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Tandoori Chicken at Indian Twist (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

The Best Indian Food In Tucson

Updated March 5, 2024

Indian food represents many different regions and cooking styles, featuring far more than the curries that it is popularly known for — though those are certainly found in abundance at Tucson’s Indian restaurants. For religious reasons, beef and pork are not common in the Indian diet, but carnivores can enjoy plenty of chicken, lamb, and seafood dishes. Most Indian restaurants have large sections of their menus devoted to vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes, too.

Kitchens are almost always accommodating about adjusting spice levels but as a rule of thumb, the hottest dishes are the vindaloos, while the mildest are the kormas and biriyanis.

These are our favorite Indian restaurants – or restaurants that regularly serve Indian dishes. Enjoy!

Learn how we create our guides here.

an overhead picture of pastries
Pastry Empanadas at Bombole Eatery (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

Bombolé Eatery

India-meets-Honduras at this downtown restaurant, where Indian empanadas are among the featured offerings. The appealing fillings include both meat and vegetarian options — and you can get doughless versions for a gluten-free treat. Among the other cross-cultural dishes is Chicken Chipotle Masala. Bombole is super delicious, inexpensive, and fast, making it a great spot for a healthy and casual lunch.

(Photo Courtesy of Flavor of India)

Flavor of India

You’ll be spoiled for choice at Flavor of India, which brings authentic Northern Indian cuisine to Oro Valley. Starters include a variety of pakoras, samosas, and naans, while lamb, chicken, fish, and seafood turn up in masala, curry, biryani, and kebab entrees. There are plentiful vegetarian options too. Can’t decide? Order the Tandoori Mixed Grill for an assortment of chicken, fish, lamb, and shrimp, and choose your spice level. Whatever your preference, you’ll want to keep coming back and working your way through the menu.

a picture of indian food
Samosas (Photo courtesy of Gahndi Cuisine of India)

Gandhi Cuisine of India

Gandi has been serving authentic northern Indian dishes to its many devoted fans since the late 1990s. The interior is adorned with traditional Indian art pieces, including a massive depiction of the Taj Mahal.

The daily buffet offers a variety of tempting dishes. Among the restaurant’s claims to foodie fame: the Crawfish Malabar, Lamb Meatball curry, and, for vegans, the Navrattan. Great for a quick lunch or a leisurely dinner with friends.

a bowl of food on a plate
Vegan food at Govinda's Natural Foods Buffet (Photo credit: Hannah Hernandez)

Govinda’s Natural Foods Buffet

Foodie Favorite:
Addie Ibarra

“Even as a non-vegetarian, Govinda’s is one of my favorite buffet options in town. Govinda’s is the good kind of buffet where everything tastes homemade and you have enough options to get the most bang for your buck, but you don’t hate yourself after. And there’s even a peacock around!”

A serene oasis in midtown — except for the occasional cries of the peacocks that roam the patio —  Govinda’s features an all-vegetarian buffet. The dishes tend to avoid onions or garlic, but the flavor is amped up through an expert use of spices.

Tuesday evenings focuses primarily on Indian cuisine, while other days offer more eclectic options, including in the all-vegan meals on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Be sure to check out the monthly calendar for a day-to-day menu.

India Oven (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)

India Oven

Foodie Favorite:
Sam Jump

“My second visit to India Oven, Raksha offered to make any vegetarian options vegan for me. That care and mindfulness made me a lifer. And don’t even get me started on their samosas.”

A Campbell Avenue favorite for more than 25 years, India Oven offers a lunch buffet and extensive menu specializing in North Indian, especially Punjabi, cuisine.

Those who walk on the mild side will enjoy the Vegetable Biryani — a well-seasoned dish with basmati rice, vegetables, and nuts, cooked in mild spices — and Lamb Korma, tender marinated pieces of boneless lamb cooked with onion, cream, nuts, and yogurt. There are plenty of vindaloo dishes and curries too for those who prefer a bit (or a lot) of heat.

Photo Courtesy of Indian Twist

Indian Twist

If there’s a “twist” to the much praised Indian Twist, perhaps it’s the gourmet spin on many traditional dishes by chef and owner Jimmy Aujla, whose culinary training can be traced back to his days volunteering at a Sikh temple in the Odisha city of Bhubaneswar when he was 12 years old. His experience was honed at restaurants his family owned in Washington State, Oregon, and California. Having Indian beer on tap is an unusual feature too, and the room is beautifully designed.

Everything is fresh and wonderfully spiced; the naan bread is cooked to order even for buffet items. Must-have dishes include Gobi Manchurian — cauliflower fritters cooked in a chef’s special sauce — Mango Chicken, and Chili Pakora.

(Photo Courtesy of Kababeque Indian Grill)

Kababeque Indian Grill

Kababeque is owned by the same folks that own Saffron Indian Bistro (see below), although it’s considerably more relaxed in its vibe as well as less expensive.

As might be expected at a fast-casual joint near the university, service is quick. The food is always delicious, and Kababeque offers one menu item unavailable anywhere else — Q Rolls. These are essentially Indian burritos filled with Chicken Tikka wrapped in a piece of thin naan-like bread.

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(Photo courtesy of Lemongrass Restaurant)

Lemongrass Restaurant

Driven by the vision of Dr. Tank Ojha, a world traveler from Nepal, this place serves up some seriously tasty, authentic, and organic food. Their homegrown veggies make dishes like the Chicken Curry, Lentil Patties, and Chicken Rice Bowl out-of-this-world good. They’ve also got great options for plant-based eaters, like vegan fried rice and noodles with spinach sauce. Choose your spice level, find a seat indoors or outside on the patio, and remember to save room for dessert.

Photo Courtesy of New Delhi Palace-Cuisine Of India

New Delhi Palace-Cuisine Of India

Foodie Favorite:

“With so many choices here, picking my fave might be tough, but not really. I dream about the Peshawari Lamb Chops which are served in a traditional pot called a kahrai. Add naan and some fluffy rice for a fine dinner.”

Tucson’s oldest Indian restaurant, New Delhi offers a creative and wide-ranging menu as well as a lunch buffet. Rarer dishes include Daab Malai Prawns, jumbo shrimps tempered with a five-spice blend in a classic coconut cream curry; the garlicky Balti Gosht, lamb simmered in a pureed onion, ginger, and garlic paste; and the terrific Chocolate Samosas, filled with raspberry chutney and roasted almonds. Tandoori wings and Indian-spiced onion rings are a tasty cross-cultural spin on American classics.

(Photo courtesy of Saffron Indian Bistro)

Saffron Indian Bistro

Foodie Favorite:

“Fabulous Indian Food… More expensive but worth it.  Everything is good there.  Vegetable Malabar is unique to them and their Chana/Bhature with a cold beer is fucking heaven.”

With its colorful banners and starburst chandeliers, the dining room of this longstanding Oro Valley restaurant is bright and stylish. The food is similarly bold and sophisticated, with recipes from two London chefs. The care in cooking can be seen in the menu’s most popular dish, Chicken Tikka Masala, slow simmered in fresh tomato sauce with cream; in the Tandoori Chicken, marinated overnight in yoghurt and more than 20 herbs and cooked in the very hot tandoor oven; and in the vegetarian Bain Barta, which uses green chiles, ginger root, and coriander leaves to add pizzazz to smoked eggplant.

And UArizona students are in luck: Owner Mintu Sareen, whose first Indian restaurant in Tucson was Kebabeque (see above), opened another casual spot, Saffron Bites, on campus so you can get your Indian food fix between classes.

Curry Lamb at Sher-E-Punjab (Photo credit: Jackie Tran)


Foodie Favorite:
a man smiling for the camera
Manish Shah

“Everday Indian Food… Homestyle cooking.  Love the Lamb Vindaloo extra spicy and their Baingan Bharta (eggplant).”

Tucked into a Grant Road strip shopping center, Sher-e-Punjab is a popular favorite among local chefs. The family-run restaurant has specialized in authentic homemade Northern Punjabi Indian cuisine since 1998, and the head chef ‘s 25 years of culinary experience shows in the fresh ingredients and well-executed dishes. Some of our favorites include the Chicken Tikka Masala (creamy and delicious) and Veggie Samosas (warm and fluffy). The selection of raitas and chutneys at the buffet is impressive, as well!

a close up of food on a table
Spice Garden Indian Cuisine (Photo courtesy of Discover Marana)

Spice Garden Indian Cuisine

Foodie Favorite:
a man smiling for the camera
Manish Shah

“Out-of-the-box Indian Food… it’s way the hell out there, but totally worth it. The Gobi Manchurian is awesome, Mysore Masala Dosa is fire, Mehti Chaman is sublime — plus they are the only restaurant [in Tucson] that makes these dishes!”

With a commitment to fresh and authentic flavors, Spice Garden offers a blend of North and South Indian cuisine, and is renowned for its unique use of herbs and spices. Dig into one of their curry bowls (the Tikka Masala and Butter Chicken are both excellent), or enjoy the Sambar Dal (South Indian lentil stew with veggies, ginger, dry red chilis, and more).

Along with excellent dinner offerings, there are great lunch specials to boot.

Photo Courtesy of Tamarind


This stylish dining room in Oro Valley is the domain of chef Saumil Patel, whose London background and formal culinary training help distinguish his Indian-fusion cuisine. Although South Indian and North Indian styles are both on the menu, Patel also brings some Gujrati and Indochinese influences to the table. Examples are Bhagare Baingan, eggplant braised in a tamarind and peanut sauce, and Murg Methi Malai, Reshmi chicken in a fresh fenugreek cream sauce. Egg dishes and goat dishes also set this menu apart from those at other Indian restaurants in town.

Jimmy Aujla of Zyka Twist (Photo by Kim Johnston)

Zyka Twist

Located on 4th Avenue near the University of Arizona, Zyka Twist is another creation of Indian Twist chef and owner Jimmy Aujla (see above), and it gets as many accolades as his midtown venture. Dishes garnering particular praise including the Mango Chicken, Lamb Tikka Masala, and Garlic Naan, and diners appreciate the kitchen’s ability to cater to their heat preferences and food sensitivities.

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