unteachable intuition. The tenants of Indian cuisine are imprinted on the chefs who cook it like seasoning on a cast iron skillet. It's hard to compete with a home-cook who knows what they're doing. With this in mind, we hunted down the very best Indian restaurants in New York, the ones that simultaneously encapsulate traditional Indian fare and improve upon by adding their own personal style.

Junoon

Michelin starred

An Indian restaurant par excellence, Junoon specializes in fine dining and creates a wonderful atmosphere for its guests, dividing the space into the more casual Patiala Room and the upscale Spice Room. Though the menu isn't much different than what you'll find in other Indian joints, Junoon is committed to using the freshest ingredients available. That's not to say they don't experiment. Everyday, the chefs create different spice blends and are constantly inventing new specials. These innovative dishes have garnered the attention of the judges at Michelin, who gave them a star in their 2018 guide. It's also worth mentioning that despite their status as one of the best Indian restaurants in New York, Junoon still offers a prix fixe lunch for only $25.

Taramind Tribeca

Indian upscale

This is perhaps the most famous Indian restaurant in New York City, and features some of the most luxurious interior decorating in town. The place cost a cool 5 million dollars to build, and their commitment to fine dining reflects this. Unlike Junoon however, there is no low cost option here. The meal won't bankrupt you, but it's definitely worth stopping at the ATM before you hit this spot. As for the food, the restaurant's mission statement is to "catapult Indian cuisine as a serious contender" in the New York food scene. Considering they were on the Michelin guide from 2012-2014, I'd say they succeeded.

Brick Lane Curry House

Beers AND curry

Down on Second Avenue, Brick Lane Curry House puts an interesting spin on traditional American-Indian dining. Instead of modeling its menu and decor after the restaurants of Curry Hill, Brick Lane looks to its British roots, combining an English Pub vibe with casual Indian fare. The restaurant has nine curries ranked by hotness, the hottest of which is called phal, a habanero-based curry invented in the curry houses of London. It's hotter than Vindaloo though, so it can be a bit abrasive to the uninitiated. The vibe at Brick Lane is casual; jeans and a t-shirt will do just find. Grab a pint and plate of tandoori.

Mumtaz

Humble but delicious

Because Mumtaz is tucked away on 84th and York Avenue, it's a bit of a hidden gem. Very few foodies are heading to residential Yorkville on their Friday nights. That said, Mumtaz is the bargain of the bunch on this list, and provides some unbelievably tasty food. Their lunch special, which is easily two meals, only costs $11.99, and their menu features rich, creamy curries and tender meats and veggies. On top of this, the owners will pour a warm shot of warm cinnamon liqueur for anyone who buys food, free of charge. This even applies when you order for pickup.

Indian Accent

Inventive food and a great atmosphere

Indian Accent is an international debut for Rohit Khattar and Manish Mehrotra, the folks behind the original Indian Accent in South Delhi, which at one point was the only Indian representative on the S. Pellegrino restaurant list. The menu is filled with a rotating bevy of prix fixe options, and takes Indian fine dining to an entirely new level. From Amuse Bouche with dippable naan to kulcha filled with pastrami, Indian Accent perfectly blends New York culture with Indian cuisine, delivering a shock to the conventional palate. The restaurant is a bit pricey, but there are few places on Earth that fuse vastly different cuisines so well.

Matt Clibanoff is a writer and editor based in New York City who covers music, politics, sports and pop culture. His editorial work can be found in Pop Dust, The Liberty Project, and All Things Go. His fiction has been published in Forth Magazine.

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If you've googled one thing during this pandemic, it is definitely: "Thai food near me."

Thai food has remained one of the most delicious and sought after takeout gems; and in New York City, specifically, there are so many delicious options that it can be overwhelming. Often unlike Chinese food, Thai food offers fresher ingredients and versatile cuisine options. Whether you want some Pad Thai or Pad See Ew, or some coconut milk-infused curry or even just some soup, Thai food is good for any occasion. But with so many options, how do you know you're getting the freshest ingredients at the best price? Here are the best spots to order take-out from, and we even broke it up by borough for you.


Manhattan: Fish Cheeks

Fish Cheeks

Reviewed by The Times as "fresh, vivid and intense," Fish Cheeks offers solid takes on traditional Thai Cuisine. Their speciality remains seafood, so their Crab Friend Rice and Coconut Crab Curry are delicious highlights. Their Tum Yum is also to die for, made with fresh galanagal, lime leaves and lemongrass.

The version [of tum yum] here hums with fresh galangal, lime leaves and lemongrass. Shrimp and knobby mushrooms simmer in a broth that gets extra body from milk, a twist I've never seen before but one I approve of. It could be spicier, but the use of bird's-eye chiles is far from shy.

Manhattan: Lan Larb

thia food

Arguably some of the best Pad Thai in the city, Lan Larb is focused mainly on the food of Thailand's northeast region. As a result, there is often a combo of meat and seafood involved in most dishes, such as the Lao Chicken Soup, which combines fresh chicken with pickled fish and a steamy brown broth. The menu will make your tastebuds whirl if you're one for experimentation, if not, their Pad Thai is iconic and filling enough on its own.

Brooklyn: Ugly Baby

Brooklyn has always been teeming with amazing Thai food joints, but Ugly Baby is the borough's most established success story. The Carrol Gardens sensation was preceded by two long gone Red Hook restaurants known for their authentic Northern Thai cuisine. With Ugly Baby, a name which comes from an ancient belief in Thailand that ugly children bring good fortune, chef Sirichai Sreparplarn had mastered his craft. The restaurant quickly gained glowing praise throughout Brooklyn and New York, and their take on Khao Soi Nuer and Kao Tod Nam Klook remain the stuff of legends.

Queens: Ayada

ayada thai

Ayada's cuisine is so good that it made a New York Times journalist cry at his table. Not out of emotion though, but out of spice. For those looking for a truly bold eating experience, this Queens Thai restaurant holds nothing back when crafting their drunken noodles or Pad Thai, but that spice is what makes it one of the best spots in the city.

Bronx: Ceetay

​While the Bronx isn't necessarily a buzzing Thai food borough, Ceetay's asian fusion cuisine is of the highest quality and will appeal to anyone desperately needing to nom on some noodles. Their sushi is amazing but their Pad Thai is packed with amazing flavor. Seasoned with onions, peppers, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, peanuts, scallions and cilantro, this Pad Thai is packed with flavors and will slam your taste buds in the best possible way.

Travel

5 Countries to Visit This Fall

As the weather starts to chill out, we're just getting warmed up to travel

It's not winter yet!

So that means, we're all about that fall travel. It's a beautiful time of year to be outside in many countries, soaking up the colorful landscapes and fresh air. Here are our picks for the top places to visit this fall.

1. Germany

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Burg Eltz Castle is a magical step back into the Middle Ages that's been here for more than 850 years.

2. Switzerland

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The red leaves in Bern are absolutely striking.

3. Italy

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Nothing like the sheer beauty of the formidable Italian alps.

4. Peru

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Machu Picchu beckons visitors from near and far this fall.

5. Mexico

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It's not too cold to skip the beach!

Everyone has heard of the murder-hotel where dark shadows creep at the edge of your vision, or the abandoned house where the furniture moves each time you leave the room.

But sometimes the places set up to capture the fun and fright of the Halloween season for paying customers can be far more horrifying than any ghost stories. These "fake" haunted houses will leave you genuinely haunted.



Pennhurst Haunted Asylum

So spoooky!

Thomas James Caldwell

Pennhurst Asylum was in operation from 1908-1987 in the small town of Spring City, Pennsylvania. While we don't have all the records of the residents' experiences there, it doesn't take much imagination to realize that this building was home to true horrors. In many ways, 1908 wasn't that long ago, but in terms of mental health treatment—especially in small-town Pennsylvania—it was absolutely the dark ages. This was the time of lobotomies, straight jackets, and shock therapy. Whatever the jump scares and fake blood contribute to the fear you will feel walking through Pennhurst Asylum's aging, echoing halls, they can't come close to the deep, sinking feeling caused by the deep history of torment that has left its imprint on the very fabric of the place. Four spooky skulls out of five.

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Haunted Trap House

Like this, but less 90s

In Centreville, Maryand, in the year 1989, a group of visionaries were struck by a bolt of inspiration. What if—instead of zombies and werewolves and demons, and all the stuff out of children's nightmares—what if they filled their haunted house with the real-world nightmares that were actually infesting their city, killing their residents, and generally afflicting every corner of the entire nation. Thus, the Haunted Crack House was born. Since renamed the Haunted Trap House, it's ostensibly an educational experience on the dangers of drug use, it features simulations of overdoses, arrests, and shootings, as well as actual former convicts who are paid to draw on their real experiences to make your visit as terrifying as possible. This kind of fetishizing of human misery to capitalize on the Halloween season is as despicable as it is spooky. Four-and-a-half skulls out of five.

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McKamey Manor

He technically consented to this

A $20,000 reward? A 40-page waiver? These figures have garnered a lot of attention in recent headlines. Supposedly this is the "scariest" haunted house experience in the country. Who could resist the temptation of that once-in-a-lifetime experience, combined with the chance to win a big cash prize? Unfortunately, that is exactly what Russ McKay wants. There's a reason he's put so much work into the legal side of his operation. Rather than gassing up neutered chainsaws and chasing you around in a hockey mask, McKay has opted for producing actual, real, straight-up torture. You may not find the decorations and costumes that scary, but you will absolutely fear for your life when you consent to be water-boarded with fake blood. For being operated by a man who is clearly an unhinged psychopath, McKamey Manor ties the Haunted Traphouse, with four-and-a-half spooky skulls.

💀💀💀💀.5/5

Donald Vann's House of Horrors

Donald Vann murdered eleven people. Happens to the best of us, but it does present a problem. How do you dispose of all those bodies? Donald's solution was to open a haunted house and put his victims' decaying remains on display as props. Props to him. For eight months he prepared his fetid, malodorous horrors, before debuting on October 1st. Unfortunately, you won't be able to visit his house of horrors, because he has since landed in some legal trouble—board of health, maybe?—but I'm sure for the lucky few who were able to visit during its brief tenure, and witness Vann's "psychotic smirk," I'm sure the nightmares they're left with keep on spooking.

💀💀💀💀💀/5

Every Hell House in America

realitypod

In the same vein as the Haunted Traphouse, Hell Houses are church presentations intended as educational experiences that warn kids and teens away from the path of sin. Their methods for achieving this obviously vary, but according to The Washington Post, you can generally expect the following: "A devil ushers a gay man dying of AIDS into the fiery pit. A teenager who is raped at a drug-filled rave commits suicide and also goes to hell. A young girl hemorrhaging from an abortion repents at the last minute." Awful. Truly sickening. What kind of trauma are they inflicting on these children to prop up their outdated ideologies? Six spooky skulls. Where'd that extra skull come from?? Nobody knows…

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