As many who follow the Columbus food scene know, it has been hit hard by the effects of the Coronavirus. Now, more than ever, it's important that we rally around our small businesses and restaurants to help keep this food scene alive. Many of us know about the big institutions in the Columbus area like the North Market eateries, Forno, Northstar Cafe, and Jeni's. But you might not know about Columbus's amazing authentic Indian food. Here are some of my favorite Indian restaurants to eat at, all of which currently do contactless delivery or pickup as well.

1. New India Restaurant

My first experience with New India was at a friend's birthday dinner. One bite of the food and I was immediately in love. The lentils had just the right amount of spice and the seasoning for each one of the sauces was on point. The paneer, Indian farmer's cheese, was soft, milky and squidgy. Order the malai kofta here; the rich cashew gravy, the delicate spice blend, and the succulent dumplings of potato and paneer make each bite a very satisfying experience. Coming in second is their baingan ka bhartha - a smoky, sweet, supple roasted eggplant dip. Their vegan options are just as good, too - go for the bhindi masala, or spiced okra, and the aloo gobi, or roasted cauliflower and potatoes.

2. Neehee's

One of the first articles I wrote was a review of Neehee's, Columbus's latest addition to the vibrant street food and fast-casual food scene. I love that Neehee's moves beyond typical rich and hearty Indian food to introduce communities to the fresh, light world that is Indian street food. Don't miss out on the Samosa Chole.

3. Gokul Cafe

If you're looking for high-quality South Indian food in the 614, Gokul is the place to go. During normal times, their lunch buffet was incredible, but their a la carte dinner service is not to be missed. You can't go wrong with ordering any of the dosas, thin rice flour crepes, on their menu. My personal favorites are the Rava Masala Dosa and the Spicy Andhra Masala Dosa. These dishes are perfect for people who love spice.

4. Aangan

When I was a child, the first restaurant I went to was Amul India. My fun weekends as a child were spent noshing on their Saag Paneer, or farmer's cheese and spinach, with fresh, fluffy white basmati rice, and speaking with the incredible owners of the restaurant. I think these were some of the formative experiences that were a catalyst to me becoming a foodie. I was totally heartbroken to hear that the owners were retiring, and subsequently delighted to hear they were opening a new restaurant serving classic North Indian food! Order their Malai Kofta and Saag Paneer - your taste buds will thank you.

5. Cumin and Curry

I tried this restaurant on a whim one day over Thanksgiving break, and it did not disappoint. All of the dishes in their lunch buffet were seasoned with immaculate care and were a perfect balance of flavors. Every dish was delicious and luxurious, yet very light and fresh. While their buffet may not be an option currently, their delivery is an excellent alternative. Don't miss out on the Kadai Paneer, farmer's cheese in a creamy tomato sauce.

6. Taj Palace

This is another restaurant that my family frequented when I was a child. I absolutely loved their spinach pakoras, feather-light and deliciously crispy battered spinach fritters, as a little girl, and still do to this day. Along with any of the vegetarian selections, be sure to order any of their clay-oven breads.

7. Amul India

This is one of the places where my love for food began. Their Saag Paneer tastes just as good as it did all those years ago, but if you love spice, don't miss out on their fiery Bullet Naan, clay-oven-baked breads with garlic and chilies.

#SpoonTip: If you choose to order the Bullet Naan, start at the lowest possible spice setting if you aren't used to eating very spicy foods. Even the base spice level can pack quite a punch!

Next time you're looking to spice up your Friday evening takeout, look no further than these Columbus favorites! The 614 has never been more flavorful.