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Best Indian in TO

HighParkMan May 30, 2008 08:11 AM

I know, it's crazy, with all the amazing Indian and Pakistani restaurants in Little India and Brampton that I should claim the best Indian restaurant in Toronto is in the Junction, but it is....High Park Spicy House on Dundas West has hands down the best Indian food in the city. I challenge anyone to go there, try the butter chicken, fish magic, baigan bartha or palak paneer (those are my four favourites) and tell me otherwise.

The service is also awesome but the decor leaves something to be desired, which is why I think the other Indian restaurants on the same block - Curry Twist and North of Bombay do better. But HPSH is a hidden gem.

  1. m
    MeMeMe May 30, 2008 08:39 AM

    What are the prices like? I always say, dollar for dollar, Nataraj is the best game in town. Wonderful bhaji, tikka and vegetable dishes.

    1. c
      childofthestorm May 30, 2008 09:04 AM

      Welcome to Chowhound, HighParkMan, what other Indian restaurants have you tried in the city?

      4 Replies
      1. re: childofthestorm
        HighParkMan May 30, 2008 10:22 AM

        Prices are great, 10$ or so for mains. I've been to Nataraj, Mount Everest, the two I mentioned in the Junction, a bunch in Brampton and Missassauga and a few in Little India. I've traveled extensively through India as well, and I'm I really think HPSH is something special. There are a bunch of us in the Junction who go there religiously and treat eating there like a religious experience.

        1. re: HighParkMan
          SxCx May 30, 2008 10:44 AM

          Strange, I ate there last summer and found it underwhelming and overpriced. The naan was great, but also the best part of the meal.

          Maybe they've improved?

          1. re: SxCx
            tochipotle May 30, 2008 11:23 AM

            I'm with you SxCx. When I ate there, I found it pricey and the saag paneer I had was very oily without much seasoning, and the butter chicken was very very sweet. Odd.
            Hopefully it's true they've improved - I would love to have a great place in the neighbourhood.
            Has anybody else tried it recently?

            1. re: tochipotle
              idnas May 31, 2008 06:39 PM

              Tochipotle, I tried it last week. The food was quite good, nicely spiced (good heat but not overpowering to the other spice flavors). Small portions, though. We had saag paneer, lamb biriyani, eggplant curry and one naan. (The naan was the exception portion-wise. It was enormous.) I enjoyed the meal and would eat there again, but I wouldn't consider it Toronto's best Indian. I don't really believe in the concept of "best" since every place is unique, but there are a lot of Indian restaurants I'd choose ahead of this one. If you're in the Junction neighborhood, though, it's an enjoyable meal.

      2. s
        Suresh May 30, 2008 12:25 PM

        hpSH best indian? *chuckle*
        absolutely NO way..
        That's like saying South Indian Dosa Mahal on Bloor west has the best south indian.

        Welcome to Chowhound btw.

        1. p
          peekkaboo May 30, 2008 12:51 PM

          have you tried siddhartha? i guess i cant say i've had my fair shares of indian food, but i've tried a few and siddhartha is the best. it's a buffet on king st. YUMMY!

          9 Replies
          1. re: peekkaboo
            pancake May 30, 2008 02:54 PM

            I ate a la carte from Siddhartha in little india and have to say it was a great meal!

            1. re: peekkaboo
              Recyclor May 30, 2008 04:46 PM

              We ordered from Siddhartha about 3 weeks ago, I found the butter chicken to be too tomatoey, it actually tasted like zoodles!...which i must admit I love, but wasn't looking for at the time...

              1. re: Recyclor
                patches35 May 31, 2008 02:04 PM

                I don't get why people like Siddhartha so much all the curries are too sweet and tend to taste the same.
                I would not go back.
                But I do like.
                Sher-E-Punjab Restaurant
                351 Danforth Avenue.

                Banjara Indian Cuisine
                796 Bloor Street West,

                1. re: patches35
                  chocabot May 31, 2008 05:44 PM

                  Patches, ordering a la carte from Siddartha vs their buffet is a while other world... We'll only eat the buffet if it looks hot and fresh but otherwise you must try the a la carte.

                  1. re: patches35
                    MeMeMe Jun 2, 2008 08:51 AM

                    Is it the same Banjara from Yonge Street and Balmuto? It was great food in the old locations - so if it is the same owners, I will for sure go!

                    BTW - Nataraj last night was perfect - including the trip next door to get the ice cream.

                    1. re: MeMeMe
                      estragon Jun 2, 2008 08:56 AM

                      Banjara has gone way downhill since its promising opening last year. We live just a few blocks away, and were excited to have a good Indian resto in the neighbourhood, but for the last few months, every visit has been more disappointing than the last. Overly greasy pakoras, dull flavours, everything tastes more or less the same.

                      Has Nataraj improved since its, um, nadir a few years ago? It was great in the 90s, then suffered a serious drop in quality. I understand that the original owners / chef moved on to Trimurti, which is excellent.

                    2. re: patches35
                      pouletsecret Jun 3, 2008 04:28 AM

                      Couldn't agree more about Banjara, patches. I live almost in the Gerrard India Bazaar, but head across town when I need a serious fix. I've been about a half dozen times over the past year and, while they are somewhat inconsistent, I've never had a bad meal, and my last visit was superlative. I'll give Sher E Punjab a try, based on your rec. Thanks!

                    3. re: Recyclor
                      matbouha Jun 3, 2008 01:44 PM

                      Absolutely agree on Banjara, its very good. Best butter chicken I have ever had. Will try High Park Spicy House, tho.
                      I found Siddhartha very mediocre, clean but mediocre.

                    4. re: peekkaboo
                      bluedog Jun 3, 2008 01:57 PM

                      I've been to Siddhartha on Gerrard and had both the buffet and a la carte meals. Ho hum. While i am no expert on indian food, I found it all pretty pedestrian, and overpriced for the neighbourhood. Haven't been to many indian places recently worth mentioning, but the vindaloo at Matagali is the best I've ever had. Been awhile though, and I've posted on it before so I won't repeat myself. Anyone been recently?

                    5. t
                      trustme2 Jun 3, 2008 02:39 PM

                      HighParkMan is on the money!!!! It is by far one of the best Sri Lankan Indian Cuisine. They now have samosas and they are awesome. I have not had a bad meal there and have been going there since it first opened. I dare you not to over order tha NAAN Bread!

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: trustme2
                        bluedog Jun 4, 2008 07:41 AM

                        How does it compare to Rashnaa?

                        1. re: trustme2
                          estufarian Jun 4, 2008 08:04 AM

                          Hmm - a Sri Lankan restaurant that serves Butter Chicken & Naan.
                          Probably does a decent foie gras too!

                          1. re: estufarian
                            trustme2 Jun 4, 2008 08:32 AM

                            Well, the owners and the cook are Sri Lankan. I not only eat the awesome food, but I get to know the people. Secondly, if you want to make a profit, you must please the masses. Butter Chicken and Naan are what first come to mind for most people when they think of Indian Cuisine, don't you think?

                          2. re: trustme2
                            trustme2 Jun 4, 2008 08:18 AM

                            Have never been to Rashnaa. Where is it?

                            1. re: trustme2
                              bluedog Jun 4, 2008 08:57 AM

                              Cabbageton, on Wellesley.

                              What's particularly Sri Lankan about High Park Spicy House? So far all anyone has mentioned is Indian food (and of course the foie gras is excellent, too :))

                              1. re: bluedog
                                bluedog Jun 4, 2008 11:07 AM

                                I'll add to this that just 'cause the owners and cook are Sri Lankan doesn't make it a Sri Lankan restaurant. Perhpas they are pleasing the masses by operating an Indian Restaurant :)

                                1. re: bluedog
                                  trustme2 Jun 4, 2008 02:50 PM

                                  Perhaps you are right. Who cares, the food is great

                                  1. re: trustme2
                                    bluedog Jun 4, 2008 04:10 PM

                                    Try Rashnaa and let us know what you think.

                          3. c
                            currycue Jun 4, 2008 10:46 AM

                            I'm kind of surprised that no one has mentioned Kathmandu on Yonge St. Not the BEST I've had, but certainly the most consistently good over the years (avoid the buffet)
                            I tried Nataraj once some years ago and found the curries watered down and bland. Sher-E-Punjab has to be one of the WORST I've ever been to. Don't understand why it's so busy all the time. My butter chicken was full of grissle and lacking in flavour.
                            The best I've had in memory was Cuisine of India on Yonge St. north of Sheppard, but that was some years ago, and I hear that the chef moved on and quality has suffered.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: currycue
                              sway Jun 1, 2009 11:55 AM

                              Went to High Park Spicy House last night, mostly I think because of this thread. I can't say it was the worst Indian food I've had, but definitely bottom 3. Lamb was dry, pullao was bland, naan was very doughy, the portions were tiny. I think the lamb curry had 4 cubes of lamb, at about $12-13. The service was incredibly slow, when we arrived, one table was on dessert, and another table was placing the order. We watched the waitress ignore the first table, so they were waiting to get their bill for about 20 minutes. We started asking for things before we wanted them to make sure it didn't take as long! Considering there are 4 other indian restaurants within walking distance, I don't think I'll be going back.

                              1. re: currycue
                                bogie Jun 1, 2009 07:30 PM

                                I agree, currycue! This is a great little joint and the first Indian restaurant we ate at after moving to Toronto (we were staying at a hotel downtown). I still go there from time to time.

                              2. Ginsugirl Jun 1, 2009 06:36 PM

                                For high end Indian, although many seem to disagree, Dhaba on King st. really impressed me. They were able to accommodate a group, including children, for Christmas dinner (yes, odd family, I know), and everyone, including the fussy in-laws were very happy with the meal. I won with the goat curry special, but the lamb vindaloo (HOT!) was great, and they had probably the only butter chicken I've ever actually liked.

                                On the other end of the spectrum is Udupi Palace. Vegetarian masala dosas, a rarity in Toronto. Sort of a spicy stuffed gram flour crepe. They're on Gerrard, but seem to turn up with a kiosk at every South Asian event across the city, so there's plenty of opportunities to try them.

                                There's also a little hole in the wall spot (sorry, can't remember the name) on (I think) Hayden st., south of Yonge and Bloor that does awesome bhajiis.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Ginsugirl
                                  dory Jun 5, 2009 01:50 PM

                                  Do you mean the Biryiani House on Hayden just east of Yonge St. Only a few tables, thali from hot table at lunch, regular menu at dinner time.

                                2. Ginsugirl Jun 1, 2009 06:43 PM

                                  Oh, I forgot to mention Shalamar on Roncesvalles, I hope it's still there. I love the fact that the guy gives you only three choices for lunch: beef, chicken or vegetable curry. You do get to choose the heat level, and I think they also offer a couple of appetizers, and a full menu at dinner. My husband was always a big fan because they offered Fuller's ESB on draught when no one else did. something to do with the cricket teams from High Park.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Ginsugirl
                                    chillihigh Jun 1, 2009 10:09 PM

                                    For really good indian food, i like cuisine of india on Yonge and clarke, in richmond hill. Although the BEST butter chicken i have had was actually in a south indian restaurant called Anjappar Chettinad at Highway ten and steeles. This is after eating at everest, babur, nataraj, host, cuisine of india etc etc etc.

                                    1. re: chillihigh
                                      juno Jun 3, 2009 07:57 AM

                                      The Indian resto at Yonge and Clark, on the ground floor of a condo building, is not Cuisine of India - it's Indian Kitchen. Cuisine of India is on Yonge Street as well, but considerably south of Clark - it's somewhat north of Sheppard Ave. It has been a while since I've been to Indian Kitchen, a comfortable spot with usually good service, but I recall it as being erratic. Sometimes quite good, sometimes not up to much. Especially good is the whole fish (often a rainbow trout), so long as the kitchen doesn't overcook it, as it is wont to do. It pays to INSIST that the fish not be overcooked, else you won't accept it. Such insistence tends to make the kitchen pay close attention.

                                      Cuisine of India was wonderful when it opened, but it has lost its luster in recent years.

                                  2. e
                                    ekammin Jun 2, 2009 11:10 AM

                                    We tried Rashnaa a few months ago and, although the food was tasty, the meat was gristle city.

                                    To me, things haven't been the same since the three restaurants of the Moghui chain closed.

                                    1. m
                                      mikefly Jun 2, 2009 09:46 PM

                                      Another vote for Banjara - though I don't have heaps to compare it to.

                                      I find it difficult to cycle by and not stop in for takeout. (though the naan is definitely better fresh, fresh, fresh)

                                      $18 or so for 2 naan + main (enough for 2 people)

                                      1. d
                                        Delshan Jun 3, 2009 07:58 AM

                                        My favourite is Bar-Be-Que Hut 1455 Gerrard East

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Delshan
                                          chillihigh Jun 3, 2009 10:19 AM

                                          Sorry, to clarify the restaurant i mentioned at yonge and clarke is indian kitchen, not cuisine of india. Thanks Juno.
                                          Still think they are the best....

                                        2. t
                                          TorontoTaster Jun 4, 2009 11:18 AM

                                          I love Rashnaa in Cabbagetown. It's totally authentic food with prices that cannot be beat and a pretty patio in the summertime. Good ambience, excellent service.

                                          Banjara at Bloor and Christie.
                                          The Host in Yorkville.

                                          1. scarberian Jun 4, 2009 04:02 PM

                                            Anyone try Moti Mahal on Gerrard and Coxwell? My family's been taking out from there since the mid '80s(?). Their kabobs are great, the butter chicken excellent, mutter paneer (peas & cheese), sag paneer (spinach & cheese), and malai kofta (veg cheese balls in a tomato cream sauce) are very good. I love their naan. My uncle who is East Indian introduced it to us and we usually order from there whenever he comes to visit us from the US.
                                            In Mississauga we like to go to Bombay Bhel and we order their Tikka meal (it's like an Indian version of a combo meal). My uncle also introduced us to Savanna Bhanna (?) which specializes in Masala Dosa (a large thin crepe filled with various curried stuffing).

                                            BTW anyone try the Indian Spice Kitchen on Markham Rd. between Lawrence and Ellesmere? I believe it's just south of Painted Post and on the West side of Markham Rd. They opened recently and they specialize in South Indian vegetarian dishes. I've wanted to try them but haven't had a chance to go.

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