Many locals know that the heart of the Indian food scene in Portland is actually located west of the city, in Beaverton and Hillsboro, where restaurant options stretch into the double digits for South-Asian-supper seekers. This update sadly reflects losses felt in the western suburbs — as well as within the city — as the residual effects of the pandemic prompted a few more closures, including Open Tandoor and Chaaya, the latter taking along with it some of the best gobi manchurian around. But this map still highlights some of the best of the west, along with the noteworthy places in Portland proper stirring pots of earthy dal, spreading dosa batter into super-thin discs, pulling fluffy naan and red-hued meats out of the tandoor, and scooping bowls of steamy, saffron-scented rice.Read More
Where to Find Exceptional Indian Food in Portland
Intricate thali, crispy dosas, and more
Chennai Masala is sandwiched between a bank and a nail salon in a Tanasbourne strip mall. Inside, among dimly lit maroon and gold decor, diners choose from an extensive selection of curries and dosas, the latter of which extends a foot past the plate on both sides and is available in 17 different variations. Owner Sumi Raj opened the restaurant’s doors in 2006, and has built a solid reputation, with her restaurant being dubbed best in the Portland area by the Oregonian’s Michael Russell. The tangy and hot chicken Manchurian — a classic Indo-Chinese dish — should not be missed.
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Apna Chat Bhavan
This hidden gem is tucked inside an Indian grocery store in a small business park two blocks from Beaverton’s bustling Margarita Factory location. It’s essentially a small deli counter with a limited dining space; to-go orders are the smart move for this reason but also because wait times without calling ahead can be extensive, any time of the day. It operates on a surprisingly broad menu of appetizers and entrees, with plenty of Indian sweets positioned front and center in the display case. Ordering ahead online gives diners a live menu showing which items are currently in stock.
Siri Indian Cuisine
This Northwest Portland Indian restaurant has a wide assortment of Indo-Chinese fare, from lollipop chicken to gobi manchurian, as well as massive sheets of char-marked naan and sweet-tangy-spicy jalfrezi. Those seeking the warm comfort of butter chicken and vegetable korma won’t be disappointed here, either — especially if you can stand to save some for leftovers.
Deepak Kaul opened the bright, airy, and contemporary Bhuna in Nob Hill after creating buzz with his Kashmiri soul food pop-up in Culmination brewing — it even earned him Eater’s Chef of the Year title in 2018. The classic cocktail menu here features a subtle Indian influence, from the Old Fashioned made with a masala-spiced demerara sugar to the negroni infused with cardamom and curry leaf. It’s hard to go wrong ordering off the restaurant’s list of rice bowls, turmeric basmati topped with dishes like rogan josh made with Anderson Ranch lamb or rich and jammy Kashmiri tomato and eggplant. If traveling dining with a group, Bhuna offers a large meal served family-style, comprised of a handful of side dishes with naan, a veggie dish, two entrees, and four cardamom and chocolate chip cookies for $115.
Swagat — “welcome” in Hindi — expanded from its unassuming location in a repurposed Beaverton house to additional locations in NW Portland and Hillsboro. All three locations serve lunch and dinner, with familiar staples like lamb vindaloo and butter chicken available a la carte or in an intricate and generous thali, accompanied by a handful of small sides.
Dil Se Indian Cuisine
Squarely on the corner of SW Jefferson and 12th Avenue sits Dil Se, which describes its cuisine as a mix of southern and northern Indian dishes. Co-owner Ranesh Rajendran previously cooked at Chennai Masala, which means Dil Se also serves up crunchy and buttery dosas alongside bright chutneys and sambar for dipping; Dil Se also offers a variety of uttapam, a thicker cousin of the traditional lacy dosa. It’s currently open for takeout and delivery only during both lunch and dinner service.
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East India Co. Grill & Bar
In the heart of downtown lies East India Co., and while it’s known best for dishes like korma and makhani, the standout dish here is the machli ka tikka: Chinook salmon roasted with mustard, garlic, ginger, and curry in a fiery clay tandoor over hardwood. It is closed on Mondays, but otherwise open nightly for dine-in and takeout.
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DesiPDX, a food cart whose dark wooden siding is brought to life with long strokes of green and orange paint, is hidden behind Prost on North Mississippi Avenue alongside local cart heavyweights Matt’s BBQ and Fried Egg I’m In Love. Desi serves a number of stunning bowls and plates of Bengali five-spice basmati rice topped with everything from fenugreek-seasoned shrimp to rich and fragrant melanges of lamb and kale alongside coleslaw and pickles (only in the upsized plate portion) with an Indian twist. But it’s hard to leave without an order of the cardamom chai chicken, made with drumsticks brined for 24 hours and then steamed in tea, deep-fried in rice bran oil, and coated in a coconut sugar-based tea glaze.
Maruti Indian Restaurant
This completely vegetarian SE Hawthorne Indian restaurant offers an assortment of naturally meat-free dishes, like the eggplant-and-tomato-laden baingan bharta and the gently spiced chana masala, as well as various vegetarian biryani, vegan-cheese-topped naan, and tikka masala with potatoes and mushrooms. No visit is complete without the samosa chole, a cut samosa sitting on a bed of chana masala.
Sanjay Chandrasekaran, who pilots this vegan hotspot in Northeast Portland, grew up in New Mexico, so the menu is a blend of culinary traditions from the American Southwest as well as the Indian subcontinent. Vegan thali plates arrive with a handful of brightly colored sides, like meticulously spiced black bean masala and tangy kale in a tahini dressing; to start, order the Indo-Chinese roasted cauliflower with onions and bell peppers. At the bar, the Sudra staff slings inventive cocktails like the Hot Day in Bombay, comprised of gin, cucumber juice, lemon juice, soda, and mint syrup.
Inside both locations of Bollywood theater, where saffron-tinted walls bedecked with faded Sanskrit stretch upward to an open ceiling of exposed rafters, owner Troy Maclarty specializes in small plates and street food, like kati rolls filled with paneer and pickled onion, as well as vada pav — sort of like potato dumpling sliders with chutney. The under-the-radar stunner at Bollywood Theater, however, is the shop’s chai, well-balanced and unafraid of leaning into savory flavors. Its first location opened in 2012, and the second on Division in 2014.
Dwaraka Indian Cuisine
This Sunnyside Indian spot, with its wide assortment of dosas and pakora, is an ideal spot to snack on fried things and sip cocktails. For something more substantial, however, look to Dwaraka’s assorted house-made paneer dishes, from the creamy, pea-filled mutter paneer to the restaurant’s paneer tikka masala, which swaps the chicken for cubes of fresh cheese.
Flavours of India, LLC
This food stall is one of a handful inside the Rockwood Market Hall and boasts an expansive menu. Go for the restaurant’s popular chicken tikka masala, or branch out with harder to find dishes like malai kofta (cheese balls in a creamy sauce) or chicken do pyaza, a curry loaded with onions. To drink, comforting masala tea has an earthy flavor and is served piping hot.
Hello little India
Hello Little India sits in a Lake Oswego strip mall just off the I5 between an ophthalmologist and a hair salon, where, amid cream-colored booths and plain decor, emerges some of the most flavorful and aromatic dishes anywhere in the Portland metro. The move here is almost certainly the elegantly layered Hyderabadi-style biryani, served with a choice of protein or the chef's special, which features them all. The potent medley of herbs and spices linger on the palate long after eating here, along with a nice bit of heat.