Our love of good Indian food is well-documented, from Everest Cuisine in Worthington to NeeHee’s Indian Vegetarian Street Food to the amazing Kebab Mehal in Edinburgh, Scotland.
But one we shouldn’t forget… New India Restaurant, tucked into a strip mall off Bethel Road. We’ve long been fans but have recently reconnected with it and remembered why we think it’s one of the best Indian restaurants in the city.
We have a long history with the owners of New India, as they owned the now-gone Mughal Darbar Restaurant that used to sit on High Street north of campus (now home to Cazuela’s). We loved Mughal then, and we’re happy to see that legacy carried on at New India.
So what do we like to get there? We’ll often start with a vegetarian platter or a house special platter.
This gives you a taste of samosas; onion bhaji; vegetable, chicken, and paneer pakoras.
We attempt to order something new every time we visit, but we’ll also keep circling back to old favorites.
You can’t go wrong with the saag paneer featuring a fresh, house-made cheese.
And our boys will swear by the chicken tikka masala. Creamy, tender, wonderfully seasoned.
The baingan bharta, a dish composed of roasted eggplant, onions, tomatoes, peas, and fresh herbs, is another old favorite from the Mughal Darbar days. Highly recommend this one.
During one visit our server recommended the matar mushrooms. We love all things mushroom-related, and this one proved to be a real winner. Big chunks of mushrooms tossed with green peas, tomatoes, spices, and cream.
The nav ratan shahi korma sautes assorted vegetables in fresh herbs with cashews and raisins. Usually not a fan of raisins in the things, but this one works.
Our server also suggested we try the chili cauliflower. It takes big, battered chunks of cauliflower, deep fries them, then tosses them with veggies in a soya garlic sauce. It has a wonderful heat that builds and builds.
Always order naan, too, starting with garlic naan.
The sinus-clearing murchi naan is generously coated with fresh green chiles and cilantro. Five out of five stars.
And absolutely don’t miss the fascinating Afghani naan. It’s positively coated with sesame seeds, then stuffed with cashews, raisins, and coconut. When you first lift it to your nose, it almost smells cheesy and savory, but then you bite in and get this mellow sweetness. It’s kind of mind-bending, and you’ll find yourself going back in for bite after bite.
And of course, you need to finish with a bite of sweet after all that savory spice! Try the gulab jamun (puffy fried balls floating in honey syrup) or kheer, a cooling rice pudding made with cardamom, nuts, and raisins.
New India Restaurant
5226 Bethel Center Mall
Columbus, OH 43220