The fragrant aroma of freshly ground ginger and cinnamon wafts from Akbar’s Restaurant’s kitchen, mingling with the smoky scent of meats simmering in a traditional tandoori oven. Rife with spices, buttery marinades, and cream-based sauces, the eatery's Northern Indian cuisine nabbed the title of Best Indian Restaurant from City Paper’s Best of Baltimore 2010. In the dining room, romance sparks amid classical Indian music and walls laden with traditional art and lists of pun-free pickup lines.
The scents of saffron, cinnamon, and coriander lure diners into Shangri-La, where cooks fashion south-Asian fare from housemade yogurt and organic, locally grown produce. Inside a tandoori clay oven, red-hot coals seal in the flavors of traditional naan bread, jumbo shrimp, tender lamb chops, and marinated chicken breasts while sloughing off fat and cholesterol. The kitchen also specializes in Nepalese dishes such as cho-e-la, a boneless duck hugged with herbs and kissed by the tandoori oven’s flames. Handcrafted desserts such as ice cream and rice pudding pair sweetness with smoothness, like a jazz record manufactured from hard candy.
Nestled inside Petworth, this neighborhood gem houses an atmosphere swirling with pleasantries and pixie dust. Diners say the ambience and cuisine quality are reminiscent of downtown or Chinatown, only with more reasonable pricing and less bustle and dragon attacks. Attentive servers promptly deliver well-portioned plates like devastating rhymes in a rap battle. Menu options lean toward the Indian side of the edible fence with an infusion of American flair in their preparation.
Angeethi blends Indian spices and ingredients in order to serve fresh, piquant entrees brimming with flavors straight out of Calcutta. Start by appointing one of Angeethi's appetizers as ambassador to your mouth, with options like deep-fried vegetable samosa ($4, two per order), and barbecued reshmi-kebab chicken ($6). From there, the restaurant's mammoth menu offers a long list of seafood, lamb, tandoori, and vegetarian entrees. The succulent goan white fish ($18) comes sautéed in delectable coconut curry, and the bakri balti ($16) is marinated goat, cooked in an herbed balti sauce with a pinch of wine. Awaken the senses with the murg tandoori¬ ($13), which consists of chicken that's marinated overnight in yogurt, told a rousing bedtime story around 2 a.m., then meticulously barbequed in a clay oven. Vegetarian entrees include palak paneer ($12), homemade cheese cubes and spinach made zesty with herbaceous spices. Wash down any spicy residue with a glass of vino from the beverage menu, offering wine from Washington, California, Italy, New Zealand, and other locales.