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INDIAN 

HOOKAH CAFE
1407 Decatur St. 943-1101; www.hookah-cafe.com
At this hot spot, customers can get their drink on (at the bar), their smoke on (with herbal blends and hookah pipes) and their eat on, via the Indian-themed menu. Try an Indian burrito, a cheesy tortilla stuffed with tofu, chicken or lamb and slow-cooked curry lentils, saffron rice and Indian salsa. Reservations accepted for large parties before 8:30 p.m. Dinner and late-night daily. Delivery available. Credit cards. $$

NIRVANA INDIAN CUISINE
4309 Magazine St. 894-9797
Spicy or mild, vegetarian or lamb, chicken or shrimp, Nirvana's menu speaks the aromatic language of Indian cuisine. The butter chicken lives up to its name with roasted chicken in a rich tomato-butter sauce, while the navrattan korma offers nine vegetables and homemade cheese in a cream sauce. Nirvana's popular lunch menu is now available for dinners as well on Thursday and Sunday nights in addition to the regular menu. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

TAJ MAHAL INDIAN CUISINE
923 Metairie Road, Metairie 833-4729
An intimate space decorated with tapestries, carved wood and regal upholstery sets the stage for aromatic meals straight from Taj Mahal's authentic tandoor oven. Start a meal here with the Indian flat bread naan stuffed with spinach or potatoes, then the tikka masala, a chicken dish in tomato and butter curry sauce. Vegetarians have many great choices and the buffet at lunchtime is a true bargain. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Mon. Credit cards. $$

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