Boondocker’s Restaurant was a Snohomish County favorite for decades, thanks to its classic burgers, fries, and milk shakes. So after buying the restaurant, the Bala family made sure to continue serving juicy burgers and old-fashioned ice-cream shakes while also giving the menu a new twist—a sidebar of carefully curated Indian and Pakistani fare.
Originally from India, the Bala family flavors favorite recipes with vibrant spices, yielding savory curries, kebabs, and samosas cooked in a clay oven. Sweet and savory breakfast fare can be enjoyed with mimosas until 2 p.m., when the champagne flutes turn back into plastic sippy cups till the next morning.
Fusing traditional Indian culinary traditions with modern environmental responsibility, the chefs at Vatika Indian Cuisine simmer and roast a menu of classic Indian meals from fresh, seasonal ingredients. Diners choose from meat and vegetarian-friendly meals that include tandoor-cooked lamb kebabs, creamy malai kofta, and spicy vindaloo curry. Most dishes pair easily with slivers of warm naan bread, which guests can use to scoop up morsels of food as their eyes rove over the dining-room decor, which, like the restaurant's cuisine, fuses traditional Indian style with contemporary sensibilities.
For Chef Shahzad at Caravan Kebab, his food reflects his life experiences. He draws culinary inspiration from his childhood in Pakistan, as well as travels through the Mediterranean and Europe, to recreate the dishes that best encapsulate his time spent abroad. Using spices as varied as green chilies, coriander, and paprika, he conjures aromatic dishes filled with locally-sourced produce that still manage to span the globe. Curries such as the chili chicken come in mild and spicy varieties and halal meats comprise the Mediterranean kebabs. And due to the variety of this menu, Chef Shahzad can easily accommodate those looking for vegetarian and gluten-free options.
When Satwant Kaur’s sister brought her to the original Indian Palace Restaurant in North Seattle, she expected traditional Indian fare to make her feel at home during her first trip to the United States. While there, she also found love at first sight with chef and restaurateur Bir Singh, who was also a native of Northern India. The couple married and moved Indian Palace Restaurant to Woodinville in 2000. They’ve spent long hours running their business together, doing everything from poring over menus and cleaning tables to building robotic busboys from spare parts.
Under the guidance of Singh, who worked as a chef in Paris and went to culinary school in the United States, cooks spice dishes to each customer’s taste. Marinated chicken and tender lamb bake in clay ovens and jumbo prawns simmer in mildly spicy curry sauces. Indian chai tea boiled with spices and milk, mango lassies made with yogurt, and a selection of beers, wines, and cocktails from the lounge cleanse palates between bites.
In 1997, Chef Muhammad Uddin took over a failing Indian eatery with dreams of turning it into something more. After closing to remodel the dining room and overhaul the menu, he threw open the doors of the new restaurant, which he renamed Bengal Tiger Cuisine of India. By 2009, it had grown such a large following that Chef Uddin moved to a bigger location with ample seating, a full bar, and space for servers to practice their plate-spinning acts on breaks.
Though the warm-colored decor and friendly service are a draw, the real key to Bengal Tiger's appeal is the food. Chef Uddin and his team rely on fresh spices and lean-cut meats to flavor recipes from across India—from the madras curry inspired by the city of Chennai to the vindaloo dish that originated in Goa. Though Bengal Tiger's menu is à la carte, servers spread out a smorgasbord of entrees during the Chef’s Special dinner buffet, which, like games in the world's least active football league, occurs on the last Sunday of every month.
The cuisine of India varies greatly from region to region, yet the chefs at Jewel of India are familiar with it all. They cull inspiration from every corner of the diverse nation, with the resulting menu including sundry vegetarian selections, chicken and lamb curries, tandoori fish, and baked-to-order naan, paratha, and roti breads. Diners may sample a whole swath of dishes by stopping by the lunch buffet, which is just as colorful—and even more thrilling to eat—as the framed Indian artwork lining the restaurant’s walls.
At Quazi's Indian Curry House & Mediterranean Cuisine, each bowl of curry or platter of tandoori-baked meat comes with a side of history. The gregarious owners are happy to share the evolution of Indian cuisine with guests, even pinpointing the origin of certain recipes all the way back to 300 BC. The menu itself divulges some of these stories, citing the region of origin for some dishes and telling the tale of how biryani rice felt that time mangos left it for a hot dish of curry.