The MasalaWala

4.4
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252 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Indian

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Casual
The MasalaWala is more than just a merchant of spice…it’s an embodiment of the inventive soul that loves the art of discovering perfect proportions. A meal here is a heart-warming experience that delicately balances tradition with adventure, delicious taste with a healthy mindset, and time-tested technique with modern technology. At The MasalaWala, we think traditional Indian deserves a new twist. Think hip. Think fresh. Think creative yet casual. Because that’s what South Asian street food is all about – and we believe these fun little dishes are truly the best food South Asia has to offer! But you'll also find signature Indian curries and the most popular entrees for those days that call for classic comfort. The MasalaWala is our way of bringing local flavor across the globe, and wrapping it up in a cozy neighborhood restaurant that appeals to all five senses.

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What 252 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.4
service
4.2
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
88% of people would recommend it to a friend
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AS
London
2 reviews
Dined on March 12, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Good food, Good service in a family restaurant.
Definitely a restaurant to come back to.

YB
New York Area
1 review
Dined on March 7, 2020
Overall4food5service3ambience3

Food is incredible, the owner is annoying. He would not leave us alone, not the first time either. Late to sit us with a reservation, was pushing us out the door once our food was finished and we were still drinking our wine. Would be 5/5 if the owner wasn't an egotistical maniac

J
1 review
Dined on February 28, 2020
Overall1food1service1ambience1

Why would you exceed the amount of reservations you can serve? I had a reservation for 2 , waited 20 minutes and had a couple go ahead even though they arrived 15 minutes after my reservation time. What’s worse is I was told the next table would be given to me and then it was handed to that couple. There were more 4 different groups of people waiting and it did not look like any tables would be free anytime soon. Can’t speak for the food but step up how you manage reservation capacity.

NP
1 review
Dined on February 18, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great service, and great food. Came for my birthday with six people, everyone enjoyed the evening. Prices are a little high, but well worth it for the delicious Indian food. Highly recommend the Chicken 69 as an appetizer.

JE
New York Area
35 reviews
Dined on February 12, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

MasalaWala is always a treat. The food is well prepared with fresh ingredients and flavors that pop. The wine menu, while short, covers all the basics of food pairing and wine. The owner is always around talking to customers and truly making them feel like family. He is a treasure.

OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall2food5service1ambience5

Very long wait time despite having a reservation. Was told 5-10 minutes but ended up waiting closer to 35.

k
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined on January 31, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Delicious vegan options and excellent service.

SA
Las Vegas
9 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Absolutely fantastic food - best Chai I have ever had. Authentic and delicious.

LT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on January 21, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

The greeting by the father makes you feel so warm and welcomed! What a wonderful place!

j
New York Area
11 reviews
Dined on January 17, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience4

after a bit of an unforeseen wait, we had a lovely time. the restaurant is small and very popular - for good reason!

M
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience4

This is one of my favorite spots for Indian cuisine. Always delicious, always packed and frenetic in its small dining room, but never a visit I regret or a wait not worth sitting through. I could go on and on about their menu but just go! And go soon!

A
New York Area
1 review
Dined on December 19, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience1

Even though we had reservations, it was closed when we got there. So we did not end up eating there.

RH
Baltimore
4 reviews
Dined on December 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We went searching for MasalaWala because we hadn’t had Indian food in a long time and were craving delicious naan and masala. After some research on the best Indian food in NYC, we decided to trek down from the upper west to the lower side of the east village for MasalaWala and we are so happy we did. The food was delicious and the staff were friendly and responsive. The restaurant is small but the tables filled up fast. Our 9 and 11 year old daughters were very content. Thank you to the owner and staff for a wonderful evening. We will be back soon.

AD
1 review
Dined on December 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent service food was great food was delicious felt right at home would definitely be back...

T
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on December 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

EXCELLENT as always. Small place, huge flavor. And one of the few Indian establishments to consistently make Mango Kulfi for desert - and year round!!

JT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on November 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We love MasalaWala!

JW
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on November 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Really good good. Will definitely come back regularly.

PG
Charleston
18 reviews
Dined on November 19, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Fun spot. Very good food, excellent vibe, great value. Worth the trip down to the LES.

b
New York Area
1 review
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing!!!!

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CH
Chicago
32 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience3

The MasalaWala is a very small, very good Indian restaurant on the Lower East Side. The operation is overseen by a very involved owner who makes it a point to be present and to speak with his guests. That's a great thing.

The service is attentive and responsive - also a good thing. The food is very good. We enjoyed excellent Naan with our meals.

The mains 1) palak paneer - spinach with Indian cheese - was excellent. Spinach was flavored perfectly and the cheese squares were nicely done. Great Indian comfort food for me.
2) Tiger Shrimp Malabar - featured plenty of shrimp, nice size, in a gently spiced sauce with a slightly coconut flavor. The shrimp were in their shells and included more than was edible (although some may-perhaps enjoy some parts as delicacies - not me.) The sauce was a bit too gentle for me and could have been more spiced, and the shrimp may have been overcooked a bit - they were mushier than I prefer.

We had an order of Chicken 65 as an appetizer - it was very good, and a bit spicier than I recall this dish at other Indian restaurants. I enjoy spicy, so this was a good thing. The chicken pieces were plentiful and well cooked.

My main concern about the restaurant was the noise level - driven by a very loud music system in the small room. The music was quite eclectic and not necessarily traditional Indian. When we entered, I was certain that someone in the kitchen must have been playing a loud video game because the shooting and background noises could only have been a video game - but a staff member told me that was the music... it changed, but remained loud. The restaurant is very small - a bit crowded - and the music made a normal conversation difficult, but with using a louder than normal voice and directled listening, it was bearable.

Overall, I enjoyed The MasalaWala and I would go back again. Reservations are a good idea here.

HK
New York Area
30 reviews
Dined on October 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

All the dishes we ordered were delicious. Will surely go back again. It was especially nice that the owner stopped by a couple times to check up on our meal. He was very friendly and clearly very proud of his wonderful food.

OT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2019
Overall3food5service1ambience3

Service is very poor. Waiter made us wait outside the restaurant and greeted us with a mean “how many people!” Not even a hello or thank you for coming. Then he started pointing out prices on the menu as if it was going to be a problem! So rude.

Great food though! Music is too loud.

S
1 review
Dined on October 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Good food and friendly owner. They have one of the best chicken tandoori.

OT
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined on October 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Excellent. What a surprise. The owner cane around to check on us during the dinner. Food was first rate, great value, pleasant ambiance. Definitely worth a detour. Best to make a reservation

A
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on October 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Great food and great service. Will certainly come again!

TK
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on September 27, 2019
Overall1food3service1ambience2

Made a reservation for 8:45 but when we arrived, we were told that we wouldn’t be seated until 9:30 at the earliest. There was a long line of people outside who had reservations but the restaurant was very far behind schedule. The host was rude and the restaurant was clearly disorganized.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on September 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lovely food ! Great service definitely recommend

AC
London
1 review
Dined on August 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The most authentic Indian food in the city. Unassuming, delicious.

A
1 review
Dined on August 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Tikka Masala best I ever had, service was great and the owner came over to personally great us

CM
New York Area
1 review
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience4

We had a wonderful meal here. The service was excellent and the host was so sweet and welcoming. He checked in with us several times, and even had a special dish of chicken tikka masala made without any spices at all for my 9 year old, who found even the mild dish too spicy - she loved it! The room is cute and inviting, not too noisy, the waiters were very friendly and attentive, and overall a great meal.

s
1 review
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Good ambience, cosy, tiny restaurant with family run authentic food. Engaging servers.

SJ
New York Area
16 reviews
Dined on August 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Been here several times. Never fails with service and food. I like the choices of categories of food. Easy to choose and also the staff and owner will come to your table and help you with choices. As I sit down, I always order the Gobi Manchurian (Cauliflower / ginger / Indo-Chinese spices) as a starter; then a couple other can't-miss meat and veggie entrees. Later, at home, I re-feast on leftovers.

OT
Savannah
4 reviews
Dined on July 28, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Was a great all around experience. Food very tasty and wait staff very attentive.

Very authentic.

LH
1 review
Dined on July 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Fast and fantastic service. Food was delicious. Price was reasonable. I will be back.

DF
Caribbean
8 reviews
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We love The food and we love how we are treated. During a ten-day visit to Manhattan, we have eaten here twice.
The samosas are a really good start.
We will be back!

NI
1 review
Dined on July 17, 2019
Overall2food1service1ambience1

The food was terrible. It was not freshly made, nor was it warm enough to eat.
I ordered Chilli prawns and there were literally like 3 prawns in there for $13. Friends and I ordered soda and they never brought it to our table but when the bill came they charged us for it.
The service was terrible but the food was even worst. I would never go back there. I honestly don’t know what the hype is for. Worst experience and legit waste of my money !!!!!

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 15, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

I just moved to nyc about a month ago and I have come back to this place 3 times. You gotta know that if you are in nyc where the food choices are abundant and I chose to go back to this place 3 times it has to be damn good. And it is. I’m a foodie and I know food so I recommend this place to anyone.

L
New York Area
1 review
Dined on July 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fantastic experience, always. Highly recommend to anyone looking for quality Indian food in the city.

OT
Detroit
5 reviews
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience3

Good food, very quickly came out and great taste. Liked the gobi Manchurian!

P
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall2food4service2ambience2

Food was great, none of the drinks were chilled and air conditioning was ineffective