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Nice Indian resto for birthday dinner

Hey there...need some help! I am looking for a nice Indian restaurant in which to celebrate my dad's 60th birthday with a party of about 30. Obviously, it would need a small banquet room or similar accomodations. Here is the challenge: my family is Indian, and my dad holds Indian restaurants to a very high standard. We often eat at the hole-in-the-wall type places in Brampton and Little India because we know the food and know what's good. But I'm looking for a classier place that will provide good ambience, good service, and great food without ripping us off. Any suggestions? Location can be pretty much anywhere in the GTA, but I prefer to stay away from downtown if possible.

Thanks for your ideas!

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  1. Tabla says on it's website that they can accomodate groups up to 80 people: http://www.dine.to/tablawinebar. I have not been there but it is highly recommended on CH. I am trying it on Sunday for my post-marathon dinner. I can let you know my thoughts. When is the dinner?

    8 Replies
    1. re: pescatarian

      Thanks...that would be great if you could let me know! The dinner will be in mid-November, so I have plenty of time.

      I tried the link you provided and it is unavailable. I'll try it again later...

      1. re: zainab13

        Remove the period (.) from the end of the link and it will work just fine.


        That should get you there.

        1. re: zainab13

          Hi Zainab13,

          So we went to Tabla last night for my post-marathon dinner (yes, I ran my first marathon!!). There were 8 of us and we had a great time. The service was excellent, despite a couple slow spots. I will agree with Estufarian that the sauces are not the usual homogenous ones that you find at most Indian restaurants in the city. The food was also remarkably non-greasy and beautifully presented (especially the chef's platter appetizer). The room is very nice and definitely suitable for a family celebration.
          We ordered the following:

          2 Chef's Platters (veg samosa, brie cheese pakora (I loved the burst of cheese), onion bhaji (mmm, fried onion) and popadums. Despite the fried items on this platter, not greasy at all and beautifully presented with a nice cilantro yogurt dip (and another dip with I didn't try, so I don't remember - sorry, I was in a post-marathon haze)
          Lamb Tikka (tasty and tender)
          Butter Chicken (I didn't choose this, it was good though for BC, not my fave)
          Chicken Xacutti (delishly coconuty)
          Beef Vindaloo (my favourite, love the spice)
          We order ALL of the vegetarian entrees (there were 8 of us and we like variety). Rather than list all of them, I will say that my favourites were the Eggplant Bhartha (delightfully smokey), Palak Paneer (table favourite), Masala Bhindi (okra in mango powder, also a table fave).
          We also had a couple bottles of wine (a New Zealand red that was about 46 dollars each and someone had a couple glasses of white wine.
          We all had either coffee and tea.

          The total was $300, which considering the amount of food we had (and there were leftovers) for 8 people, with two bottles of wine and two glasses of wine, is a pretty good deal.

          Would definitely recommend it and will be back.

          1. re: pescatarian

            Interesting I ordered the Chef's platter and found the bhaji and pakora's completely bland.

            Their Vindaloo does have a nice layering of spices but they used way too much tamarind.

            I enjoyed their palak paneer as well.

            1. re: Apprentice

              I guess it's a matter of preference. Definitely didn't find the bhaji and pakora's bland. Also, I very rarely find that there can be too much tamarind in anything ;-)

              1. re: Apprentice

                I agree on the Bhaji and Pakora - found them a litle doughy.
                Did you also find some lime in the Vindaloo?
                I also liked the Masala Bhindi - didn't try the palak paneer (next time!).

                1. re: estufarian

                  LOL on the tamarind comment, fair enough. It's definitely a matter of preference, growing up with Indian food I can attest to that. I used to enjoy maximum "heat", just like my father, but now I look for less heat and more flavour.

                  I didn't notice the lime I will look for it next time.

                  1. re: Apprentice

                    I know what you mean. I love heat, but also like layers of flavour. I think that I found that at Tabla. I had a great meal there, in any event.

                    Re the tamarind, I like it just by itself drizzled on yogurt or eating it in the pods, so I guess I really like the flavour and it would have to be insanely overdone for it to bother me.

        2. You might want to try Jaipur Grille. Lovely room, great food & service.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Googs

            Definately I second the Jaipur Grille rec - it is stunningsly sophisticated Indian food in an elegant and classy setting.

          2. Also at Yonge and Eg is the Chef of India, which can handle large groups with advance planning. I've enjoyed the food, the ambience and the service there.

            Chef of India
            30 Eglinton Ave E, Toronto, ON M4P1A6, CA

            1. I'm probably the biggest booster of Tabla on Chowhound. 3 visits and each excellent.
              Tried Jaipur Grille twice - both times used the same base sauce for all items - so obviously cheaper - but Indian palates will certainly detect it.
              Please, somebody else give an independent review of Tabla. We need other viewpoints!

              1. We've had good experiences at both Dhaba (King and Peter) and Amaya (Bayview south of Eglinton). We also really like The Host on Prince Arthur.

                Not sure whether these spots can accommodate a group your size, but worth checking.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Webdude

                  I went to Dhaba tonight. It was not even close to as good as Tabla. First of all they have that tacky theatre district idea of having them stand outside like they have to wave down customers to enter the restaurant. But aside from that the food just wasn't up to the same standard. There were some good flavours, but there were some serious flaws (for me). I should preface this by saying I was dining with a pretty unadventurous eater, so we went for safe choices.
                  We started with an appetizer (I can't remember the name) which had avocado, chickpeas, mint chutney, tamarind over crisps inside a cabbage leave. As weird as this might sound, this was actually the best part of the meal. It had good flavours, especially the strong tamarind flavours (if you like strong tamarind flavours, which I do).
                  We shared the saag paneer and chicken tikka. The saag paneer had a nice spiciness, but it was lacking depth - and the paneer was hard - not the melt in your mouth paneer that I've had at many other restaurants. It was dry and hard.
                  The chicken tikka looked and tasted more like butter chicken than anything else to me. It was ok, nothing special flavour-wise and the chicken was dry and chewy, even covered in the "tikka" sauce.
                  The pineapple raita was boring (sweet, but no other flavours, herbs) and the mango chutney tasted straight out of the supermarket jar. The naan was fine. Came warm. They serve popadoms on the table that are fine too.
                  The service was a mix of attentive, scattered and "odd". The first server shook his head as he walked away after he asked us if we wanted bottle water or tap and we said tap (we had also ordered wine). He also kept trying to get us to order more items than we wanted. He kept saying, that's it, it looks like you're missing something. We had to tell him 3 times that we were sure that was enough.
                  I think one of the major problems with Dhaba is that it is trying to bill itself as "fine dining" (along with their pricing) and it is not fine dining. They should market themselves as run of the mill mediocre and they would be better off. Expectations would be lower.
                  Also, the "restaurant makeover" is funny - minimalist to say the least.

                2. Slightly downtownish but here's a thought - About two weeks ago we went to a place called Mela or Mala on Church St just south of Wellesley on the west side. It's fairly new. We had great indian there. My friend who is Indian and is also a picky eater said it was actually quite good. It was a priced right and I am sure for a party of your size they would close down the restaurant for a private party. Good luck & have fun.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Apple

                    Did you do the ayce or a la carte menu?

                    1. re: cowhound

                      Thanks pescatarian for your detailed review of Tabla! And thanks also to everyone else for their suggestions. I will look into them and hopefully find something that works! And I'll post a review when it's all over :)

                    2. re: Apple

                      Good to know. I've been eying Mela, but that district isn't really known for it's food with about 3 notable exceptions.

                      1. re: Apple

                        Any thoughts on Veda healthy Indian in the same area? They seem to have two locations and a lovely-looking take-out menu.

                        1. re: Apple

                          Talk about here today, gone later today! Mela is already gone and replaced by a Vietnamese restaurant. That didn't take long. Now if only the poseur Omi would vanish.

                        2. I suggest that you try Exotic Indian Cuisine foor their weekday buffet as a sampling, closed Monday!!! The restaurant has become much busier become much busier in the last year. Operated by a husband/wife team with the gentleman Kishoor have spent many years in Little India. Speak to Kishoor and you will find that apart from the buffet and the menu, he will make special dishes not on the menu!!!! Located near Highway 27, on the north side of Albion Rd., in the north west industrial plaza 1 traffic light west of 27!!

                          1. Ok everyone...thanks for all the suggestions! I called a number of the places suggested here and they didn't work for various reasons (I didn't mention in my original post that the meat needs to be halal, because I assumed most posters wouldn't know that info up front). So either they don't offer halal, or can't provide a separate room, or the price is out of my range, etc etc. It looks like I am leaning towards The Host - the Mississauga location. Has anyone eaten at this specific location and can you provide any recs on specific dishes?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: zainab13

                              I've eaten there multiple times - both a la carte and buffet - but it was a couple of years ago back when I lived in Mississauga so I don't remember the exact dishes that I enjoyed. Overall, the food was good quality, and spicier than most Indian restaurants, I found. It wasn't my favourite, but I would go back.