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Charred octopus at Amrina with grilled potatoes.
Restaurants like Amrina are challenging the bounds of Indian cuisine.
Max Otter Productions

17 Essential Indian and Pakistani Restaurants in Houston

Where to find perfect dosas, samosas, lamb vindaloo, and so much more

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Restaurants like Amrina are challenging the bounds of Indian cuisine.
| Max Otter Productions

Since 1986, when Raja Sweets brought Indian food to the city, Houston’s Indian and Pakistani cuisine has been consistently diversifying alongside the city. Today, diners can get dishes from regions across the subcontinent, or eat Indian spices worked into new forms like tacos, pies, or southern fried chicken.

From overflowing bowls of homestyle dal to refined high tea, to syrupy desserts brought home to friends, these 17 restaurants prove that there has never been a better time to eat South Asian food in Texas.

While Surya Indian, Biryani Pot, Narin’s Bombay Brasserie, Tarka Indian Kitchen, India’s Restaurant, Shiva Indian Restaurant, Indian Summer, and Pondicheri have been rotated out, and Bombay Pizza has closed, the list has been updated with fresh faces like Raja Sweets, Twisted Turban, Pondicheri Bake Lab, and Amrina.

Is your favorite Indian or Pakistani restaurant missing from this map? Shout it out in the comments.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Offering diners a glimpse of just how innovative and imaginative Indian food can be, Amrina showcases Indian street food at its tapas-only bar, moving from course to course with a lively honk of a horn. All systems go in the dining room, which offers standout dishes like tender ostrich kebab, “holy moly bread” like butter chicken kulcha, a red wine braised lamb shank, and a smoky, gooey tandoori mac and cheese. Dessert is just as decadent, with a delicate masala chai marble cake, made with a pistachio biscotti crumble and milk ice cream.

Govinda's Vegetarian Cuisine

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Located within a grandiose ISKON temple, Govinda’s serves daily buffets of vegetarian food focusing on barbecue tofu and classic staples like dal makhani and bhindi masala — plus, serves an entirely vegan menu on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Be sure to take your plate outside, so you can eat in the shade of the main worship hall.

Pondicherri Bake Lab

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Upstairs from Pondicheri restaurant is a coffee shop and bakery bringing Indian flavors to European dessert staples. A chai pai, chile chocolate chip cookie, and saffron bread pudding all pair wonderfully with a cardamom latte in this bright café.

Musaafer

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Live out your fantasies of royalty in one of Houston’s most opulent restaurants. Special touches like a vivid red beet powder on lamb chops, or a crystallized mint placed atop stewed goat ensure every dish is not only tasty but visually spectacular. Looking to imbibe? Gin-lovers can partake in sips at the bar, which boasts one of the most impressive gin collections in the city.

Verandah

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Verandah mixes presentation from modern-American style fine dining with the flavors of South Asia. Chef’s creations like tandoori lobster tail or braised rabbit with korma sauce bring this vision to life alongside a cocktail menu based on updated versions of classic drinks like a tamarind martini or bourbon-infused chai.

Smoking peshawari chicken at Verandah.
Pair Verandah’s smoky peshawari chicken with a boozy cocktail.
Verandah

Khyber Restaurant

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This Upper Kirby Indian mainstay has a limited menu, but uses its grill to the utmost, letting the fresh charred flavor of fire cooking show off in all its meats such as prawns roasted with garlic and mustard seed or a succulent lamb in mint vinaigrette, while combo platters let diners experience the subtleties of each dish without needing to order multiple entrees.

Kiran's Restaurant

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A River Oaks fine dining staple, Kiran’s boasts creamy chicken tikka masala and four types of samosas highlighted by a mushroom and feta. For the most unique experience, come for afternoon tea. A meld of Indian and British culture, tea time begins with dishes like tandoori chicken over chai and colossal crab with jalapeno jelly, and ends with adorable petit fours served after Earl Grey.

Twisted Turban

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A true treat for the eye and the stomach, Twisted Turban serves food impossible to imagine coming from anywhere but Houston. Aside from its funky mural of the city skyline, this restaurant fuses Indian and Pakistani cuisine with Tex-Mex influences, serving up delectable dishes like fried cauliflower and paneer tacos and chalupa chaats with fried papdi dough laced with elote and pomegranate seeds.

Shri Balaji Bhavan

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Indulge in some of the city’s boldest flavors at this charming Little India South Indian counter service. Expect perfectly fermented dosas that retain a notable crispness and tartness, plus one of the city’s richest chole bhatures — a wintery stew featuring warm, earthy flavors like fresh cumin, coriander, and slow-cooked onions over silky chickpeas.

Raja Sweets

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Opened in the 80s, this historic dessert and samosa shop has bragging rights as Houston’s very first Indian restaurant. Now, for over 35 years, the jalebi remains as well fried as always, giving diners a perfect, funnel cake-like dessert to bring to any social event. Expertly balancing sweet and spicy, the hefty samosas, priced at $1.50, are one of Houston’s most affordable lunches. 

Chowpatty Chat Co.

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This sleek cinema-themed counter service snack house serves some of the city’s best fried foods in the form of Indian street food along with a side of Bollywood. With Bollywood movie posters plastered on the wall, and music from decades-old films, Chowpatty’s chaat platter mixes four different snacks highlighting a shockingly refreshing panipuri with mint chutney and warmly cumin-infused samosa chaat, which makes for a great lunch or light dinner.

Udipi Cafe

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With an original location in Little India and an outpost in Sugar Land, this restaurant brings light vegetarian dishes from the Indian state of Karnataka. Dishes like the sambar, a tamarind and lentil stew, or avail, a coconut and curry leaf stew, delicately balance sweetness, tartness, and a light spice for a perfect lunch opportunity.

Himalaya Restaurant

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The city’s most famous Pakistani restaurant continues to delight years into its run. The signature fried chicken mixes masala spices and a Southern buttermilk frying technique for a distinctly Houston experience, while the hara masala sauce brings a refreshing yogurt tang alongside its chili heat. Unsure what to order? Just look at the walls. Pictures from over a decade of stellar reviews show you the favorite dishes of just about every food critic to come to Houston.

Shiv Sagar

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This Gujarati counter service joint delivers on large flavors through dishes like their excellent pav bhaji, a spiced potato puree with rolls that come dripping with ghee. A particularly large drink menu has options like a refreshing rose lassi and mango shake in case diners’ sweet tooths can’t make it until dessert.

London Sizzler

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A charming British curry house in the middle of Little India, London Sizzler is a carnivore’s paradise. Diners can go for chicken tikka referred to as “Britain’s national dish” or sizzling chicken dishes that come out in a fajita tray. As befits an establishment based heavily on English pubs, Sizzler brings a wide collection of English and American beers.

Maharaja Bhog

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This outpost from Mumbai specializes in thalis, allowing you to sample a variety of dishes from India’s west coast in buffet style, but with table-side service. With each thali containing around twenty items, and a menu that frequently changes, every experience at Maharaja Bhog is new, letting you feel like the royalty they are named after. 

Aga's Restaurant & Catering

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The menu at Aga’s is vast — goat chops, beef kababs, and chicken lollipops are among the favorites — and all are made with 100 percent halal meat. Compliment or cool down the spice with its host of house-made cold drinks, like mango lassi and mint lemonade.

Amrina

Offering diners a glimpse of just how innovative and imaginative Indian food can be, Amrina showcases Indian street food at its tapas-only bar, moving from course to course with a lively honk of a horn. All systems go in the dining room, which offers standout dishes like tender ostrich kebab, “holy moly bread” like butter chicken kulcha, a red wine braised lamb shank, and a smoky, gooey tandoori mac and cheese. Dessert is just as decadent, with a delicate masala chai marble cake, made with a pistachio biscotti crumble and milk ice cream.

Govinda's Vegetarian Cuisine

Located within a grandiose ISKON temple, Govinda’s serves daily buffets of vegetarian food focusing on barbecue tofu and classic staples like dal makhani and bhindi masala — plus, serves an entirely vegan menu on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Be sure to take your plate outside, so you can eat in the shade of the main worship hall.

Pondicherri Bake Lab

Upstairs from Pondicheri restaurant is a coffee shop and bakery bringing Indian flavors to European dessert staples. A chai pai, chile chocolate chip cookie, and saffron bread pudding all pair wonderfully with a cardamom latte in this bright café.

Musaafer

Live out your fantasies of royalty in one of Houston’s most opulent restaurants. Special touches like a vivid red beet powder on lamb chops, or a crystallized mint placed atop stewed goat ensure every dish is not only tasty but visually spectacular. Looking to imbibe? Gin-lovers can partake in sips at the bar, which boasts one of the most impressive gin collections in the city.

Verandah

Smoking peshawari chicken at Verandah.
Pair Verandah’s smoky peshawari chicken with a boozy cocktail.
Verandah

Verandah mixes presentation from modern-American style fine dining with the flavors of South Asia. Chef’s creations like tandoori lobster tail or braised rabbit with korma sauce bring this vision to life alongside a cocktail menu based on updated versions of classic drinks like a tamarind martini or bourbon-infused chai.

Smoking peshawari chicken at Verandah.
Pair Verandah’s smoky peshawari chicken with a boozy cocktail.
Verandah

Khyber Restaurant

This Upper Kirby Indian mainstay has a limited menu, but uses its grill to the utmost, letting the fresh charred flavor of fire cooking show off in all its meats such as prawns roasted with garlic and mustard seed or a succulent lamb in mint vinaigrette, while combo platters let diners experience the subtleties of each dish without needing to order multiple entrees.

Kiran's Restaurant

A River Oaks fine dining staple, Kiran’s boasts creamy chicken tikka masala and four types of samosas highlighted by a mushroom and feta. For the most unique experience, come for afternoon tea. A meld of Indian and British culture, tea time begins with dishes like tandoori chicken over chai and colossal crab with jalapeno jelly, and ends with adorable petit fours served after Earl Grey.

Twisted Turban

A true treat for the eye and the stomach, Twisted Turban serves food impossible to imagine coming from anywhere but Houston. Aside from its funky mural of the city skyline, this restaurant fuses Indian and Pakistani cuisine with Tex-Mex influences, serving up delectable dishes like fried cauliflower and paneer tacos and chalupa chaats with fried papdi dough laced with elote and pomegranate seeds.

Shri Balaji Bhavan

Indulge in some of the city’s boldest flavors at this charming Little India South Indian counter service. Expect perfectly fermented dosas that retain a notable crispness and tartness, plus one of the city’s richest chole bhatures — a wintery stew featuring warm, earthy flavors like fresh cumin, coriander, and slow-cooked onions over silky chickpeas.

Raja Sweets

Opened in the 80s, this historic dessert and samosa shop has bragging rights as Houston’s very first Indian restaurant. Now, for over 35 years, the jalebi remains as well fried as always, giving diners a perfect, funnel cake-like dessert to bring to any social event. Expertly balancing sweet and spicy, the hefty samosas, priced at $1.50, are one of Houston’s most affordable lunches. 

Chowpatty Chat Co.

This sleek cinema-themed counter service snack house serves some of the city’s best fried foods in the form of Indian street food along with a side of Bollywood. With Bollywood movie posters plastered on the wall, and music from decades-old films, Chowpatty’s chaat platter mixes four different snacks highlighting a shockingly refreshing panipuri with mint chutney and warmly cumin-infused samosa chaat, which makes for a great lunch or light dinner.

Udipi Cafe

With an original location in Little India and an outpost in Sugar Land, this restaurant brings light vegetarian dishes from the Indian state of Karnataka. Dishes like the sambar, a tamarind and lentil stew, or avail, a coconut and curry leaf stew, delicately balance sweetness, tartness, and a light spice for a perfect lunch opportunity.

Himalaya Restaurant

The city’s most famous Pakistani restaurant continues to delight years into its run. The signature fried chicken mixes masala spices and a Southern buttermilk frying technique for a distinctly Houston experience, while the hara masala sauce brings a refreshing yogurt tang alongside its chili heat. Unsure what to order? Just look at the walls. Pictures from over a decade of stellar reviews show you the favorite dishes of just about every food critic to come to Houston.

Shiv Sagar

This Gujarati counter service joint delivers on large flavors through dishes like their excellent pav bhaji, a spiced potato puree with rolls that come dripping with ghee. A particularly large drink menu has options like a refreshing rose lassi and mango shake in case diners’ sweet tooths can’t make it until dessert.

London Sizzler

A charming British curry house in the middle of Little India, London Sizzler is a carnivore’s paradise. Diners can go for chicken tikka referred to as “Britain’s national dish” or sizzling chicken dishes that come out in a fajita tray. As befits an establishment based heavily on English pubs, Sizzler brings a wide collection of English and American beers.

Related Maps

Maharaja Bhog

This outpost from Mumbai specializes in thalis, allowing you to sample a variety of dishes from India’s west coast in buffet style, but with table-side service. With each thali containing around twenty items, and a menu that frequently changes, every experience at Maharaja Bhog is new, letting you feel like the royalty they are named after. 

Aga's Restaurant & Catering

The menu at Aga’s is vast — goat chops, beef kababs, and chicken lollipops are among the favorites — and all are made with 100 percent halal meat. Compliment or cool down the spice with its host of house-made cold drinks, like mango lassi and mint lemonade.

Related Maps