Love Indian food? We do too. Here are 11 must-try Indian restaurants in Charlotte.
If you’re looking for modern, upscale Indian cuisine, Copper is the place to go. They offer plenty of classic dishes as well as more contemporary plates inspired by traditional Indian flavors.
Neighborhood: Dilworth, 311 East Boulevard.
Cost: $$ – $$$
Must-order menu items: Start with a round of potli samosas. For your main, you can’t beat the murgh tikka masala (that sauce though) but if you want to splurge/try something different, go with the kashmiri chili-fennel roasted lamb chops.
Dine-in or takeout: Definitely dine in. Located in a turn-of-the-century Dilworth bungalow, Copper has an upscale but intimate atmosphere. Every dish is plated beautifully and you can’t take the delicious craft cocktails to go.
Maharani Indian Cuisine
Maharani has been a Charlotte staple since it opened back in 2002. The owner and his wife are New Delhi natives and they pride themselves on their menu filled with traditional Indian cuisine. The name “Maharani” actually means “Queen,” perfect for the Queen City.
Neighborhood: Cherry, 901 South Kings Drive.
Must-order menu items: Two words: Butter chicken. Order it with a side of garlic naan. If you’re a vegetarian, check out their vegetable biryani.
Dine-in or takeout: Depends on your mood, but likely takeout. They have ample seating and a nice atmosphere but takeout is always an option if you’re feeling like a homebody. (And who isn’t these days?)
The Blue Taj
Located in the popular Ballantyne Village shopping center, The Blue Taj is a Charlotte favorite. Their menu is a nice mix of traditional and modern Indian cuisine. On weekdays they offer an express lunch that gets you an entree, soup or salad, naan and rice for around $11.
Neighborhood: Ballantyne, 14815 Ballantyne Village Way, Ste. 170.
Must-order menu items: Kick things off with a cup of the tomato-coconut bisque. The masala-chili cauliflower florets appetizer is also outstanding. Next, go with the Southern Indian Style aromatic curry. You can add your choice of protein (I went with chicken) and, depending on your heat tolerance, you can choose your level of heat on a scale ranging from one to five.
Dine-in or takeout: Dine in. You’ll really enjoy the ultra-cool, modern vibe and you can sip cocktails at the Bubble Bar.
Saffron Indian Cuisine
Located in the small but bustling community of Ayrsley, Saffron consistently serves up delicious, innovative Indian cuisine. Chef and co-owner Sunil Handa first learned how to cook in his mother’s kitchen, went on to work as a chef in numerous 5-star hotels in New Delhi and, since 2008, he’s been gracing the QC with his tantalizing flavors from India.
Neighborhood: Ayrsley, 2135 Ayrsley Town Boulevard Ste. B.
Must-order menu items: No question, order the Maharaja dinner for two. For $49.99, you get a chicken malai kebab appetizer, tandoori chicken and lamb boti kebabs, two curried entrees, naan, a side dish of the vegetable of the day, rice AND dessert.
Dine-in or takeout: If the weather is nice, dine on Saffron’s patio. It’s a great spot to enjoy a bottle of wine with dinner.
Jaipur Indian Restaurant
Located in a strip mall off South Boulevard, Jaipur is one of those hole-in-wall, hidden gem-type spots. They specialize in serving no-frills traditional, authentic Indian cuisine. On weekdays, they offer $7 lunch takeout deals. On weekends, they have both a lunch and dinner buffet.
Neighborhood: Closeburn-Glenkirk, 5909 South Blvd.
Must-order menu items: Start with the vegetable or lamb samosas. Then go with one of the madras curries. Grab an order of the mixed naan on the side; it’s stuffed with fresh onion, garlic, green chili and cilantro.
Dine-in or takeout: Takeout. Jaipur offers delivery for $3 within a 5-mile radius, which means you could be enjoying warm naan and tandoori chicken from the comfort of your couch.
Botiwalla is an Indian street food concept located in Optimist Hall.
Neighborhood: Optimist Park, 1115 N. Brevard St.
Must-order menu items: Their lamb burgers, chicken tikka roll, and “SPDP” puffs.
Dine-in or takeout: Dine-in. While in-house seating is currently unavailable, Optimist Hall has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.
[Related story: 6 things to know about Botiwalla, an Indian street food restaurant now open in Optimist Hall]
Passage to India
This University City spot is a takeout/delivery haven for locals. They offer a huge menu with both Northern and Southern Indian cuisine as well as Indo-Chinese dishes. If you’re looking for a solid, no-fuss Indian place, Passage to India won’t disappoint.
Neighborhood: University City, 9510 University City Boulevard #101.
Must-order menu items: The ellam calamari and onion bhaji are both standout appetizers. If you want a veggie entree, go with the vegetable jalfrezi. If you’re looking for meat, try the lamb biryani. Get the gulab jamun for dessert (fried cheese balls soaked in sugary syrup).
Dine-in or takeout: Takeout. This is a solid takeout spot and they even offer delivery for only $2.99 extra.
Bombay Grille has been part of the Charlotte food scene since 2000. They specialize in Northern Indian cuisine and tandoori-style cooking. They pride themselves on turning out traditional, authentic Indian fare. They have a lunch buffet offered every day if you want to get a full sampling.
Neighborhood: South Charlotte, 8706 Pineville-Matthews Road Ste. 170.
Must-order menu items: Go with the cheese-garlic naan and either the tandoori chicken or goat curry. Try the palak paneer if you want a vegetarian option.
Dine-in or takeout: Opt for takeout. They also offer delivery within a 15-mile radius from Sunday-Friday for dinner.
This no-frills restaurant near Camp North End serves Indian and Nepali cuisine. It’s one of our new favorites and even made it on our best new restaurants list of 2020. If you’re looking for bright spots from the past year, this is one.
Neighborhood: North Charlotte, 630 W 24th St.
Must-order menu items: Samosa chaat, tandoori shrimp, chili garlic naan and mango lassi.
Dine-in or takeout: Takeout.
Chaat ‘N’ Dosa
Chaat ‘N’ Dosa is a primarily vegetarian and vegan restaurant serving up authentic Indian street food. And, most of the items on the menu are under $10.
Neighborhood: Ballantyne, 8624 Camfield St C.
Must-order menu items: Malabar Parotta with curry, Chole Bhature, Aloo Tikki and Vadas and Idly.
Dine-in or takeout: Up to you. Ordering in-store is completely contactless, but if you’d prefer to dine at home you can opt for carryout or delivery.