Where to Eat Indian and South Asian Food in Chicago Right Now
Toast the festival of lights with curries, samosas, naan, and all things tandoori.
Diwali, the annual festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and some Buddhists throughout South Asia, kicks off on Thursday, November 4. And while you might not be making it out to the festivities in Delhi this year, you can definitely gorge yourself on all the piping hot samosas, silky paneer, pillowy naan, and soul-warming biryani our fair city has to offer. We hit up three esteemed Chicago-based tastemakers—Zeeshan Shah of Superkhana International, ROOH Chicago’s Manish Mallick, and Ali Dewjee of Bombay Wraps’ growing empire—to get their take on where to find the best Indian and South Asian cuisine, from Little India’s famed Devon Avenue and beyond.
With four Michelin Bib Gourmand nods under its belt, this 25-year-old institution serves up Pakistani favorites both inside and on its breezy patio. Menu standouts are plentiful here, with signature dishes like Dal Ghosht, prized lentils slow-simmered with goat meat in Punjabi spices, buttery Seekh Fry, and, of course, the eponymous Sabri Nihari, a medallion of perfectly seasoned beef swimming in a fragrant stew, leading the pack.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out and delivery via Uber Eats, GrubHub, and DoorDash.
The Loop, Streeterville, Lakeview
Indian street food classics get the modern fast-casual treatment inside this decade-old crowd-pleaser’s three brick and mortar outposts. Dishes are straightforward, delicious, and always at the ready. “Chicken Tikka is definitely a Bombay Wraps favorite,” says managing partner Ali Dewjee. “You can enjoy it in a wrap with a side of samosas and dipping chutney or mix up your regular lunch routine with a sandwich roll and a side of spiced potato chips. And if you’re looking for a satiating meal, Chicken Tikka over basmati rice with condiments and sauces are a sure hit.”
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out and delivery via Toast.
ROOH’s Mallick recommends this festive Streeterville addition, known for its extensive portfolio of familiar dishes and more obscure hyper-regional specialties prepared using age-old cooking methods and intoxicating spice blends. ”Chicken Biryani and Baingan Bharta are some of my favorite take-outs from Indian Garden,” Mallick says, praising the eatery’s off-site dining program. “The food always arrives fresh, warm, and ready to eat.”
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out and delivery via ChowNow, GrubHub, DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats.
One of Chicago’s top spots for South Indian cuisine, if you’re craving vegetarian Thali, this Devon Ave staple has you covered. A thick bill of seasonally driven classics littered with locally sourced ingredients greets each eager customer, tantalizing even the most carnivorous diners with savory Medu Vada, donut-like lentil fritters loaded with sambar and housemade coconut chutney, curries like tangy eggplant-based Khate Mithe Baingan, extra pillowy poori, and more overstuffed dosai than you’d dare count. Stop by the restaurant to take advantage of “all you can eat” specials—elastic waistbands encouraged.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out and delivery via Uber Eats, GrubHub, Postmates, Caviar, and DoorDash.
Lincoln Park & River North
Fahim and Faraz Sardharia, the Indian-Pakistani brothers behind this dual-location stalwart, have been delighting northsiders with their tandoori prowess for years now. The traditional lineup of meats, curries, and sides gets the cheffy treatment here, with clever fusion-style additions like jalapeno-spiked Masala Ceviche served atop roasted papadum, Tamarind Chicken Wings, and Tikka Masala Tacos on hand to keep things interesting. Don’t sleep on the Biryanis, pillowy droves of rice strewn with flawlessly cooked meats and vibrant spices and presented alongside housemade achar chutney.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out and delivery online (Lincoln Park, River North).
Nepalese favorites share menu space with Indian comforts inside this friendly Wicker Park outpost. Start with an order of Chicken Momo Chilli Fry, velvety dumplings sauteed with green chili, bell peppers, onions, ginger, tomatoes, and garlic-chili paste, before moving on to more substantial dishes like Gorkhali Khasi, where slow-roasted bone-in goat meat arrives swimming in a spicy stew. The Chicken Madras, thick with coconut cream and peppered with curry leaves, also holds its own, while the Veggie Vindaalu, dense and savory with a fiery, tart bite, never skips a beat.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out and delivery via Toast, Uber Eats, GrubHub, Ritual, Caviar, and DoorDash.
When it comes to this laid-back River North counter-serve, Shah goes straight for the samosas. Fellow street food standouts like crispy baked fries drizzled with zippy house Moti sauce and spicy, garlic-laden Vada Pav share a bill with mains like Chicken Biryani and Tikka Masala. Fusion-fueled spins like Naan Paneer Pizza, Curry Ramen, fiery Chicken Vindaloo Tacos, and Nepalese Momos tossed in sweet chili sauce keep diners on their toes.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating, order take-out Toast, or get delivery via GrubHub, DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats.
Another Nepalese stunner, classically trained chef Min B. Thapa’s West Town destination specializes in upmarket takes on familiar South Asian eats bolstered by a world-class wine list and standout cocktail program. They’ve been doing swift business since the pandemic shuttered their chic dining room, moving to a take-out and delivery-only system, scheduling pop-up events in the suburbs, and even launching a subscription series via Table22—efforts that won them 2021 Michelin Bib Gourmand status. Each dish is more enticing than the last, with highlights spanning handcrafted momos, chaats, and samosas as well as heftier family-style offerings like Shahi Oyster Mushroom Kofta Curry, Lamb Rogan Josh, and a cashew cream-based Tikka Masala sure to turn heads.
How to book: Order take-out and delivery online or via Tock.
Wicker Park & Lincoln Park
This celebrated crowd-pleaser plays all the hits with expert finesse, from pakoras and samosas to rich and hearty Dal Makhani, simmered overnight and finished with cream, and a Butter Chicken that instantly soothes the soul. Nutty Shrimp Malai cooked in a silky korma sauce, brings things to an entirely new level.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out and delivery online.
When Shah feels the need to satisfy his sweet tooth, the Superkhana executive chef and co-owner makes a beeline for this Little India mainstay. “The sweets are out of this world,” he raves. “I particularly love the halwa—they make a few kinds, but I really like the sooji halwa. It's like the best version of cream of wheat if you left out half the water and added all the best sugar. It's like nothing else.” But it’s not all lollipops and gumdrops here. “Their focus is on intensely sweet Indian desserts, but they also have very good samosas and chai,” adds Shah. “It’s the only place on Devon I actually buy chai.”
How to book: Stop by for counter service or order take-out and delivery online.
This vibrant and beloved Logan Square joint is one of Shah’s local no-brainers. “I love Spice Room,” he declares. “I haven't made a bad decision ordering from them, and I've ordered nearly their whole menu by now.” Highlights include a surprisingly complex and ultra-velvety Lamb Vindaloo, dreamy Malai Kofta in rich cashew sauce, and a particularly crave-worthy version of Pav Bhaji that consistently packs a fiery punch.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out and delivery via GrubHub, Postmates, Caviar, and BeyondMenu.
They don’t call it “Indian-ish” for nothing. From Shah’s famous Butter Chicken Calzone oozing with Amul cheese and plump roasted Autumn Squash dusted with sambar powder, toasted pepitas, and pomegranate chutney to a ghee-washed bourbon Old Fashioned and a massive array of spritzes and highballs, these Logan Square boundary-pushers menu defies expectations in the most delicious way. Stop by for their newly unveiled brunch, a festival of flavors best consumed on the cozy courtyard patio.
How to book: Reserve via Resy or order take-out and delivery via Toast.
This lauded West Loop staple fits right in on restaurant row thanks to an upmarket and progressive approach to South Asian standards. “All food at ROOH Chicago is made fresh daily in the kitchen by our professionally trained team, some of whom have worked in Michelin Star restaurants in Europe,” notes owner Manish Mallick. “They work hard on making sure we serve the highest quality produce cooked with a balance of traditional Indian spices that invigorate the taste buds.”
Tasting menus ranging from inventive brunch and dinner fare to themed lineups for holidays like Diwali and Thanksgiving lead the way, each a guided exploration of the country’s diverse culinary landscape. “My favorite is the Culinary Journey, encompassing four courses of artistically plated, delicious meals,” Mallick says, describing one of his restaurant’s signature prix-fixes. “It’s an experience to remember and salivate days after. The dishes bring flavors from all regions of India: North, South, East, West and the coastal areas. On the menu, each dish is marked with the city that inspired it so guests can take a true journey. Add the wine pairing or cocktails—Hyderabad Tonic and the Old Fashioned are my favorites—to enhance the experience.”
How to book: Reserve via SevenRooms, order take-out online, or get delivery via Postmates, Uber Eats, GrubHub, DoorDash, and Caviar.
According to Shah, this is Devon Avenue’s number one supplier of both standard and harder-to-find vegan and vegetarian eats. “There's no meat in sight, and that's great,” he says. "They do some things not everyone does, like Khaman Dhokla and Fafda. These are so good and also so underrated in terms of what someone might expect at an ‘Indian place.’”
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating, order take-out via Toast, or get delivery via GrubHub, DoorDash, and Uber Eats.
This Gold Coast fine dining destination ranks high on Dewjee’s list for South Asian comforts prepared with upscale cheffy flair. “When you crave the rich, warm taste and aromas of Indian food, Gaylord delivers,” she says. “They have a buffet spread fit for a Maharaja and Maharani The Chicken Reshmi Kebabs and the Pepper Fish are my favorites.”
How to book: Reserve via Google or order take-out and delivery via MenuPages, GrubHub, and DoorDash.