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Jan 20, 2008 05:50 AM

Tabla vs. Amaya

I was planning to go to Amaya in a couple of weeks for dinner, but after looking through the board, I now think that I should go to Tabla instead.

For those of you who have been to both, which is better?


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  1. Not to confuse things too much, but I'd go with Jaipur Grille.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Googs


      I haven't been to Amaya yet, but Tabla wasn't the be-all-end-all Indian I was expecting based on various raves on this board. For instance, the beef vindaloo was overpowered by one spice - clove, I believe. Peas with paneer were fresh with good texture but in a too-creamy sauce. However, their breads are to-die-for good. Instead of pappadum, they bring a comp basket of fresh, thin, flaky paratha. And the keema naan (stuffed with ground lamb) is terrific. Decent mango lassi, and terrific service (it's an upscale type of place).

      1. re: Food Tourist

        I don't know if "be all and end all" is a necessary criteria. By your own account, aside from the vindaloo, many of the dishes/items were "terrific", "to-die-for" and service was good. So I don't see a problem with praising it. It has good food for the value and is better than most Indian establishments I've been to in TO and the service is good.

    2. I went to Amaya once.
      I've been to Tabla around 10 times.

      1 Reply
      1. re: estufarian

        Tabla is a nicer room with more space, better service. Both have excellent food, though Amaya tends to be more fusion (duck, lamb shanks). If you fo to Tabla, definitely give the Indian wines a shot. Not world class, but very encouraging.

      2. if it's worth anything (which it probably isn't) james chatto didn't even mention tabla in his recent TO Life article on new indian (haute indian) in Toronto...but he raves about amaya. i think they're a bit different, and therefore both worth a try.

        3 Replies
        1. re: LemonLauren

          I have a slight insight on this 'anomaly'. The owners of Amaya have good 'contacts' with the Toronto press - doesn't guarantee a good review - but does help in getting a review.( I know several people in the food/beverage trade who are on the receiving end of publicity blurbs). I doubt whether Tabla has the same set of contacts. hence no reviews at all (whether it's good or bad).
          Note that both Amaya and Indus Junction received multiple reviews. What an amazing coincidence when Tabla receives zero!

          1. re: estufarian

            I haven't been to Amaya, however, I have read more varying reviews of it on here than of Tabla.

            1. re: estufarian

              Didn't one of the Amaya owners have something to do with Kamasutra on Bayview and Mantra on Elm. Never tried KS, but Mantra was some of the most inept "fusion" I've ever tried. One of the few times I've ever taken one bite and said no thanks. Ridiculously over-priced, too. It lasted about six months IIRC.

          2. Long time lurker, wanted to pipe in on this one.

            Given the positive reviews from the press (Amaya) and on the boards (Tabla), I was looking forward to both and gave them a try in December. In terms of food and service, Tabla would be my choice.

            The food at Amaya was decent but not worth the hype. As for Tabla, I LOVED the eggplant bharta..smokey and creamy, simply AMAZING. Excellent breads. Agree with Food Tourist about the Vindaloo. I would definitely return to Tabla.

            1. After reading all the glowing reviews on CH about Tabla, SO and I finally tried it last night. We weren't disappointed.

              The room is nice - upscale, warm decor and lots of space between the tables (facilitating private conversation). Service was almost impeccable, my only complaint being that we never got the water we ordered. However, this was not a big deal and (happily drinking our Kingfisher) we didn't really miss it, and never reminded them about it.

              The food, overall, was fantastic. Gluttons that we are, we ordered enough for close to four people, so we have loads of leftovers in our fridge - mmm... Our only complaint was the blackened calamari, which bordered on inedible. It was spongy and lacking in flavour; however, the sauce that accompanied it was flavourful. It was supposed to be served on a bed of mango/organic greens salad, but there were few greens and no mango that I could detect, other than a couple of dollops of what seemed to be a mango-based sauce. We also ordered the Chef's Platter (an appetizer platter for two). Our favourite item on it was the veggie pakoras; they were hot, tasty and not too greasy. The brie pakoras were also quite good, despite being very unorthodox.

              We ordered three mains. My favourite was the Eggplant Bhartha, which had a glorious, smoky flavour. However, a close second was the Lamb Jhalfrezi -- the lamb was really tender and the sauce had a wonderful, complex flavour. We also ordered the Chicken Vindaloo, which was also very tasty, but my least favourite main. This is probably a product of it being slightly too hot for my taste (I enjoy hot, but not super-hot). I fully realize that Vindaloo is meant to be hot, and I suspected in advance that it might not be entirely to my liking, but I thought I'd order it anyway as it's gotten great praise from other CHers. My only other complaint about the Vindaloo is that (at least IMHO) it was a bit too heavy on the sauce/light on the meat.

              The naan was lovely - very light and flaky - though I found the roasted garlic flavour on the garlic naan to be a bit too pronounced (SO disagreed). The gulab jamun was a bit on the mushy side (I prefer it to be a bit firm/crispy on the outside), but was nonetheless quite tasty.

              Overall, we were most impressed with Tabla and will definitely be back. We've been to Amaya as well (only once, and quite a while ago) and would opt for Tabla over it. On a final note, I should comment that we didn't find Tabla to be as expensive as some would suggest.

              3 Replies
              1. re: torontofoodiegirl

                Very glad to see that Tabla is still very good. I went quite a few times last year and every experience was memorable. Even the friends that I took there loved everything.

                I haven't been to Amaya yet, and i don't trust the chummy chatto reviews, I'd rather find out for myself.

                1. re: torontofoodiegirl

                  I should have mentioned the calamari, in my earlier review.
                  It was other way of putting it.
                  Rubber comes to mind.
                  Hope they will read these reviews and either remove it, or get a new recipe, and possibly "plumper" squid.
                  This place has become a favourite go to, with Vegetarian guests.

                  1. re: torontofoodiegirl

                    I usually do the Chicken Jhalfrezi and the Lamb Vindaloo - I think the sauces work better that way around. The stronger flavour of the lamb balances with the Vindaloo.
                    Haven't had the Bhartha - I'm not a great eggplant fan - but your review highlights (for me) that the sauces here are distinctly different from each other, which is why I place Tabla ahead of most other Indian places (who seem to use a more generic sauce base). And I know I had a good fish dish - but it wasn't the calamari. I recall a coconut milk base but my mind has blanked out.
                    [EDIT] Of course as soon as I posted I recalled the fish dish - it was Xacutti.