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One of the best aspects of Indian food is that it appeases meat eaters and vegetarians alike, and whether you order a lamb, beef or chicken dish – or one made with potatoes or lentils – the eating experience is equally as satisfying.
Indian dishes are usually presented in small serving vessels and self-scooped over basmati rice, which is usually served "family style" at the table. Sauces, called chutneys, are used as condiments.
Many to most Indian restaurants offer a buffet – usually during lunch and on weekends – which is the best way for newbies to familiarize with Indian cuisine.
Indian bread, called naan, is available stuffed or plain, and is ideal as a "side," or as a way to transport food to mouth, similar to Ethiopian dining. Traditionally, Indian food was not eaten with utensils, but in modern India, and definitely in Western Indian restaurants, silverware is used.
Some say Indian food is an acquired taste due to the combination of spices used like curry, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg, but for others, the subtle and striking flavors are the very reason they crave Indian food.
In any case, Indian food is a highly evolved style of cooking that's been around for 3,000 years. Lucky for us, Milwaukee is home to many great Indian food restaurants, so whether it's already a favorite, or you want to experiment with new tastes, here's a guide to local Indian eateries.
711 W. Historic Mitchell St., (414) 672-7878
This moderately-priced restaurant will serve up generous portions of carefully-spiced dishes and also offers Pakistani fare. The biryani is a favorite, along with the garlic naan.
1038 N. Jackson St, (414) 271-8200
Bollywood Grill (formerly Mayura) offers up Indian cuisine, favoring the flavors of northern India. Bollywood is home to a popular lunchtime buffet.
3401 S. 13th St., (414) 383-3553
Bombay Sweets is one of Milwaukee's most affordable Indian restaurants. It's a no-frills environment with stellar vegetarian recipes.
605 s. 1st St., (414)224-5444
2201 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 837-6121
The 1st Street location is a small eatery in a strip mall whereas the second location is a much larger, sit-down restaurant with traditional ambiance and a large buffet as well as a regular menu.
29130 N. 117th St., (414) 235-9220
The owners are the original owners of Maharaja and opened this full-service Indian restaurant in Wauwatosa. India Garden is known for its modern interpretation of classic Indian dishes.
7107 S. 76th St., (414) 235-9809
A casual strip-mall eatery in Franklin featuring curry, chicken tikka and other Indian staples along with a lunch buffet.
140 E. Drexel Ave., (414) 301-5091
A vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free Indian restaurant in Oak Creek.
Indian Village Restaurant
7640 W. Forest Home Ave., (414) 585-9777
A simple cafe in Greenfield offering a familiar menu of classic Indian fare, including a buffet and vegetarian dishes.
1550 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 276-2250
Maharaja is an East Side classic with a full bar and Indian menu along with a popular lunch buffet.
3400 S. 27th St., (414) 647-9600
Royal India is a sit-down restaurant with a lunch buffet and a full menu.
Shah Jee's Restaurant
770 N. Jefferson St., (414) 271-5354
3116 N. Downer Ave., (414) 800-6053
3933 S. 76th St.
Technically speaking, this is a Pakistani restaurant, but there's a lot of crossover in dishes and flavor.
Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant
5114 S. 108th St., (414) 427-5900
Easy-going Indian eatery in Hales Corner with classic like chicken tikka masala and goat curry that also delivers.
1117 S. 108th St., (414) 777-1600
Tandoor offers a lunch buffet and a full dinner menu. It's best known for its beef curry.
Taste of India
17800 W. Bluemound Rd., (262) 796-8200
A casual environment featuring a menu of traditional Indian/Indo-Chinese fare and a large lunch buffet.
Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.
As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.
She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that.
Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.
Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.
In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!
When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.