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The city of Chicago has long enjoyed a very large Indian and Pakistani population. That growth has now expanded to many of the outlying suburbs as well. Accordingly, we have a great many wonderful Indian restaurants in so many areas. Here is a brief guide to some of my favorites, spread out geographically.

If you were in Chicago, driving down Devon Avenue between California and Western, you would feel as though were in downtown Bombay. The street is filled with Indian restaurants, as well as shops selling beautiful fabrics and saris from India. You could enjoy a savory meal at practically any of these restaurants, but I will select two of the more notable:

1. Tiffin. Located on the North side of the street, Tiffin is both beautiful and quite upscale compared to most Indian restaurants. Its lovely decor and very hospitable service make it well worth the higher prices. Try their Chicken Tikka Masala.

2. Udupi Palace. This South Indian restaurant has slightly different fare than its more traditional Northern Indian couterparts. However, this entirely vegetarian menu is eclectic and delicious. A sure sign of both the high quality and authenticity of their food is the preponderance of Indian diners you'll see there nightly. My favorite dish: Special Palace Masala Dosa, a very long crepe filled with a potato mixture and topped with a delicous soupy gravy. Ask for some extra potatos to fill it out more. This is wonderful!

3. Cuisine of India. Now we have left Devon Avenue. Located on Ogden Avenue in Naperville, this restaurant is a great place for suburbanites to enjoy a wonderful ethnic meal. Very pretty decor, yet not too fancy for blue jeans. Reasonable prices and great food make this a nice place to take your entire family. The food does tend to be on the spicy side, so make sure to tell your waitperson if you need your dishes to be milder. Try their Aloo Gobi, a wonderful potato and cauliflower curry. Be sure to order some Nan, the fabulous Indian bread made on a Tandoori over, to go with it.

4. Khyber Pass. This Pakistani restaurant on Lake Street in Oak Park has become a fast favorite for people in the Western suburbs. Its very ambient atmosphere and mild, yet delicious food makes this a nice place for people who are beginners to Indian food. Like many Indian restaurants, this restaurant boasts a wonderful and extensive lunch buffet for $7.00. This is a great and inexpensive way to sample many of the different foods, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Dinners, however, are fairly pricy.

5. Rajput. Located in the Northwestern suburb of Mt. Prospect, this relatively new restaurant is really just a storefront. Its cute decor, laid back atmosphere and moderate prices make this a comfortable place to have lunch or dinner. You will find the chatty owner, Shaheena, to be very informative about the food she serves. The offerings are very tasty, and the menu does offer a bit more than the standard Indian fare. Their samosa are particularly tasty, and not as deep-fried as most.