10 Dishes To Order In Any Indian Restaurant Without Thinking Twice- First Timer’s Guide

indian restaurant

India is not only diverse in its culture but also the Indian cuisine has its own diversity. There are plenty of dishes that are prepared in a hundred different ways in different parts of India so you can know how much dishes are there to taste, you do the math. India can be a paradise for food lovers. Every corner of the street has a restaurant or street food stall that would serve delicious dishes. But what if you are coming to India for the first time and you are confused about what to order in an Indian Restuarant? Yeah! The restaurant menu can be really overwhelming with thousands of dishes to choose from.

But there are a few dishes which are stapled to every Indian Restaurant and you can order those dishes without having second thoughts in mind. So let's dive straight to the food. I'M ALREADY HUNGRY!

1. Naan

Naan is basically Indian flatbread which is made out of plain flour and cooked in a tandoor. It's basically used as a side dish. Typically, it will be served hot and brushed with ghee or butter. It acts as a spoon to the soup or dipped in chutney or gravy based dishes.

You can also get stuffed naan which would include stuffing of either potato or paneer (Cottage cheese).

Naan served in Indian restaurant
Naan served in Indian restaurant

2. Kadai Paneer

This is another famous dish found in basically all North Indian Restaurant. Its a cottage cheese dish prepared with thick tomato based gravy with a lot of spices. It's really one dish you need to try. It is served with naan or Chapati which is another flatbread immensely used in India as a side dish to gravy based dishes.

Kadhai paneer Served in Indian restaurant
Kadhai paneer Served in Indian restaurant Pic- Gofers

3. Butter Chicken

For non-vegetarian lovers, butter chicken is one favorite non-veg dish eaten here. It's basically chicken cooked in spicy thick butter based gravy. It's delicious and heavy. Like really heavy so you need to be really hungry to order this dish then only you'll be able to finish it. Get comfortable in your seats, loosen that belt and start digging in.

Its nothing like the taste you get in Indian restaurants in foreign countries the taste is completely different.

Butter Chicken served in Indian Restaurant
Butter Chicken served in Indian Restaurant Pic- google

4. Dosa

A dosa is basically a flat sour and crispy pancake which is served with sambar- which is a lentil and veg spicy soup and chutney- which is ground and tempered coconut. This is a South Indian dish which is also light for the stomach, basically had in breakfast. You can also order a heavy version that includes mash potatoes stuffing inside a dosa which is called masala dosa.

Dosa served in Indian Restaurant
Dosa served in Indian Restaurant Pic- @ingeniouskattydidit

5. Idli

An idli is basically a savory rice cake which is served with sambar (lentil and mix veg soup with spices) and coconut or mint chutney. Its a popular breakfast dish in south India and now famous in north India too.

Idli and sambar served in Indian Restaurant pic-@ingeniouskattydidit
Idli and sambar served in Indian Restaurant

6. Biryani

It's a rice-based dish which comes in multiple varieties in veg and non-veg versions. Some of the famous ones are chicken biryani, Hyderabadi biryani, vegetable biryani, egg biryani etc. Its wholesome meal on its own. Very tasty and basically served with pickle or salad.


Biryani served in Indian Restaurant
Biryani served in Indian Restaurant pic-iliveinafryingpan.com

 7. Pav Bhaji

This is basically a west Indian dish which considers a bread toasted in butter and served with thick vegetable gravy with spices which is called Bhaji usually cooked on a flat griddle (tava). It is basically fast food and you can find this in most of the north Indian restaurants too.

Pav bhaji served in Indian Restaurant
Pav bhaji served in Indian Restaurant

8. Puri Bhaji

Puri is basically flat wheat bread fried and puffed up and served with bhaji which is basically aloo (potato) and chole (chickpea) curry. This dish can be eaten in breakfast as most Indian people do but for some people, it feels really heavy diet for breakfast so you can have it lunch or dinner.

Puri bhaji served in Indian Restaurant

9. Paratha

Paratha is unleavened Indian flatbreads made with whole wheat flour. It comes with different varieties of filing like a boiled potato with spices filing (aloo paratha), cauliflower filing (gobi paratha), cottage cheese filing ( paneer filing) etc. It is served with pickle or curd. Usually eaten at breakfast.

Aloo Paratha with butter on top

10. Daal

Daal is basically cooked lentils with spices and eaten with either rice or with chapati. Now you can get different varieties of daal like- Daal tadka, daal makhni, kaali daal, yellow daal etc.

Daal Tadka served with rice
Daal Tadka served with rice

A Wholesome Meal Found In Every Indian Restaurant


The word "Thali" means platter which is used to serve food and it is also used to refer to an Indian style meal which includes a variety of dishes served on a single platter. A basic thali would consist - chapati, 2 vegetable dishes, 1 daal, rice, any type of sweet.

You can also get non- veg thali which would replace the veg dishes with non-veg. This can be had for lunch or dinner as it is a wholesome meal. You can find thali in any part of India and in every part of India, the selection of dishes served in a thali would be different. If you feel that much hungry that you can eat up anything, then "Grab a Thali for yourself ".

A basic Thali served in Indian restaurant
A basic Thali served in Indian restaurant pic- @ingenioskattydidit
Hope you like this food journey with me. I'm sure now you can confidently order the right dish in an Indian Restaurant and actually enjoy the real taste Indian cuisine. Of course, there is more to the Indian food family, you can always ask the restaurant manager for more details about the food they serve and what is best served in their restaurant.  I'm sure you will have a fantastic food experience.

Do come back and leave a comment below if this post helped you! 🙂

Happy Fooding!

Written by

A Fashion Enthusiast , MCA and a web developer would easily define me - Kartika Nair, a blogger who writes about fashion , travel , food and lifestyle .

9 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I absolutely love naan and butter chicken. Naan is legitimately like the more fluffy pita bread! And butter chicken is just so juicy…

  2. I’m such a beginner when it comes to Indian food so this is so useful for me. I usually get butter chicken and a garlic naan bread as I know I like it and I’m too worried to try something new incase I don’t like it x

    1. I’m sure you’re gonna love the other dishes I have mentioned in my post too. Please give them a try next time and do let me know 🙂

  3. I love Naan! It’s the best! Thank you for the guide! I’ll have to save this, so i can refer back to it when I go have some Indian food!

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