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Quality Indian in MSP

I've tried a few of the Indian places in town, Tandoor, India Palace, Nala Pak and Taste of India.

Frankly, I've been underwhelmed with all but a few items at these places. Granted, my view point has been skewed, as the first time I had Indian, it was in London, and the hole in the wall curry houses around London are simply amazing; but my wife and I love Indian, and as she is vegetarian we're looking to find a great Indian place.

Thanks all!

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  1. Try The Vegetarian. It's located on Central Avenue in Columbia Heights, just a few blocks over the Minneapolis border. I haven't eaten there since it was still Sahib's, but it sounds like it is very good, authentic food. Here's a Star Tribune article about it: http://www.startribune.com/456/story/...

    Udupi, also on Central in Columbia Heights, used to be very good, but sadly, the quality has gone downhill recently.

    And not exactly Indian...but Everest on Grand in St. Paul is a wonderful Nepali restaurant. http://www.hotmomo.com/OurCuisine.html

    3 Replies
    1. re: Mill City Modern

      Udupi is no longer, it's now Nala Pak.

      Everest was okay, I didn't really find it all that special, but it might've been an off night.

      1. re: Mill City Modern

        We thought Udupi (now Nala Pak) lost a little something with the change in ownership but it was still one of the best Indian restaurants in town so we continued to go back once in awhile and we're glad we did. We just had dinner there again last night and the food was as good (maybe better) than ever. An incredible culinary delight! It's hard to even give the other Indian places a chance when we know we'll be so happy with another meal at Udupi. Not quite as much variety as they used to have but the food is excellent. Try the noon buffet if you'd like to sample a bunch of different menu items. We usually order off the menu (and order extras) just so we'll have leftovers for another delicious meal the next day!

        1. re: Mill City Modern

          Chowspouse and I tried The Vegetarian this past week prior to seeing "The Darjeeling Express" at the Heights theater.

          I had the vegetable dhansak, and chowspouse had the Punjabi thali. The dhansak was tasty - well spiced and flavorful. The thali was ok. The pilaf rice was tasty, but the palak paneer had one (1) piece of paneer, and the spinach was not especially creamy. Overall, the food rated a good but not worth the drive. Still prefer New Delhi. The worst of it was the ambience. I'm not sure if this was driven by preparations for diwali, but there were trays of desserts just laying around all over the place, half cut up. One was resting on their cashier counter among a snake pit of electrical wires and power strips. Kind of skeeved me out, it did.

          We noticed a place down the street called Chutney, not reviewed in this thread. Next time we're in the nabe, we'll try that one instead.

        2. Last time I went to Chapati in Northfield it was excellent, the best Indian food I have had in Minnesota. Service is slow, because they make everything from scratch to order, but they tell you that up front.

          http://www.chapati.us/

          2 Replies
          1. re: Cassandra

            Two former Chapati employees (including former head chef) opened Best of India in Saint Louis Park. My test dish for any Indian restaurant is Aloo Matar and theirs is the best I've ever had. No mushy potatoes and the spicing is perfect. The tomato soup has milk in it and it is my new favorite comfort soup. While A Taste of India's tomato soup will cure what ails ya (I swear it can knock out just about any cold), Best of India's tomato soup will warm you to your toes.

            The service at Best of India is unpredictable. On slow days it is spot on but when they are busy be prepared to wait while your meal is meticulously prepared.

            I didn't think I'd ever like Naan but fresh from the tandoor at Best of India it is delicious and to my tastebuds superior to any I've tried before.

            http://www.bestofindiausa.com/index.htm

            1. re: MplsM ary

              I'll cast a second vote for for Best of India. While the food isn't the best Indian food I've ever had, it's owned by two really nice guys who are trying extremely hard to be successful - and the food is very good. I'll be the first one in line to patronize a business like this one.

          2. I agree completely that the quality of Indian in MSP is pretty poor. While in NYC last month we went to some random Indian restaurant near our hotel and were blown away. The levels of flavor and spice were amazing, that just can't be found around here. The food actually tasted delicate versus heavy.

            Dara has recommended Great India in Brooklyn Center - any one been out there?

            While we're recommending Indian look alikes, I'll throw in both Da Afghan and Khyber Pass. I find Afghan food hits the spot when we want Indian but don't want to spend the whole night bloated.

            2 Replies
            1. re: katebauer

              We absolutely love Great India (it doesn't hurt that it isn't far from where we live.)

              Another good choice is Tandoor in Bloomington (although I much prefer Great India)

              1. re: katebauer

                I've also been to Great India a few times, and it has been excellent. I have yet to be disappointed in anything there, and the same goes for everyone I've dined with there, including a couple people who have had authentic Indian grub. Definitely give it a shot.

              2. Ooh, for Afghani food, I LOVE Crescent Moon on Central. We've been eating there a couple of times a week lately. Can't get enough, I guess!

                1 Reply
                1. re: Mill City Modern

                  I keep meaning to go there but we always get drawn into Holy Land instead when we're in that neighborhood. Maybe I'll make it a goal for the week to get there.

                2. after getting back from india i scoured MSP for authentic indian restaurants and came up empty. although some places do some things better than others i am underwhelmed as well. hmm. maybe i should go to more afghani places until the indian restaurant of my dreams opens. . . a block from my house. . . and they actually make biriyani as it's supposed to be and not like fried rice. . . and you can't see the moon because of all the flying pigs. . .

                  1. You won't be disappointed (in Crescent Moon, katebauer)! You have to walk in through the bakery to get to the restaurant, FYI. I recommend any of the combination plates. They come with this amazing spiced rice with raisins or currants or something, and cardamom, and some other spices I can't quite put my finger on...the Afghani Pizza is pretty good too. Be sure to try a mango smoothie with your meal, and pick up some of their wonderful baklava or other treats in the bakery on the way out!

                    1. It seems like there is no reason why there wouldn't be a great Indian Place in Minneapolis. Personally, I love Taste of India, but I'm no expert. I think part of it might be that people don't expect to walk into a great Indian place in Mpls, so they are biased? But if Indian can get better here, I'd welcome it.

                      1. I agree that nothing here can hold a candle to Indian restaurants and takeaways in the UK. I still occasionally sigh over a takeout menu from a hole-in-the-wall place in a non-descript town in Scotland where we got a mess of take-away items and everything was just So Damn Good. The variety of items on that menu kicks butt over anything we have here. I sure would love it if there were just one place like that anywhere in the Twin Cities.

                        I have enjoyed Surabhi in Bloomington. Take the 98th Street exit off of 35W and its right there in a former Pannekoeken Huis (ever notice that Pannekoeken Huis buildings seem to be the larval stage of Indian restaurants?). I like that they have northern and southern Indian stuff, so you can also get the Udupi type items like rotis. I also like their pakoras, including a fish pakora that I get a hankering for.

                        My old Twin Cities Indian fave was Passage to India on Lake Street in the Calhoun Square block. The people who started it were an offshoot of a New York establishment. More drool on my keyboard as I recall some of their Indonesian dishes and a tangy, creamy soup (what was that soup?). They certainly were busy years ago when there would be people lined up in side the door and the tables were squeezed in very, very close. Its been a few years since I heave been there, though.

                        Dara wrote a rave in today's City Pages about Bombay 2 Deli (1840 Central Ave NE) http://citypages.com/databank/27/1357...

                        1. The Indian restaurant market here went downhill when Udupi closed. They served excellent southern Indian cuisine, which is much tougher to find in the U.S. My two favorite places are Great India in Brooklyn Center and India Palace in Roseville, with an edge to Great India. The menu is a little more unique than all of the other Indian restaurants, which seem to serve exactly the same dishes. Also, the food is less heavy at Great India.

                          I have been kind of disappointed with some of the other Indian places in town including Taste of India, Surhabi, Nala Pak, Moti Mahal, and Bombay Bustro. Each of them has some decent dishes, but they are pretty inconsistent.

                          1. I love the old Natraj, but now it is something else it's on Lake and Dupont there, still good. Also, if you're downtown Bombay Bistro is decent for the lunch buffet.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: lollya

                              This building is now the home of Marla's Indian and Carribean Cuisine. A very nice place! Marla is from Trinidad, where there are many people of Indian background, and she's kept many of Natraj's dishes.

                              However, I can't personally vouch for the Indian side of the menu. All I've ever had is the goat roti. (It's excellent.)

                              http://www.marlascuisine.com/about.html

                              Anne

                            2. I have noticed a sign on the former location of Sri-Lanka (and many subsequent failed restaurants) on the 28th block of Hennepin, announcing the opening of a new vegetarian Indian cafe. I will hope for the best and keep you posted.

                              1. I've lived in a lot of cities across the US, and have had some excellent Indian in all of them, including Minneapolis. I believe that FishMPLS is partly right in that locals here simply don't know what to expect from American Indian food.

                                I've eaten at both Da Afghan and Tandoor in Bloomie. I was undewhelmed at Da Afghan but found Tandoor to be OK, though not super. I would recommend it for someone looking for Indian in the area, but not necessarily worth the drive if you are coming from in town or the north side. There are two new places recently opened in Richfield in the old strip mall on Portland Ave just south of 494. India Cafe specializes in dossa, and it's really quite good for a quick and tasty vegetarian lunch. Kabob specializes in, well, kabobs, but has some good sauce dishes as well. I would recommend either of these places over Da Afghan, although kebob is still feeling its legs, and is quite akward.

                                I have found New Delhi to be consistently good, with fresh ingredients, good spicing, lots of vegetarian options, and a fabulous bar. It's one of my sweetie's faves, and she used to live in England and has been to India. On the other hand, I have a friend from NYC who thinks it was one of the worst Indian experiences of her life. Go figure.

                                I have eaten Indian in England as well, and I think it's not fair to compare American with British Indian. While absolutely fabulous, they are spiced and prepared for a different palate and aesthetic, and you wouldn't expect to find theirs here or ours there.

                                1. I wanted to report back because we went to Great India on Friday night in hopes of finding the best Indian food in MSP. First of all, the drive from downtown was not bad at all (this is coming from a person whose husband is extremely unwilling to drive into any suburb). We started our meal with hot mixed pickles (we've become very interested in pickles from different cultures), and the vegetarian sampler. Unfortunately neither were very impressive. I found something completely inedible in the pickles (a piece of wood I think?) and the samosas were so-so. I was even disappointed by the tamarind sauce, pretty watery. For dinner I ordered the Madras chicken, husband ordered a spicy lamb rogan josh, and our companions ordered both the veggie and chicken dumpakht - an entree with a mild, creamy sauce covered in a dough (ala a chicken pot pie).

                                  The food was good, but not great. My husband and I both ordered our dishes hot and it was difficult to taste the spice with all the heat going on. The two with the dumpakht ordered theirs with a medium spiciness but it was quite mild, they wished they got a little more spice.

                                  Our overarching impression was that the service was a bit pushy. I know it's a fine line between being attentive and pushy but honestly the waiter grabbed my water glass out of my hand to refill it. That's a bit intrusive.

                                  Basically we might head back there again if we're visited friends in the area but I don't think we'd choose to go there over India Palace since both are a bit of a drive for us in S. Minneapolis.

                                  *I'm excited to try out Bombay 2 Deli, I spotted it on a recent drive up Central and then Dara wrote about it this week in Citypages. Anyone been there yet?

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: katebauer

                                    I went to Bombay 2 Deli over the weekend, and I thought it was really good. For 5.50, you get two veggie dishes plus rice and bread (I got puri which I think was a bit extra, but worth it). They said their speciality is Gujurati, but the choices when I went were pretty standard: chole, palak paneer, and some sort of dal. The food wasn't greasy or heavy, and the hot sauce that same with the (also good) samosa was amazing.

                                    I lived in New York for three years, and have not found the same level of Indian food here, but Bombay 2 is close. The only place I liked better is South Asian Foods, which is even cheaper too.

                                    The new restaurant on Hennepin between 27th and 28th is called Mysore, I think, and it's supposed to open tomorrow according to a sign there.

                                  2. I grew up in the Twin Cities and my mom and dad are Indian (moved here from Calcutta in the 70s). I usually abstain from Indian restaurants as they pale in comparison to home cooked Indian food. However, in rare cases I have found a place worth frequenting. There is one place in Minneapolis that I love, and it's kind of an Indian secret.

                                    Near Central Ave and Highway 694, there is an Indian grocery store called "South Asian Foods". Usually they just sell groceries. But they have also set up a big stove and counter on one end of the store. I have never been there on weekdays, but on weekends, they serve lunch for limited hours (11 AM-2 PM?). This is the closest you're going to get to Indian home cooking in the Twin Cities. Grandma's and Aunties in saris cook up south Indian favorites.

                                    You can get a dish called "halwa puri" with a balloon shaped puri the size of your head, and extremely yummy veggie curry accompaniments. One man I talked to told me he drove 45 minutes every weekend just to eat that dish. They also serve chaat, biryani and a variety of other Indian foods. Some are on the greasy side, but all are extremely good and authentic.

                                    Be forewarned, this is not a "restaurant", but rather a sort of Indian food cafe. There is extremely limited seating (consider takeout in winter months), and nearly everyone in the store (including customers) will be Indian. Because their hours are limited, I would call ((763) 586-9800) before showing up, to find out if they are cooking.

                                    They are friendly, speak good english and welcoming to non-Indians. Plus they food is really cheap -- definitely a great place for an adventurous chowhound!

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Raka

                                      Raka, thank you for this tip! I'll check this out to see if they're still serving on a weekday.

                                      1. re: KTFoley

                                        Raka, I can confirm that South Asian Foods is serving on a weekday.

                                        My lunch today is a mutton biryani that is, as you say, a little on the greasy side but otherwise very good. Today's vegetable is okra, whose smoky spicy coriander-hinted flavor balanced really well with the homemade yogurt.

                                        1. re: KTFoley

                                          Thanks for the tip KT! Now when I'm at work and have a craving for Indian food, I'll know where I can go for a quick fix.

                                    2. My wife and I really love Indian food. Today we were going to the movie Sweet Land at the Heights Theatre and since we were a little early we walked down the block to The Vegetarian: South and North Indian and Vegan Food. We loaded up from the lunch buffet in take away's and put it in the trunk (one good thing about Minnesota cold). When we got home we enjoyed a feast of great food (the movie was really good too)! We have eaten at just about every Indian Restaurant around Mpls./St. Paul, at some great restaurants in NYC and other countries including Spain (one of the best Indian Restaurants we have ever found) and also in London. The Vegetarian at 4022 Central Ave. N.E. has some great food and more vegan choices (good news for our daughters) than I have ever seen in other local restaurants. Visit Ashok Bedi the proprietor and I don't think that you will be disappointed.

                                      1. Sambol in Eagan is wonderful!

                                        1. I've enjoyed the Moti Mahal in Seward (31st & Franklin, over by the Birchwood). Their aloo gobi was hot, spicy and fantastic. Lunch buffet was small but tasty, including the strange but good carrot dessert. Dinner was casual and I had a TON of leftovers. You can request your food spicy as well. The server looked at me funny (apparently, people don't ask that often) but complied and my dish was good and zippy. The dinner clientele was mostly Indian/East Asian.
                                          Anyone else have a Moti Mahal experience?

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: PastryPrncss

                                            I lived across the street from here for a year. The food is usually good, but I did have some burnt bread on one occassion and burnt okra on another. Also, their service is shotty. They lost my take out order at least twice. They forgot my bread at least once.

                                            With that said, much better than Marla's, where we ate last night. My food was totally bland and my husband's tandori chicken was overcooked. Blah.

                                          2. Because this thread was resurrected, I wanted to put in a good word for Great India in Brooklyn Center.

                                            It is in a very unassuming strip mall along with a Target and Panera, off Shingle Creek, but my DH and I have always been more than satisfied with it. We spent our 1st anniversary in London, and did not find a match!

                                            We've also been to New Delhi on Nicollet twice, and just were not impressed. Same with India Palace in Roseville. We've had the lunch buffet at Chutney and ate at the old Udupi, so we've 'been around' the TC area.

                                            Hands down, check out Great India. Our favorite is the Beef Kadahi.

                                            As well, if you find yourself in New Brighton, Columbia Heights, south Fridley area, check out South Asian Foods, in the front parking lot of the Super Target. We've had some great take out from the counter in the back. You can eat in, but honestly, take it home.

                                            Dara also reviewed it a few years ago. I'd say her review holds up, so check it out.

                                            MayrMN

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: MayrMN

                                              Ooh, I love Great India! I bought a car from a dealer in Brooklyn Center, mostly because I can stop by Great India after I take the car in for service. There were dealers closer to my house, but I needed an excuse to drive all the way up there.

                                              I especially love the "chaat" type dish with chickpeas and yogurt. I could make a meal of that and their paratha. Yum!

                                              I'll check out South Asian Foods for take-out, the next time I'm up in the northern suburbs without my husband. (If I come home breathing spicy Great-India breath, he'll be really mad that I ate there without him...)

                                              Anne

                                            2. I finally went to Bombay 2 Deli this last week a couple of times. Loved it. Super cheap and really tasty. The woman working the counter is this pregnant Indian woman who is super friendly and funny. The samosas are excellent and only $1.50 and the size of a tennis ball. All the curries I had were great. She made me get different things each time I was there and everything she made was really good. Great place for take away, though there are about 4 tables there if you want to sit and eat.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: jaysin612

                                                Looks like I'm headed Nordeast. From the Citypages Best of 2007..."Oh, those samosas! Big as baseballs, the exterior bubbly and crisp as fried Chinese soup noodles, the interior as tender as grandma's mashed potatoes, but filled with the jungle-fire taste of curry, of mustard seeds, of chili peppers. We could eat a hundred. Then we remember that they only cost $1.50, and we think we might."

                                                1. re: jaysin612

                                                  Not a very well-kept secret, but on Saturdays Bombay 2 Deli has a special where they smother the samosas in chickpea curry. It is obscenely good.

                                                  1. re: aerobicidal

                                                    Yup, everyone should go to Bombay 2 Deli - just not all at once, because there are only two tables.

                                                    I note this so people know that it's not a sit-down restaurant. It's part of a small grocery store, and there's plastic plates, only a few chairs, and zero ambience. But there's tons of charm, thanks to the aforementioned Reshma.

                                                    I passed by Bombay 2 Deli this evening, wistfully, on my way to try The Vegetarian further up Central. It was very good, but not necessarily the best in town. (We had eggplant madras and dal makhani, and liked them very much, but found the rice and naan a bit greasy.) We'll be back again to try other dishes, but we gotta get back to Bombay 2 Deli for those samosas first!

                                                    Anne

                                                  2. Had dinner with my wife and 3 year old last evening at Mysore Cafe on Hennepin. I had been there once before a few months ago and had the buffet. I came down with a stomach problem right after, but did not think it was necessarily the food, so I didn't want to post until I'd given it another shot.

                                                    We had a pretty good meal there, with lentil dumplings as an appetizer and Malai Kofta and Bhindi Masala for dinner. All three had good flavoring.

                                                    From my standpoint, it's probably the best Indian in the center of Uptown (although there's not a whole lot of competition). I liked it better than Marla's or Passage to India. (Can't compare it to Namaste as I don't remember my meal there well enough.)

                                                    For the benefit of the OP, the entire menu is vegetarian and they have several vegan offerings as well.

                                                    One thing to note is that they primarily serve their buffet on Friday and Saturday evenings and discourage other orders on those evenings. That may either make or break things for those who visit.

                                                    Bob

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: bob s

                                                      As long as this thread is resurrected, let's put the places in.

                                                      Also, I had a surprisingly good lunch time experience at Bombay Bistro on Marquette in Downtown Minneapolis a few weeks back. The place was packed, so the food had not been sitting around. I've had dinner there too and enjoyed it as well.

                                                      -----
                                                      Everest On Grand
                                                      1278 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

                                                      Khyber Pass Cafe
                                                      1571 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

                                                      Bombay Bistro
                                                      820 Marquette Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55402

                                                      Bombay 2 Deli [Closed - May Reopen in Different Place]
                                                      1840 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418

                                                      New Delhi Bar & Restaurant [Closed]
                                                      1400 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403

                                                      Tandoor Restaurant
                                                      8062 Morgan Cir S, Minneapolis, MN 55431

                                                      India Palace
                                                      2570 Cleveland Ave N, Saint Paul, MN 55113

                                                      India Palace
                                                      936 Prairie Center Dr, Eden Prairie, MN 55344

                                                      The Vegetarian
                                                      4022 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55421

                                                      Udupi Cafe
                                                      4920 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55421

                                                      Chapati
                                                      1001 Division St S, Northfield, MN 55057

                                                      Best of India [DUPLICATE]
                                                      8120 Minnetonka Blvd, St Louis Park, MN 55426

                                                      Great India
                                                      6056 Shingle Creek Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55430

                                                      Taste of India
                                                      5617 Wayzata Blvd, Minneapolis, MN 55416

                                                      Da Afghan Restaurant
                                                      929 W 80th St, Minneapolis, MN 55420

                                                      Surabhi
                                                      9818 Aldrich Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55420

                                                      Passage to India Restaurant [CLOSED 3/31/08]
                                                      1401 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408

                                                      TBS India Cafe
                                                      7826 Portland Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55420

                                                      South Asian Foods
                                                      765 53rd Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55421

                                                      Sambol Restaurant
                                                      1260 Town Centre Dr, Saint Paul, MN 55123

                                                      Moti Mahal
                                                      3025 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406

                                                      Marla's Indian and Caribbean Cuisine - MOVED
                                                      1123 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN

                                                    2. I went to Mysore with 8 others last night, including 2 South Indians who were craving South Indian food. We had the buffet and it was great. There were so many options I couldn't try them all. I had most of the hot stuff. The Gobi was awesome, one of the best indian dishes I have ever had. The veggie vindaloo was very good, but I wished for it to be a little hotter. They had more types of rice and more chutneys than any other Indian buffet I have been to. I was very impressed and will return.

                                                      But, the two Indian women LOVED it. Just like home they said. One lives by me and she says that she goes there whenever she doesn't want to cook the food herself because it is just as good, or better. Her sister, who doesn't live in the cities was equally impressed. Very authentic according to them.

                                                      1. Just wanted to add my 2 cents about Bombay 2 Deli. I had a mixed experience: the samosas are just as amazing as everyone says, also the samosa chaat (the weekend special with chickpea, yogurt sauce, etc on top of a smushed up samosa) is amaaaazing. The woman at the counter recommended we eat in so the samosa chaat didn't get soggy and she is right: it was very fresh and really great balance of flavors and textures. The curries were also tasty, i can't remember which we had now, but perfectly tasty. u

                                                        also, instead of a straight up mango lassi, they have a mango "shake" (i think that was the name) on the menu. it is basically mango lassi (more fruit, less yogurt) with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!!! it was delicious, really creamy and had delicious spices. YUM!!

                                                        The downside: the bread we got was oddly not fresh. i can't remember what they were claiming it was on the spectrum of naan, chappati, roti, but it was very obviously just the pre-made refrigerated kind that is sold in the grocery store, heated up in a pan so it was very very oily. It was kind on dense and flat like a storebought tortilla. the second bummer was the vegetable pakora. these was a very battery version of this dish, resembling donut holes with bits of chopped veggies in the batter...as opposed to the big pieces of veggies dipped in batter and fried (the way i like it). they were also not very fresh and had been reheated. i noticed after we ordered that the plates of pakora were sitting in a display case under plastic wrap, so i should have been a little more observant and avoided them.

                                                        anyway, all in all i recommend it, just order wisely. samosas!!!

                                                        also, the nice lady at the counter who has been mentioned in this thread had just delivered her baby when we visited, so she was obviously not there, but maybe she'll be back soon with a little one!

                                                        1. Bumping this up because we had dinner at Best of India in St. Louis Park tonight and it is now one of my favorite Indian places in the cities. They were a little heavy handed with the oil/butter in the naan, rice and curry dishes, but they tasted awfully good. We got vegetables in green masala which I've never seen anywhere else (maybe I just never noticed it) and chicken korma, both seasoned hot. I could have used a bit more spice, but it was much better than other places where you can't even taste the spice after ordering it hot. The staff was very friendly and service was quick. My husband has gone with his officemates for the weekday buffet and says it's wonderful and there are tons of choices.

                                                          Comparing this meal with one we had two weeks ago at India Palace, these dishes had much more depth of flavor. I can't wait to go back and tastes the soups mentioned up thread.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: katebauer

                                                            http://www.bestofindiausa.com/BestOfI...

                                                            Yum! I'm still closer to Great India in Brooklyn Center, but I'm glad to know there are some options in SLP.

                                                            1. re: katebauer

                                                              Just chiming in to say that we had a very good meal at Best of India last night. Baigan Bharta and Nav Ratton Korma were both delicious with the right amount of spice. The perfect food for a cold winter night. I'm looking forward to leftovers today.

                                                            2. And we lost a good one recently when New Delhi became Taste of India. Sigh.

                                                              5 Replies
                                                              1. re: Loren3

                                                                I think that the restaurant is actually called "India House" and is (at least partly) owned by the person who owns Taste of India in St. Louis Park.

                                                                According to a blurb in the Southwest Journal ( http://www.swjournal.com/index.php?pu... ):

                                                                "India House will have a new menu focused on North Indian cuisine, with influences from other parts of the county. Not-too-spicy specialties like butter chicken and curry pakora — diced vegetables fried in chickpea batter and served with a house-made yogurt sauce — are 'suitable to somebody who likes milder tastes.'"

                                                                Has anyone tried the place?

                                                                1. re: bob s

                                                                  That's what I was thinking. I've tried Taste of in SLP. Unimpressive, run-of-the-mill relatively mild (bland) Indian. A big step down from New Dehli. Boo hoo.

                                                                  1. re: bob s

                                                                    wow ! I thought the food was a step up from New Delhi. Have your tried their tandoori sizzler, it comes with the dinner for two. I really like the food at India House and the new ownership.

                                                                    check out their menu at http://www.indiahouseeatstreet.com

                                                                    its by far the best North Indian Food in Minneapolis.

                                                                    1. re: senthil

                                                                      I've had the lunch buffet at India House a few times in the last month, and I have been really enjoying it. The dishes are very richly spiced and satisfying, and definitely not overly mild. The saag is particularly good (I've had it once with paneeer and once with chickpeas), and I had a wonderful beef dish the last time I was there. The staff are very attentive to the buffet and keep everything fresh and hot. I will definitely be going here for dinner at some point soon!

                                                                      1. re: KristinT013

                                                                        Places link:

                                                                        -----
                                                                        India House
                                                                        1400 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403

                                                                2. There is an Indian restaurant just across the Franklin Avenue bridge in Mpls. You park in back, and it has a beyond the usual menu and good food and service. Does anyone else know what I'm talking about? I forget the name!

                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Haricotsv2

                                                                    That's Moti Mahal. It's good to hear a favorable report - I went several years ago and wasn't impressed, but I should try it again.

                                                                    Anne

                                                                    1. re: AnneInMpls

                                                                      We got takeout from there one snowy night last winter. I might have reported on our experience but looking back I remember the food being really greasy. We haven't gone back based on that experience.

                                                                      1. re: katebauer

                                                                        hey does anyone know the name of that tibetan restaurant next to amazing thailand? tibetan/indian food is awesome there. i have a tibetan-indian friend that cooks awesome curry stir fry dishes...but i never really asked if it was a fusion of the two when it comes to tibetan/indian food...'cause i do know many tibetans live in india as well. i love it there...but anyone know of any real good tibetan restaurants as well? i'd love to compare the tastes.

                                                                        1. re: i_heart_mushrooms

                                                                          One place is Namaste Cafe, next door to duplex on Hennepin. The
                                                                          food is Nepalese, which is pretty close to Tibet if I have my geography
                                                                          correct. The food is very good there.

                                                                          1. re: i_heart_mushrooms

                                                                            The place near Amazing Thailand was Tibet's Corner. The restaurant closed last summer and the building (formerly home to, among other, the Uptown Diner and Harry Singh's) was torn down for the new building that will have a North Face store in it.

                                                                    2. I would recommend Chappati in the Edina area. The food is spicy and quite tasty. Worth trying.

                                                                      1. i am always happy to see this thread get added to. wanted to add hyderabad house (attached to patel's on central, basically across from bombay 2 deli. i'd been very curious about this restaurant for a while because i spent some time in the city of hyderabad in andhra pradesh, india, and i wondered if the food was really hyderabadi or whether it was just a restaurant name-- anyway i just kept on looking at hyderabad house, and going across the street to bombay 2, over and over, for the longest time, *silly soupkitten!*

                                                                        when i finally visited i was overjoyed to see a lot of familiar homestyle stuff on the buffet and everything looked so great i just dug right in, even though buffets are not usually my thing. i ate a whole bowl of delicious palak dal (an andhra pradeshi specialty of lentils and spinach), i ate lots of chickpea masala, and sampled all of the many vegetable dishes and small amounts of the 2 meat dishes (both chicken). i found everything well seasoned and authentic to hyderabadi cuisine and absolutely delicious. the place had half a dozen of the traditional hot pickles to choose from and cream-of wheat sweet dessert too. the kind proprietor noticed that we'd missed the container of hot parathas (whole wheat, oiled flatbreads) and brought them to our table so we could eat them with our meal.

                                                                        i don't want to set this up wrong--the food at hyderabad house is a regional indian cuisine, and you're not going to get a more americanized "greatest hits" pan-indian menu that has a broad appeal. please don't go to this restaurant for tandoori chicken. please don't *hate* on me if/when you discover chicken neck bones in the korma sauce--it's homestyle! the andhra pradesh region specializes in rice dishes including biriyanis, vegetables, lentils/pulses tomato-based masala sauces, hot pickles, etc. and hyderabad is the "muslim capital of south india," bringing in a mughal element to the food, particularly all of the meat dishes. southern indian food is spicy-hot-er than northern indian, and i am pleased to report that hyderabad house has the authentic complex spices and spicy heat that characterizes the food of that region. it may be the only "indian buffet" in town that packs a decent punch, spice-wise. it's also very veg-heavy and lentil-heavy in comparison to other "indian buffets," which is to say more authentic to the way people actually eat. though i'm thrilled, maybe this place will not please everyone's tastes. but if you're looking for good south indian homestyle, check it out! btw dh, who has never been to india, liked the food at hyderabad house because of its spiciness and freshness and he commented that the service was very good-- so i am hopeful that others will enjoy it too.

                                                                        oh-- the ambiance is very cute in a mom & pop indian deli sort of way, complete with t.v. blaring indian music videos and plastic covered lace tablecloths and fake plants on the buffet (deal with it!). sometimes conversation may become difficult due to vigorous dishwashing in the back area of the tiled dining room. serv-safe certificates are prominently displayed on the wall and everything is sparkling clean. the proprietor is kind and happy to answer questions. a get-yer-butt-there place for lunch hour, but not date destination, type of place. a lot like bombay 2, but a different regional/ethnic indian style. it's fun to browse patel's for indian groceries after the meal (*so* weird and trippy to see the pillsbury dough boy on a package of frozen naan. i can't even tell ya.)

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Hyderabad House Deli & Restaurant
                                                                        1831 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN

                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                          Soupkitten, thank you SO MUCH for the very helpful context to explain what's special about this restaurant.

                                                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                                                            Any idea if the buffet is on Saturday too?

                                                                            1. re: MayrMN

                                                                              no idea, sorry-- i was a bit in-and-out--on the way to a meeting, but i will go back to check out more on the menu and will post.

                                                                            2. re: soupkitten

                                                                              I too would like to thank you. We always look across to Hyderabad House when we are eating at Bombay2Deli and we know we love Hyderabadi cuisine as we're lucky enough that our friend Padma invites us over for dinner now and then.

                                                                              My favorite thing that she makes is a sort of indian comfort food made from rice flour, vegies and spices that resembles mashed potatoes and is usually served with (hot) mango pickle. I'm wondering if you noticed if they had this (I do not know it's native name unfortunately.)

                                                                              1. re: Foureyes137

                                                                                huh. i'm stumped as to the name of the dish you are describing Foureyes. in hyderabad i ate lots of pancake-like things, dumplings, etc made out of rice flour, and had many sweets made of rice flour and coconut, but can't recall a savory mashed-potato-like preparation with veggies. i'll say that while there i was with my friend & her family and we ate mostly in her extended family's homes, and so i was exposed to very traditional muslim hyderabadi home cooking for about a month. i did eat one delicious all-vegetarian dinner at hindu friends of family's home, and i noticed that many dishes were similar and many dishes very different (apart from vegetarian/non). making an assumption based on the etymology of Padma's name, maybe it's more of an ethnic hindu dish? guessing? :)

                                                                                the proprietor of hyderabad house is muslim, and as i said, she's very accommodating and nice and willing to answer any questions--perhaps she could tell you the name of your fave dish? i could kill myself for not checking to see if there was a to-go menu, i'd consult it if i had one. i guess i'll just have to go back very soon! if you find out the name of the dish in the meantime, let me know what it is & i'll ask!

                                                                                i did forget to note in my first post that you can get the buffet "to go" for $5.99/lb-- similar to holy land's setup-- for on-the-go hounds. i am very glad that there is interest in this little place & look forward to others' reports on the food there.

                                                                                1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                  A correct assumption, she is Hindu, so this may be something the Muslim population this area does not consume. I'll be sure to research and ask though!

                                                                                  1. re: Foureyes137

                                                                                    hey i did go back to hyderabad house. i asked the proprietor about your description of padma's specialty dish and she was stumped too! i think that you may have luck if you go in with the name of the dish, but it sounds like it may be an uncommon dish.

                                                                                    hyderabad house does not have a takeout menu, but you can call in to-go orders ahead of time (if you know what you want to order, and they prepare the dish). the proprietor gave me a business card with the phone #. they have a handwritten menu (english) on a dry-erase board close to the cashier's station.

                                                                                    again i enjoyed the buffet at hyderabad house, which this time included "real" yellow basmati rice--fragrant with a profusion of whole spices and curry leaves, not just long-grain rice with turmeric, like you get in other restaurants. again the buffet offerings were extremely well executed, crafted individual dishes, with authentic whole spices. every dish was different from the prior visit, with lentils and pulses still as a primary focus, and two meat dishes, again both chicken. the chickpeas and lentils were brilliant and the okra masala was the best i've ever had. the cold part of the buffet again featured half-dozen hot pickles and this time, delicious kadhi pakoras (chickpea-flour fritters in savory cold yogurt sauce), too. everything was wonderful except for a cauliflower dish, which seemed a bit watery, the yogurt-based sauce had separated and the dish didn't seem pulled together entirely. so the cook is a human being after all!

                                                                                    one of my towering food obsessions is a properly executed, luscious, melting, hyderabadi lamb biryani. it's possible that my expectations of this dish's deliciousness are blown out of all proportion since it's been 10 years since i've had a truly great one. the pan-indian restaurants around here prepare atrocious "biryanis" to order in a greasy pan, as if it were fried rice. they use long-grain white rice rather than basmati and use short-cut sauces. the result is a disgusting, greasy, blasphemous, inedible pile of crap which doesn't even approximate a modicum of the glory of the original dish, no matter how simple & homestyle the preparation. hyderabad house offers several biryanis on their white dry erase board, for the ridiculously cheap price of $7.99 or some such. i questioned the proprietor about their biryani cooking method and she was emphatic that they prepared biryani in the traditional manner in large batches, slowly, rice and sauced meat layered separately, sealed in a big heavy bottomed pot. excellent. . . *drumming fingers together.* i need a while to dial down my ridiculously high expectations, & then i am determined to sample this dish at hyderabad house and offer a fair review. i am sure that no matter how the dish comes off at this establishment, that it's the closest there is to an authentic preparation of this dish in msp.

                                                                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                      soupkittten - I have to wonder if it is a family dish or something? Were you there last night 06/22 with a young man eating next to the window? This may sound like an odd question, but my wife and I were biking back from the Height's Theater last night and passed Hyderabad House and wanted badly to go in for dinner but weren't hungry having just eaten a large popcorn @ the movies. Thanks for clarifying that they use real basmati. Being a fragrant rice (like jasmine rice) it is always disappointing to think you are going to get the real thing and just get long-grain white.

                                                                                      If they are open tonight, I think we'll definately have to stop in.

                                                                                      1. re: Foureyes137

                                                                                        it wasn't me yesterday--i went last week & didn't have a lot of time to post until now. i believe one of my visits was on a monday though, so i think they'll probably be open for you tonight. if you visit please post your thoughts!

                                                                                        re: rice--on all dishes at hyderabad house, there seems to be little in the way of americanization. . . no written labels on the buffet, no to-go or printed menu (this is good imo)-- they are serving authentic dishes to a small, mostly ethnic audience who want homestyle food. i'm soundly kicking myself for passing this little gem by so many times. hope you & mrs. Foureyes enjoy it as much as i do. :)

                                                                              2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                We finally tried Hyderabad House on Saturday afternoon. I'll be brief, but this was just as described and very good.

                                                                                I am not a fan of buffets for the most part because of food safety concerns as well as concerns regarding freshness, however the room was bustling when we arrived around 2pm, which was a good sign for food turnover. The black lentil curry was by far my favorite item. The lentils still had some crunch to them which I like. The saag was also very good as was what I think was a paneer masala with chicken. Great rice and I loved that they had 3 different traditional pickle hot-sauces you could put on the side. The naan was stale so I didn't eat any, and I was hoping to find some of the goat samosas I'd heard about on the buffet, but no luck. We'll have to go back.

                                                                                My biggest question though (and I wish I had a better way to describe this) : what was the yogurt with whole chili's and what I think was torn up naan chunks in it? It was fantastic and brought balance to my mouth when I ate too much hot pickle. I've never seen this before and it came-off as middle eastern/mediterranean and it was great!

                                                                                1. re: Foureyes137

                                                                                  oh great! glad you liked it!

                                                                                  are you sure the yogurt dish contained torn up naan? is there a possibility that these morsels were chickpea fritters? if this is so, (and if the dish was cold, not hot) the dish is the kadhi pakoras i described in the first june 23rd post. if it was pieces of naan, & not chickpea fritters, it sounds like a variation using the same type of yogurt sauce, which would probably be *almost* as delicious. seems like a logical homestyle way to use up leftover flat breads (like a cold, savory indian bread pudding), but i don't know the name of this dish or if it has one. :) i agree it's a delicious, cooling & refreshing accompaniment to curries and hot pickles-- very cravable! *drool*

                                                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                    Very possible, whatever they were they were some kind of indistinguishable starch thing covered in yogurt (and yes, cold). We were guessing that it was naan, but it makes more sense if it was a fritter since it wasn't completely yogurt-logged. Whatever it was it was good.

                                                                              3. I just ate at Nala Pak this last weekend and I was blown away by the finesse used in crafting their dishes. The dishes were perfectly spiced and balanced; a real pleasure to smell, taste, and look at. A friend of mine told me the place was purchased by a particularly well off surgeon from Rochester and their influence has improved the former Udupi staff in a good way. Give it another chance.

                                                                                1. We checked out Bombay 2 Deli recently and weren't blown away. Here is our detailed review...

                                                                                  Bombay 2 Deli
                                                                                  1840 Central Ave NE
                                                                                  Minneapolis, MN
                                                                                  612-788-4571
                                                                                  www.bombay2deli.com

                                                                                  Category: Indian

                                                                                  Rating (Scale 1-10, with 10 being the highest):
                                                                                  Food: 6
                                                                                  Service: N/A (counter service
                                                                                  )Ambience: N/A

                                                                                  Recommendation: Average. Minneapolis’ only Indian deli that serves Indian street food such as Chaats, Bhel Puri, and Vadas. While the concept is unique, we found most of the dishes we tried to be average at best.

                                                                                  Awarded “Best Cheap Eats 2007” by City Pages, this unique Indian café is located on Central Avenue in Minneapolis, which is Minneapolis’ so called “Little India.” Bombay 2 Deli is attached to Asia Imports, an Indian grocery store - you can do your weeks groceries while the women in the back of the restaurant make your meal. The vegetarian menu consists of many curries such as Daals, Paneer, Chhole with a rotation of 3 curries per day. They also have daily mini meals where you can get your choice of 2 curries, rice, and chappatis (bread) for $6.99. We visited recently when we heard that they serve many snacks that are reminiscent of Indian street food. Having grown up in India, we were delighted to try this place for a taste of home most restaurants find hard to replicate. We found the food to be average at best but given that it is the only place serving Indian street food, we will most likely visit again, when the street food craving kicks in. Although the menu contains 15-20 different snacks, they were only serving 7-8 of those dishes when we visited.

                                                                                  The Bhel Puri ($3.49), found on every street corner in Bombay, has a base of puffed rice, sev (a fried snack), and other mixed snacks. The base is then mixed with a variety of dry spices, tomatoes, onions, tamarind chutney, cilantro chutney, lime juice, and boiled potatoes to form a delicious savory delight. Bombay 2 Deli actually made a good Bhel Puri. Most other dishes at the deli were also topped with similar ingredients…the tamarind and cilantro chutneys, garbanzo beans, potatoes, etc. The Papri Chaat ($3.99) which used fried chips as it base and topped with yogurt was ok. We thought it lacked depth of flavor…it wasn’t seasoned well. The Samosa Chaat ($3.99) was our favorite…the popular Samosas are crushed and topped with - you guessed it - chickpeas, chutneys, onions, and yogurt. The Chole Puri ($4.99), which is Chickpea curry served with a deep fried puffed Puri (bread) was good. The curry was very flavorful. We didn’t like the Pav Bhaji ($4.49) or the Dhokla ($3.99). Pav Bhaji is a delicious and spicy combination of mashed vegetables cooked in spices and served with a warm buttery bread called Pav. The dish was totally bland and we had to add salt and lemon juice in large quantities to make it taste edible. The worst part that the deli did not have fresh limes, they used lemon juice concentrate! (Note: they have a grocery store selling fresh produce attached to it!). The Dhokla, which is a very popular dish eaten by Gujaratis is a steamed square made with chickpea flour and topped with fried mustard seeds, cilantro, and chilies. Unfortunately, it tasted worse than what you would get from a boxed mix and it didn’t have any mustard seeds or fresh cilantro on it. The Masala tea ($1.50), milky Indian sweet tea made with spices such as cinnamon and cardamom was ok.

                                                                                  $. Street Parking.

                                                                                  MSP Foodies www.mspfoodies.com

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: MSP Foodies

                                                                                    Bombay 2 Deli is no longer the only place in town that makes snacks like bhels and chaat. CurryUp Deli does too, according to Mr. Iggers at RakeMag.com.

                                                                                    http://www.curryupfoods.com

                                                                                    I haven't been there yet, alas, but cheeseguysgirl reported on CurryUp in this thread:
                                                                                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/516324

                                                                                    Anne

                                                                                    -----
                                                                                    Curryup Foods
                                                                                    13601 Grove Dr, Maple Grove, MN

                                                                                    1. re: AnneInMpls

                                                                                      I second CurryUp, great food and inexpensive compared to most. I had the samosa chaat and the Bhel puri and both were great.

                                                                                      -----
                                                                                      Curryup Foods
                                                                                      13601 Grove Dr, Maple Grove, MN

                                                                                  2. Has anyone tried out Dancing Ganesha restaurant over on Harmon Place in downtown Minneapolis? (I understand that it's in the space where Willie's Wine Bar used to be.) It's owned by the same folks who own Nala Pak, but they are going for "contemporary Indian" food.

                                                                                    Love to hear anyone's impressions.

                                                                                    -----
                                                                                    Dancing Ganesha Restaurant
                                                                                    1100 Harmon Place, Minneapolis, MN 55403

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: bob s

                                                                                      That's on my list this weekend. So is the new Gandhi Mahal over next to Midori's on E. Lake St.

                                                                                      1. re: sporkgirl

                                                                                        Me too! (That is, if I can resist the pull of the great Nepali/Indian food at the Himalayan restaurant...)

                                                                                        See this thread for more on Gandhi Mahal:
                                                                                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/526675

                                                                                        Anne

                                                                                    2. I can't remember the name, but there is a good Indian restaurant on Franklin Avenue, just on the Minneapolis (west) side of the bridge. Park in back--different menu, interesting and delicious food.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: Haricotsv2

                                                                                        That's Raja's Mahal. It used to be Moti Mahal (which was mentioned above - see http://www.chowhound.com/topics/34874... ).

                                                                                        Have you been there since the most recent name change? What did you try? What was your favorite dish?

                                                                                        Anne

                                                                                        -----
                                                                                        Moti Mahal
                                                                                        3025 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406

                                                                                      2. I went to the Hyderabad House restaurant across from Bombay 2 India on Central Ave NE during a 4.5 hr layover at MSP on my way back from Spain. I intended to go to Bombay 2 India, and it was unfortunate Bombay 2 India was closed; I was looking forward to good, cheap Indian snacks, something not often found in Spain. But there was Hyderabad House across the street.

                                                                                        The food seemed authentic (very spicy) and the clientele South Asian. The place is a "hole in the wall" type establishment - minimal (not "minimalistic") decoration and, incongruously enough, the local Mexican AM radio station playing - but cheap (my curry, rice, a goat meat samosa, and unlimited soft drink came to about $10) and good.

                                                                                        1. Everest on Grand is one of my favorite restaurants. The service is terrible but the food has always been worth it. For those of you wanting rice with your spicier meals, be sure to ask for a side dish as most entrees do not include rice or bread. Also, if you want more than one cocktail, be ready to stand up and wave your arms because no one will replenish it otherwise. Better yet - order a bottle of wine or two drinks at the get-go. They do offer a buffet during lunch, but I prefer to order from the menu.

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: ramsholl

                                                                                            I tried Dancing Ganesha's lunch buffet recently and was not super happy with
                                                                                            it, much prefer Nala Pak when I can get there or Bombay Bistro downtown.
                                                                                            I finally saw what it means when people describe Indian food as 'bland'. Something about their p.r. has been kind of off-putting to me, as they are saying their food will be fancier than typical Indian- I don't think it is, just pricier. There is something with lobster on the menu. I"d like to hear from anyone with a good experience there.

                                                                                            1. re: ramsholl

                                                                                              Ghandi Mahal next to Midori Floating World cafe is great. The decor is wonderful, not the sterile feeling you can get at some places. rich fabrics and nice furniture. The food is really good (they do spicy well) and very reasonably priced. They have a lunch buffet EVERY day of the week until 3pm and are open for dinner every night too. check it out!!

                                                                                              1. re: roosterjen

                                                                                                I agree! I think Gandhi Mahal's food is a step above the rest - especially the Persian Dhansak (lentils and tomatoes) with lamb.

                                                                                                Anne

                                                                                                P.S. See the Places link for recent threads on this new restaurant.

                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                Gandhi Mahal
                                                                                                3009 27th Ave South, Minneapolis, MN

                                                                                            2. I was at Kabob's Restaurant in Bloomington yesterday. Their menu has expanded a lot since the last time I had eaten at the restaurant. They have added new menu section "Indo-Chinese" which the owner explained is the fusion of Indian and Chinese spices. I ordered a couple of items like Chicken fried rice and Chilli Gobi (which is cauliflower fritters sauteed in spices). It was delicious.
                                                                                              I found out that they are opening up a second location in Maple Grove in August 2008. They said that it has more seating than the current location .
                                                                                              They said that the new location will feature lunch buffet during the week and on the weekends they will serve traditional breakfast buffet.
                                                                                              I guess I'll wait and see what they have to offer when they open up.
                                                                                              Note: they are still keeping the current Bloomington location.