Walking past Tamarind's modern counter-service eatery within Brookfield Place, home of the Hockey Hall of Fame and near the Air Canada Centre and Sony Centre of Performing Arts, you're likely to get a whiff of coriander, cumin, turmeric, and ginger—the telltale aromas of an authentic Indian restaurant. But, thanks to the chefs' active imaginations, you're likely to notice other scents as well. Jamaican jerk spices, for instance, which put the kick in a recent mango jerk chicken special. Or the spicy aroma of piri piri sauce, the chili-based dressing popular in Mozambique that played a role in a piri piri fish dish. These exotic variations on familiar flavors rotate each month, giving newcomers a reason to stop by and regulars a reason to return. To accompany both the traditional dishes—scratch-made curries, biryani, and convenient wraps and kebabs—and the innovative specials, freshly baked naan bread bearing tantalizing bubbles and zero tan lines emerges from the blazing tandoor throughout the day.
In Kothur Indian Cuisine’s neat and unpretentious dining room, where simply framed artwork dots the walls, the focus remains on rich, fragrant Indian dishes. From the kitchen, ceramic and copper dishes emerge, piled high with chicken, fish, and shrimp cooked in the traditional tandoori oven, as well as South Indian–style dosas, or rice-batter crepes. The extensive menu features a wide range of meat and vegetarian entrees, from classic chicken tikka masala to mutter paneer made with fresh Indian cheese.
Spice quiets stomach rumbles with traditional Indian-Nepalese dishes accompanied by a panoply of fine wines. The menu hosts a ticker-tape parade of spices, imbuing appetizers and main dishes with fiery flavour adjustable to individual taste buds. Awaken slumbering mouths with an order of vegetable samosas or a Spice salad with mango and baby spinach (both $5). A tandoori clay oven delivers deep flavours to entrees starring chicken ($16), lamb ($16), and salmon ($15), and fish and coconut linger past curfew in the goan fish curry ($16). Spice’s award-winning wines complement mealtime flavours, conversation, and tiddlywinks championships.
Hailing from India's southernmost coastal state, Santha and Chiral Purushotham honour their homeland with a spice-centric menu of authentic Kerala dishes. Eschewing artificial ingredients, the Purushothams import spices and ambient noise directly from India so chefs can cook authentic South Indian and Kerala dishes, such as tandoori chicken ($7.75) and shrimp biriyani ($10.50). Further flavour explorations include mutton enlivened by aromatic curry ($6.95), and extensive vegetarian options such as crispy vegetable pakora ($6) lead diners down an herbivore-friendly thoroughfare. Madras Palace’s decor feeds the senses by intermingling Indian elements including statuary and ornate screens with maroon table spreads and carpets.
Mumbai Sapphire dazzles palates with a dinner and lunch buffet that rolls out more than 50 authentic Indian specialties. Diners can strategically circle the buffet line, intimidating it into plating each dish for them, before digging into the selection of piquant curry dishes in chicken, fish, and goat varieties. Fresh, hot naan bread is available to daub up the rich sauces that swaddle favourite traditional dishes such as the creamy butter chicken and tender chicken with vegetables. Fresh salads peppered with vegetables comprise options of a lighter variety and also serve as palate-cleansers when switching between food-shovellings of the rest of Mumbai Sapphire's cuisine. Though not covered by this Groupon, the a la carte menu also boasts clay-oven-baked meats, seafood, and vegetarian dishes.
Ambiyan lets diners pivot their palates off the beaten path, sampling a fragrant array of traditional and contemporary Indian fare. Both the in-house menu and carryout menu offer vibrant victuals to suit every variety of palate, unless that palate's favourite flavour is string theory. Start off your meal mélange with appetizers such as the vegetable samosas (dine-in $7; carryout $4.95), crispy golden pillows puffed up with potato and green pea stuffing. Like an ox-pulled rocket ship, dinner links old with new: try a traditional dish such as the butter chicken (dine-in $15; carryout $11.95), delicate poultry breast in a creamy tomato-infused sauce. Then, skip ahead to contemporary specialties such as seafood xacutti (dine-in $24; carryout $17.95), a net's worth of sea scallops, tiger prawns, and crab in a robust coconut curry. Hungry herbivores too will find much to masticate, such as the eggplant bharta, which dazzles palates with roasted eggplant floating on a zesty zephyr of green peas and ginger (dine-in $10; carryout $8.95).