Survey: Top Ten Indian Restaurants in Seattle

Grant ChenMarch 15th, 2008
By:

With a robust economy and geographic placement, Seattle is a city home to many cultures and demographics. Asians in particular have always been a visible cross section of Seattle society. From the arrival of Japanese farmers and Chinese miners during the turn of the century, these immigrants have managed to carve a niche for themselves in the emerald city. In later years, Seattle would see additional influxes of Asian immigrants: Vietnamese, Thais, Koreans, Cambodians and most recently, Indians.

As is common with each new wave of immigrants, is a boom of new restaurants for that particular minority. It should be of no surprise given that food, next to language, is one of the primary ways in which a culture identifies itself. With the recent boom in Indian restaurants in the Seattle area, it's both a positive sign of cultural integration along with societal acceptance.

That and well, us foodies get even more awesome food to look forward to!

We at Chef Seattle are big fans of Indian cuisine. Whether it be fresh naans, spicy tandoori or (Steve's favorite) gulab jamun, we love the spices and curries that have emerged from Asia's sub-continent. As any knowledgeable foodie knows however, each culture generally has various and distinct styles of cooking and India is no exception. In a country that holds over a billion people, India has developed various styles of cuisine for each direction of the compass.

As if rating food isn't hard enough, having to contend with Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western styles of cuisines would seem near impossible. That's why we once again turned to the experts. In this case, it was the University of Washington Indian Students Association (ISA). Like our previous survey with the UW Chinese Students Association to determine the top ten Chinese restaurants in Seattle, the ISA was more than happy to assist us in finding the best Indian restaurants in Seattle.

A few weeks after a fantastic turnout, the results of the surveys were in. Here they are:

Top Ten Indian Restaurants in Seattle (according to the UW ISA)

10) Punjab Sweets - 23617 104th Ave SE, Kent
An incredibly popular bakery, sweets shop and vegetarian restaurant, Punjab Sweets has made waves since opening as a small mom and pop back in 2001. Hailing superb reviews from the Seattle PI, Seattle Times and Seattle Weekly, word has quickly spread about the gems found in this little shop down South.

9) Jewel of India - 4735 University Way NE, Seattle (U-District)
Eastern Indian is the specialty of Jewel of India, where you'll find seafood curries and a large selection of vegetarian dishes in addition to the standard fare. Not only that, you'll find it's quite popular with the locals (UW students), especially for their tandoori breads.

8) Chutneys Bistro - 1814 N 45th St, Seattle WA (Wallingford)
It's almost impossible to mention Indian in Seattle without mentioning Chutneys. An early pioneer of Indian cuisine in the city, Chutneys offers a wide array of Indian cuisine amid a modernized dining environment.

7) Mayuri - 15400 NE 20th St, Bellevue WA (North of Crossroads Mall)
Offering North and Southern Indian cuisine, Mayriu is a popular draw for Bellevue locals and the Microsoft lunch crowd. The restaurant offers a wide ranging lunch buffet and Thali dinner combos with many Southern specialties.

6) Taste of India - 5517 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle WA (U-District)
One of the few restaurants that doesn't offer everything but the kitchen sink, Taste of India keeps the menu very tight and concise. Offering traditional Indian dishes and quite a selection of masalas, nans, Taste of India manages to draw a loyal following.

5) Udupi Palace - 15600 NE 8th St, Bellevue WA (Crossroads Mall)
Specializing in Southern Indian vegetarian cuisine, Udupi Palace is actually a national chain with locations in Los Angeles, New York and Toronto to name a few. Known for their dosas and uthapam, this specialty restaurant also offers chats and breads not seen elsewhere.

4) Shalimar - 4214 University Way NE, Seattle WA (U-District)
Named after the famous Shalimar Gardens of Lahore, this Northern Indian and Pakistani restaurant features it's own impressive water features and cuisine. With large windows and stylish interiors, Shalimar makes for a well rounded dining experience.

3) Bombay Grill - 4737 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle WA (U-District)
Located in the former home of Seattle's first Indian restaurant, Bombay Grill keeps the tradition of Indian cuisine alive. The restaurant focuses on seafood and is known for their specialty bazari chicken.

2) India Bistro - 6417 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle WA (U-District)
Consisting of two locations, the original in Ballard and new transplant on Roosevelt, this Northern moghul cuisine is very popular among locals. India Bistro takes an approach similar to Chutneys, with sleek, modern interiors that make for a very approachable dining.

1) Cedars - 4759 Brooklyn Ave NE, Seattle WA (U-District)
Crowd favorite and consistent winner of many local awards, Cedars stormed into the number one spot with a landslide of votes. Being known for it's fantastic Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, part of the restaurant appeal is also in the homley feel, extensive beer collection and bottomless chai. If you go to Cedars, the must-try dishes include the tandoori meats and fresh cooked nan breads.

Though this is top ten list of Indian restaurants in Seattle, we would be quite unobservant to realize that UW students understandably prefer UW area restaurants. To round out our survey, we have also created a second list of top Indian restaurants in Seattle, outside of the U-District. Here goes:

Best Indian restaurants in Seattle (outside of the UW area)

  • 1) Punjab Sweets - 23617 104th Ave SE, Kent
  • 2) Spice Route - 2241 148th Ave, Bellevue WA
  • 3) Masala Indian Cuisine - 539 NE Northgate Way, Seattle WA
  • 4) Kanishka Indian Restaurant - 16101 Redmond Way, Redmond WA
  • 5) Naan'n Curry - 709 S Third St, Renton WA
  • 6) Moghul Palace - 10301 NE 10th St Bellevue WA
  • 7) Roti Cuisine- 530 Queene Anne Ave N, Seattle (Queen Anne)
  • 8) Inchin's Bamboo Garden - - 16564 Cleveland St, Redmond WA
  • 9) Pabla Indian Cuisine - 1516 2nd Ave #101, Seattle WA (Downtown)
  • 10) Kabab Palace - 15230 NE 24th St, Redmond WA (West of Uwajimaya)

We would once again like to thank the University of Washington Indian Students Association for their help in our survey. The ISA will be holding their annual Bhangra Bash, a festival of East Indian folk dance, on March 29th at the UW Meany Theater. Please help support the ISA by attending this popular and nationally recognized competition. You can learn more at their website at: www.bhangrabash.com.

A plate of Indian food from Kanishka.
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