May 17 2018
Priya Krishna
4 Minutes to read

Chicago is home to a significant population of Indian-Americans and is the birthplace of Bon Appétit’s pick for most beloved Indian grocery store in America. As such, Chicago is, without a doubt, one of the top spots in the country to find quality Indian food. Here, you can find more than just the takeout staples like chicken tikka masala and naan (though you can find great versions of those dishes, too). Take a look at the breadth of Indian food in the Windy City in our roundup of the best Chicago Indian catering spots.

Bombay Joe’s (N. Park Boulevard, Glen Ellyn)

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As the name suggest, Bombay Joe’s is all about fusing Indian flavors with other, globally inspired dishes—like a pizza topped with cilantro, spicy potatoes, onions, peppers, and sausage. But don’t worry if you’re a purist. There are dishes for you, too. Try the Bombay buffet, which includes a choice of entrée like saag paneer, aloo tikki, and chana masala. Wash it all down with a creamy, tangy mango lassi.

There’s more to Indian cuisine than naan and chicken tikka masala—and Chicago's best Indian catering spots have got it all.

Kama Bistro (S. La Grange Road, La Grange)

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Combining lunch-friendly foods with Indian fusion, Kama Bistro is the place to go for more creative lunch-and-learn fare that’s big on flavor and way more exciting than a boxed lunch. This spot is regularly called out by locals as the best Indian joint in Chicago, and one of the best caterers around, particularly for vegetarians. That’s thanks to innovative dishes like the selection of tacos stuffed with everything from paneer to chicken vindaloo, or chutney made with cherries and blueberries.

Shree Vaibhav’s Indian Flavor (Milwaukee Avenue, Deerfield)

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The food of Shree Vaibhav’s Indian Flavor is truly pan-regional. The fiery flavors of Andhra, the richness of Hyderabadi cuisine, and the rice-heavy dishes of the Tamils. Here, you’ll find dishes you can’t find at your average takeout spot—a coconut-laced Andhra fish curry, mirchi bajji (spicy banana-pepper fritters), and chole bhature (deep-fried flatbread with chickpeas). The restaurant even dips into Indo-Chinese cuisine with dishes like chili chicken, and soy-drenched vegetable hakka noodles.

Chicago Curry House (S. Plymouth Court, Chicago)

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Chicago Curry House pulls from both Indian and Nepalese cuisine for its menu of dishes that emphasize nutrition, authenticity, and vegetables. It’s referred to by many users as a vegetarian’s dream. Try the most-ordered dish, aloo ra seemi ko tarkari, made with bright, spicy potatoes with green beans, ginger, tomato, and herbs, alongside jhane ko dal, or lentils stewed with onions, garlic, and aromatic spices. Just don’t forget to order basmati rice for soaking up all of those delicious gravies.

Sampurna’s Indian Flavor (E. Algonquin Road, Schaumburg)

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Focusing on fresh spices and dishes from all across India, and known as one of the best Indian spots in Chicago, Sampurna’s Indian Flavor is a taste of the sheer diversity of dishes Indian cuisine has to offer. In a single restaurant, you can order the South Indian specialty masala dosa, a thin crepe filled with spiced potatoes, alongside malai kofta, a North Indian dish of dumplings soaked in a cashew-onion sauce. Also worth trying is the bullet naan, studded with green chilies. This is a serious upgrade from your usual naan routine.

There’s more to Indian cuisine than naan and chicken tikka masala—and Chicago's best Indian catering spots have got it all.

Naansense (N. Wells Street, Chicago)

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The real beauty of Naansense is the way in which the restaurant constructs its catering options. Choose two or three proteins, and get tikka, korma, madras curry, and vindaloo sauce, plus naan, roti, rice, pickled onions, salad, and chutney. You can build your own ideal bowl, so it’s the perfect option for covering different dietary preferences and restrictions in a group. The menu also offers both traditional Indian dishes as well as more modern takes on classic fare at this Chicago Indian catering outfit.

Tandoor Char House (N. Halsted Street, Chicago)

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The brainchild of an owner with both Indian and Pakistani backgrounds, Tandoor Char House offers the best of both cuisines. The menu mixes the chicken korma (chicken in a spicy cream sauce) and seekh kebabs of Pakistan with the chana masala (chickpea stew) and matar paneer (cheese and peas in a tomato gravy) of India. There are even a few fusion dishes, too, like penne tossed with shrimp and tikka masala sauce, served with the Indian version of garlic bread: garlic naan, of course.

Meadows Cafe (Golf Road, Rolling Meadows)

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Meadows Cafe is known for its enormous breadth of culinary options, from the enchiladas of Mexican cuisine to chicken Parmesan of Italian cuisine. But what everyone raves about the most are all the Indian offerings, like the cholay curry. The chickpea curry is served with rice, samosas, a flaky flatbread called paratha, and a crispy lentil cracker called papadum. It’s a great way to try all the glorious kinds of carbs that Indian cuisine has to offer, piled over a super-flavorful stew. And if you’re looking for something meatier, the chickpeas can be swapped for chicken.

There’s more to Indian cuisine than naan and chicken tikka masala—and Chicago's best Indian catering spots have got it all.

Nepal House (S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago)

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Rooted in the simple flavors of Nepalese cuisine but pulling inspiration from Tibet, Pakistan, India, and Bhutan, Nepal House’s colossal menu is a trip around Asia. Only at Nepal House can you pair a Nepali-style chicken chow mein with a Bombay-style puffed rice salad called bhel puri, or a Goan fish curry smelling of spices and chilies. Be sure to complete your order with gulab jamun. It’s Nepal House’s version of a classic Indian sweet: milk dumplings soaked in saffron-honey syrup.

Masala Indian & Mediterranean (W. Argyle Street, Chicago)

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This Chicago Indian catering spot may be on the more casual side, but the flavors of its food are the real deal. The focus of the menu is hearty Indian entrées, like stick-to-your-ribs dishes like chicken vindaloo, butter chicken, and saag paneer. But if you’re craving slightly lighter, brighter dishes, you can opt for Mediterranean options: creamy hummus with falafel; pitas filled with roast chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, and tahini; or a Mediterranean-inspired salad with chickpeas, olives, and feta cheese.

Key Takeaways
  • Thanks to an enormous Indian population in Chicago and the popularity of Indian flavors there, there’s room for loads of different Indian catering options.
  • There’s more to Indian cuisine than naan and chicken tikka masala—and Chicago’s best Indian catering spots have got it all.
  • South Indian cuisine, with dishes like dosa and fish curry, is finally starting to get its due in Indian restaurants.
  • Indian cuisine can lean vegetarian-friendly, with plenty of hearty vegetable and bean-based entrées that’ll appeal to both meatless and dairy-free eaters.

Do you want to learn more about Indian cuisine? Take a look at our catering-order guide to understanding the basics of ordering Indian food.

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Written by:

Priya Krishna

Priya Krishna is a food writer, and the author of the college-centric cookbook, Ultimate Dining Hall Hacks. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @PKgourmet

Posted in: Trends in FoodThe Best Of

Tagged with: Asian, Caterer Network, Caterer Round Up, Catering, Food Trends, Lunch, Mediterranean, Vegetarian