The Madras Cafe

Exterior
Exterior
South Indian Lunch Thali
South Indian Lunch Thali
Interior
Interior
South Indian Lunch Thali!
South Indian Lunch Thali!
South Indian Lunch Thali!
South Indian Lunch Thali!

***** (5 stars)

Wow! This is far and away the best use of this restaurant space ever. It retains its former upscale decor, but brings an all new menu and cuisine to the area.

Affiliated with the nearby Saffron Indian Restaurant, but this restaurant is Southern Indian, and entirely vegetarian, or even vegan if you wish.

The lunch "table side buffet" is actually a traditional Thali, a tray with an assortment of soups and stews, a bowl of rice, and a variety of breads for dipping. It is easily the best Indian lunch deal in town, and arguably one of the best lunches in town.

I'm a fan of lunch at Saffron, and I wasn't sure this would be that different, but it is quite distinct, and deserves its own separate recognition as a best Indian food winner.

The Madras Cafe
7730 W Sand Lake Rd
Orlando, FL 32819

https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-madras-cafe-orlando

Tabla Indian Chinese Thai – Winter Park

Taj Mahal beer
Taj Mahal beer
Menu
Menu
Menu
Menu
Interior
Interior
"Patio"
"Patio"
Exterior
Exterior
"patio"
"patio"
"Patio"
"Patio"
interior
interior

***** (5 stars)

I have always loved this space in all its former incarnations, and I have always loved Tabla on Grand National, which has also undergone a lovely transformation during the many years I've been going. So to have the two combined in this new spot is a dream come true.

This is in one of those amazing little cubby holes off of Park Avenue, so you can have the fantasy of dining "outdoors" in air-conditioned luxury under the spreading (convincing but plastic) leaves of a banyon tree. Or venture inside, for posh surroundings.

The Indian food here is as good as any you'll get in Central Florida. I'm a particular fan of the Korma. Don't be put off by the fact that they also offer Thai and Chinese cuisine–it makes it a great place to go with cautious eaters.

And don't overlook dessert–there is some real pastry chef talent here.

Tabla Indian Chinese Thai – Winter Park
216 N Park Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789

https://www.yelp.com/biz/tabla-indian-chinese-thai-winter-park-winter-park-2

Singh’s Roti Shop & Bar

Chicken roti

Interior

**** (4 stars)

Singh’s offers a full range of Rotis and curries in a pleasant environment. It’s counter service, but very efficient and well-staffed. I’m a big fan of goat roti, but the channa and the chicken are also good. If you don’t like bones, there is even a version of the chicken that is boneless.

I suggest getting the roti separate rather than as a wrap. Their roti is HUGE, and it’s almost impossible to eat the grapefruit-sized thing! I think you also get more filling when they are separate.

The place is spotlessly clean, and there’s a nice outside patio and also a full bar.

Singh’s Roti Shop & Bar
5244 Old Winter Garden Rd
Orlando, FL
32811
(407) 253-2900
https://www.yelp.com/biz/singhs-roti-shop-and-bar-orlando

Southern Spice Indian Cuisine

**** (4 stars)

On my first visit to Southern Spice I was a bit disappointed to find it was a lunch buffet. Although that is fast and obviously popular, I’m just not a big buffet fan. The food was all good, and there were quite a few selections, but I wasn’t in a rush to go back.

Then I discovered you could also order off the regular menu at lunch. While not as good a deal, the food was much more interesting and fresh, and we really enjoyed our biryani and especially the Malai Kofta and the garlic naan.

Service was friendly and professional.

Southern Spice Indian Cuisine
7637 Turkey Lake Rd
Orlando, FL
32819
(321) 251-2244
https://www.yelp.com/biz/southern-spice-indian-cuisine-orlando

Badmaash

Interior

Samosa

Chili Cheese Naan

Yoghurt puffs

**** (4 stars)

Badmaash is REALLY popular, and therein lies the problem for me. We really enjoyed the food, but it was so packed and loud it was hard to enjoy the experience.

I highly recommend the butter chicken, whether as an entree, or in the samosa appetizers, which were the best item we had.

The place has probably the worst offering of wines I’ve ever encountered, and I’m including coffee shops; not sure what’s up there. Beer is a better bet, but also limited.

Service was friendly and attentive.

Badmaash
108 W 2nd St
Ste 104
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 221-7466
https://www.yelp.com/biz/badmaash-los-angeles-2

Anarbagh

Appetizer assortment

Interior

*** (3 stars)

This is a nice Indian restaurant that has a fairly extensive menu of standards. We weren’t impressed by the appetizer platter, which was mostly uninspired fried stuff, but the korma and saag were good. Both contained some unusual spices which was a nice twist on the old standards.  Service was friendly.

Anarbagh
138 S Beverly Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 888-4011
https://www.yelp.com/biz/anarbagh-beverly-hills-6

Spice Affair Indian Restaurant

Ice cream

Mango mousse

Butter chicken

Chick pea and walnut

Cauliflower

Interior

Sign

***** (5 stars)

It’s really nice to find a truly elegant Indian restaurant. Spice Affair backs up its stylish decor with excellent service and creative, flavorful cuisine.

The highlight of our meal was definitely the Butter Chicken, and it’s hard to imagine going here and not having this dish. Garlic Naan bread was great for dipping in the sauce, although it could have had more garlic.

We also really liked both appetizers we shared, a crispy cauliflower dish and patties made of chickpeas and walnuts. The accompanying raita was particularly good.

None of us cared for the salmon entree, which was fishy, and didn’t have a particularly appealing coating. When the server noticed this he offered to exchange it, but when we demurred he brought us several complimentary desserts. That and many other touches really impressed us with the professionalism of this restaurant, and I’m sure we’ll return.

Spice Affair Indian Restaurant
50 N La Cienega Blvd
Ste 120
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
(424) 286-1739
https://www.yelp.com/biz/spice-affair-indian-restaurant-beverly-hills

India House Restaurant

*** (3 stars)

This is a very nicely decorated restaurant with about 150 different dishes on the menu. Unfortunately the staff isn’t very good, and the food is just average.

It’s odd browsing through the menu, because it seems to have little organization with multiple sections devoted the similar categories, and very few of the standbys like korma, saag, and so on.

We tried Papdi Chat as an appetizer, and the flavors were good, but it wasn’t enhanced by the sturdy wafers mixed into it.

Mahi Mahi Fish Tikka was good fish, but the seasoning on the fish skin wasn’t my favorite flavor.

Bhuni Gobi was extremely overcooked cauliflower; it resembled something that had been sitting on a buffet for hours.

The best dish was Channa Palak, chick peas in a garlic, onion and spinach sauce. Garlic naan bread was also okay.

The service staff seems to be mostly Russian, and wasn’t strong on communication. They were out of all the juices, and couldn’t produce a beer list.

There aren’t many Indian restaurants in River North, but even so, I wouldn’t bother to return here.

India House Restaurant
59 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 645-9500
http://www.yelp.com/biz/india-house-restaurant-chicago-2

Tabla

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***** (5 stars)

Years ago we liked to go to Tabla for the amazing food and spectacular desserts. Despite what was at the time a very decrepit building, the food was the draw. But then they changed lunch to a buffet and we stopped going.

I’m pleased to report that full lunch service is back, and the food is better than ever. In addition, the formerly dingy space has now been completely remodeled, and is one of Orlando’s most stylish restaurants.

The three course lunch must be one of the best deals in town. It begins with soup or salad, then your choice of many Indian and a few Thai dishes incorporating the protein of your choice, served on a very attractive platter along with rice, naan bread, and either a samosa or spring roll. Finally there is a choice of desserts.

Our favorites were the Chicken Tikka Masala and the Saag Paneer. The banana roll was a nice way to finish up. It’s a lot of food for a very reasonable price.

Service was friendly and fairly quick, so this will definitely go onto our regular lunch circuit. I’d also like to visit for dinner and further explore the menu. Tabla is back and better than ever!

Tabla
5827 Caravan Ct
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 248-9400
http://www.yelp.com/biz/tabla-orlando-4