Authentic flavors, buffet lunches, and unusual dishes shape the local Indian cuisine scene.
Tucson has a selection of Indian restaurants to frequent, and all of them are well worth a visit for different reasons. Here’s a roundup of places to get your flavor fix.
Flavor of India
12112 N. Rancho Vistoso Blvd., Oro Valley
Flavor of India brings authentic Indian cuisine to the far reaches of Oro Valley.
For starters, their freshly-made naan is an absolute must, and with seven different varieties to choose from, there’s reason enough to return.
Order the Tandoori Mixed Grill for an assortment of chicken, fish, lamb, and shrimp, and choose your spice level.
For more information, visit flavorofindia-az.com.
Gandhi Cuisine of India
150 W. Fort Lowell Rd.
At one time, Gandhi was the go-to for Indian food in Tucson. Nestled in a nondescript shopping center on the northwest corner of Stone and Fort Lowell, Gandhi offers a full menu and lunch buffet.
Lamb Meatball curry and Crawfish Malabar are the two popular dishes that keep diners returning.
For more information, visit gandhicuisineofindia.com.
Govinda’s Natural Foods Buffet
711 E. Blacklidge Dr.
Govinda’s features an all-vegetarian buffet. Surprisingly, they don’t use onions or garlic in their cooking but manage to amp up flavor through the use of spices.
Tuesday focuses primarily on Indian cuisine, while other days offer more eccentric options, including Vegan meals on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Just a heads up— the Indian entrées aren’t available a la carte. Also, samosas are excluded from the buffet cost.
For more information, visit govindasoftucson.com.
India Oven Cuisine of India
2727 N. Campbell Ave.
India Oven offers a lunch buffet and full menu specializing in North Indian and Punjabi cuisine.
Come for the Vegetable Biryani — a well-seasoned dish with basmati rice and vegetables, cooked in mild spices, with the addition of nuts — and Lamb Korma – a dish comprising of tender marinated pieces of boneless lamb cooked with onion, cream, nuts, and yogurt.
For more information, visit tucsonindiaoven.com.
4660 E. Camp Lowell Dr.
Although Indian Twist is a newer addition to the Indian food scene in Tucson, you can taste the decades of culinary experience within both the simple and complex menu items.
Must-have dishes include Gobi Manchurian — cauliflower fritters cooked in a chef’s special sauce — Mango Chicken, and Butter Chicken.
The lunch buffet is available 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. daily.
For more information, visit indiantwistaz.com.
Kababeque Indian Grill
845 E. University Blvd. Ste. 185
Kababeque is owned by the same people that own Saffron Indian Bistro.
As a fast-casual joint, service is quick. Food is always delicious, they deliver, and Kababeque offers one menu item unavailable anywhere else — Q Rolls.
Q Rolls are essentially Indian burritos filled with Chicken Tikka — among a few delicious choices — wrapped in a thin naan-like bread.
For more information, visit kababequeindiangrill.com.
New Delhi Palace
6751 E. Broadway Blvd.
Tucson’s only Eastside Indian restaurant offers a full menu and lunch buffet.
Ignore the dishes that can be found elsewhere and focus on the Cream of the Crop section of the menu.
Rarer dishes include Daab Malai Prawns — jumbo shrimps tempered with a five spice blend in a classic coconut cream curry from “Bengal” — and the garlicky Balti Gosht — lamb simmered in a pureed onion, ginger, and garlic paste, spiced with “balti” herbs.
Also, don’t miss out on the Chai Flan as a dessert option.
For more information, visit newdelhipalacetucson.com.
Saffron Indian Bistro
7607 N. Oracle Rd. Ste. 101
One of the fancier-feeling restaurants of the bunch, Saffron offers a full menu, full bar, and lunch buffet.
While the Chicken Tikka Masala is the most popular, don’t hesitate to try the Dhansak — a spiced dish cooked with lentils — and Rogan Josh — a tomato-based dish flavored by North Indian spices.
For more information, visit tucsonindianrestaurant.com.
853 E. Grant Rd.
Sher-E-Punjab is located in a semi-rundown shopping center at Grant Road and First Avenue, but it’s still a popular favorite among local chefs.
While the buffet is a local favorite, don’t miss out on the full dinner menu with a standout Tikka Masala and Vegetable Biryani. The selection of raitas and chutneys at the buffet is also notable.
For more information, visit sherepunjabtucson.com.
7265 N. La Cholla Blvd.
Tamarind chef Saumil Patel’s London background and formal culinary training help separate his cuisine from other Indian restaurants in Tucson.
For a sampler, order the Tandoori Mix with Chicken Tikka, Tandoori Chicken, Tandoori Shrimp, and Sheek Kabab.
For more information, visit tamarindoftucson.com.
5151 S. Country Club (inside BBQ Rush at LazyDays RV park)
At one time a beloved and ultra-popular food truck, the business has seen a series of incarnations as both brick-and-mortar restaurant and food truck since co-owner Mukhi Singh passed away suddenly in 2015. His wife, Roop Singh, who also played a key role in running the business, has carried the torch ever since. And the food is just as good as it ever was.
More info at Twisted Tandoor on Facebook.
Honorable Mention: Bombole
100 N. Stone (in the Pioneer building)
This modern interpretation of India-meets-Honduras offers Indian empanadas. There’s typically a few to choose from, including a vegetarian option. It’s super delicious, inexpensive, and fast.
Learn more about Bombolé at eatbombole.com.