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Pondicheri's Indian cuisine will satisfy carnivores & vegetarians alike
Pondicheri's Indian cuisine will satisfy carnivores & vegetarians alike
Pondicheri/Facebook

14 Excellent Spots For South Asian Cuisine In Houston

Dosas, samosas, biryani, and so much more await

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Pondicheri's Indian cuisine will satisfy carnivores & vegetarians alike
| Pondicheri/Facebook

Choosing a South Asian restaurant in a city like Houston can be a daunting task, even for someone well versed in the cuisine. Whether you're in search of Indian or Pakistani cuisine, Houston has a dizzying assortment of restaurants ranging from high-end, white tablecloth eateries to unsuspecting no-napkin cafes tucked into strip malls.

But where does one find Houston's best Indian and Pakistani cuisine? There are plenty of spots scattered across Space City to find excellent curries, richly spiced biryani, and perfectly fluffy naan. Consider this map a guide to Houston's best and most essential South Asian restaurants.

Is your favorite Indian or Pakistani restaurant missing from this map? Make your case in the comments.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Govinda's Vegetarian Cuisine

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Attached to the ISKCON Hare Krishna Temple, this Garden Oaks/Oak Forest restaurant offers an Indian dining option that may be especially enticing to vegan and vegetarian brunchers alike. Govinda’s culinary minds (from Bombay Brassierie) showcase an assortment of signature Indian dishes like fragrant seasoned rice, steaming saag paneer, soft chewy naan, and plump flavorful samosas at an excellent price point in a pretty setting.

Jayshri Chamaswala

Tarka Indian Kitchen

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This small chain from Austin has perfected the casual, fast food-esque Indian fare concept with dishes like kabob plates, curries, and chaats. Pick a base, protein, and a level spiciness for a delicious curry bowl of tikka masala, korma, vindaloo, or daal served alongside freshly made naan, roti, or basmati rice all for around $10.

Bombay Pizza Co.

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It’s rare to find pizza topped with tandoori chicken, delicate paneer, and tangy cilantro mint chutney, but Downtown’s Bombay Pizza Company has been doing the Italian-Indian mashup for almost ten years. Fusion pies abound like a saag paneer pizza topped with spiced spinach, collard greens, paneer, and goat cheese; or a K. Renee’s pizza with tandoori shrimp and fresh crab topped with mint chutney. On Mondays, an 8-inch pie, drink, and salad are only $10.

Cowboys & Indians Tex-In Kitchen

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This eatery is knocking it out of the park with its creative Indian-Texan mashups like naan quesadilla or a thick, juicy chicken fried steak served with a side of masala fries. The Himalaya burger flavored with abundant Indian spices and topped with fried onions is another favorite. Top it all off with a refreshing margarita, Texas-style.

Chef Anita Jaisinghani of Pondicheri creates award-winning multi-regional Indian cuisine at Indika. The restaurant balances flavors and spices with great care, infusing a delicate cashew sauce with pieces of chicken and marinating tender lamb with the heat of dried chilis. Stop in for Sunday brunch where coconut pancakes leave little to be desired.

Pondicheri

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Acclaimed Chef Anita Jaisinghani debuted Houston’s beloved Pondicheri in NYC, while her Houston spot remains a top local pick for Indian dishes inspired by Mumbai. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner options include wraps, curries, stuffed rotis, and platters for a taste of everything. The space also includes a bake lab that serves up puffy pastries, scones, cakes, or a slice of sweet chai pie unlike any other.

Godavari Houston

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Yet another South Indian chain restaurant chain, Godavari has an extensive vegetarian menu which includes the likes of paneer butter masala and egg pulusu (a spicy egg curry) served with fresh naan or roti. Godvari’s also serves a weekend buffet with a multitude of options including tandoori chicken, kebab, fish curries, and more. Wash everything down with a glass of thick, creamy mango lassi for the perfect Sunday lunch.

Biryani Pot

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Tucked in a quiet strip center on Westheimer, Indian restaurant Biryani Pot focuses on a slow-cooking southern tradition. Fashioned after a region in the Southeastern Indian state of Hyderabad, this eatery offers an affordable variety of traditional items in a simplistic, low-key environment. Order the juicy Sikh kebab, a lamb roll marinated with fresh coriander and spices; alongside some piping hot biryani, as is the namesake dish, made with rice, spices, and various meat or vegetables.

Kumar’s

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Housed in Fadi Mediterranean Grill’s previous space on Westheimer, this fledgling chain offers curries, rice dishes, and pastries galore. On weekends, the restaurant offers an unlimited lunch buffet brimming with options. We recommend trying one of the thalis, which is a singular perfect plate that boasts sweet, salty, and savory flavors, this one particularly (with both meat and vegetarian options) will quickly fill your belly with big flavor.

Kiran's

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With the launch of Kiran’s new Upper Kirby location, Chef Kiran Verma, continues to wow patrons with his flamboyantly modern twists on traditional Indian dishes. Dig into bites like Raj Katori (lentil dumplings in a crispy house-made pastry shell) and Pani Poori (mini wheat puffs filled with potato, garbanzo beans, and pomegranate), before moving onto main course like cornish hen with a spicy tamarind glaze and chicken biryani; Chilean sea bass with a poblano-mango chutney; or a Moulard duck confit and tandoori duck breast. There’s an extensive wine list of over 300 labels, plus afternoon tea service on Fridays and Saturdays that serves up Chef Kiran’s own chai blend.

Kiran's/Facebook

Shri Balaji Bhavan

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It’s no secret that Hillcroft is the Mecca of South Asian cuisine in Houston, and Shri Balagi Bhavan maintains its title as one of the most popular vegetarian South Indian restaurants on the block. Their food is laden with traditional flavors like peppers, coconut and tamarind in meals that are both inexpensive and consistently delicious.

Shri Balaji Bhavan/Facebook

Himalaya Restaurant

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Himalaya’s Chef Kaiser Lashkari has a unique take on Indian and Pakistani food that has earned rave reviews from foodies and traditionalists alike. His best dishes include an Indian-esque pastrami in which cubes of beef are cured in a vat of spices. The menu also features flavorful kebabs, grilled meat, curries, and vegetarian offerings. The dishes are served in family size portions for a budget-friendly option.

Royal Restaurant

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Royal’s twenty-plus year-run in Houston is clear indication of the quality of its mouth-watering Indian and Pakistani cuisine. Chow down on thick, buttery tandoori-grilled lamb chops paired with yogurt dipping sauce, or “Tadka Dal” — spiced lentils in sautéed tomatoes and onions. Don’t skip Royal’s delicious desserts including a blissful kulfi (a thick, creamy ice cream topped with pistachios).

Yelp/Jaffar A.

Aga's Restaurant

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Popular Indian-Pakistani restaurant, Aga’s offers a wide bill of fare which includes a robust selection of halal meat and vegetarian dishes. The restaurant serves up fresh naan, biryanis, and curries. Carnivores can feast on succulent spiced lamb chops and creamy chicken vindaloo, while vegetarians can opt for saag (spinach) paneer and Malai kofta, made with cottage cheese steeped in a spice-infused tomato puree.

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Govinda's Vegetarian Cuisine

Jayshri Chamaswala

Attached to the ISKCON Hare Krishna Temple, this Garden Oaks/Oak Forest restaurant offers an Indian dining option that may be especially enticing to vegan and vegetarian brunchers alike. Govinda’s culinary minds (from Bombay Brassierie) showcase an assortment of signature Indian dishes like fragrant seasoned rice, steaming saag paneer, soft chewy naan, and plump flavorful samosas at an excellent price point in a pretty setting.

Jayshri Chamaswala

Tarka Indian Kitchen

This small chain from Austin has perfected the casual, fast food-esque Indian fare concept with dishes like kabob plates, curries, and chaats. Pick a base, protein, and a level spiciness for a delicious curry bowl of tikka masala, korma, vindaloo, or daal served alongside freshly made naan, roti, or basmati rice all for around $10.

Bombay Pizza Co.

It’s rare to find pizza topped with tandoori chicken, delicate paneer, and tangy cilantro mint chutney, but Downtown’s Bombay Pizza Company has been doing the Italian-Indian mashup for almost ten years. Fusion pies abound like a saag paneer pizza topped with spiced spinach, collard greens, paneer, and goat cheese; or a K. Renee’s pizza with tandoori shrimp and fresh crab topped with mint chutney. On Mondays, an 8-inch pie, drink, and salad are only $10.

Cowboys & Indians Tex-In Kitchen

This eatery is knocking it out of the park with its creative Indian-Texan mashups like naan quesadilla or a thick, juicy chicken fried steak served with a side of masala fries. The Himalaya burger flavored with abundant Indian spices and topped with fried onions is another favorite. Top it all off with a refreshing margarita, Texas-style.

Indika

Chef Anita Jaisinghani of Pondicheri creates award-winning multi-regional Indian cuisine at Indika. The restaurant balances flavors and spices with great care, infusing a delicate cashew sauce with pieces of chicken and marinating tender lamb with the heat of dried chilis. Stop in for Sunday brunch where coconut pancakes leave little to be desired.

Pondicheri

Acclaimed Chef Anita Jaisinghani debuted Houston’s beloved Pondicheri in NYC, while her Houston spot remains a top local pick for Indian dishes inspired by Mumbai. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner options include wraps, curries, stuffed rotis, and platters for a taste of everything. The space also includes a bake lab that serves up puffy pastries, scones, cakes, or a slice of sweet chai pie unlike any other.

Godavari Houston

Yet another South Indian chain restaurant chain, Godavari has an extensive vegetarian menu which includes the likes of paneer butter masala and egg pulusu (a spicy egg curry) served with fresh naan or roti. Godvari’s also serves a weekend buffet with a multitude of options including tandoori chicken, kebab, fish curries, and more. Wash everything down with a glass of thick, creamy mango lassi for the perfect Sunday lunch.

Biryani Pot

Tucked in a quiet strip center on Westheimer, Indian restaurant Biryani Pot focuses on a slow-cooking southern tradition. Fashioned after a region in the Southeastern Indian state of Hyderabad, this eatery offers an affordable variety of traditional items in a simplistic, low-key environment. Order the juicy Sikh kebab, a lamb roll marinated with fresh coriander and spices; alongside some piping hot biryani, as is the namesake dish, made with rice, spices, and various meat or vegetables.

Kumar’s

Housed in Fadi Mediterranean Grill’s previous space on Westheimer, this fledgling chain offers curries, rice dishes, and pastries galore. On weekends, the restaurant offers an unlimited lunch buffet brimming with options. We recommend trying one of the thalis, which is a singular perfect plate that boasts sweet, salty, and savory flavors, this one particularly (with both meat and vegetarian options) will quickly fill your belly with big flavor.

Kiran's

Kiran's/Facebook

With the launch of Kiran’s new Upper Kirby location, Chef Kiran Verma, continues to wow patrons with his flamboyantly modern twists on traditional Indian dishes. Dig into bites like Raj Katori (lentil dumplings in a crispy house-made pastry shell) and Pani Poori (mini wheat puffs filled with potato, garbanzo beans, and pomegranate), before moving onto main course like cornish hen with a spicy tamarind glaze and chicken biryani; Chilean sea bass with a poblano-mango chutney; or a Moulard duck confit and tandoori duck breast. There’s an extensive wine list of over 300 labels, plus afternoon tea service on Fridays and Saturdays that serves up Chef Kiran’s own chai blend.

Kiran's/Facebook

Shri Balaji Bhavan

Shri Balaji Bhavan/Facebook

It’s no secret that Hillcroft is the Mecca of South Asian cuisine in Houston, and Shri Balagi Bhavan maintains its title as one of the most popular vegetarian South Indian restaurants on the block. Their food is laden with traditional flavors like peppers, coconut and tamarind in meals that are both inexpensive and consistently delicious.

Shri Balaji Bhavan/Facebook

Himalaya Restaurant

Himalaya’s Chef Kaiser Lashkari has a unique take on Indian and Pakistani food that has earned rave reviews from foodies and traditionalists alike. His best dishes include an Indian-esque pastrami in which cubes of beef are cured in a vat of spices. The menu also features flavorful kebabs, grilled meat, curries, and vegetarian offerings. The dishes are served in family size portions for a budget-friendly option.

Royal Restaurant

Yelp/Jaffar A.

Royal’s twenty-plus year-run in Houston is clear indication of the quality of its mouth-watering Indian and Pakistani cuisine. Chow down on thick, buttery tandoori-grilled lamb chops paired with yogurt dipping sauce, or “Tadka Dal” — spiced lentils in sautéed tomatoes and onions. Don’t skip Royal’s delicious desserts including a blissful kulfi (a thick, creamy ice cream topped with pistachios).

Yelp/Jaffar A.

Aga's Restaurant

Popular Indian-Pakistani restaurant, Aga’s offers a wide bill of fare which includes a robust selection of halal meat and vegetarian dishes. The restaurant serves up fresh naan, biryanis, and curries. Carnivores can feast on succulent spiced lamb chops and creamy chicken vindaloo, while vegetarians can opt for saag (spinach) paneer and Malai kofta, made with cottage cheese steeped in a spice-infused tomato puree.