Thumbs down to Lahore Tikka.... there have been many posts about it on CH, and all are crying the blues. It's a place we all want to love, but it's over...
While I have not been to Tabla or Amaya, I understand both are supposed to be quite good and upscale, as you request. As for downscale... I'm lovin' King's Palace these days, the Indian take-out beside the car wash where the parking lot is filled most days with cab drivers, etc... The place is spotless, open 24/7, the service is always polite. The fluorescent lighting doesn't work for me, but who cares... I've yet to eat there after an evening of wine and frollicking and not been beyond satisfied. And the rice pudding! Don't get me started!
Years ago it was Raj Nagar on Yonge Street for me. I would welcome a legitimately good Indian resto in TO that is not ridiculously priced. Until such time, King's Palace is doin' it for me. It may not be highly sophisticated and delicate in its flavours, but it's cheap and cheerful and yummy and it always hits the spot and doesn't feel like highway robbery.
In a few minutes I'll be riding my bike to Moti Mahal my favorite Indian place located 1422 Gerrard Street East. Good food, a lot cheaper than Lahore Tikka and my kind of place a fast food joint. Gotta admit I love take-out and fast food joints so this 'hole in the wall' is AMAZING for me.
Indian (incl Pakistani) Places in Toronto:
786 on Gerrard St: Pakistani cuise. Ordered curried dishes, and they were very medicore. Didnt order thekebabs, but they smelt great. Note traditional Pakistani dishes are little more oily than indian dishes, 786 is pakistanti food.
Skylark/Siddharta/Handi: Very medicore buffets. 5 out of 10
Tabla: Best Indian food I have eaten in Toronto. Nice wines too.
Chakra: Better than other Indian places. For this price, Tabla beats Chakra anyday
Bombay Palace (form. Bombay Bhel)/ Chef of India (Eglinton East): Just very plain regular food, food quality even lower than gerrard
BBQ Hut (Gerard St) Had amazing food few years ago. Havent been able to eat there as hygiene standard have fallen. I could not get myself to eat there.
King's Palace: Better than other places in toronto. Pakistani food, so it is oily. Ok for price
Kama on King: Mediocre.
Annapoorna on Bathhurst: Interesting place. Run by an Indian Guru's "disciples". Vergetarian and tasty.
Nashta- First Canadian Place: Low Quality Indian Food.
I have to say, I've been disappointed with Lahore Tikka House lately. WAY too oily (more than in the past) and everything tastes the same.
BBQ Hut? It's in the middle of Little India, but all the customers are white. Enough said.
Love the lunch buffet at Little India (Queen and Duncan), and dinner at Trimurti a few doors away.
Indus Junction: creative, interesting "modern Indian." Small room, youngish atmosphere. I'd go back any day.
I have not eaten at BBQ in a couple of years but I can honestly saying it had the best food on the strip. The reason if all the "customers are white" that they if I remember correctly BBQ was also the most expensive place around- probably that's why it had a caucasian cliental. Being Indian myself I can say - most but not all not Indians dining in "India Town" are price conscious.
I have to agree with your comment about Lahore Tikka House.
I generally find that there's nothing wrong with the food there, and on occasion, I'll crave it, but I really fail to see what the fuss is about as many people claim this to be their go-to for this type of food. There are much better Indian / Pakistani restaurants out there available for the same price or less.
I really like the two places on Baldwin, namely Jodhpore Grill and Gateways of India. Not really upscale, but nice enough and great food.
Lahore Tikka House- very good biryanis, and well known for their kabobs. also have great fresh kufi.
Saravanana bhavan - vegetarian, fantastic thalis with pooris. The dosas are also good.
Anjappar Chettinad - known for their dosas and spicy curries. Gone down as of late, but I still enjoy it.
South indian dosa mahal - spicy dosas, string hoppers and meats.
King's Palace - plenty of things to try. best to start with some naan and sample one of the many curries, mix in some okra, some eggplant, then go for the daals to finish off the spicees.
Trimurti - very aromatic and rich. One of the best buffets in the city.