Udipi Cafe in Monroeville
It was delicious. If there can only be one South Indian restaurant in the area, I'm glad it's Udipi.
Almost all the patrons I saw appeared to be of Indian descent, many in traditional dress (always a good sign). Dosas are first-rate, great curries and chutneys. Baingan bartha (mashed roasted eggplants with peas) was a stand-out—long on black pepper and ginger. The breads and rice were perfectly executed, especially the puri.
This place is definitely worth the drive from town.
Too bad about the lassi. It’s supposed to be served with or before the meal. I’ve encountered the same thing over there, especially if they are busy (I think the food and service are a little better when they aren’t as rushed). just need to remind one (or two) of the waiters. I’ve also told them to take it back (or I don’t want it) if the meal gets too far on. I’ve had the same experience in India, so perhaps drinks aren’t as important, or rather the service isn’t the same as we expect it to be.
Interesting about Indica/Tamarind. Their answering machine still says Indica...
Strangely enough I drove past Indica today also and said to my wife that it seems like Indica is now Tamarind? Still not sure what's going on because they're still using the same real estate looking sign out front with the same colors, just a different name.
We went to Udipi a few weekends ago and really enjoyed our Dosas. One question though. I ordered a salt lassi that I didn't get until I was completely finished with my meal. At that point I no longer wanted it and it was taken off of the bill. But, being that it came out exactly after I was all done I'm wondering in hindsight if that's how it's supposed to be served, after the meal? If so I definitely made an ass of myself, but live and learn I guess.
I totally agree, Udipi is outstanding. What a coincidence that I made a different post about Udipi today! One of my favorite restaurants not only in Pittsburgh, but in the country. It's not typical Pittsburgh fare, but it is one of Pittsburgh’s best kept secrets (that Indians making a trip to the temple already know about). I’ll really miss this place when I move away from Pittsburgh.
The dosas, idlis, vadas, and bhatura are exceptional; they'd stand up to the best in India. Chutneys are fresh and well prepared. I agree with mhoffman that the baingan bartha is a standout, other favorite curries include mattar (or palak if you like spinach) paneer, bhindi (okra), or the channa masala (same dish that comes with the bhatura). The prices are also very reasonable.
There are a couple of other options for south Indian in Pittsburgh:
Indica, in Oakland, is more upscale (and more expensive), but also serves meat and fish (Udipi is vegetarian). They also have a pretty good lunch buffet. It’s a nice place with some tasty dishes, but it isn’t Udipi. In the same area, a new place is supposed to be opening. I think it is called Orchid and is on Center where India Palace used to be...
Thanks for starting this post on Udipi.
If you like Indian food and haven't been, I’d highly recommend a visit.