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Nearby points of interest

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About The MasalaWala

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.

179 Essex Street
New York, NY 10002
View Larger Map

Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Indian, Southeast Asian

Hours of Operation:


Lunch & Dinner:

Daily: 12:00pm - 12:00am

Cross Street:
East Houston Street

Dress Code:
Smart Casual

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(212) 358-9300

Website:
http://www.themasalawala.com/

Entertainment:
Designed by award-winning architecture firm, Method Design

Inside Indian culture the MasalaWala is the purveyor of spices whose colored and textured stalls are ubiquitously found across every market. The design of The MasalaWala restaurant in the Lower East Side of New York City was influenced by the local traditions from which it originated.

Catering:
We cater to all types of occasions and celebrations. From intimate events to large family or corporate banquets, our specialty is providing you excellent quality dishes that will impress your guests. We also provide live cooking stations at request for Large Banquets or Corporate Events

Parking Details:
There is a paid parking lot attached to the restaurant, while there are available metered spots around the Essex/E. Houston Street area

Public Transit:
MTA Subway:
2 Ave. (F)
Delancey St. (F)
Essex St. (J, M, Z)

Executive Chef:
Chhimi Dorje

Additional:
Beer, Cafe, Delivery, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine

The MasalaWala Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.4

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.5

service

4.3

ambience

3.8

value

4.2

Noise

Moderate

89% would recommend it to a friend

Casual (7)
Spicy (5)
Cozy (4)
See All
Creative Cuisine (4)
Neighborhood Gem (4)
Authentic (4)
Good Vegetarian Options (4)
Fit for Foodies (3)
Good for a Date (3)
Vegan (3)
Worth the Drive (3)
Good for Anniversaries (2)
Healthy (2)
Local Ingredients (2)
Quick Bite (2)
Tasting Menu (2)
Good for Birthdays (1)
Comfort Food (1)
Disabled Access (1)
Good for Groups (1)
Late-night Find (1)
Great for Lunch (1)
Organic (1)
People Watching (1)
Quiet Conversation (1)
Special Occasion (1)
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152 reviews
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 (New York Area)·Dined on October 24, 2017

Loved the food and service..a little loud... but everything else was great and after a while I got used to it....

Tags: Vegan, Neighborhood Gem, Healthy, Tasting Menu, Fit for Foodies, Casual
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 16, 2017

Great food, outstanding service! Very good Indian option in downtown.

Tags: Cozy, Good for a Date, Vegan, Casual, Fit for Foodies, Good Vegetarian Options, Quick Bite
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 1, 2017

Have been dying to try Masala Wala and it did NOT disappoint. The basil chicken appetizer was AMAZING. Our samosas were cold in the middle, unfortunately, but the people next to us ordered multiple orders saying they were the best, so it might have been a fluke for us. The lamb korma was the best I've ever had. The garlic naan is a must order. Mr. Masalawala came to our table personally, thanked us for coming, hugged us on the way out, really made us feel special. Can't wait to come back again.

Tags: Authentic, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion, Creative Cuisine
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on September 27, 2017

We are never disappointed here! It is the best Indian restaurant in NYC! Every time we visit Manhattan, we come here because of the outstanding food, service, and hospitality. The MasalaWala is simply the best!

Tags: Casual, Authentic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on September 19, 2017

Great food, friendly service, good value. The place is small the decor was unimpressive but it was a great meal and I'll be back!

Tags: Worth the Drive
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience2
service5
value5

 
 (Portland)·Dined on September 6, 2017

We were impressed with both dishes (lamb chops and lamb vindaloo), and service is just outstanding. We felt welcomed and we very much enjoyed the entire experience.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Neighborhood Gem, Creative Cuisine, Good for Anniversaries, Authentic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on August 27, 2017

The food was excellent! The service was wonderful. Our friends were running about 20 minutes late but we were seated before they arrived and were not rushed by the staff in the least. The curry was fantastic. The waiter asked how spicy I wanted my dish. I got medium spicy and it was fantastic! The owner was so gracious and gave us a free dessert that was absolutely yummy (mango ice cream). I would definitely return. It was a very enjoyable meal.

Tags: Spicy, Vegan
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on August 25, 2017

The most delicious Indian food you can find. The Malai Tiger shrimp is mouth watering. They have a good variety of items and they are all delicious. Would definitely return time and time again. Good luck to the staff and management of Masalawala!

Tags: Tasting Menu, Worth the Drive, Good for Groups, Local Ingredients, Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on July 25, 2017

Masalawala always feels like eating at a friend's house - a friend who is very hospitable and an excellent chef!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
·Dined on July 24, 2017

Overall it was a fantastic experience, very friendly owner, good energy and fantastic food.
We had the lamb curry and the chicken curry, the lamb was absolutely delicious, the chicken sauce could have been a little spicier but overall I highly recommend this place and will come back.
Thank you for this great experience.

Tags: Sunday Lunch, Spicy, Organic, Vegan, Hot Spot, Good Vegetarian Options, Pre/post Theatre, Neighborhood Gem, Business Meals, Authentic, Romantic, Fun, Local Ingredients, Good for Birthdays, Worth the Drive, Comfort Food, Tasting Menu, Healthy, Fit for Foodies, Seasonal, Great for Lunch, Quick Bite, Great for Brunch, Late-night Find
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on July 22, 2017

All the vegetarian dishes were good and spicy!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on July 20, 2017

No AC on one of the hottest nights. Food was good but not maybe as traditional as I was hoping for.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience2
service3
value3

 
 (Chicago)·Dined on July 12, 2017

The owner pays attention to detail. Loved the food and the atmosphere of the place. It was packed on a Wednesday night around 930pm

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service4
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on July 12, 2017

Average at best.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food2
ambience1
service1
value3

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on July 7, 2017

Very loud, waiters loomed over while we finished eating. Felt like they wanted to turn over tables. Food was excellent. Masala Wala was charismatic. One wait staff sneezed in his hand and kept serving. Kinda gross.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience2
service1
value2

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on June 8, 2017

We chose Masalawala because they had great reviews and we were right to do so. FANTASTIC food and Mr MasalaWala were so friendly and funny.
The prices were relatively low according to New York and work every penny :).
A definite must for every person visiting New York!!

Tags: Paleo Friendly, Great Beer, Authentic, Good Vegetarian Options, Creative Cuisine, Good for a Date, Romantic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on June 8, 2017

The food was decent, a bit loud at 7 PM, and also slightly cramped but all these were more than made up by the excellent service of the staff and especially the owner who kindly asked if we needed anything and expedited our order when it seemed to have been forgotten.

Tags: Cozy, Casual, Authentic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience3
service5
value3

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on June 1, 2017

First time at this restaurant and I think I'm obsessed. The food was INSANELY good, the owner an absolute charmer, and the prices where they should be. Can't wait to go back. Two thumbs up!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on May 24, 2017

It is very good restaurant, Mr MasalaWala is very friendly a must visit for your trip to NY

Tags: Tasting Menu, Authentic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service4
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on May 12, 2017

Great food, attentive service, cozy restaurant. Wonderful.

Tags: Afternoon Tea, Good for Birthdays, Worth the Drive, Good Vegetarian Options, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on May 5, 2017

Loved it! Ready to return! Food was delicious! Service was wonderful! What a great little place....

Tags: Romantic, Vegan, Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem, Authentic, Good Vegetarian Options, Spicy, Good for Birthdays, Good for Anniversaries, Cozy, Good for a Date, Comfort Food, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on April 24, 2017

Masalawala did not dissapoint. The Lamb Biriyani, Chicken Tikka Masala, Tiger Shrimp and Non Veg Sampler were all delicious. Food is a must try and the owner is so sweet! Ambience is nice but the place is very small and it feels tight when all the tables are occupied.

I would love to go back again soon.

Tags: Fun, Quick Bite, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on April 18, 2017

Ate here with a friend and the food tasted fantastic, unfortunately, we both had stomach issues after so can't say i would go back.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food1
ambience3
service5
value4

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on April 6, 2017

Absolutely fantastic service. The food is authentic and delicious and I will definitely come back.

Tags: Good Vegetarian Options
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Jacksonville)·Dined on March 3, 2017

My husband wanted to get some delicious Indian food and we got it at Masalawala! We enjoyed everything we ordered and had a lot of fun with the owner of the restaurant. He is a character! The restaurant is cozy, so reservations are a must. Do go!

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Vegan, Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on February 23, 2017

This restaurant is outstanding. This is the best Indian food I've ever had. Service is exceptional and on top of that the owner is extremely kind and cares about his customers. Would highly recommend, its worth a trip.

Tags: Casual, Neighborhood Gem
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on February 19, 2017

The chili chicken is delicious!! We had three of those.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience3
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on February 11, 2017

I absolutely love this place. The food is DELICIOUS, the service is fantastic and the Masala Wala himself is just a lovely man. Highly recommend.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Gluten Free Options, Good Vegetarian Options, Notable Wine List, Fun
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on February 11, 2017

Nice place with lovely staff, including the owner who always come out when you pay the bill to thank you and say goodbye. The staff is always refilling the glass with water, no matter if it is only one finger under the edge. Food was very tasty and they serve it very quick. Recommended booking in advance.

Tags: Spicy, Good Vegetarian Options
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service4
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on February 8, 2017

Food was flavorful yet not overpowering. Service was great and the owner was very welcoming and generous. Very small place so reservation is recommended. Good value eats. Will be back to try other dishes.

Tags: Quick Bite, Neighborhood Gem, Fit for Foodies, Casual, Outstanding Value
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service5
value5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on January 30, 2017

Enjoyed and will return.

Tags: Good Vegetarian Options, Neighborhood Gem, Authentic, Spicy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service5
value3

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on January 26, 2017

Went here with family & friends. Staff was extremely nice and attentive. I arrived a bit early and was promptly attended to, had my proseco in no time while I waited. This is a small restaurant, but we didn't feel cramped. I was visiting in New York and had no idea if anyone would like it, turns out they all love it and eat here often. Have the Malai Tiger Shrimp.....out of this world. When I go back for a visit I will definitely eat here again.

Tags: Authentic, Fun, Spicy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on January 19, 2017

If you're looking for great, authentic Indian cousins, including an extensive menu, come to MasalaWala!

Tags: Worth the Drive, Quiet Conversation, Romantic, Good for a Date, Comfort Food, Authentic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service4
value5

 
 (Montreal)·Dined on January 18, 2017

Excellent Papri Chaat, Naan and chicken biryani. The Wala mix grill offered outstanding shrimp and fish, but the over cooked chicken and lamb was a disappointment. Finished our meal with a heart warming chai and refreshing pistachio kulfi ice cream.

Tags: Cozy, Casual, Spicy, Authentic, Comfort Food, Good Vegetarian Options
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Miami)·Dined on January 16, 2017

The service was very good here, and the owner came around to each table to express his gratitude for people coming to his restaurant. Overall, we all enjoyed the food, but felt that it wasn't a 5 out of 5 in terms of true desi cuisine, but we really enjoyed the entire evening. The food was fresh, everything came out on time, and the presentation was really nice. Overall, a fun experience!

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Creative Cuisine, Good Vegetarian Options, Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion, Casual
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on January 15, 2017

Was expecting the food to be a bit better based on other reviews. The samosas were delicious but the chicken tika was dry and the naan bread was a bit doughy/under cooked. Staff was friendly but a little overbearing.

Tags: Good Vegetarian Options
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience3
service3
value3

 
 (Dallas)·Dined on December 8, 2016

Perfect! Food was authentic with just the right pint of spice. Owner is so welcoming, we love how laid back the restaurant is. Such a casual incredible dinner!

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food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 4, 2016

Really good place for Indian food. Fresh, big portions and a very friendly owner that makes you feel as if you are family.

Tags: Sunday Lunch, Fun, Good Vegetarian Options
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 2, 2016

The food was very mediocre.
The waiters were kind and well intentioned,but the food was not very good. We did not order acurry, maybe that would have been a better choice

Tags: Casual
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food2
ambience2
service3
value2

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on November 22, 2016

The service made this one of the best dining experiences I've had. My boyfriend and I accidentally ordered a dish way beyond our heat tolerance level. Without hesitating, the owner of the restaurant brought us a new dish on the house he thought we'd enjoy more. He went so far as to serve it to us and checked up on us to make sure we were enjoying it. Definitely recommend.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service5

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