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Ruth Tobias

8 Indian Spots to Try Now

Beyond the buffet are a dazzling range of regional specialties

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As with Thai, Chinese, and myriad other cuisines from the world round, Indian food in and around this town keeps getting better and better. Certainly the options are more diverse than they were just a few years ago, whether in the form of biryani chain outlets like Hyderabad House and Bawarchi or fusion-inspired kitchens like Roxie’s Tacos (not to mention Spuntino, where chef Cindhura Reddy laces her contemporary Italian menu with Indian influences).

Here are eight places, all opened within the past five years, that are doing their part — and doing it well — to broaden Denver diners’ horizons far beyond saag paneer and chicken tikka masala.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Zaika Indian Cuisine

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300 Nickel St #19
Broomfield, CO 80020
(720) 887-0400
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From one of the original owners of the nearby (and also very fine) Azitra, this semi-upscale Broomfield favorite has welcomed a couple of siblings since its opening in 2014, including a popular fast-casual outlet off Speer. But the flagship still does the date-night trick with a menu that includes contemporary creations as well as lesser-known regional dishes: zesty sautéed kale and eggplant, crab masala, chicken in cilantro-nut sauce, and more.

Ruth Tobias

2. Kattapas Kitchen

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6590 W 120th Ave, Suite B1 and B2
Broomfield, CO 80020
(303) 469-4148
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Run by a chef from Tamil Nadu, this comfy strip-mall storefront offers a few northern Indian staples, but the focus is decidedly on the cuisine of the southern regions — from the crunchy-soft fritters called mysore bonda, sprinkled with a confetti of chiles and herbs, to dum biryani with goat and intensely rich “coconut curry chicken” (aka chicken Chettinad) redolent of curry leaf. 

Ruth Tobias

3. Biju's Little Curry Shop

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4279 Tennyson St
Denver, CO 80212
(303) 975-6886
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Though Biju Thomas’s original mod-urban take on a roadside dhaba in RiNo has closed (as has the spinoff in Broadway Market), the Berkeley outpost isn’t going anywhere. In fact, Thomas is promising a menu expansion. In the meantime, he’ll still be slinging all the aromatic, vibrant, and robust — not to mention customizable — curry bowls, roti tacos, and snacks like samosas and spiced tater tots that made the flagship so popular to begin with. 

Biju’s Little Curry Shop has a bunch of options if you’re craving Indian cuisine. Jonathan Phillips

4. Spice Room | Neighborhood Indian Bistro

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3157 W 38th Ave
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 455-3127
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This cozy, dim-lit Sunnyside spot takes some liberties on its lengthy menu; note, for instance, the nontraditional use of salmon in a smattering of dishes, or the occasional nod to U.K.-style Indian food. That’s all part of the fun. Try the pani puri — paper-thin wafer shells that crack open like eggs for filling with mint water and a sort of chickpea-potato relish — and the pungent shrimp aachari.  

Ruth Tobias

5. Mint Indian Restaurant And Lounge

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1531 Stout St suite 130
Denver, CO 80202
(720) 405-2543
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The menu at this downtown dark horse runs the regional gamut while offering a few uncommon flourishes: lamb-and-egg-stuffed chicken, fried calamari, whole tandoori fish. The kitchen handles it all deftly, so mix it up with chole bhature from the north — chickpea stew accompanied by puffy fried flatbread for sopping — and complex, earthy Chettinad-style curry. Though not quite luxe, the interior’s spruce enough for casual client lunches and pre-theater bites.  

Indian chicken curry and bhatura. Ruth Tobias

6. Serene Cuisine of India

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2070 S University Blvd
Denver, CO 80210
(303) 284-6584
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Though much of the menu at this mod newcomer to the DU neighborhood is devoted to familiar standards from the north — saag, korma, tandoori kebabs — it takes a detour with its selection of Mumbai frankies. Think of them as Indian burritos, naan-wrapped and stuffed with various marinated meats, paneer, or potatoes as well as chunks of sauteed bell pepper and onion; they’re delicious, as is the “special naan” studded with bits of crispy ground lamb, potatoes, and garlic.

Ruth Tobias

7. Spice N Rice - Indian Restaurant & Grocery Store

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15468 E Orchard Rd
Centennial, CO 80016
(720) 242-9482
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What a find. With just a few tables along one windowed wall, the “dining room” in this mom-and-pop grocery store is barely more spacious or atmospheric than the adjoining aisles lined with rice, ghee, tea, and myriad other imported pantry staples — but no matter. It’s the sunny service and even more radiant assortment of street foods and snacks, mainly but not solely from southern India, that shine: billowy parotta to accompany spring-green veggie korma; lace-edged, crêpelike dosas filled with chili paneer; tangy papri chaat with plenty of crunch and herbal punch; and much more. 

Ruth Tobias

8. New Indian Cafe

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6886 S Clinton St
Greenwood Village, CO 80112
(303) 953-8692
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Done in hues of tomato red, leaf green, and sky blue, the airy, colorful dining room of this Greenwood Village specialist in South Indian cuisine sets the stage for a wide range of must-tries based on fermented rice and lentils. Enormous, springy dosas come stuffed with everything from spicy fried cauliflower to mutton curry. Uthappam has the delightfully starchy heft of a giant potato pancake spread with diced green chile and red onion. The lentil doughnuts known as medu vada are dense and savory; the steamed rice cakes called idli impossibly light and fluffy. 

Ruth Tobias

1. Zaika Indian Cuisine

300 Nickel St #19, Broomfield, CO 80020
Ruth Tobias

From one of the original owners of the nearby (and also very fine) Azitra, this semi-upscale Broomfield favorite has welcomed a couple of siblings since its opening in 2014, including a popular fast-casual outlet off Speer. But the flagship still does the date-night trick with a menu that includes contemporary creations as well as lesser-known regional dishes: zesty sautéed kale and eggplant, crab masala, chicken in cilantro-nut sauce, and more.

300 Nickel St #19
Broomfield, CO 80020

2. Kattapas Kitchen

6590 W 120th Ave, Suite B1 and B2, Broomfield, CO 80020
Ruth Tobias

Run by a chef from Tamil Nadu, this comfy strip-mall storefront offers a few northern Indian staples, but the focus is decidedly on the cuisine of the southern regions — from the crunchy-soft fritters called mysore bonda, sprinkled with a confetti of chiles and herbs, to dum biryani with goat and intensely rich “coconut curry chicken” (aka chicken Chettinad) redolent of curry leaf. 

6590 W 120th Ave, Suite B1 and B2
Broomfield, CO 80020

3. Biju's Little Curry Shop

4279 Tennyson St, Denver, CO 80212
Biju’s Little Curry Shop has a bunch of options if you’re craving Indian cuisine. Jonathan Phillips

Though Biju Thomas’s original mod-urban take on a roadside dhaba in RiNo has closed (as has the spinoff in Broadway Market), the Berkeley outpost isn’t going anywhere. In fact, Thomas is promising a menu expansion. In the meantime, he’ll still be slinging all the aromatic, vibrant, and robust — not to mention customizable — curry bowls, roti tacos, and snacks like samosas and spiced tater tots that made the flagship so popular to begin with. 

4279 Tennyson St
Denver, CO 80212

4. Spice Room | Neighborhood Indian Bistro

3157 W 38th Ave, Denver, CO 80211
Ruth Tobias

This cozy, dim-lit Sunnyside spot takes some liberties on its lengthy menu; note, for instance, the nontraditional use of salmon in a smattering of dishes, or the occasional nod to U.K.-style Indian food. That’s all part of the fun. Try the pani puri — paper-thin wafer shells that crack open like eggs for filling with mint water and a sort of chickpea-potato relish — and the pungent shrimp aachari.  

3157 W 38th Ave
Denver, CO 80211

5. Mint Indian Restaurant And Lounge

1531 Stout St suite 130, Denver, CO 80202
Indian chicken curry and bhatura. Ruth Tobias

The menu at this downtown dark horse runs the regional gamut while offering a few uncommon flourishes: lamb-and-egg-stuffed chicken, fried calamari, whole tandoori fish. The kitchen handles it all deftly, so mix it up with chole bhature from the north — chickpea stew accompanied by puffy fried flatbread for sopping — and complex, earthy Chettinad-style curry. Though not quite luxe, the interior’s spruce enough for casual client lunches and pre-theater bites.  

1531 Stout St suite 130
Denver, CO 80202

6. Serene Cuisine of India

2070 S University Blvd, Denver, CO 80210
Ruth Tobias

Though much of the menu at this mod newcomer to the DU neighborhood is devoted to familiar standards from the north — saag, korma, tandoori kebabs — it takes a detour with its selection of Mumbai frankies. Think of them as Indian burritos, naan-wrapped and stuffed with various marinated meats, paneer, or potatoes as well as chunks of sauteed bell pepper and onion; they’re delicious, as is the “special naan” studded with bits of crispy ground lamb, potatoes, and garlic.

2070 S University Blvd
Denver, CO 80210

7. Spice N Rice - Indian Restaurant & Grocery Store

15468 E Orchard Rd, Centennial, CO 80016
Ruth Tobias

What a find. With just a few tables along one windowed wall, the “dining room” in this mom-and-pop grocery store is barely more spacious or atmospheric than the adjoining aisles lined with rice, ghee, tea, and myriad other imported pantry staples — but no matter. It’s the sunny service and even more radiant assortment of street foods and snacks, mainly but not solely from southern India, that shine: billowy parotta to accompany spring-green veggie korma; lace-edged, crêpelike dosas filled with chili paneer; tangy papri chaat with plenty of crunch and herbal punch; and much more. 

15468 E Orchard Rd
Centennial, CO 80016

8. New Indian Cafe

6886 S Clinton St, Greenwood Village, CO 80112
Ruth Tobias

Done in hues of tomato red, leaf green, and sky blue, the airy, colorful dining room of this Greenwood Village specialist in South Indian cuisine sets the stage for a wide range of must-tries based on fermented rice and lentils. Enormous, springy dosas come stuffed with everything from spicy fried cauliflower to mutton curry. Uthappam has the delightfully starchy heft of a giant potato pancake spread with diced green chile and red onion. The lentil doughnuts known as medu vada are dense and savory; the steamed rice cakes called idli impossibly light and fluffy. 

6886 S Clinton St
Greenwood Village, CO 80112

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