All of these Indian restaurants in Somerville and Cambridge, Massachusetts are the best at something, whether it’s prompt service, affordable food or delicious dishes. Find out details below:
Diva Indian Bistro. 246 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144. (617) 629-4963. With its prominent, curving bar and luxurious, deep booth seating, Diva catches your eye. Though the dress code is casual, the stylish interior and attractive table presentation make you feel high-class, so go here to impress your date. It’s conveniently located right by the Davis Square T station in Somerville, and there’s a large public parking lot out back. Food here focuses on southern Indian cuisine, with excellent samosas and naan (flatbread). For an affordable meal (most prices here are on the high side), try their vegetarian dinner for two: a variety of dishes from sweet to spicy, including dessert. I love the food, but, with high traffic and understaffed service, Diva moves slowly, so I can’t give it a wholehearted recommendation.
Gandhi Restaurant. 704 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139. (617) 491-1104. Gandhi stands right on Boston’s main thoroughfare, Mass Ave, steps from the Central Square stop on the Red Line. Despite its central location, though, Gandhi seems to be less frequented, with constant openings in its small array of tables and booths. I have no idea why Gandhi is so quiet because the restaurant offers some of the area’s best Indian food at prices beaten only by Punjabi Dhaba (see below). Their curries taste rich, full-bodied and savory without being too sweet, while their basmati rice is fluffy, flavorful and moistened just the right amount. Try their lassi too. Gandhi may be low on ambiance, but high on service and taste.
Namaskar. 236 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144. (617) 623-9911. Much quieter than the other Davis Square Indian restaurant, Diva, Namaskar combines shiny hardwood floors with a narrow room full of small tables. Just like Diva, it’s on the Red Line (Davis Square T station) with plenty of nearby parking, so it’s not hard to get to. Namaskar always has open seats and available waitstaff, which used to make me nervous about the quality of the food, until I actually ate there. When I did, I discovered that Namaskar offers a solid array of Indian food. Sample everything during their eminently affordable lunch buffet, if you can. While the samosas taste slightly bland, the chicken curry is saucy without being overbearing and the rice pudding light and wonderful. Namaskar seems greasier and less chic overall than Diva, but the entrees cost less. Service is also much more attentive.
Punjabi Dhaba. 225 Hampshire Street, Cambridge, MA 02139. (617) 547-8782. Take a bus or a leisurely walk from Central Square to Inman Square, home of this popular purveyor of Punjabi food. Lines wind around the corner during peak hours, and the seating is loud and scant, but brave the crowds because Punjabi Dhaba serves up excellent food. Their meat samosas are filling and crispy, their lamb curry thick sinus-searingly spicy and their mango lassi a beautiful balance of sweet mango and sour buttermilk. Punjabi Dhaba offers the greasiest food of all the Indian restaurants listed here, but it comes quickly (despite the long lines), and it’s extremely cheap. How can you go wrong? Delicious!