9 Options For Great Indian Food

Some have colorful dining rooms. Others have spare tabletops. But they all pack in the flavor.


Choolah Indian BBQ. Photo by Richard Kelly.

Choolaah Indian BBQ

The setup of this fast-casual spot in the Mosaic District is designed to make Indian food easily accessible. The Choolah salad is topped with naan chips, pickled onions, roasted cauliflower, shredded paneer cheese and sustainably sourced salmon from the Faroe Islands in Scandinavia. The top-selling chicken tikka masala is made with air-chilled, antibiotic-free Bell & Evans chicken and cooked in one of the tandoor clay ovens dotting the open-air kitchen. Sit at a community table, choose a sauce from five on tap (including mint-yogurt and tamarind-apple), order a mango lassi or mint-ginger lemonade, and watch the action.

2911 District Ave., Merrifield; choolaah.com



American Tandoor. Photo by Daniel Mansfield.


The happy hour at this sleek Indian-Nepalese restaurant in McLean features $5 cocktails, $4 beers and a variety of traditional and fusion options, including cheese-stuffed jalapeno peppers served with plum chutney, and Nepalese steamed chicken dumplings served with tomato achar, a chunky sauce made with tomatoes, garlic, ginger, onion and chilies. A lunch buffet is offered daily.  The dinner menu features several unique shrimp dishes, including spicy, stir-fried Malvani shrimp in a southern Indian coconut sauce. The children’s menu includes a flatbread “pizza” topped with masala sauce and mild boneless chicken marinated in cream cheese and cumin.

1394 Chain Bridge Road, McLean; masalava.com


 American Tandoor

Both northern and southern Indian cooking are showcased at American Tandoor, located on the second floor of the Tysons Corner Center mall. The colorful, contemporary 4,000 square-foot dining room features an open kitchen with tandoor ovens, an outdoor covered patio (with hookah on Thursday nights) and plenty of seating at the bar, where you can order a blackberry lassi made with vodka, spiced blackberries and house-made yogurt, or a variety of non-alcoholic tropical fruit sodas. Butternut squash kofta (vegetable dumplings simmered in cashew and tomato sauce) and bone-in short ribs braised in ginger and garlic (breaking Indian tradition, this particular establishment serves beef) are worth sampling at dinner.  The children’s menu includes spicy lamb burgers and sliders made with potato samosas. Tots under five eat for free at brunch.

7943B Tysons Corner Center, Tysons; americantandoor.com

Categories: Food & Drink