Best place to eat if you’re not paying: Rasika West End

Media Credit: Auden Yurman | Assistant Photo Editor

If you're checking out Rasika with friends or family, be sure to order a few items to share.

Location: 1190 New Hampshire Ave. NW

Readers’ pick: Zaytinya

You might not be able to justify a dinner at the Dupont Circle upscale Indian restaurant Rasika when you have to pay the bill, but if someone else is picking up the check, it should be at the top of your list.

Rasika is located just a few blocks from campus across from Yours Truly DC, a convenient spot if you don’t want to leave the neighborhood for a nice dinner. The wafting smells of savory Indian cuisine are positively distracting when walking down its street, making it tempting to pop in while passing by.

The restaurant has minimal outdoor seating, but a large dining room with upholstered chairs, artwork and an intricately designed wooden ceiling with pink accents.

The menu is divided into a handful of main sections based on cooking method and size including sigri-barbecued dishes, tawa-griddled dishes, entrees including tandoori and curry dishes, chaat-savory small plates, breads and vegetarian dishes.

If you convince your group of friends or family to try this spot out, take full advantage of the menu by ordering several items to share.

To start, you can’t go wrong with the palak chaat ($14), a plate of crispy spinach topped with yogurt, tamarind sauce and dates or the sweet potato samosas ($10) with ginger, green chili and cranberry chutney.

From there, choose a handful of the sigri and tawa menu items, which are still smaller plates. The sigri mango shrimp ($14) with fresh mango, cashew, ginger and coriander is smoky and refreshing, but the sigri tabdoori paneer ($12) with yogurt, chilis and garam masala is a tasty vegetarian option.

And from the tawa portion of the menu, the masala crab cake ($14) with mustard seeds, curry leaves and tempered mayo is a must-try.

The menu has plenty of larger plates to choose from between the vegetarian and regular entree sections, ranging in price from $16 to $36. If you’re not adventurous with food, you can order something you’re more likely to have tried before like the chicken tikka masala ($20) or if you want to ball out, opt for something like the lobster bengali curry ($36) with mustard oil, onion seeds and green chilis.

Of course, you can’t leave without sampling some desserts – order a few to share like the warm black rice pudding ($12) with cardamom ice cream and chocolate samosa ($12) with mint ice cream.

For an upscale meal to impress if your in-town guests are treating you to dinner, snag a reservation at Rasika.

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