100 Best Restaurants 2009: Indique Heights

No. 66: Indique Heights

Cuisine: Glammed-up Indian—anise-spiced crab cakes, cardamom-scented profiteroles, sweet mangotinis. But you’ll also find plenty of nods to tradition at this maze of a dining room: velvety curries and stews, Southern-style street snacks, and the best tandoori meats around.

Mood: Color-drenched silks and brocades, a turquoise-lit fountain, a stunning marble lattice in the lounge, umbrella-topped tables on the patio—the varied settings pull in Indians longing for the flavors of home, families out for an easy dinner, and happy-hour revelers.

Best for: A bountiful meal likely to yield leftovers; a leisurely shopping-day lunch; outdoor dining in summer.

Best dishes: Papri chaat, a cool potato salad with yogurt, tamarind, and cilantro chutney; fried samosas; paani puri, crisp shells to be filled from a beaker of tamarind water and eaten in one bite; miniature dosas stuffed with potato and served with five chutneys; tandoori chicken and lamb chops; shrimp varuval over lemony rice; chicken tikka makhani in tangy tomato sauce; ultra-fiery chicken chettinad; lamb biryani; layered bread called paratha; gulab jamun, puffs of pastry steeped in honey.

Insider tips: The excellent weekday-lunch buffet—all you can eat for $10.95—offers ten or so stews and curries plus freshly griddled dosas.

Service: ••

Open daily for lunch and dinner. Moderate.

See all of 2009's 100 Best Restaurant 

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.