Why go: The most interesting restaurant in Rockville Town Square is this Indian dining room with billowing jewel-tone silks. The menu—crafted by Passage to India owner Sudhir Seth—is just as colorful, ranging from traditional curries to Bombay street fare to coriander-spiked margaritas.
What to get: Miniature potato-stuffed dosas with spicy coconut chutney; chili-cheese toast, an excellent bar snack; dahi papri chaat, a cold salad of potatoes, chickpeas, tamarind, and yogurt; bread pakora, chutney sandwiches with a ketchup-like dipping sauce; chicken tikka masala with an unexpected kick; chicken malbari; lamb stew with apricots; tandoori-charred pineapple; lychee mojito and martini.
Best for: A date that doesn’t feel budget; cocktails and bar snacks.
Insider tip: Weekdays from 5 to 6:30, you’ll find discounts on beer, wine, martinis, and some of the best small plates around.
See all 2010 Cheap Eats restaurants here