Recommendations for restaurant on Devon Avenue in Chicago?
June 25, 2008 11:13 AM   Subscribe

Recommendations for restaurant on Devon Avenue in Chicago?

Going for Indian food on Devon Avenue in Chicago on July 4. Any recommendations on which restaurant to try? Buffet would be ideal as we are bringing a few Indian food newbies with us.

Thanks for the recommendations.
posted by kdern to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
My favorite favorite Indian in Chicago is a small place on Oakley, just north of Western, called Hema's. No buffet, but BYOB and reasonably priced. Always delivers.

Down the street from that, south of Western, is Bhabi's. Entrees are good, but the killer feature is their crazy naan. Get the pistachio naan. It's like a big naan pizza of flavor.
posted by sandor at 11:30 AM on June 25, 2008

NOT Tiffin, and NOT Viceroy. Everbody thinks that and Viceroy will be great. Nope. Lots of circus...not great bread.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:30 AM on June 25, 2008

When I was hunting for a buffet on Devon, my friends recommended Viceroy's. I've been maybe a dozen times and always enjoyed myself. Ultimately, though, I'm not sure the buffets up there really distinguish themselves. If any were bad, they'd be out of business.

If you've got time for a real sit-down though, everybody says Hema's (on Oakley just north of Devon) is outstanding albeit with terrible service. A fellow from India who visited my office basically refused to eat anywhere else while he was in town--he said he hadn't had food that good since his mom died.
posted by tsmo at 11:48 AM on June 25, 2008

Hema's screwed us over big time - their service is terrible. A friend called to make reservations. They said they normally don't take reservations but because we had a large-ish group, they would. We got there and there's nowhere to wait inside, so we waited outside in the cold - for an hour and a half. Some of our group actually helped clean off a table, thinking it would be ours, and they gave it to another group that had a similar not-really-reservation for a half hour AFTER ours.

We gave up and went to Viceroy, and it was perfectly delicious.
posted by misskaz at 12:18 PM on June 25, 2008

I would only recommend Hema's for a couple or maybe four people. It's tiny, and like eating in someone's living room. The time I was there, the family that runs the place had their toddler in a playpen in the dining room. I enjoyed myself, but I love Indian food. Keep in mind it's a small menu (no buffet), EXTREMELY informal (paper plates when I was there a few years go) and spicy hot. The spiciest Indian food I've ever had.

I know some people who have had terrible experiences there, horrible service, etc. I wouldn't take newbies there.

I know you're saying Devon. But IMO, the best Indian buffet in the city is on Grand near Clark called India House. Only marginally more expensive (about $14/person for buffet), but best and biggest selection, and fresh naan and tandoori chicken brought to your table. Clean, pleasant dining room, nice copper fixtures on the buffet, etc. Gets very busy weekdays at lunchtime.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 12:39 PM on June 25, 2008

I would consider going in town, but we'll be stationed in the suburbs for the rest of the day, and we're going on July 4, which means crowds will be in the city for Taste of Chicago and fireworks. Devon Avenue is still the plan.

So... Hema's or Bhabi's?
posted by kdern at 12:59 PM on June 25, 2008

Eh, it's not fantabulous, but I still think Viceroy is pretty good on most occasions. Their cooks seem to have different skill levels; one time I had a nigh-perfect makhani there that was the best Indian food I've had outside of India itself (and, in fact, better than the majority of those). On other occasions it's been much more run of the mill. I haven't been able to figure out the rhythm, so it's always a crapshoot.

I used to really like Bhabi's, but they sort of went downhill a while back (IMHO). I've heard they're back in the saddle though, which would seem to be the case based on the remarks above. So if buffet isn't crucial, then Bhabi's. If buffet is important, then I'll defend Viceroy. That makhani was so ridiculously awesome that I think it gave me brain damage.
posted by aramaic at 1:22 PM on June 25, 2008

I'm going to second third or whatever it is by now hema's. The aforementioned cheapness hasn't been there since I started eating there nearly daily, the family is wonderful, the food is pretty damn good, and it's nice that they'll adjust the spice to your palate. One of the few places that would actually make me ridiculously spicy food beyond midwestern american perceptions of spicy. It is very rather small and informal though as also previously mentioned.
posted by Teira at 6:31 PM on June 25, 2008

khans -- western and devon
posted by melodykramer at 6:42 PM on June 25, 2008

My coworker who grew up in Roger's Park (of which Devon is the southern border) says:

"The first place that is recommended on that link is called Hema's Kitchen. It is the best Indian food I am aware of in Chicago. I have taken perhaps a dozen different people to Hema's and they all feel the same way. One of these people was an Indian exchange student who said that it was the closest he had ever had to authentic indian food outside of India. Moderately priced and BYOB to boot. It is on Oakley like a half block north of Devon. Hope this helps." nth vote for Hema's.
posted by ztdavis at 8:37 PM on June 25, 2008

Mysore Woodlands is great vegetarian -- that would be my #1 recommendation to you. Sabri Nehari is tasty, too (and serves meat). Both are very large and should easily accommodate a group. Ghareeb Nawaz (east of the concentrated stuff on Devon) is amazing in that the most expensive thing on the menu is $5, but it's definitely a divey carryout/greasy spoon type of place (open until 2am!). Hema's is okay -- I wasn't impressed, but it was fine. Annapurna is a good snack shop (the chat is phenomenal).
posted by penchant at 7:36 AM on June 26, 2008

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