Sri Lankan culture incorporates distinctive southern Asian roots along with influences from the various European nations that have ruled it. As a result, the cuisine typically features a mélange of Indian, Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese, and Malaysian flavors. At Curry Leaf, Lana Hillstrom remains true to the flavors of her native Sri Lanka, filling the menu with her country's eclectic cuisine. Chickpeas, pork, and sliced mango simmer in aromatic curry, distinguished from familiar Thai or Indian versions by a signature powder that uses 21 fragrant ingredients, according to the Colorado Springs Independent. The rest of the menu includes Sri Lankan interpretations of Asian standards such as chicken tikka, fried rice, and mulligatawny soup.
Channeling the same vivaciousness as the menu, the dining room bursts with color from its sunshine-yellow walls, draped with leafy foliage and imported Sri Lankan rainbows. Framed pictures and woodwork also adorn the walls, and a rocking chair and a stately armchair add to the room's homey ambiance.
Taste of India's culinary connoisseurs, who first learned to cook in Northern India, harness their talents as they prepare savory lentil dishes and traditional curries flavored with daily-cut veggies, earning the restaurant multiple nods from the Colorado Springs Independent as the city’s Best Indian Food. A clay oven bakes tandoori and tikka delicacies more effectively than a fire-breathing dragon with a chef's hat, and breads puffed with cheese and spices stand ready to escort seafood masalas on their digestive journeys. Individual diets find accommodation with halal meat, gluten-free options, and vegan food, and a lunch buffet sates the deepest of stomachs.
Entering the dining room, customers take in the sight of a flower-bearing camel statue, a majestic ceramic swan, and a white partition stenciled with intricate tree designs. A sprawling red-and-yellow tapestry and festive Indian music imbue the 60-seat space with an atmosphere livelier than a caffeinated jester.
People eat three times a day to prevent rebellious stomachs from escaping in search of peanut brittle, their natural prey. Today's Groupon uses the power of South Asian cuisine to placate restless tummies: for $15, you get $30 worth of international cuisine and drinks at Shanti: Taste of India in Dorchester. This Groupon is not valid for Shanti's lunch buffet.
More than 10 years ago, Shanti opened to provide the South Boston area with fresh, authentic Indian food. After realizing that the subcontinental focus limited the range of noshing experiences, the founders soon expanded their menu to also include Pakistani and Bangladeshi dishes. Now, stylish lamb, beef, and goat parade onto plates in a variety of spice suits, including the Indian gosht vindaloo ($11.99) and the Pakistani gosht kadai ($11.99). A well-equipped squadron of nine vegetables guards the nabaraton korma's creamy sauce ($10.99). Authentically stamp a palate-passport with the shrimp bhuna, seasoned shrimp imported from Bangladesh ($12.99). Tour the menu by blindfolding yourself, spinning around, and pointing randomly at your dinner, or engage the knowledgeable staff in a friendly game of 20 Questions to receive a personal recommendation.
The rich red walls and tablecloths give Shanti a regal ambience that reaches its full and inevitable consummation when the delectables arrive in gilded dishes. At the nod of your head, goblets full of beer ($3–$6.95), wine ($5.50–$7.50), or a creamy yogurt lassi ($3.99) levitate to the table in anticipation of exuberant toasts. Reservations are suggested for parties of eight or more and can be made online here.
More than 100 Yelpers give Shanti an average of four stars. Eighty-eight percent of more than 90 Urbanspooners recommend it, and three Insider Pagers give it a four-star average.
- This is amazing Indian. Since we don't really know anything about Indian food, we always end up asking questions; the staff always helps us choose the best meal for us. – Cassie M., Yelp
- Shanti is the real deal - high quality food at reasonable prices. – Mark P., Yelp
- This is some of the best Indian food I have had. I come here with my family and we each get different things and share. The flavors are so rich. ─ Emma M., Insider Pages
The locally lauded by both the Colorado Springs Gazette and Colorado Springs Independent as "The Best of the Spring" for 2011 and 2012, chefs at Mirch Masala aren’t afraid of the extra work it takes to make a menu of authentic Indian cuisine. They make their own paneer cheese in-house and constantly keep the fire stoked in a clay tandoor oven to bake yogurt-marinated lamb chops, chicken, mixed grill, and banana splits, as well as fluffy naan stuffed with a variety of ingredients. Diners with delicate palates can customize the spice level of any dish. Mirch Masala's servers also deliver beer, wine, and mixed drinks such as the Mango Margarita and Slumdog Millionaire cocktails to tables in addition to mango lassis or indian chai with milk.
For the past 18 years, the chefs at India Palace have been making their northern Indian food burst with flavor rather than an overly spicy kick. To do so, they harness traditional spices such as anise seed, cardamom, and turmeric to concoct their aromatic curries, vegetarian entrees, and gluten-free dishes from scratch. They can customize each of their biryani and masala entrees to individuals' preferred levels of heat and sentience, and they diligently bake naan in a clay oven to sop up every last drop of vindaloo sauce. India Palace also offers an expansive lunch buffet that brims with traditional Indian morsels.
Traditional and contemporary recipes reign at India's Kitchen, where chefs sheath chicken, lamb, seafood, and vegan entrees in a flurry of freshly ground exotic spices. They sizzle naan and kebabs in a tandoor clay oven and flood kormas and masalas with housemade yogurt, cream sauces, and coconut milk. Chefs can customize spiciness levels or swap in gluten-free ingredients for the handful of dishes that aren't already gluten-free, adeptly maintaining each dish's intricate flavors and inspirational coming-of-age story. An extensive daily lunch buffet lines up some of the kitchen's greatest hits for guests to sample, and the restaurant also extends its culinary services to the catering realm.
Cylindrical light fixtures dangle amid the dining room's vibrant red-orange walls, which contrast charcoal-hued floors and furnishings. A trickling faux rock fountain beckons patrons to venture to the full bar, where staffers sling Indian beers that harmonize with the aromas and flavors of the cuisine.