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Every New Yorker has a favorite Indian takeout joint. (What can we say? samosas and Netflix is a winning combination.) But there’s a new wave of South Asian spots taking hold in the city, with inventive twists on classic flavors, beautifully plated food and bold decor (think wall-sized murals by international artists). Here, six spots where dining in is a full-blown experience.

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bombay bread bar 728
Teddy Wolff

Bombay Bread Bar

Known for his skills at Danny Meyer’s now-shuttered temple to Indian cuisine, Tabla, chef Floyd Cardoz brings his excellent execution to this casual carb haven. Though the name is an ode to India’s various types of pav (bread), it’s Cardoz’s playful interpretation of traditional dishes that really impressed us: wild mushroom upma reminiscent of polenta, Goan pork rib vindaloo that’s a sweet barbecue-sauced dream and a doughnut-shaped gulab jamun dessert covered in rum sauce and pistachios. Fun fact: Darjeeling Limited’s set designer, Kris Moran, decorated the interior.

195 Spring St.; 212-235-1098 or thebombaybreadbar.com

Babu Ji Cauliflower
Courtesy of Babu Ji

Babu Ji

An Australian transplant turned stateside mainstay, this quirky restaurant boasts a help-yourself beer fridge and some of the most addictive Indian food in the city. Chef Jessi Singh puts an innovative spin on Indian classics like the "unauthentic" butter chicken (the secret is yogurt), alongside entirely new dishes inspired by South Asian cuisine. You’ll want to double down on the Colonel Tso cauliflower, which marries Indo-Chinese flavors by topping the florets with a chili sauce. Along with beer, you’ll want to dip into the creative cocktail list or vino from sommelier turned winemaker Rajat Parr’s Sandhi winery.

22 E. 13th St.; 212-951-1082 or babujinyc.com

masala times nyc
Courtesy of Masala Times

Masala Times

What this tiny spot on Bleecker lacks in size, it makes up for in tons of personality: Jokes comparing the Indian film industry with its Hollywood counterparts adorn the walls, “Best of Bollywood” playlists blast through the speakers and in true street-food fashion, you can crack open a Thums Up (Indian cola) while you await your pav bhaji (vegetable curry on a dinner roll) or lamb curry box. As for those rolls, the spicy paneer bhurji roll might be the best late-night meal you’ll find in Manhattan.

194 Bleecker St.; 212-995-5100 or masalatimesgreenwichvillage.com

indian accent makhan malai
Courtesy of Indian Accent

Indian Accent

Theatrical, creative and Michelin-starred, Indian Accent elevates South Asian flavors to fine-dining heights. Chef Manish Mehrotra plays with Western ingredients dressed in Asian spices, like scallops, crab and quail eggs (which aren’t traditional proteins in India). But he also reinterprets classics rarely found this far west, such as his makhan malai, a fluffy, light-as-air sweet treat made from cream. Typically super-sweet, Mehrotra’s rendition takes a subtler approach with rose petal-infused jaggery (a traditional type of cane sugar), saffron milk and tiny slivers of almonds. One bite and you’ll know why he says the dish “disappears in your mouth.”

123 W. 56th St.; 212-842-8070 or indianaccent.com/newyork

baar baar restaurant nyc
Liz Clayman

Baar Baar

Eating a dish by chef Sujan Sarkar is like eating a piece of art: His take on regional Indian fare is totally Instagram-worthy. Make a date to cozy up in the lounge and drink through the inventive menu of Indian-inspired cocktails, such as Potli masala-infused Aperol, a tumeric gin and a boozy spin on lassi. Then order the duck-and-apricot kulcha, topped with purple edible flowers, to complete the picture. 

13 E. First St.; 212-228-1200 or baarbaarnyc.com

Rahi Uttapam Waffles
Courtesy of Rahi

Rahi

Let’s talk about Indian food for brunch—it might be the ultimate hangover cure. Pop into this hip joint in the West Village (adorned with murals by Brooklyn-based artists Yok & Sheryo) for bottomless Bloody Meeras (spiced up with garam masala and chipotle) and dishes like the crowd-pleasing uttapam waffle topped with maple-masala-fried chicken or a buttery egg paratha. On the dinner menu, look for the addition of truffles, uni butter and black garlic in soul-warming curries. We also advise getting the chili cheese toast, an addictive combo of melted Amul (a gooey cheese that’s beloved in India), milk bread and shishito peppers. 

60 Greenwich Ave.; 212-373-8900 or rahinyc.com

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