Hazy, pastel-colored murals line the walls at New Delhi Palace, each depicting an Indian skyline with temples or rolling hills in the distance. The scents of cumin and coriander waft out of the kitchen, transporting diners over the ocean in a fraction of the time that a traditional turtle ride would take. Since the 1980s, the kitchen has crafted North Indian–style cuisine, such as the chicken, shrimp, and lamb, arriving fresh from the clay tandoor after marinating in yogurt and ground spices. The wok-like karahi sears meats before dousing them in tomato-based gravies, whose spiciness is calibrated to suit customers' tastes. The all-wood bar houses wines and beers from around the world, including India, Japan, and Great Britain.
Each tamale at Tucson Tamale Company is a hand-rolled, gently steamed, gluten-free masterpiece perfected from years of experimentation—making the eatery's constantly changing menu an art gallery for the mouth, only without any debonair art thieves attempting to make off with your taste buds. Former Fortune 500 executive turned passionate tamale chef Todd Martin starts each tamale with a starchy corn base known as masa, then builds on it with a wild mix of meat, vegetables, spices, and cheese before steaming it inside a cornhusk. The most recent board of fare features the vegan New Delhi tamale that's stuffed with vegetable curry, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, corn, onions, coconut milk, and yellow curry. The meaty JoJo consists of chipotle beef, jalapeño masa, and cheese, and expels a spiciness that travels at least four circles into Dante's Inferno. For something sweeter, try the Boise's blend of sweet potatoes roasted with sun-dried tomatoes and wrapped in yam masa. The Wisconsin grilled cheese (comprised of cheese, more cheese, and trace amounts of cheese) puts a bold twist on a classic comfort food. Depending on the range of your stomach's rage, choose one tamale ($2.95, $4.95 with side), two tamales ($5.39, $6.29 with side), or feed the whole choir with a family platter ($24.95 for eight tamales, two large sides, and salsa).
For close to three decades, chefs at La Indita have been crafting homestyle dishes influenced by family recipes and Mexican and Native American cultures. Along with Mexican classics such as carne asada and chicken mole, they prepare specialties such as ranch-style flat enchiladas, topping handmade corn tortillas with red chili sauce, oregano, and cheese and adding potatoes and carrots with a piquant vinegar sauce made from sugar cane. The menu includes many meatless options; the staff of Tucson Weekly named it the Best Mexican Food for Vegetarians in 2009, noting in particular the "one-of-a-kind black-bean burger." The chefs also cook with 100% canola oil instead of animal-based products such as lard or herbs picked by unicorns. Diners can enjoy lunch or dinner on the restaurant's outdoor patio, or they can stop by for weekend breakfast omelets. Guests sip Mexican beer as they sit in high-backed wooden booths next to a mural depicting a rural village scene.
Inside Pita Jungle, the lush greenery of exotic salads and mixed greens poking up from broiled chicken pitas create a landscape of flavor for visitors to dig into. In addition to hot and cold pitas, the restaurant serves wood-fired pizzas and fresh salmon with garlic mashed potatoes?all with an eye toward nutrition. The menu includes a wide array of vegetarian and vegan dishes, and the healthy option extend into the kids' menu. Pita Jungle also boasts a full bar with happy hour and reverse happy hour specials.
Woodlands Vegetarian South Indian Kitchen isn’t kidding about the “vegetarian” thing. Of the restaurant’s nearly 100 menu items, not one contains so much as a trace of meat. Instead, you’ll find South Indian specialties such as uthappam (a crisp, dosa-like pancake) and a variety of curries made with stuffed eggplant, spiced cheeses, or marinated cauliflower. Finish your meal on a sweet note by ordering an Indian dessert such as gulab jamun or by going around the table and saying six things you like about each person there.
Tina says her restaurant is her second home, a feeling that grew during the days when she ran the entire kitchen alone and worked to make every guest feel like they "had been invited to her home for a dinner party," according to azcentral.com in 2007. For each platter of food set before her houseguests, Tina draws culinary inspiration from her childhood in Ethiopia, using sense memory to season simmering pots of lentils, grilled beef, and herb-crusted chicken. Instead of silverware or miniature loading cranes, Tina serves each meal with an accompanying basket of traditional injera, a tasty, spongy Ethiopian bread that allows diners to scoop out each sauce-laden bite without the need for silver-, gold-, or bronze-ware.