Each linen napkin is folded in such a manner that it drapes over the edge of a drinking glass like the petals of a flower. The napkin’s soft pink hue complements Himalayan Bistro’s deep red booths and the vibrant art on the walls. The aromas of ginger, chili paste, and Himalayan peppercorns drift from the kitchen, hinting at dishes traditionally served in the streets and homes of Kathmandu and other regions of Nepal. Steamed dumplings brim with veggies like the pockets of a scarecrow on payday, and tendrils of smoke unwind from kebabs in a tandoor or over an open charcoal fire. Traditional music plays in the background, the unfamiliar scales and nearby antique statuettes completing the sensation of having traveled halfway around the world.
The husband-and-wife team that runs Shanti-Taste of India has seen more than their fair share of couples enter their restaurant’s doors on a date and return, many years later, with their children in tow. The love that the duo has put into their business since 1999 is certainly returned by their clients. More tangible proof of their popularity comes from the eatery’s 2012 award from Boston magazine for Best Indian Restaurant. The authentic food served at Shanti blends both Indian and Bangladeshi cuisines, a tastier way to learn about the world than dipping a globe in ranch dressing and trying to eat it. Boston reviewers particularly enjoyed the vegetable pakoras—which they called “deep-fried pockets of pillowy goodness”—as well as the tandoori dishes, which the kitchen staff fires in a 900-degree oven.
Tamarind Bay – Coastal Indian Kitchen may occupy an unassuming gray-brick building, but upon entering the dining room, patrons’ senses are captivated by the exotic aromas of coastal India. The air is heady with the scents of curry, ginger, and mint wafting from clay tandoor ovens, sizzling kebabs, and bubbling pots of saag paneer.
The owners call on their Indian roots—and their experience at Tamarind Bay's other venue in Harvard Square—to foster a dining experience that spotlights fresh seafood recipes from coastal cities, including Manglorean lobster simmered in South Indian spices and mahi-mahi pickled in a zesty sauce from Goa. The seasonal menu also boasts a variety of vegan and vegetarian alternatives. Scallion aloo infuses baby potatoes with cumin and curry and bhindi methi spices up okra with fenugreek and tomato sauce.
Cuisine Type: Indian fast food
Reservations: Not offered
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Number of Tables: 11?25
Parking: Metered street parking
Most popular offering: Nanini
Delivery / Take-out Available: Yes
Outdoor Seating: No
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
We have taken the authentic taste of flavorful Indian food and transformed it into an quick-serve, portable format of delivery. It is self-serve and made-to-order so you don't pay for the table service or tips, which in turn results in reasonably priced, flavorful food. We have been featured in a New York Times article series about the changing tastes of American fast food, and have also been featured in the Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, and Boston Phoenix.
What?s the best reaction you?ve ever gotten from a customer?
"Could be the Chipotle of Indian food."
In your own words, how would you describe your menu?
Its a four-step process at Chutneys. First step: choose from a paratha wrap, rice bowl, or nanini. Second step: choose a vegetarian, chicken, or lamb filling, with few choices in each category. Third step: choose from fresh vegetables to top it. Fourth and final step: choose from a selection of 10 chutneys to customize your flavor.
The Maharaja's chefs rely on recipes from an era when art and cooking received the royal patronage of great Mughal emperors. Compiled over three generations of research, the menu of traditional Indian cuisine has been modernized to pair with a lavish dining space, that, according to the The Boston Foodie, "is an elegant room floating above Harvard Square with all of the amenities of a perfect dining experience." Ornately detailed wooden chairs surround The Maharaja's sturdy tables, and a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooks the weekly hopscotch tournaments in Harvard Square. Furthermore, a collection of statues—which took three attempts to import from India—watch over the restaurant's guests.
Garlic naan emanates nostril-piquing aromas of fresh garlic and coriander as chefs roast cubes of lamb and bone-in chicken in a tandoor oven that burns hotter than a feverish dragon. Sidestepping meats entirely, the house-made paneer, eggplant, and chickpeas bump elbows with green peas, raisins, and sautéed cashews. Servings of kulfi faluda can sate sweet teeth with scoops of pistachio-flavored ice cream and sweet noodles.
Cafe of India enchants diners with an unforgettable sensory experience that fuses meticulously concocted spices, colorful veggie stews, tender tandoori meats, and plush decor. A large crystal chandelier casts a canopy of warm light over cloth-clad tables and crimson drapery, and artfully plated kulcha, kebabs, and curries tempt diners from elegant bone-white plates or piping-hot silver serving pots. Friendly staff shepherd the uninitiated through the cinnamon-scented jungles and biryani-rich pastures of the extensive menu, and a wine list pairs feasts with the fruits of American, Australian, Chilean, and Neverland vineyards. The bill of fare pleases carnivorous as well as vegetarian appetites, with entrees ranging from hearty lamb stews and seafood masalas to savory chickpea curries and spinach cooked with creamy housemade paneer.