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Sep 20, 2009 03:54 PM

Taj Mahal, Calgary - Celebrating their 36th Anniversary

I received an email from Taj Mahal regarding their 36th Anniversary. They have a special meal of new dishes for $24.95/person for a limited time only from Sep 18 to Oct 15, 2009. I spoke to Sunny, the manager there and he said it can be for lunch or dinner.

Dishes include the following:

Rashmee Balls
Lamb chop kabab
Stuffed papad
Cheese balls
Tandoori Vegetables
Mint, mango and imly chutney
Methi Malai Goli
Chawla Chicken OR Chawla Paneer
Rara Gosht
Gulnar Paneer
Vegetable Kolapuri
Carrot Halwa
Chai Tea

I haven't tried it but thought someone might be interested.

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  1. It was really, really good. The first 5 items come together on a platter with the chutneys on the side, and the next 5 items after than are curries that come in individual steel dishes with saffron rice and naan on the side. They were great, especially the paneer dish. I always have the same stuff when I go to Taj and it was a treat to try something different, like having buffet but freshly made. The carrot halwa is a dessert, it was meh - maybe I was too stuffed by then.

    $25 is a really good deal for what you get, we'll try to hit it again before the promotion is over.

    1. i dunno, i've been to taj mahal only a couple of times, but was REALLY underimpressed on both visits. the room is like a windowless dungeon - not sure why they picked that room for a restaurant in the first place. i had the buffet both times, and while the options were nice, everything was really, really greasy. the grease made the food really 'filling,' and impossible to enjoy the flavors of the foods.

      I think the only reason this place exists is because they advertise EVERYWHERE. geez, half of their annual revenue must be spent on advertising. There are FAR better options for indian in calgary.

      1. I haven't been to Taj in several years. Last time I was there, it was so dirty so couldn't stomach to go back. Have they changed their carpet recently?

        10 Replies
        1. re: sarah galvin

          sarah galvin - In reply to your question re: decor of Taj Mahal - they have recently renovated the restaurant. It's more contemporary-looking with brand new carpet and painted walls. It's not as gaudy as before with the Indian pictures and statues etc.

          hsk - thanks for your review.

          1. re: makan2

            The new decor is nice, but I miss the Gujurati mirrored tiles, they were really cool until someone painted over them :(

            1. re: hsk

              I haven't eaten at the Taj in over 10 years, having tried it out a few times and the food was really bad. There are so many other great choices in Calgary now that I am not sure I want to risk giving it another chance.

              1. re: The Winger

                Interesting. What do you mean by "food was really bad"?

                I've eaten there lots (maybe 4-6 times a year over the last 25 years) and the food has always been great, I can understand the issues with decor and cleanliness (it improved a lot over the last while). I had a good friend (Indian) who said the food at Taj was greasy, but I went to his choice of great indian (some place in a strip mall in the NE) and I didn't like it at all. I love the rich curries (greasy but whatever, if I want healthy I'll eat something else).

                I've tried lots of other Indian places in Calgary (Moti Mahal, Mango Shiva, Rajdoot, Surya and a few more not memorable/not in business) but I always come back to Taj Mahal. I'd be really interested to know which places "are so many other great choices", I'll be sure to try them out (I love Indian food).

                1. re: hsk

                  I meant exactly what I wrote. If you want me to be a bit more clear I will say it was disgusting, it tasted frozen and reheated. The last visit it was so bad I made a mental note to never return.

                  My favorites right now are Moti Mahal and Karma, with the nod to Moti. Every place you mentioned in your post I consider to be pretty good. I am in England almost monthly and was surprised a few years ago to learn the owner of Moti had family in the city where I visit frequently in the UK which has some of the finest Indian food I have had.

                  1. re: The Winger

                    To each their own, if you consider the places I mentioned to be good I can say I thought they were OK but not as good as Taj Mahal. I've been to Moti twice and I didn't care for it at all (poossibly because they don't use as much butter). I haven't been to Karma. I've never experienced frozen and reheated Indian food so I'm not sure what it tastes like but what I've always had at Taj tastes freshly prepared and always great (I've only had the buffet maybe 3 times, if you're talking about the buffet I can't really comment).

                    I'm not Indian but I've been to many parts of India several times over the last 25 years and the food at Taj is the closest to what I had there that I considered great. Maybe your priorities are different frim mine - eg. their saffron rice is golden yellow throughout, not white basmati rice with a few flecks of orange saffron rice in it, their naan is buttery, soft and hot, not the hard dry pita-bread-ish stuff you get at some other places. If a place has been in business for 36 years obviously they have a lot of people like me that keep going back, even if you don't like it.

                    1. re: hsk

                      of course the "i've traveled and thus know what good food is" card gets played :)

                      1. re: nonlinear

                        No, it's more the "i've had lots of different food in lots of places and thus know what I like" card. Sorry if you found it offensive, I never meant my posts to be anything more than my opinion.

                  2. re: hsk

                    i'm a caucasian guy, but i agree with your friend that the food at Taj Mahal is REALLY greasy. i couldn't stand it, and won't go again.

                    1. re: hsk

                      I've never been to Taj Mahal before, I guess I've always thought it looks a bit "dodgy", but I guess I shouldn't judge a book by its cover.

                      There are lots of other great choices in the city that you may enjoy:

                      Clay Oven (NE)
                      Namskar (on 16 Ave N) - probably my fave
                      Royal India (DT)

                      I also just moved to the NW and tried the Green Chile in Crowfoot, and thought it was pretty good (we had all veggie though)

            2. I've always had great food at Taj Mahal...slow service at times but always an overall good experience.

              1. Taj Mahal was where I first tasted (and fell in love with) Indian food more than 30 years ago. The restaurant has had its share of ups and downs since then (and I think they did replace the carpet once or twice in those years), and I have learned a lot about good (and bad) Indian food over that time - and yes, I too "have traveled and thus know what good food is" ... I like the phrasing, nonlinear ;-)

                I still eat at the Taj once or twice a year, and have had both excellent and less-than-satisfactory experiences over the years, depending on the night, the chef, and on menu choices. I am very much NOT a fan of the special chicken chawla for example (it doesn't work for me at all). On the other hand, their lamb keema mutter has proved consistently excellent over the years, as well as the khumb, malai kofta and palak paneer, vegetable pakoras, bhindi, and usually the vindaloo dishes as well. The breads and rice selections have consistently been good, ras malai of course for dessert. The weekend lunch buffet has always been good value too, although the selection of dishes is limited; and they developed a nasty habit of serving chicken makhani on the buffet with cheap pieces of bone-in-chicken rather than boneless chicken - I don't understand why some restaurants cheap out on this dish, since it is what attracts many diners, who would otherwise not choose Indian food, to an Indian buffet in the first place. Give the people what they want and they will keep on coming back.

                All in all, not much better or much worse than some of the other Punjabi-style places in Calgary - I don't go out of my way to eat here, but I don't avoid it either. Having said that, I haven't been to the Taj in quite a few months. Trying to decide whether the anniversary special is worth checking out.

                What the heck are "rashmee balls"? Kebabs of some kind, or?

                And "gulnar paneer" - paneer I know, but what style is gulnar?

                3 Replies
                1. re: alley

                  Rashmee balls might be rasmalai? A desert?

                  1. re: alley

                    We went again with another couple and paid a little more attention to what each item was.

                    Rashmee balls are chicken kebabs, but made with ground-up chicken.

                    Gulnar paneer was the paneer dish I liked so much last time ( I thought it might have been the chawla paneer, but both times they brought the chawla chicken without asking). It is paneer stuffed with something and rolled up and cut, like pinwheels, and cooked in a sauce that is a little like butter chicken sauce. I hope they put it on their menu, it's sooo good.

                    1. re: hsk

                      hsk, cool, thanks for getting back. I was wondering if "Rashmee balls" could be Rashmi kebab, should have been served coated with egg? The other dishes sound interesting - not much time left to try them!