Twin Cities South Asian Restaurant Rankings, 2022 Update


Here is the third edition of my Twin Cities Metro Indian/South Asian Restaurant Rankings. I posted the original in December 2020 and the follow-up in December 2021. At the end of that 2021 update I promised various things that I would do before the 2022 update. These included checking out the a la carte offerings from a couple of places I had only tried the lunch buffets at; trying the prominent Nepali restaurants in the metro; checking out Raag, Pizza Karma and the Muddy Tiger food truck; and checking out a location each of the Taste of India and India Palace chains. I am pleased to tell you that I only got around to doing one of these things: getting takeout from the India Palace in Burnsville. We had plans to eat at Everest on Grand and Himalayan that fell through at the last moment on a couple of occasions; and I only discovered at the end of the year that Muddy Tiger had been showing up regularly outside a bar in our town! I would promise that in 2023 I will keep the promises I made for 2022 but best not to over-extend myself.

But it’s not just that I am an unreliable liar. The truth of the matter is that I am a review team of one. We eat out once a week, usually, and that’s 52 reviews a year. Subtract the weeks when I/we are traveling or there are blizzards raging in southern Minnesota and the total number of review slots drops closer to 36. And as much as my family enjoys eating Indian food, it’s hard to convince them to eat at least one Indian meal out every month; especially when I also predominantly cook Indian food at home. All this to say, please continue to take these rankings with a large grain of salt. Not only did I not try most of the places I said I would in 2022, I didn’t even go back to most of the ones that were on the previous lists. As such, no restaurant I did not visit in 2022 has either dropped or risen in the rankings. I did revisit a few places though, and got to three places I had not tried before—so it’s not like this list is identical to the 2021 list.

And I should remind you that all three of these iterations of my rankings are largely indifferent to the genre of North Indian restaurant that is most popular among non-South Asian diners in the US. Some of them are represented in my rankings but I’m not very interested in them as I find them largely interchangeable and rarely very good: they don’t represent good investments for the limited review opportunities I have available. The Indian restaurants I continue to like best in the metro are all part of the new boom in Indian restaurants that I have mentioned before—South Indian in focus, aimed at the expanding South Indian population in the metro, and by and large located where that population is located: in the suburbs.

Okay, with all the preamble out of the way, here are the 2022 rankings. For restaurants I have not re-visited, I’ve not added any new description. As always, you can click on the restaurant name to read my most recent full review of a meal there.

Tier 1

Godavari (Eden Prairie)

We finally ate in at Godavari early this year and confirmed that their food is even better in person than it was as takeout. As such they handily retain their place in the top tier. Though they’re now there alone. That’s because Indian Masala drops into the second tier.

Tier 2

Dosa (Bloomington)
House of Curry (Rosemount)
Hyderabad House (Plymouth)
Indian Masala (Maplewood)
Kabob’s Indian Grill (Bloomington)
Kumar’s (Apple Valley)

We finally visited Indian Masala in person as well this year. Their weekend buffet is very popular and so we opted to try that. It was quite good but the meal, as a whole, was not on par with our 2020 and 2021 takeout experiences or with our meal at Godavari.  We’ll try to go back for a non-buffet meal in 2023 and reassess. Joining Indian Masala in the second tier is a new restaurant in Bloomington: Dosa. As the name would indicate, their specialty is South Indian food; their emphasis is on Tamil and Andhra dishes. We enjoyed our meal there greatly and would happily go back in 2023.

The three other Indian places and  Rosemount’s excellent Sri Lankan, House of Curry retain their places in the second tier; three of them by default. I did go back to Kabob’s and can indeed report that the weekday lunch thali made a return this summer—a major event for me. If you still haven’t tried this thali, you should really fix that. I also enjoyed my weekday lunch buffet at Kumar’s in November. I hope to do proper dine-in meals at both in 2023.

Tier 3

Aroma (Bloomington)
Bawarchi (Plymouth)
India Spice House (Eden Prairie)
NY Gyro (Columbia Heights)
Original Mediterranean Grill (New Brighton)

NY Gyro (the Columbia Heights branch specifically) enters the rankings in Tier 3. I ate there twice at the end of the year, once alone and once with the family and some friends. I liked both meals a lot. Their desi/Pakistani menu is very meat-heavy but the goat karahi and the naan are excellent, and the halwa-puri was not far behind.

The others in this tier remain unchanged. Check what I said about them in 2020 and 2021.

Tier 4

Bay Leaf (Eagan)
Bombay Pizza Kitchen (Eden Prairie)
Persis (Eagan)

The restaurants in this tier remain unchanged since 2021. Check what I said about them in 2020 and 2021.

Tier 5

Hyderabad Indian Grill (Bloomington)
India House (St. Paul)
Namaste India Grill & Brewhouse (Arden Hills)
Tandoor (Bloomington)

This tier also remains completely unchanged. Check what I said about the restaurants in it in 2020 and 2021.

Tier 6

India Palace (Burnsville)

India Palace was the first Indian restaurant we got food from this year and I’m sorry to say it was just not very good. I don’t mean to proliferate tiers but to put them on the same level as the four restaurants named above would be an insult to those places, whose food I generally enjoyed. So they’re here by themselves in Tier 6.

Launch the slideshow below to see photographs of dishes we particularly liked at all these places.

Alright, I’m sure I’ve offended/angered some of you with some of these rankings. If so, please let me hear it. But also please let me hear it if there are other new places I have not mentioned at all that you think are worth a close look—and especially let me hear it if there are other Pakistani places hiding in plain sight elsewhere in the metro.

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