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Jul 30, 2010 05:19 AM

Indian food in St. Petersburg or southern Pinellas?

I've noticed that there are few Indian restaurants that have opened fairly recently. Any suggestions as to whether any of them is outstanding?

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  1. I am going to be pretty brief, and discuss only Mid Pinellas southward. I had done a whole big post and then inadvertantly looked up an address, and lost the whole post.

    Downtown St Pete:
    Green Chili Bistro/Raga 400 block of Central Ave
    India Grill 300 block of Central
    Green Chili is owned by Raga, who used to be in Largo, FL and before that on US19 at Mahal. Their food is a little on the bland side to me. Not my favorite style.
    India Grill has always had very full flavored food to me, but the style is a little on the heavy side.

    The one other place in St Pete is Ajanta in the Ramada Inn, about the 5200 block of 34th St - US19. The atmosphere here is not so great. Old style hotel restaurant, nothing specifically Indian about it, needs remodeling. The food is pretty good, though. Did a takeout order several months ago and everything tasted fine, kind of a typical Northern Indian style. They used to have a different menu with some very unique dishes.

    In Pinellas Park, there is Curriez 7200 block of 66th St N and Taste of Punjab http://www.tasteofpunjabindiancuisine... 6500 block of Park Blvd. Both of these can provide very good meals, but have had off nights from each.
    Curriez is a little more of a heavy handed style, while Punjab is a little more subtle. For example, the Palak Paneer at Curriez has a lot of texture and the Saag Paneer at Punjab is very silky. I will say, the service is a lot better at Punjab. Curriez routinely forgets items in takeout orders, occasionally burns food, etc.

    There is also Deeya in Largo at Tri City Plaza (East Bay at US 19). They have a very nice lunch buffet. Their food is also mainly that Northern Indian style. Decent spicing and textures.

    To sum it up, lots of choices, all are very serviceable Indian restaurants. All bake their Naan on premises, for example, its not just pita bread.

    None of them is truly a great Indian restaurant, in my opinion, however. They each have their strengths, weaknesses and consistency issues. But I am comparing them to the best Indian restaurants that I have been to in NYC, DC, upstate NY, Chicago, etc. - and very few of those would I put in the "Great" category either.

    For a long time, Mahal in Clearwater (no longer there) was the only Pinellas Indian restaurant, so for me, I am very happy that there are so many quality Indian restaurants in Pinellas.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Robert R

      Thanks so much for this thorough overview. I've only tried two of these, Ajanta and Green Chili Bistro/Raga. I agree with you about them and, of the two, prefer Ajanta. I'll try some of the others listed but I think I have the same conclusion as you ultimately. I've mainly eaten very good Indian in major Northeastern cities on business trips and always end up being a bit disappointed when I get back home and try the local places.

      1. re: Robert R

        Awesome write up Robert. I think you hit the nail on the head with your take on Pinellas Indian Restaurants. We certainly have better and more places than in the past. My memories of Mahal were pretty disappointing, but it was the only Pinellas place for a long time. The only problem with what we have now is that all the restaurants are mediocre at best. We certainly don't have any truly amazing Indian restaurants that knock your socks off like I have tasted in larger cities.

        One more place for fdobbs1 to try they don't mind driving further north county would be Laziz which is located on 2475 North McMullen Booth Road. It too suffers from the not really distinguishing itself with "amazing" food, but it is solid enough and worth a try if you are wanting some variety/diversity.

        2475 N McMullen Booth Rd Ste J, Clearwater, FL 33759

        1. re: fepey

          Yeah, Laziz has pretty decent food. Actually, around 2005-2007, Laziz was very nearly approaching "great" in my opinion. They were truly hitting it on most cylinders. Great apps, great naan, very good rice, very full flavored food, made extra extra spicy, if requested. Very in-depth sauces that differed a lot dish by dish, very good meat quality. Perhaps areas that kept it from "great" were the service and the lunch buffet. I believe in late 07 or early 08 or so, they had a change in ownership. I've only been out a couple times since, and while still quite decent, it doesn't really merit a special trip from Seminole. (The old Laziz did).

          I still haven't made it out to Jai Ho in Tampa but supposedly they have some unique dishes, a good lunch buffet, and full flavored, spicy food.

          I've been to most of the ones in Tampa as well. Bombay Masala on Waters, Angithi and Taj on Fowler, Shalimar downtown, and Cilantro on 56th St N.

          Shalimar used to be part of the same ownership as Deeya in Largo/Clearwater. Most of these are also about that same level, good to very good, but not great. I've had good meals at all of them. Cilantro has a very nice atmosphere, some unique dishes and very full flavors. I haven't been out there in a while, but they were close to "Great" the last time I was there.
          I also think Taj is a very good Indian restaurant. Very classic Indian cuisine. Every time I've been there, I've had a very good meal.

          Bombay Masala
          4023 W Waters Ave Ste 15, Tampa, FL 33614

          204 N Morgan St, Tampa, FL 33602

          2475 N McMullen Booth Rd Ste J, Clearwater, FL 33759