Tucked in a storefront in the northwest Washington neighborhood of Cleveland Park is an elegant-but-understated, Bombay-style bistro with no problem filling tables.

Indique, which opened earlier this year, is more a sparkling and intimate cafe and bar than a typical gilded Indian restaurant. For those stuck downtown on a business trip, having lunch or dinner, it’s worth the 10-minute Metro ride on the red line. Down the block is also the Uptown Theater, a grand old-style movie house.

There’s nothing stuffy about Indique’s menu and patrons are encouraged to linger. Appetizers are a must-have. Calamari Ullarthiyathe, with shallots, ginger, hot pepper, mustard seeds and tomato is a standout, as is Mussels à la Indique, with garlic, coconut milk and curry leaves. Spices in the curry entrees are fresh and distinct, as are the simple but tasty biriyani long-grain rice-and-herb main courses with lamb, chicken, shrimp or vegetables. Tamarind margaritas are a house specialty. Appetizers are $4 to $7 and entrees are $12 to $18.

Indique is located at 3512 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. Tel: (202) 244-6600.

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