When it comes to comfort food, it’s hard to beat Indian flavors. From warm naan and roti to butter chicken, chana masala and flavorful curries, Indian cuisine is packed with warmth, flavor and surprising health benefits.
“The magic of Indian food is in the spices,” explains Rajesh Tank, local franchise manager at Wilmington’s newly opened Honest Indian Restaurant. These spices—coriander, turmeric, cardamom and clove, to name a few—are rich in probiotics and natural remedies.
From longstanding community favorites to modern and trendy Indian bars and restaurants, here’s where to find top-notch Indian cuisine across Delaware.
The menu at this no-frills North Wilmington restaurant ranges from South to North and specializes in tandoori dishes, curries and biryanis. Diners also enjoy options like chicken, lamb and vegetarian dishes.
2909 Concord Pike, Wilmington | 478-3765
Typical of the chains that are making inroads here, this Indian restaurant is careful to entice rather than intimidate with its menu. To achieve this, the menu doesn’t shy away from beloved ingredients like mutton and such consistent favorites as (you guessed it) biryani.
270 University Drive, Newark | 525-6099
As 2023’s Best of Delaware winner for Indian food in upstate Delaware, it’s safe to say Curry & Cocktails impresses local diners. By combining traditional Indian flavors with an upscale neighborhood pub feel, this Middletown favorite earned a reputation for both upscale cocktails and contemporary atmosphere. Diners also rave about the food, including butter chicken, chili garlic naan and much more.
442 East Main Street, Middletown | 524-4308
Thanks to an organic menu and a daily lunch buffet, many Dover diners love Flavor of India. The experience leaves them raving about the fresh and warm naan, parantha and roti breads. Highlights also include the tandoori oven specials and specialty Indian desserts like Rasmalai.
348 N. DuPont Hwy., Dover | 677-0121
Rare among local Indian restaurants for its willingness to describe and explain dishes on the menu, this chain specializes in South Indian, but seems to cover all of its bases, from Indo-Chinese to tandoori to biryani to roti.
3615 Kirkwood Hwy., Wilmington | 999-0286
This newly opened Wilmington eatery offers a taste of Indian street food with an all-vegetarian menu. The franchise provides a wide range of street food-inspired dishes. For example, highlights include sev puri, dahi puri, chur chur naan and bhaji pav. As the chain’s signature dish, the bhaji pav is a must-try with warm buttered dinner rolls and a thick vegetable gravy. The eatery is also modernized and suits the American lifestyle, offering online ordering for pickup or delivery, and quick dine-in options for diners on the go.
3100 Naamans Road, Wilmington | 524-4470
Though the menu doesn’t stray too far from familiar territory, this northern New Castle County favorite has earned its reputation. The prices are fair, the meat is all-halal, and the team has been serving up Indian classics since 2001.
3456 Naamans Road, Wilmington | 478-2428
Good prices and high-quality flavor help counter the unenviable location of this longtime insiders’ favorite. India Palace earned a reputation for its owners’ conviviality and honest, heartfelt cooking. Diners also love the tandoori oven specials.
101 N. Maryland Ave., Wilmington | 655-8772
There’s a decidedly upscale edge to the food and the feel of this beach destination, which kindly notes its vegan selections on the menu. Indigo also works to keep an authentic, uncompromising edge in a world full of homogenized Indian food. As one reviewer breathlessly notes: “One of the spiciest curries we’ve had west of the Atlantic Ocean.”
44 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach | 212-5220
Maharaja serves a splendid selection of stuffed dosa crepes, along with a truly solid assortment of vegetarian and vegan options. Because these menu details help set Maharaja apart, the eatery has thrived for over a decade.
1450 Capitol Trail, No. 121, Newark | 369-1202
Located inside the Best of Delaware award-winning New Castle Farmers Market, Masala Kitchen is a local favorite. The all-vegetarian menu takes some intriguing leaps into Indian street food. For example, the menu includes deconstructed samosas and other out-of-the-ordinary finds.
New Castle Farmers Market, 110 N. DuPont Hwy., New Castle | 544-6979
Named for a traditional folk dance from India, performed during festivals and celebrations, this Best of Delaware award-winner impresses beach-goers with small plates like tandoori prawns and an extensive Indian seafood menu. Naan and roti, vegetarian options and an impressive wine list round out the dining experience.
210 Savannah Road, Lewes | 644-1747
This Wilmington favorite quickly gained a core group of devoted regular customers by covering all the bases and doing it well. Regulars also love to take advantage of the dine-in and takeout deal to get a free appetizer with the purchase of two entrees.
2314 Carpenter Station Road, Wilmington | 475-0840
North vs. South: Which Is for You?
It’s nearly impossible to neatly divide the rich culture of the country into two categories. However, comparing North Indian food to South Indian provides a basic understanding of the varied approaches to Indian cuisine.
Many of the dishes we enjoy in America—a dish of cheese cubes simmered in spinach known as palak paneer, breads such as naan and roti, and the dumplings called samosas—hail from North India, where wheat is generally favored over rice as a starch. The spice garam masala—a heady mix of peppercorns, coriander, cloves, cinnamon and other ingredients—is prevalent in the north, where colder winters call for warming flavors. Grilled meats, chickpeas and lentils are also found in abundance, and the dishes are frequently creamier, heavier than elsewhere. Don’t be surprised to see yogurt in your dish.
It’s less common to find restaurants that specialize in the cuisine of South India or other regions, but several in Delaware are mindful of its appeal. Among them are Godavari and Bawarchi in the Wilmington area. In the south of India, lentils and rice are pre-eminent over wheat—manifested in such dishes as the crepes called dosas. The pleasantly sour accents of tamarind are common, and seafood makes an occasional appearance. Coconut is encountered frequently here, and the spice level is generally on the higher side.