The Best Indian Food in Dallas: Where to Satisfy your Spice Cravings | Dallas Observer

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The Essential Guide to Indian Food in Dallas, from Classic Dishes to Fusion Cuisine

Âme serves Indian fare backed by classic French cooking techniques.
Âme serves Indian fare backed by classic French cooking techniques. Alison McLean
Dallas might be one of the world’s biggest enclaves for the rich and spicy flavors of India. Within North Texas, we’ve tried Indian-French brunch, Indian-Mexican street tacos, Indo-Chinese dishes, and — of course — the straight-from-mom’s-kitchen stuff, too. But if you consider yourself a fan of the rich flavors of the Indian subcontinent, whether that’s traditional or modernized, here are some of the places that we think have done it best.

Al Markaz

1205 W. Trinity Mills Road, No. 112, Carrollton
A staple on the Indian cuisine scene, Al Markaz has been serving traditional fare for more than two decades. Get here before noon to beat the lunch crowd, then pick up some groceries in the adjacent market if you have any room left. Try the thick and tender dal ghost served with a fluffy disk of naan. Generous portions make this spot a regular stop for fans of classic dishes.

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Herb and pistachio-crusted lamb chops at Ame.
Alison McLean

Âme

418 N Bishop Ave.
Fine dining is taken to a new level at Bishop Arts District’s jewel, Âme. The restaurant opened in 2021 and is owned and operated by chef Afifa Nayeb. Treading the small, yet powerful space between French and Indian food, Âme offers different menus for both brunch and dinner — with the latter more popular. For brunch try the biryani fried chicken and waffles, which comes with masala-marinated, deep-fried chicken atop a fluffy Belgian waffle. The French toast is made of a slice of brioche bread, dunked in a cardamom-spiced custard. Dinner specialties include pistachio-crusted lamb chops, calamari pakora and paratha croissants. Elegant plates and colorful decor elevate the fine-dining experience.

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CurryUp Now's signature "naughty naan" comes with masala chicken or cheese on top.
Anisha Holla

CurryUp Now

5752 Grandscape Blvd., No. 310, The Colony
One thing’s clear: you won’t find your typical rice and curry dishes here. California-based CurryUp Now is an Indian fusion restaurant that serves American-ified renditions of classic Indian dishes. Start your order with sweet potato fries slathered in tikka masala sauce or naan bread garnished with pizza toppings. For mains, fill yourself with a tikka masala rice bowl or perhaps a good old-school burrito filled with chicken tikka. It’s a weird mix between traditional flavors and modern presentation. But when it tastes that good, it’s hard to complain.

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The Surti Gotalo at Egg Holic is one of the chain's most popular dishes.
Anisha Holla

Egg Holic

7750 N. MacArthur Blvd., No. 135, Irving
One word: eggs. Egg Holic in Irving is any egg lover’s dream, with almost its entire menu featuring some kind of egg protein. Starters include an Indian French toast — fried in a fluffy egg batter — or cheese katori, which presents hard-boiled egg halves filled with Indian spices and cheese. The main menu contains egg-filled sandwiches, grated egg curry and Indian versions of scrambled eggs and omelets. If you’re craving Indian food, eggs or even just a high-protein meal, this one’s for you.

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The veggie pizza at Hot Pizza comes with a spicy red sauce as the base. It's spicy.
Anisha Holla

Hot Pizza Dallas

17194 Preston Road, No. 102
If you wanted proof that just about any food can be Indian-flavored with the right ingredients, this it is. While Hot Pizza Dallas also makes your classic cheese and pepperoni, a majority of the menu draws on Indian flavors. The butter chicken pizza comes with a spicy tikka sauce as its base and is layered with jalapeños, red onion and marinated chunks of butter chicken. The chana masala pizza is another palate-pleaser, topped with spiced chickpeas and a creamy tomato-onion gravy. A fair warning: there’s a reason that this place is called Hot Pizza. Spice is no joke here.

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One of Kalachandji’s best features is a gorgeous courtyard, a perfect setting for a healthy vegetarian meal.
Beth Rankin

Kalachandji's

5430 Gurley Ave.
A primarily buffet-style institution, Kalachandji’s prides itself on being Dallas’s longest-serving vegetarian Indian restaurant. For a set price of $14.95 for lunch and $17.95 for dinner, customers can choose from a variety of soups, curries, breads, salads, desserts and drinks. The menu here is more minimalistic than other favorites in the Dallas Indian restaurant world, with simpler recipes like a plain lentil soup and a kidney bean curry. Eat dishes with a simple side of rice or wheat flour roti. The famous courtyard garden provides a nice setting to calm the mind and the appetite.

Kesari Indian Restaurant

3100 Independence Parkway, No. 319, Plano
A no-frills spot in Plano, Kesari Indian Restaurant is known for its homemade South Indian fare. While the outside of the restaurant doesn’t set itself apart from the neighboring brown-brick buildings, the smells inside are a good enough reason to sit down for a meal here. Kesari’s best-known dish is perhaps the masala dosa, a South Indian version of a crepe. Crispy on the outside and soft within, dosas here are scented with ghee and come with a fluffy potato curry stuffed inside. The bhatura is another popular dish, which is a circular piece of sourdough bread, deep fried until fluffy. Dip it into Kesari’s homemade chutneys and marinades. Food is fresh and service is quick.

King and Cardinals

Multiple Locations
You might be confused walking into one of King and Cardinals' locations and seeing a menu that looks much like that of a standard burger joint. Fear not, you’re in the right place. A closer look at the menu reveals that the burger selection includes varieties ranging from grilled paneer (Indian cottage cheese) to masala ham. The burger chain, originally from Hyderabad, India, also sells some interesting sides like tikka masala chicken wings and corn tossed in traditional Indian spices. Wash your meal here down with a tall glass of Indian boba, in flavors like kesar (Indian saffron) or nutty butterscotch. It’s pretty much guaranteed to be a heavy meal. But it’s one we can’t say we regretted.

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The chili cauliflower dish is made of deep-fried cauliflower dunked in a spicy tomato-soy sauce.
Anisha Holla

Red Hot Chilli Pepper

8549 Gaylord Parkway, No. 109, Frisco
Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s deep red interiors provide an intimate setting for the fusion of Chinese flavors and Indian classics. The Frisco favorite serves dishes like curry noodles, which combine Chinese rice noodles with Indian curry spices. Another customer favorite is the Indo-Chino chicken, which presents chicken marinated in Indian spices and then dunked in Chinese black bean gravy. If you thought you had already experienced everything that lies in the intersection between Indian and Chinese cuisine, this restaurant will make you think again.

Urban Tadka

1800 Market Place Blvd., No. 190, Irving
Urban Tadka has been mastering the flavors of India since 2016, when it opened its doors in Irving. The establishment is known for serving culinary specialties from the Indian region of Punjab, including layered Paratha bread, creamy cottage-cheese gravies and slow-marinated chicken kebabs. For those seeking to skip the modern renditions and experience traditional Indian food clay-pit style, Urban Tadka is a pretty safe bet.

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Food isn't served fancy here. But the big portions and tasty food make up for it.
Anisha Holla

Vishnuji Ki Rasoi

2023 W. McDermott Drive, No. 180, Allen

Allen’s hidden gem Vishnuji Ki Rasoi is everything but fancy. Tables here are plain white, walls are solid brown and the only restaurant decor is a couple of pots and pans that sit on shelves. Regardless, if you’re searching for good food and a full stomach, Vishnuji Ki Rasoi will satisfy your cravings. The restaurant specializes in vegetarian food, and more specifically food from the Indian region of Maharashtra. The menu ventures far beyond your typical naan bread and curry, specializing in Maharashtrian specialties like fried gram flour cakes, fried potato vada and peanut-stuffed eggplant. The  $13.99-weekday buffet is popular with diners with a larger appetite.
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Anisha Holla is a freelance food writer for the Dallas Observer, a position that grew from her love for both food and storytelling. A university student by day and an avid eater by night, she loves exploring the hidden spots in Dallas’ eclectic food scene.
Contact: Anisha Holla

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