There are so many good ethnic restaurants in Delaware that a comprehensive guide would fill an issue, so we’re offering it online. Here are some old and new favorites to consider the next time you get a yen for global flavor. Installment 5 of dining writer Pam George’s epic roundup from the February issue of DT is Indian. With its colorful presentation and fragrant spices, Indian cuisine is a feast for the senses.
Flavor of India (Dover)â€¨
Known for: Buffet lunch seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.—a must-do for Dover workers on the go.
â€¨Insider tip: Customers praise the chicken tikka masala—marinated chicken roasted in the clay oven with onions and peppers in a creamy tomato sauce. â€¨348 N. Dupont Hwy., Dover, 677-0121, flavorofindiade.com
Flavor of India (Newark)â€¨
Known for: Well-known northern dishes as well as southern Indian specialties, such as dosa, a fermented crepe, and deep-fried lentil donuts dipped in lentil soup. â€¨
Insider tip: The restaurant also offers Indo-Chinese dishes. Try the “balti” dishes, curries served in a particular wok-like bowl.â€¨2671 Kirkwood Hwy., Newark, 369-3993, flavorofindianewark.com
Known for: The buffet, of course, which on Fridays attracts a melting pot of local office workers in Casual Friday clothes.â€¨
Insider tip: The buffet usually includes soup—lentil or tomato but sometimes Mulligatawny—dosas, if available, onion bhaji and vegetable pakora. On the entrée table, aloo gobi, a medley of potatoes and cauliflower with onions in a tomato gravy, is a staple. It’s a good day when palak paneer is also available. Stop by the round relish table. Warm naan is typically brought to the table.â€¨3456 Naamans Road, Wilmington, 478-2428, indiagrille.net
Known for: Longevity. It opened in 1992, paving the way for Indian cuisine in Delaware.
â€¨Insider tip: Anything made in the 4-foot clay tandoor oven rules, from chicken tandoori to shrimp to the naan cooked on the oven’s side. Speaking of bread, there’s a lot of it, including the India Palace special, bread stuffed with spiced shredded chicken. Finish the meal with mango ice cream.â€¨101 N. Maryland Ave., Wilmington, 655-8772, indiapalacede.com
Nirvana Fine Indian Restaurantâ€¨
Known for: Providing the Indian element to Independence Mall and offering a bar.â€¨
Insider tip: The restaurant is under new management, and they must be tech-savvy because you can order online. There are numerous veggie options, including mixed vegetable pakora, vegetable palau and vegetable biriyani. And if naan is your idea of manna from heaven, you won’t be disappointed.â€¨1601 Concord Pike, Wilmington, 652-3846, nirvanade.com
Known for: Healthy Indian options. Many dishes have fewer than 600 calories. There are also gluten-free and vegetarian choices, and sauces are free of clarified butter and heavy cream. â€¨
Insider tip: Choose the “start” (rice, naan or salad) and build from there. Protein choices include tandoori chicken, chickpeas and farmer cheese (kadai paneer). Stymied? Order a prepared dish, such as the chicken tikka rice bowl or saag paneer salad bowl. In summer, try the Indian ice cream.â€¨209 N. Market St., Wilmington, 543-4958; 901 N. King St., Wilmington, 482-1163; zaikka.com