I really enjoy Natraj Indian Kitchen (1123 W Lake St) near Uptown. I went there a few months ago with a friend and we ordered a smorgasbord of appetizers, entrees (lamb and chicken), and had gulab jamin (sp) for dessert. We loved every last item. Also, we liked the fact that while it was a family owned restaurant, it was also very cozy and had a great ambiance. My favorite moment was when we were asking the server some specifics about a dish, he turned and said "Dad, what's in the ...." It was a while ago, but I haven't found anything better since.
re: Amy H
Natraj Indian Kitchen has morphed into Marla's Indian & Caribbean Cuisine. I have not eaten there yet.
According to their web site, the place is under new management, but they have most of Natraj's menu and it appears that Natraj's chef is still involved with the place.
Here's a link to the web site (including menu):
I haven't been recently, but from trusted sources I've heard that Udupi has gone quickly downhill in quality in the last couple of months.
Most friends of mine who are from India pretty much exclusively eat Indian food only at Udupi and at India Palace in Roseville. There used to be a really great spot on Lake Street in Uptown, but I think it closed a few years ago.
My husband and I live in Fridley, and above any other cuisine, Indian is the most prevalent. Here are my thoughts.
Great India-The BEST
-listen to Dara's recs on City Pages, but our favorite is the Beef Kadahi. They are SUPER friendly too. Their daily buffet is good, but they could take a clue from Chutney and serve fresh warm bread to your table, b/c it is always gone on the buffet.
Udupi-we like our meat
-This is a strictly veggie place. We went a few years ago, and followed Dara's recs and they were good, especially the Cauliflower dish. I've heard they've gone through some mgmt changes, don't know what that means as far as the cook goes, but I'm just calling it out.
Chutney-buffet was aweful
-We have not had a 'dinner' there, but the atmosphere is pretty bleak for a night out. We hit the buffet at 1pm on a Friday, and it was so picked over and not replenished. The only good think was the FABULOUS naan that was served.
India Palace in Roseville-OK
-We went with some veggie friends a few weeks ago, and while they had a good selection of veggie dishes, they came to the table looking like they'd been scooped out of a chaffing dish in the back, not fresh prepared.
South Asain Foods-first time was the charm
-This is a counter in a grocery in the parking lot in front of the new Super Target on Central. I've only been once, and had a lamb and potato dish. It was EXCELLENT. I keep meaning to go back.
When it comes to other places in town, I'm not the hugest fan of New Delhi on Nicollet. Can't really pinpoint it. Then there is a downtown place, Bombay Bistro on Marquette between 8th and 9th. Their lunch buffet is a real deal. If only their chairs weren't so big, they could fit more people in there.
Hope this helps in your selections.
"India Palace" in Woodbury's Tamarack Village is our absolute favorite Indian restaurant. We have eaten in many Indian restaurants, but none compare to this hidden treasure.
The Tandoori Murgh is served with fresh sliced onions, fresh sliced green pepper, broccoli, tomatoes & lemon-all served on a sizzling hot platter.
The raita is fresh and delicious, as is the naan & complimentary papadum.
The lunch buffet is excellent as well. It's the same great food that you can order off the menu.
There's a huge list of vegetarian friendly items, too.
Wine & beer are available.
They never skimp on portion size, quality or professionalism.
Definitely, worth a try!
My perennial favorite is New Delhi at the north end of Nicollet, across from Ping's. They've got good food, a full bar, good wine selection, nice ambience (not cafeteria-style at all), and several nights a week live Indian music (sitar and tabla). See Dara's review from when they first opened.
Josh Resnick commented a little farther down on the board about a place called Great India which sounds very good. Then there is the perennial favorite Udupi, which is vegetarian and sounds awesome; I keep meaning to go there but have not gotten around to it.