Most out-of-towners might not know that Manhattan has 2 Little India’s. The most popular one is in the East Village–Sixth Street between Second Avenue and Avenue A. But there is another Little India with excellent food and that is on Lexington between 27th and 29th. My favorite vegetarian food option in New York is Indian, although we do have a number of excellent vegetarian restaurants too. Indian food is great for a flexatarian crowd.
In the East Village, my personal favorite is *Haveli (100 Second Avenue)–but many are quite good. Haveli has a few nice features. The front window is broken glass–a distinctive visual. Also, the kitchen has a large (unbroken) picture window where you can watch the bread being made. In warm months there is outdoor seating on Second Avenue. The prices are reasonable and I love the naan, the chana saag, the vegetable curry, and the aloo matter gobi. I have had their chicken tikka masala as well and thought it was very good.
If you’re in the Lexington Avenue area there are some really good restaurants and great all you can eat lunch deals. I don’t know these restaurants as well but Dhaba (108 Lexington Avenue) is very good with an $11.95 lunch buffet on weekdays ($13.95 on Sunday). One of my favorite jaunts in this neighborhood is not Indian but has excellent Middle Eastern food and a grocery store where you could shop for hours. Every spice, rice and dried fruit known to humankind is available there. It is called Kalustyan’s (123 Lexington Avenue) and if you go, the prepared food is upstairs. Don’t miss the Mujaddara.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the Jackson Diner (37-47 74th Street) in Queens. For years it was considered the number one Indian restaurant in the five boroughs. I haven’t been in a long time but when I did go, it was excellent. I have heard that it has become overcrowded and commercialized but such is the fate of local quality.
*Since this post was written Haveli has gone under new management and I cannot recommend it. NB 12/14/16