Behind a façade of yellow bricks and twinkling string lights is Citrus Indian Fusion, a hub for North and South Indian dishes. Through the glass doors, aromas strike first––indication that morsels of marinated lamb, chicken, and fish are curing in a tandoor grill. Scents of ginger, garlic, and Andhra spice waft through the air, prompting guests to sop up zesty curries and their tears of joy with whole-wheat roti or warm naan.
Anarkalee Restaurant borrows its name from the doomed heroine Anarkali, a slave girl who fell in love with a prince and was loved by him in return. Their relationship infuriated the prince's father, the Mughal emperor Akbar, who responded by sentencing his own son to death. To save the prince’s life, Anarkali sacrificed herself: she was buried alive between two brick walls (though some say she actually escaped through a secret passageway).
Anarkalee Restaurant translates the fiery spirit of its namesake into the spicy flavors of regional Indian and Pakistani cuisines. Besides North Indian standards such as palak paneer and chicken tikka, chefs craft more exotic fare such as lamb-brain masala or Himalayan goat karahi for their daily specials. Morsels of grass-fed lamb also fill two types of gosht, or Pakistani meat stew. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian entrées are served in copious helpings, whether as separate dishes, a buffet, or a color-coded map of the Indian subcontinent.
Flavors from North and South India—and a hint of Indochina—infiltrate the fresh-cooked meals at Bawarchi. Naan and white rice accompany each meal to help customers completely clean up plates of chicken biryani, vegetable curry, and lamb vindaloo. Fourteen varieties of dosas—India’s answer to crepes—pack everything from roast goat to chili cheese, and wraps envelop chicken and veggies. At lunch, customers can make like middle schoolers and line up for a buffet-style spread of tandoori chicken, egg noodles, and shrimp masala.
Red-bricked walls and colorful murals of city streets surround the cozy main dining room at Main Street Diner, where a casual crowd noshes hulking portions of comfort dishes from the extensive menu. Starters such as the buffalo blue mozzarella ($4.50) and fried pickles ($4) work tirelessly as palate prep for grippable grub, such as the zesty jalapeño chicken sandwich ($7) and the guacamole-infused California burger ($8.50), each served on a toasty bun. Dairy lovers can brain-freeze romantic moments as they sip from the strawberry milkshake ($3).
The diversity of Indian cuisine is as vast as the nation itself. At India Express, the skilled cooks serve up meticulously spiced entrees and traditional vegetarian-friendly dishes to give diners a taste of the country’s culinary history. Like a cool winter's day on Venus, the eatery's traditional clay oven can reach temperatures of 1,000 degrees, perfecting specialties such as the lobster tikka masala, with barbecue lobster smothered in a tomato-and-onion cream sauce.