When Americans say spicy, they usually mean chili. For some weird reason, other spices that are more aromatic like Turmeric, cloves, cardamom, etc. do not seem to fit the definitely of “spicy”. That’s why in a typical Indian/Thai restaurant in the US when they ask how spicy, they mean “How much chili should I put in”
However, when an Indian says that the spices were good, s/he usually means that the food had an aroma and a balanced composition of contrasting tastes.