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Dough with sauced chicken, and cheese sprinkled.
Superkhana International’s butter chicken calzone is now available in a smaller iteration.
Nick Fochtman/Eater Chicago

18 Great South Asian Restaurants in Chicago

Find great Indian, Nepalese, Pakistani food and more

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Superkhana International’s butter chicken calzone is now available in a smaller iteration.
| Nick Fochtman/Eater Chicago

Chicago South Asian food was poised to have a moment prior to the pandemic, with several high-profile restaurants opening, with the city’s interests peaking. But now, restaurants serving Indian, Pakistani, Nepalese, and Bangladeshi food — among other countries — are at a crossroads. Few have outdoor seating, and the city’s lawmakers were reluctant in offering them aid. They left many restaurant owners eagerly awaiting approvals on permits for sidewalk cafes and other amenities that were needed lifelines.

Still, the community lags as few restaurants along Devon Avenue — the hub for many South Asian immigrants — has few sidewalk patios. These business owners also face xenophobia and racism, some of it perpetuated by a media report that painted the area as a pandemic hotspot. A spike that started in May has subsided and the number of COVID-19 cases in the West Ridge neighborhood is below the city average, according to the city’s novel coronavirus dashboard. Though the numbers have stabilized since April, restaurant owners say the damage from that initial report was staggering.

But these restaurants, like others in the industry, continue to persevere. Some are finding their ways on to delivery platforms to expand their customer base. Others are opening patios using spaces in creative ways. Support these businesses below.

A number of Chicago restaurants have resumed dine-in service. The level of service offered is indicated on each map point. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Bombay Chopsticks by India House

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721 W Golf Rd
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
(847) 380-5775
Visit Website

Oh, so you don't know about Indo-Chinese food? The subcontinent isn't all about buffets, and Indo-Chinese food is growing more popular by fusing their savory flavors. Imagine Southeast Asian stir fries complemented by South Asian spices and starches. It's worth the trip to Hoffman Estates. A second location in Naperville is set to open in early September.

2. Ghareeb Nawaz

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2032 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659
(773) 761-5300
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This biryani house with locations on Devon and University Village, is one of the best places for a cheap eat in town, full of delicious rice and curry dishes. Their gyros spicy masala isn't Greek at all, but makes lamb approachable to those who act skittish.

3. Sabri Nihari Restaurant

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2502 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659
(773) 465-3272
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A former Michelin Bib Gourmand winner (until 2020), Sabri has been around for nearly 25 years. They have secured a rare patio space on Devon. This Pakistani restaurant’s signature namesake beef dish is memorable, as is the chicken boti, beef samosas, and lamb chops. Order to-go online.

4. Khan B.B.Q.

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2401 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659
(773) 274-8600
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No, you won't find meats slathered in sauce at this Pakistani spot. But it's a rare opportunity to find beef (Frontier beef) spiced the South Asian way. Don't sleep on the biryani, and mind the house rules, which are posted on the open/closed sign. Also, if you've ever wanted to try goat, this is the best place on Devon to sample the meat with several selections.

5. Annapurna Simply Vegetarian

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2600 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659
(773) 764-1858
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Annapurna is a quintessential Indian snack shop, and it’s vegetarian. Try the iconic Indian street food dish bhel puri (puffy rice mixed with potatoes, onions) that’s served with chutney. The textures and mix of sweet and savory make it work. The restaurant recently moved and it now offers patio seating.

6. Udupi Palace

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2543 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659
(773) 338-2152
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It's a perpetual struggle for lovers of South Indian vegetarian food: Mysore Woodlands vs. Udupi? Try the Thali at Udupi, the combo platter for veggie delights. And don't forget to sample the deep-fried puffy goodness that is the poori. Make sure there's some spiced potatoes at your disposal, too.

7. Sukhadia's

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2559 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659
(773) 338-5400
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This is a traditional Indian sweet shop that also serves solid chai. The chain has two local locations, on Devon and in Northwest Suburban Hoffman Estates. Snack wise, there's a smattering of vegetarian items like dosa and pani poori.

8. MOMO Factory

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3202 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 661-2970
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In Lakeview, this modest fast-casual Nepalese restaurant is a momo paradise with the cherished item available in numerous configurations. Food is fresh and flavorful. If dumplings don’t interest, don’t sleep on the rajma.

Celebrate the colorful of (dumplings) momo

Posted by Momo factory on Monday, February 3, 2020

9. Superkhana International

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3059 W Diversey Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 661-9028
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What started out as a pop-up series in bars has blossomed into a hip restaurant that blends Indian flavors with American applications. Superkhana International isn’t a regional restaurant, but one that specializes in riffs like a butter chicken calzone and a pizza made of Indian flatbread. The dhokla is a can’t miss dish, showing a traditional side. The space is only open for pick-up.

A baked and folded naan bread pocket on a blue and white plate stuffed with orange butter chicken sauce. Nick Fochtman/Eater Chicago

10. Chiya Chai

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2770 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(612) 481-3229
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There's probably not a better place for chai in Chicago. Chiya Chai, which opened earlier this year in Logan Square, features a mind-blowing assortment of teas brewed perfectly. There really is something for everyone inside this cute space. And there's the Nepalese food, featuring momos, this starchy and sticky dumplings filled with lamb and other goodies.

11. Tandoor Char House

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2652 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 327-2652
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Tandoor Char House has been a Lincoln Park and Lakeview classic for years, but more recently, the restaurant has challenged the traditional menu with burgers, tamarind chicken wings, and more. Folks can still find naan, and sizzling platters, but it’s the fusion dishes that stick out. They’re open for to-go, and also have a street-side cafe shared with two other restaurants across the street.

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

12. The Spice Room

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2906 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 360-8689
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The original owners of Rangoli have gone on to open another restaurant. Spice Room takes the traditional Punjabi menu Westerners are so accustomed to with great execution.

13. Cumin

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1414 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 342-1414
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Another Nepalese spot that serves great Indian food. This is where to try a momo, a Nepalese-style dumpling that's comparable to Chinese pot stickers.

14. Pakiza Restaurant

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1011 N Orleans St
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 266-7936

Guests will here all kinds of languages in this dimly-lit restaurant around the corner from Cabrini-Green. It's popular among cab drivers for hearty portions. The food skews Pakistani with tasty versions of frontier chicken and more. The naan is absolutely delicious and made to order.

15. Vajra

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1329 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 929-4990
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In West Town, Vajra is something truly exceptional — a full-service Nepalese and Indian restaurant with a full bar and imaginative cocktails. The momos maybe the best in Chicago. The classics are all there, but the tender goat chops — with yogurt marinade — is what will keep diners returning. Order via Tock.

16. Vermilion

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10 W Hubbard St
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 527-4060
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Vermillion is a well known quantity outside of Chicago, as Rohini Dey opened a New York location. But the original continues to thrive with sidewalk patio on Hubbard Street in River North. The name of the game is Indo-Latin fusion, with dishes like skirt steak with mole and an eclectic cocktail selection. It’s far from traditional, but still worth a visit.

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

17. ROOH

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736 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 267-2323
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A spinoff of a San Francisco restaurant, ROOH represents the biggest splash an Indian restaurant has made in Chicago in decades, occupying a prominent location along Randolph Street. Chef Sujan Sarkar has trained across the world and brings a precise touch to modern classics, like butter chicken, but also plays around with ingredients like jackfruit with unique results. Rooh has outdoor dining in a cute alley space.

18. Wazwan

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111 N Aberdeen St
Chicago, IL 60607
(708) 369-9564
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Wazwan is for the people, delivering halal favorites in a modern manner. The pop-up dinner series serves some of Chicago’s best South Asian food. But the pandemic has put a pause on that as ownership focuses on spicy chicken sandwiches and burgers sold out of Politan Row for pick up and patio dining. Be on the look out for pop-ups which include halal ramen and Filipino food. While Politan Row is closed, customers can order online for delivery.

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1. Bombay Chopsticks by India House

721 W Golf Rd, Hoffman Estates, IL 60169

Oh, so you don't know about Indo-Chinese food? The subcontinent isn't all about buffets, and Indo-Chinese food is growing more popular by fusing their savory flavors. Imagine Southeast Asian stir fries complemented by South Asian spices and starches. It's worth the trip to Hoffman Estates. A second location in Naperville is set to open in early September.

721 W Golf Rd
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169

2. Ghareeb Nawaz

2032 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60659

This biryani house with locations on Devon and University Village, is one of the best places for a cheap eat in town, full of delicious rice and curry dishes. Their gyros spicy masala isn't Greek at all, but makes lamb approachable to those who act skittish.

2032 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659

3. Sabri Nihari Restaurant

2502 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60659

A former Michelin Bib Gourmand winner (until 2020), Sabri has been around for nearly 25 years. They have secured a rare patio space on Devon. This Pakistani restaurant’s signature namesake beef dish is memorable, as is the chicken boti, beef samosas, and lamb chops. Order to-go online.

2502 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659

4. Khan B.B.Q.

2401 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60659

No, you won't find meats slathered in sauce at this Pakistani spot. But it's a rare opportunity to find beef (Frontier beef) spiced the South Asian way. Don't sleep on the biryani, and mind the house rules, which are posted on the open/closed sign. Also, if you've ever wanted to try goat, this is the best place on Devon to sample the meat with several selections.

2401 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659

5. Annapurna Simply Vegetarian

2600 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60659

Annapurna is a quintessential Indian snack shop, and it’s vegetarian. Try the iconic Indian street food dish bhel puri (puffy rice mixed with potatoes, onions) that’s served with chutney. The textures and mix of sweet and savory make it work. The restaurant recently moved and it now offers patio seating.

2600 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659

6. Udupi Palace

2543 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60659

It's a perpetual struggle for lovers of South Indian vegetarian food: Mysore Woodlands vs. Udupi? Try the Thali at Udupi, the combo platter for veggie delights. And don't forget to sample the deep-fried puffy goodness that is the poori. Make sure there's some spiced potatoes at your disposal, too.

2543 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659

7. Sukhadia's

2559 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60659

This is a traditional Indian sweet shop that also serves solid chai. The chain has two local locations, on Devon and in Northwest Suburban Hoffman Estates. Snack wise, there's a smattering of vegetarian items like dosa and pani poori.

2559 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659

8. MOMO Factory

3202 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657

In Lakeview, this modest fast-casual Nepalese restaurant is a momo paradise with the cherished item available in numerous configurations. Food is fresh and flavorful. If dumplings don’t interest, don’t sleep on the rajma.

3202 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657

9. Superkhana International

3059 W Diversey Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
A baked and folded naan bread pocket on a blue and white plate stuffed with orange butter chicken sauce. Nick Fochtman/Eater Chicago

What started out as a pop-up series in bars has blossomed into a hip restaurant that blends Indian flavors with American applications. Superkhana International isn’t a regional restaurant, but one that specializes in riffs like a butter chicken calzone and a pizza made of Indian flatbread. The dhokla is a can’t miss dish, showing a traditional side. The space is only open for pick-up.

3059 W Diversey Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

10. Chiya Chai

2770 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

There's probably not a better place for chai in Chicago. Chiya Chai, which opened earlier this year in Logan Square, features a mind-blowing assortment of teas brewed perfectly. There really is something for everyone inside this cute space. And there's the Nepalese food, featuring momos, this starchy and sticky dumplings filled with lamb and other goodies.

2770 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

11. Tandoor Char House

2652 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Tandoor Char House has been a Lincoln Park and Lakeview classic for years, but more recently, the restaurant has challenged the traditional menu with burgers, tamarind chicken wings, and more. Folks can still find naan, and sizzling platters, but it’s the fusion dishes that stick out. They’re open for to-go, and also have a street-side cafe shared with two other restaurants across the street.

2652 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60614

12. The Spice Room

2906 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

The original owners of Rangoli have gone on to open another restaurant. Spice Room takes the traditional Punjabi menu Westerners are so accustomed to with great execution.

2906 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

13. Cumin

1414 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Another Nepalese spot that serves great Indian food. This is where to try a momo, a Nepalese-style dumpling that's comparable to Chinese pot stickers.

1414 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

14. Pakiza Restaurant

1011 N Orleans St, Chicago, IL 60610

Guests will here all kinds of languages in this dimly-lit restaurant around the corner from Cabrini-Green. It's popular among cab drivers for hearty portions. The food skews Pakistani with tasty versions of frontier chicken and more. The naan is absolutely delicious and made to order.

1011 N Orleans St
Chicago, IL 60610

15. Vajra

1329 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

In West Town, Vajra is something truly exceptional — a full-service Nepalese and Indian restaurant with a full bar and imaginative cocktails. The momos maybe the best in Chicago. The classics are all there, but the tender goat chops — with yogurt marinade — is what will keep diners returning. Order via Tock.

1329 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60642

Related Maps

16. Vermilion

10 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60610
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Vermillion is a well known quantity outside of Chicago, as Rohini Dey opened a New York location. But the original continues to thrive with sidewalk patio on Hubbard Street in River North. The name of the game is Indo-Latin fusion, with dishes like skirt steak with mole and an eclectic cocktail selection. It’s far from traditional, but still worth a visit.

10 W Hubbard St
Chicago, IL 60610

17. ROOH

736 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661

A spinoff of a San Francisco restaurant, ROOH represents the biggest splash an Indian restaurant has made in Chicago in decades, occupying a prominent location along Randolph Street. Chef Sujan Sarkar has trained across the world and brings a precise touch to modern classics, like butter chicken, but also plays around with ingredients like jackfruit with unique results. Rooh has outdoor dining in a cute alley space.

736 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661

18. Wazwan

111 N Aberdeen St, Chicago, IL 60607

Wazwan is for the people, delivering halal favorites in a modern manner. The pop-up dinner series serves some of Chicago’s best South Asian food. But the pandemic has put a pause on that as ownership focuses on spicy chicken sandwiches and burgers sold out of Politan Row for pick up and patio dining. Be on the look out for pop-ups which include halal ramen and Filipino food. While Politan Row is closed, customers can order online for delivery.

111 N Aberdeen St
Chicago, IL 60607

Related Maps