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Best Indian lunch buffet in NOVA?

  • r

We will be in Fairfax but more than willing to drive elsewhere. Karaikudi was our favorite but it seems to have gone down hill. We like Saravana but my gf would rather not have an all vegetarian lunch. We went to Gharer Khabar on Friday and really liked it, but we're looking for a buffet for lunch on Monday.

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  1. I still like Minerva in Fairfax best. Great selection and the popularity means that the steam table cycles fast, no food sitting there for an hour or more. It is the one on Rte 29/Rte 50 just east of 123 at 10364 Fairfax Blvd.


    1. Minerva for sure ... definitely not the "standard one size fits all" buffet.

      1. Curry Mantra on Main Street. Hands down the best Indian I've ever had. They have a small selection (maybe a dozen dishes) but rotate them quickly and have a different group of dishes every day. Absolutely fantastic. The iced tea is also delicious- they make it with a bit of clove and it has a really lovely flavor.

        1. I actually really like the buffet at Bollywood Bistro. Good selection of items, nice space, and reasonable price.

          Curry Mantra has great stuff, but never tried their lunch (a little too far from my office to beat out Bollywood).

          1. Jaipur gets my vote. While it lacks the refinement and creativity, I actually think their food tastes as good as Rasika.

            There are people who swear by Minerva. I don't understand. I went once 8 years ago and the only thing worse than the food was the selection. I think they had one meat dish and three vegetarian dishes.

            1. Anyone tried that new Indian restaurant in the shopping center across Wilson Blvd from Eden Center? Saathi, I think, in the place that formerly was Kabob Express. Their lunch buffet is $8.95, cheaper than most. Could be worth a shot.

              I miss the place in Fairfax that used to have the $5 buffet. It wasn't terribly good, but it was cheap. They quit because they said they couldn't afford it. Not surprising.

              7 Replies
              1. re: MikeR

                have you tried it yet, mike? i just saw your post here, and we'll give it a try. thanks.

                1. re: alkapal

                  No, I haven't tried the Indian lunch buffet at the new place in the shopping center across Wilson Blvd. from Eden Center. I just haven't been hungry enough to eat all I can eat at lunch lately. ;)

                  1. re: MikeR

                    i know. when the weather gets warmer, those things are less appealing. thoughts of beachwear ;-).

                    1. re: alkapal

                      Ate lunch buffet at Saathi today. My humble opinion: informal, friendly, clean, and for $8.95 the food was decent. Nothing spectacular and nothing awful, decent variety, good value.

                      Didn't take notes, but I remember salad, rice pudding, variety of sauces (tamarind, raita), plain and biryani rice, tandoori chicken, chicken curry, mixed veg curry, tikka masala, palak paneer, lentil curry, and fresh naan brought to the table.

                      A little more hustle and he could have sold me a beer or lassi, I hope he does well.

                      1. re: wayne keyser

                        Thanks for the report, Wayne. Sounds about typical for an Indian buffet lunch, at a decent price.

                        1. re: MikeR

                          mike, we had dinner there this week, and were surprised to find the proprietor is one of the old managers from raaga. his name is robin. nice guy. very soft-spoken, but eager to please.

                          we liked our food -- shrimp makhani and lamb saag -- and it was a good price. the lamb was better than raaga's saag ghosht (didn't have raaga's recent fat and gristle). the makhani sauce was good, well-spiced (and i'm picky about makhani sauce. this one was well-balanced, and not sweet nor too creamy. same good balance of heat and spice with the saag. the starter mixed-veg pakoras were heavy and that is due to his using chick pea flour not like a tempura batter, but as a binder as well. too thick and the chick pea flavor is overwhelming. the shrimp in the makhani were a little firm, but he needs to work on timing so that the shrimp thaw and when added to the sauce will not overcook. the naan was OK, and the pappadums were nice and spicy.

                          we will go back and see how things are going.

                          1. re: alkapal

                            My usual Sunday dinner partners flaked out last Sunday, so I walked over there to give it a try. Disappointed that they weren't serving dinner that night - some sort of private celebration. One of these days when I'm hungry enough to eat all I can eat, I'll give the lunch buffet a try.

                            Your report makes it sound like it's a better bet than the kabob place that was in that spot previously.

              2. We went to Minerva, it was good but was more of a typical Indian buffet. We were hoping to find something more adventurous. I'm guessing we won't find anything like Karaikudi again.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Rick

                  I'm a fan of Raaga on rt 7. Pretty typical options but done well. Maybe you can check it out next time!

                  1. re: Snd485

                    I like the food at Raaga, but their lunch buffet is one of the more expensive ones in the area. The cost for a dinner is perfectly reasonable, but I can't eat enough for lunch to get my money's worth at the buffet.

                    And, yes, a couple of dollars DOES matter to me. ;)

                    1. re: MikeR

                      the lunch buffet at saathi (which means "friend"), is $8.95 on weekdays and WEEKENDS. that's a break from other places, like raaga.

                2. I went to Jaipur for the first time. It was very popular. I tried all 4 chicken dishes - remarkably tender! The lamb dish was nice too. There were 5 or 6 veggie dishes - chick peas, lentil, spinach, cheese cubes, green beans, and potatoes. In addition, there was a pakora, salad and dessert.

                  1. Go Sunday instead to the best Indian/Bengladishi buffet in NOVA -- Aladdin Restaurant at 5169 Lee Hwy