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Best Indian restaurant toronto suggestions??

s
swalter Nov 28, 2007 12:08 PM

Hi I am taking friends who love indian food out -where should we go??

  1. xtal Nov 28, 2007 12:50 PM

    Here's a recent thread on the topic:
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/102450

    My personal favourite is Little India.

    -----
    Little India
    255 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V1Z4, CA

    1. pescatarian Nov 28, 2007 12:52 PM

      The best Indian food I've had recently was at Tabla, on Yonge, south of Lawrence. Delicious sauces, not as homogeneous as most Indian restos in TO. Service was great. Nice restaurant. Highly recommend it.

      1. p
        pearlD Nov 28, 2007 04:23 PM

        I must say that hands down our new favourite is BANJARA on Bloor Street West just next to Christie ...check it our on this board...response has been really positive,,,they did have some 'service' problems in the beginning but they seem to have overcome them. It'll be a long time before Gerrard Street sees us again.

        8 Replies
        1. re: pearlD
          estufarian Nov 29, 2007 09:20 AM

          Banjara is cheap and filling. But the food is definitely below that served at Tabla (for more money).
          So depends on whether you're driven by price or quality - there's a place for both.

          1. re: estufarian
            p
            pearlD Nov 29, 2007 05:02 PM

            I haven't been to Tabla...but I sure wouldn't call Banjara cheap and filling. I am driven by good tasting food period. In that regard I consider Banjara to meet the standards of my taste.

            1. re: pearlD
              l
              LJS Nov 29, 2007 05:21 PM

              Pearl, I have to agree with Estufarian...I am fond of Banjara, my husband and I have been 3 times now and will go again fro a FRidayn cheap and cheerful, but the place is definitely lacking in ambiance. Food CAN be great, but if you get there on a a night they are also doing a wedding or other big catering event from the kitche, you take your chances.

              1. re: pearlD
                estufarian Nov 30, 2007 05:56 AM

                Hi Pearl,
                My last visit to Banjara, the rice was overcooked to the point of mushy; the vegetables in the several dishes were similarly overcooked (specifically cauliflower) and the sauce used for different dishes was essentially the same (even though one was supposed to be a cashew-based sauce).
                The overall taste and spicing was pretty good - especially at that price point. But the 'quality' of the ingredients reflected the price charged.
                NOTE: Many Indian places similarly use a 'one sauce fits all' approach, with a few additions to complete each dish. It takes time to prepare Indian sauces and this "short-cut" is a cost-effective measure. But it results in an 'all-tastes the same' cuisine. Great if you always order the same dish - but just doesn't work if one desires defined flavours. I'm not 'harshly' criticising Banjara - it's the reality at many Indian places. I'm fortunate enough now to be able to afford to pay the extra. In my student and early-working days Banjara would have been perfect - tasty and filling. Good, solid but if you pay more you can get more defined sauces and spicing.
                A bit more upscale (in terms of price) is Trimurti (on Queen west of University). Their servings are smaller than Banjara, but the sauces show much more variation. Their Pasanda (almost the same description as the Korma at Banjara) is a totally different experience. My overall reaction to Banjara was that anybody who likes Butter Chicken could order anything off the menu and like it - it's all the same basic sauce.

                1. re: estufarian
                  p
                  pearlD Nov 30, 2007 10:04 AM

                  Price is simply not an issue, I too, could go anywhere I please BUT I/we like Banjara....it has a friendly vibe, we have never had a problem with service....it tastes 'homey' to me which is what I want... I don't want 'high end' food when I'm eating Indian food. I want high end when eating at Scaramouche/Auberge du Pommier. I do not agree with you when you state it all tastes the same...perhaps we're coming at this subject from two different 'palates'. I actually feel the same about Japanese...I want fresh, I don't care if my plate is decorated by a designer...I guess what I am saying is that yes, I can appreciate 'high end' in Ethnic food but basically it's not what I'm going to a 'neighbourhood restaurant' for...it is not 'dining by any stretch. What it is, is, Fresh, Tasty, Hot when it's supposed to be and Cold if that's what it's supposed to be and served in a timely manner. If it's an upscale experience I'm after I'll certainly remember your suggestions of other places, thanks.

                  1. re: pearlD
                    estufarian Nov 30, 2007 10:06 AM

                    Fair enough!
                    If we all liked the same places I wouldn't be able to get a reservation!

                    1. re: pearlD
                      l
                      lowchen Dec 3, 2007 02:50 PM

                      Though isn't price always an issue when doing an "apples to Apples" comparison??

                      1. re: lowchen
                        p
                        pearlD Dec 3, 2007 03:35 PM

                        I don't think so.........Hey you can buy Apples in No Frills, Loblaws. Harvest Wagon et al ...you can also buy them at Pusateri.
                        The post(from my viewpoint) really refers to neighbourhood eateries as opposed to 'high end'. I am more than satisfied with Banjara when we go there...but, if I want an evening with a more 'refined' taste I will choose something other than Banjara.
                        As 'estufarian' has pointed out we would be pretty crowded in a restaurant if we all chose the same place whatever the reason/price.

            2. g
              gps_shag Nov 29, 2007 06:34 PM

              I like The Host, on Prince Edward near Bloor and St. George. Never been to Tabla or Banjara - maybe I should go to compare.

              2 Replies
              1. re: gps_shag
                l
                LJS Nov 30, 2007 12:13 PM

                I LOVE the food at The Host, but did you find the service to be a problem at all?

                We went once on a slow Tuesday evening and had wonderful, if rather over-enthusiastic service. The we came on a Saturday and found it a real challenge just to get the waiter's attention and waited FOREVER for the bill. Finally, on a Friday evening, with a reservation we were made to wait for 1/2 hour, then after being seated and having a drink served, we were asked to move so they could accomodate a big table right beside us. My husband, who has no patience with this sort of thing, said, 'just cancel our order and bring the bill'. That was that for him...I may go again with girlfriends on a slow night just because the food is so good...but that kind of erratic approach to service is not good enough for a cosy dinner.

                1. re: LJS
                  g
                  gps_shag Nov 30, 2007 07:45 PM

                  Hmmm... never had any problem with service. Then again, for whatever reason, whenever I've gone it's always been pretty empty.

                  I've never had a problem getting the bill in any restaurant - if you start to wait too long, just pretend to get up to leave, or start to head towards the door, making sure you tell them or they see you. You'll get their attention, and right quick. ;P

              2. l
                lamaranthe Nov 30, 2007 09:59 AM

                Places that got rave reviews from chowhound, but that I did not try :

                Agra Indian Cuisine -- www.agrafineindiancuisine.com -- 4850 Yonge Street
                North York, ON, Canada -- (416) 222-7500
                ''It's on the west side of Yonge, just north of Sheppard. We've only done take-out, but even then their service seems great (e.g., while looking over the menu to do a take-out order, they've seated us, brought us water and pappadams). The food was excellent.'' As I said, I did not try it myself.

                Jaipur Grille on Yonge south of Eglinton is AMAZING food in a more upscale environment, great service, wine pairing, etc. (chowhound.com review

                )

                Khana Khajana ****
                7117 Bathurst – 905-771-6661
                Excellent Mulligatawny, tandoori gobi and paneer tikka (Newspaper reviews)

                I tried Bombay Bhel (164 Eglinton Avenue East 416- 486-6644
                I was the only one in the restaurant. The fish was dry but the nann was A1. That does not explain the price on the bill and the lousy service.

                I also tried Chef of India 30 Eglinton E. (416-485-5552) : Lunch was very plain, not much selection. I asked for a glass of Chardonnay and it was served in a warm glass. Supper (another day) was very disappointing too, though they got rave reviews in the newspaper.

                1 Reply
                1. re: lamaranthe
                  Fwagra Dec 2, 2007 05:30 PM

                  Warning: beware of Agra. It is not good at all. Its even worse than the other nearby Indian places such as Tandoori House and Bombay Bhel!

                  Not good.

                2. orangewasabi Nov 30, 2007 03:22 PM

                  well I am not going out on a limb to say that this is THE best in TO, but my personal favourite place is Timothy's Tikka House on Parliment.

                  The chicken dhingri, chicken tikka masala and chicken saag are all delicious and different from each other (I'm using all chicken as an example since often the complaint is that there is one generic indian sauce). The Lamb Korma are tender and tasty. We love their version of mulligatawny soup. We order the bhindi bhaji regularly for our okra fix And the Chicken Tandoori wings are very nicely blackened/spiced.

                  Speaking of spice . . . I find TTH to do an excellent distinction between medium (heat, but not residual from bite to bite) and hot (residiul heat with the flavour still present).

                  We've pretty much stopped going anywhere else after too many disappointments. TTH has never let us down.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: orangewasabi
                    m
                    ministerofkebab Dec 1, 2007 04:30 AM

                    Banjara....went through a touch of a rough patch there a few months back but ate there this week and have had take out a few times recently and yep...mmm mm...they've found their game. Superb butter chicken, saag is excellent - fresh tasting and spicy, their bharta is excellent and nicely smokey and silky as it whould be. Yup Banjara for me.

                    Though i do have a soft spot for lahore tikka house on gerrard, if only because of the humour and atmos of that bizarre place and the worlds longest running renovation job!

                  2. d
                    dancingTimmy Dec 2, 2007 06:40 PM

                    Spices Indian Cafe on Temperance street? Lunch ONLY!
                    Had lunch there on friday. Place looks VERY run down, but the food was great. This is a small lunch spot, not a dinner destination. $14 got an appettizer & chai tea followed by a 7 portion meal served on a steel platter - i am used to buffets at lunch so this was very different.
                    Appettizer was 2 types of chopped apple, chopped orange segments, pomagranite seeds sprinkled with curry powder. Very different (for me), very good. The meal was 7 portions, either 7 veg or 2 meat & 5 veg.
                    This spot is not the "best" as the nicest, but it was very interesting & well prepared food.
                    My best is Tabla followed by a new comer: Earth Indian Restaurant & Wine Bar (5949 younge north of finch). No they are not a wine bar, it is just part of the name - i wish they would stop that!), but the food & presentation reminded me so much of Tabla that I asked if they had the same owner / chef. Answer == No!

                    1. d
                      dr_t Dec 3, 2007 10:10 PM

                      i really liked indian rice factory on dupont. really good quality. kinda pricey but you could savour all of the different spices. i'd recommend it for a nicer place.

                      bombay behl in toronto is disgusting. empty as someone said earlier. not good at all. bombay behl in OAKVILLE on the other hand is amazing. great food, great service... i don't know if they're the same chain but the one in oakville is my favourite indian restaurant, mainly for the channa bhatura (channa served with a deep fried bread of some sort, like naan, but different in some way, i forget it's been a while). you can split that between two not-so-hungry people. highly recommended.

                      if you like buying indian takeout from a hole in the wall, try gandhi's on queen west b/w spadina and bathurst. i'm sure they cook in trans fat for sure but it all tastes really good. matar paneer and sag paneer rotis especially.

                      i didn't like the host. i found it very mediocre and not worth the price. like someone mentioned before, the service was quite bad. so bad i filled in the comment card they gave me and told them how bad it was. i wouldn't recommend going there.

                      indian rice factory i'd recommend if you're not wanting to leave toronto but if you find yourself in oakville do bombay behl in oakville, NOT the toronto location.

                      cheers and good luck on the hunt!

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