Best of Denver

Denver's five best Indian restaurants

We're equal opportunity in our love for Indian food, favoring specialties from both the north and the south, and marveling at the way chefs from all over the country blend spices into complexly layered stews. And here in Denver, we're always on the hunt for spots that stand out from the masses and offer us something special.

Unfortunately, Mirch Indian Grill, our Best Indian Restaurant in Best of Denver 2011, bit the dust shortly after the issue came out. But here are Denver's five best Indian restaurants that are still standing.

5. India's Castle The billowing tapestries and paper lanterns set the stage at India's Castle for one of the best northern Indian feasts in the city. The menu features excellent versions of familiar items, including spice-laced vindaloos, masalas and curries; flaky samosas stuffed with potatoes and vegetables; and meats from the tandoor oven, imbued with smokiness and char. 4. Cuisine of the Himalayas This Evergreen restaurant serves up a combination of Indian, Nepalese and Tibetan food, offering up curries, masalas, samosas and kormas that are all worth the drive up the hill. But the dish that brings us back over and over again? The lamb vindaloo, a graceful balance of tartness and heat -- and one of the only renditions in town that really gets it right. 3. India's Restaurant There's not much on the menu at India's that's particularly unfamiliar, but the place does the staples -- like tikka masala, saag paneer and vindaloo -- very, very well. It also has a lunchtime buffet that blows most lunchtime buffets out of the water, and you can sample as many of the Punjabi specialties as you can handle without worrying that you're getting a dumbed-down, mediocre version just because it's sitting on an all-you-can-eat line. 2. Masalaa Even the staunchest carnivore won't miss the meat at this all-vegetarian, mostly southern Indian place that's occupied an address in an Aurora strip mall for nearly ten years. Between the dosas, the idli, the uthappam, the aloo paratha, the chutneys and stew upon stew of curried vegetables, each brimming with delicate flavor combinations, we could just about be convinced to go veg ourselves if we could always eat at Masalaa. 1. Jai Ho Before they opened Jai Ho in the spring of 2010, Sathya and Sujatha Narayan, an architect and a realtor, respectively, had never owned a restaurant. But when they moved to the Denver area eight years ago from Vancouver, they noticed a gap in the Indian offerings. And so they filled it. Triumphantly. The restaurant features a menu of mostly southern Indian specialties, including dosas, gongura chicken and fish curries. The menu's difficult to decipher, but we've never been served a bad dish. Which is what makes this place, which I review this week, our very favorite Indian restaurant in town.

Know of a great spot we missed? Let us know below.

More Best of Denver Lists: - Denver's five best restaurants for blind dates

- Top five martinis in Denver -- good, better, Best!

- Denver's five best burgers

- Denver's six best pizzas

- Denver's five best dive bars

- Denver's five best dinners under $10

- Denver's five best first-date restaurants

- Denver's five best nachos

- Denver's ten best french fries

- Denver's five best green chile fixes

- Denver's five best dishes of mac & cheese

- Denver's five best breakfast sandwiches

- Denver's five best wings

- Denver's five best happy hours

- Denver's ten best draft beer lists

- Denver's five best spots for ice cream

- Denver's five best BBQ joints

- Denver's five best brunches

- Denver's five best spots for sandwiches

- Denver's five best street tacos

- Denver's five best hot dogs

- Denver's five best plates of fried chicken

- Denver's five best French restaurants

- Denver's five best dessert spots

- Denver's five best Chinese restaurants

-Denver's five best chips and salsa

- Denver's five best lunches under $5

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk