At the casual Khasiyat, owner Bhanu Chavda serves aromatic, vegetarian dishes from various parts of India, but most impressed the Orlando Weekly reviewer with her addictive Indian snacks that dominate much of the menu. Popular small bites include South Indian dosas, crisp and thin flour crepes filled with potato and onions and served alongside coconut chutney, and bhel poori, a tasty street food featuring puffed wheat, indian noodles, and diced potato and onions with a splash of chili. Patrons can also try North Indian dishes that feature rich sauces and Indian cottage cheese, such as paneer masala, or try a variety of flavors in a thali, or sampler plate.
The aromas of South Asian spices lure passersby into Abhiruchi India Cuisine, where they typically pause for a moment to savor the décor and read the descriptions of more than 100 Indian specialties. Halal and vegetarian options are both well represented on the lengthy menu, which features spicy curries and tandoori-baked entrees based on chicken, seafood, and lamb or goat. When they aren’t scooping tikka masala into trays for the lunch buffet or pilfering Marco Polo’s travelogues for new recipes, the restaurant’s chefs accommodate partygoers with catering services.
Apna Spice Restaurant, under the management of Mohammad Younus started in 2003, serving Pakistani and Indian curries, breads, and meat dishes. The Pakistani chapli kebab seasons fried ground beef with spices, cumin seeds, and coriander, and the chicken korma features boneless chicken slow-cooked with spices in a yogurt-based curry. Dishes such as chicken curry and shrimp masala offer quick access to tasty seafood, unlike waiting three hours to see your tuna tax accountant.
Champions of adhering to traditional recipes and culinary practices, a father-and-son team serves as both the owners and head chefs of New Passage to India. Their kitchen staff whips up dishes native to a variety of Indian regions, granting diners a taste of the subcontinent without the paper cuts that come from eating maps. They handcraft ingredients such as house-made paneer cheese, garden-fresh mushrooms, and fresh lamb with pinches of hand-ground spices. Sensitive to varied tolerances of piquancy, the chefs customize the heat levels of many of their creations to individual preferences. Affable servers wend from table to table within the dining room’s deep-green walls and wooden columns.
Tabla's executive chef Sajan Prem forges an ever-changing menu from authentic, centuries-old recipes. Hungry twosomes can start off the eating proceedings with South Indian specialties, such as the medu vada—deep-fried lentil donuts served with sambhar and coconut chutney ($5). Carnivorous appetites train meat-seeking eyeteeth on the shola kebab, morsels of tender lamb marinated with fresh herbs and spices and charcoal grilled in a tandoori oven ($15), while carnivores with a vendetta against vegetables can tear into the vegetarian kashmiri dum aloo, potatoes stuffed with dry fruit and Indian cheese, and cooked in a saffron-based garlic butter sauce ($12). An order of Tabla naan, a fusion of Indian bread, Italian spices, and sesame seeds ($3), sops up spicy sauces. Quartets toast hearty meal conclusions with wine or cocktails from the full bar as they admire the elegantly fringed curtains from one of the plush booths or flying carpets.