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Looking for best inexpensive Indian food in Seattle

The other night, I went to the Kabab House on 81st and Greenwood and came away full but frustrated. For one thing, the service was dreadful, and this was before 6:00 on a Saturday night. The grim-faced servers didn't bring us our food for a good forty minutes, and when they did, they got the order wrong. No apology, either, though the kitchen did whip up the missing dish in no time. As for the food itself, my chicken kabab was dry; my son's beef kabab was much better. The naan was superb, as was the paratha, strongly spiced and tasty. But the so-called salad was a couple of shards of iceberg lettuce, a single slice of cucumber, and pieces of onion; no dressing.

Was this meal an exception? What Indian restaurants do you prefer that are modestly priced, as this one is?

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  1. In Seattle, I like Cedar's and Taste of India, both owned by the same family. I'm not sure how authentic it is but it's good. Cedar's can get extremely crowded though. On the eastside, I like Kanishka. I've also heard good things about Peet's.

    4 Replies
    1. re: karen2006

      Note that when you tip at Cedar's and Taste of India, the money goes to the "house" and not your server. I loved the food at ToI but won't go there now because of this policy... Also watch out for the mad beverage refillers at ToI - they seemed to refill my water and chai after each sip and it got annoying to be interrupted so many times. People love Udupi Palace at Crossroads for southern Indian food. Pabla on 2nd Ave near Noc Noc has a decent lunch buffet for $12 or so...

      1. re: chownerd

        Pabla India on 2nd has a lunch buffet that's just under $9 with tax. It's a reasonable price for the nice selection and quality they offer. One of my favorite Indian buffets.

        1. re: bbqer

          The Renton branch of Pabla (it's all veggie, though) is much better tasting, I think.

          There's a new Indian buffet that just opened up in Belltown (it's either on 1st or 2nd west of Wall). Much better quality than Pabla. Coworker
          and I just tried the lunch buffet ($7) and it's very nice.

      2. re: karen2006

        This link is your friend:
        http://www.thesurvivalkit.com

        Print the coupons from this book/website and you'll save $10-$12 on your meal there, as well as other similar restaurants in the area.

      3. I've had excellent food at the Kabab House, you just have to go knowing what to expect. The mutar paneer, chicken tikka masala, and kahari ghost are some of my favorites in fact the best i've had in Seattle. And as you stated I don't think i would recommend the kababs. I just call my order in ahead of time and eat at home. After moving to the new location they have had trouble finding wait staff so service is in fact dreadfull. In response to karen2006 I personally think Cedar's is a bit bland, most meals i've had there leave me feeling dissapointed.

        1. Tandor on the Ave is great and has variety. Order some take-out and curl up with a movie- it is worth it... plus they are regularly voted best lunch buffet (and vegetarian options) restaurant in the area- Tip- the butter chicken and chicken masala are excellent! Another option is a little bit of a drive... Sahib in downtown Edmonds will get you good food and a fun view. Both are economical and layered in flavor.

          1. A few things to mention--The tipping thing, this is how it works in MOST indian restaurants. I have quite a few friends who have worked in Indian restaurants, from New Hampshire to Seattle, and all of them has operated this way. That said, they were generally paid quite well by the house, the tip is expected as part of the income of the restaurant, which is a factor in the salary--I usually live a slightly smaller tip, maybe 10%.

            India Bistro in Ballard would be my reccomendation, though I warn you they do have tips to the house I know for sure. Also, though, I have had only good experiences at Kabab house, and our pakastani friends won't eat any where else in the city....

            3 Replies
            1. re: dagoose

              Interesting what you say about the tip. I left a very small one, having debated with myself whether to leave one at all, thinking that would send a message. From what you say, I realize that was meaningless. . . . I ate at India Bistro once and liked the food, though the portions weren't generous, by any means.

              1. re: improvcook

                The best way to send a message is to tell someone (the manager) why you are not pleased. Not leaving a tip can mean many things.

              2. re: dagoose

                I would third or fourth the India Bistro recommendation. I think the food is very good and I have always (more than) plenty to eat. Also, I live go quite often by myself and always feel totally comfortable there, not like they wish I would hurry up and free the table.

              3. First of all, Kabob House is not an Indian eatery. It is Pakistani. Secondly, all dishes are made to order thats why it takes time.

                Me and my friends have never had anything except the best service there.

                Their specialities are not the everyday items but more whats on the weekend menu: Nihari, the Chicken Biryani and Haleem.

                I am of Pakistani descent and I would gladly recommend Kabob House over any Indian eatery in Seattle. And I've pretty much eaten in every Indian restaurant in Seattle. The only one I like is Annapurna. Their service is awesome.

                Cedar's service was great but their food has been terrible. Dry, too runny, and they never get the spice level right.

                4 Replies
                1. re: bittergourd

                  Are you talking about the original location in the strip-mall on Greenwood, or the new one on the corner a few blocks North?

                  1. re: mrnelso

                    India Bistro is very tasty. The food is never overly oily, the service is good and the prices are great. They have a fantastic lunch buffet every day but Sunday.

                    1. re: mrnelso

                      heh Its actually quarter of a block up from its old location. :)

                    2. re: bittergourd

                      Isn't Annapurna Nepalese food? I have not been, nor can I claim to know the cultural difference between these foods, just a question.

                    3. I was told you would get similar "disservice" at the Taj Palace in Bellevue. The store owner plainly told my friends that he couldn't care less if they were not happy with the service.

                      I like Mayuri and Kanishka in Redmond, and Priya in Bothell. Heard good things about India Bistro in Ballard. We usually go for the thali meals ($13-$15 includes everything you'd normally want and enough for takeout afterwards too). Cedar's and Taste of India are pretty nice, but had too much of it during school and think other places have a more "refined" taste.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: HungWeiLo

                        Udupi Palace at Crossroads in Bellevue makes pretty good dosai and has thali and other vegetarian. I have heard very promising things about Mysore Masala in Redmond; haven't tried Kanishka yet either but I want to. Mayuri has decent chaat. My favorite Indian in the area (and the only one with non-vegetarian dishes that competes with the vegetarian places) is Spice Route in Bellevue. Good strong flavors that attact an Indian clientle. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/395665

                      2. I adore the Tandoor on University Avenue- so do many others I know. Moderatly priced, highly rated, and overall very delicious. I also like Chutney's Bistro in Wallingford. They have just cahnged positions in the Wallingofrd center and now have even more patio seating for those lovely warmer days. Another option for inexpensive Indain is to do the lunch and weekend buffets that most of them offer to sample and perfect likes and dislikes making further restaurant expereinces more of a success.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: natalie.warner

                          I will second the recommendation for India Bistro in Ballard. Have always had good food and good service.