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I’ll be frank: Cardamom is my favorite Indian restaurant in the state of Michigan. I long for the days of sipping mango lassis and gulping down momos slathered with chutney in the booths of Cardamom’s fuschia-colored, gold-accented restaurant. 

Their delectable, mostly North Indian menu is absent of the intense oiliness so often associated with restaurant-made Indian food. Instead, Cardamom prides itself on being “Fresh Indian” — fresh ingredients, freshly ground spices, fresh cooking and a fresh take on many dishes that are personal to the South Asian diaspora. 

For years of visiting my older brother in Ann Arbor, my family would be excited to slip in a trip to Cardamom: We’d come alive over a table of garlic naan, bhindi masala, malai kofta and biryani. After filling ourselves up with lassis and samosas, it was challenging to finish the already-large entree portions, so we’d happily box up the leftovers, excited to reheat our food for an excellent midnight meal. 

I constantly recommend the restaurant to everyone interested in Indian food in southeastern Michigan, as well as those who aren’t. The kind staff, impressive bar and brightly decorated seating areas (the bathrooms too!) have remained in my memory years after my first visit. 

As an Indian American who’s spent a third of their life in the motherland, I have very strong opinions on South Asian food. Cardamom always smashes my expectations. With their attention to detail, Cardamom brings a piece of home to Ann Arbor: South Asian, with hints of America and beyond.

Daily Arts Writer Meera Kumar can be reached at