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Best Ottawa Indian?

I've had some pretty miserable offerings in Kanata: dinner buffets at Bombay Masala and Haveli that looked like they'd been held over since lunch. Similar to my experience of too many Indian-American restaurants, they appear to be doing the same dull, limited handful of Moghul dishes, almost certainly done batch-style with little love.

Are there any extraordinary Indian restaurants in Greater Ottawa? I see from the Xpress poll that East India Company, Ceylonta (which I guess is Sri Lankan and South Indian, interesting), and Coconut Lagoon are well regarded. Do these merit the praise? Are there any regional specialists, like Bengali? Is anyone doing anything particularly creative or high-end?

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  1. Many of my southeast asian friends use East India Company as a caterer. I'm not fond of buffet-style myself, but the food I've had at at parties catered by East India has been quite good.

    Ceylonta is quite good. Last time I was there I found they had used a very free hand with the ghee, and the dishes were quite greasy, but the flavours are nuanced and nicely balanced.

    I'm also fond of Taj Mahal on Bank street in the Glebe.

    Don't know of any particularly high-end Indian in Ottawa (certainly not to compare to other cities like Vancouver). If you find something great, please post!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Sam Ottawa

      I'll second Ceylonta. It's really a Sri Lankan place so your best bet is to go with the Sri Lankan specialities.

      1. re: Sam Ottawa

        I did visit Vij's on a recent trip to Vancouver: spectacular, luxurious, creative, but not fusion-y. Really worth a visit.

      2. I'm a fan of Cafe Shafali in Dalhousie. Delish.

        Nagina is good for cheap buffet and byow.

        1. I'm a big fan of Taj Mahal in the Glebe. There's also a lone South Indian place called Curries on (I think) Gladstone.

          1. I'm hardly a connaisseur of Indian, but apart from Ceylonta (which we also really like), I've had good meals at the Rose's Cafe (Gladstone and Wellington), Little India Cafe (across from Britannia Cinema/Colosseum) and Starlight Indian Cuisine (Bell's Corners).

              1. MUST TRY! Light of India at 730 Bank. They have candle warming plates to keep your food warm which is cool. Madras is better than the Vinaloo when I've had it, the Bhindi Bahji (okra) is our fav, Palau Rice is really fragrant, good and big portions. Lunch buffet is good to check out for a fix.

                1. Big fan of Cumin & Goan (though it is a groaner of a name)

                  2280 Carling Avenue (west of Woodroffe)
                  (613) 321 8895

                  http://www.cuminandgoan.com

                  1. I'll throw a vote in for Ceylonta as well... although it's not nearly as subtly nuanced as some of the Indian offerings Ottawa has. Taj Mahal, as someone else mentioned, is excellent, and so is New Nupur, in my opinion. Much better than most of Ottawa's offerings.

                    If you insist on buffet, it's definitely either Nagina or East India Company, with the latter generally offering higher quality fare.

                    1. How about Rangoli Indian Restaruant on St. Joseph Blvd in Orléans?
                      Check out their website at www.rangoli.ca

                      This is a family-owned Northern Indian restaurant.

                      Vegetarian samosas, onion bhajis, an assortment of pakoras, rogan josh (a lamb curry), naan, butter chicken, channa masala, chick peas cooked with different Indian spices.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Oscar Academy

                        I love Rangoli - I live just around the corner, and go there often. Fabulous butter chicken and naan as big as your head! Last time I went, there was an 18-month-old in our party, and he was scarfing down the onion bhajis... The lunch combos are a great deal.

                      2. I like East Indian Company. Food is fresh, and they have among the best naan I've had in Ottawa.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Chicas

                          I like Coconut Lagoon on St. Laurent. (http://www.coconutlagoon.ca/main.html). Focus is on regional food from Kerala, which is a nice change. The venue is...unpreposessing--a bit dumpy inside and out. But the service is very nice, in a homey sort of way. But the food is excellent, and bit different from the usual mughal stuff--I love their dosas and their jaggery crepes in particular. And the wine list is surprisingly good for an Indian restaurant.

                        2. The one meal I had at Haveli was the worst Indian food I have ever had in my life--over-salted, greasy, harsh-tasting--disgusting. One thing I like about Indian food is that it is usually at least good, no matter where you are. Haveli is an exception to that rule. And it ain't cheap!