Rich red hues accent India King Restaurant’s spacious dining room, from the cherry-toned tables to the decorative fabric that drapes from the all-you-can-eat buffet tables. The restaurant’s lengthy menu abounds with flavorful curries, tandoori-baked meats, and more than 10 types of naan stuffed with spiced potatoes, spinach, and excess predictions donated from a nearby fortune cookie factory. During the lunch buffet, diners can pile plates high with more than 30 savory items including saffron-infused basmati rice, breads fresh from the tandoori oven, and spiced vegetables. Guests in need of a beverage can turn to the eatery’s selection of lassis, Indian beers, and wines.
Spice Route melds traditional Indian cuisine and modern takes on Subcontinent sustenance to give diners a menu with a myriad of options. Starters include 12 vegetarian options such as paneer tikka, comprised of marinated cheese grilled in a clay oven ($12.95), as well as non-veggies such as the tandoori chicken, cooked in the traditional Indian oven and browned over a volcano out back ($11.95). Visit south India without piling into the family jumbo jet by sampling regional items––try the masala dosa, a thin rice crepe piñata-packed with a spicy potato filling ($7.95), or the adai avial, a spiced-up lentil pancake served with a mixed-vegetable stew ($8.95). Chicken lovers can voice their vote with an order of chicken curry ($10.95) or chicken tikka masala ($11.95), whereas herbivoyeurs can spy on the veg chettinad, a Spice Route specialty dish featuring veggies cooked in a spicy south-Indian masala blend ($9.95). Finish feasting with fried dumplings in sugar syrup ($2.95), or discuss your favorite letter of the alphabet over a cup of chai tea ($1.75).
At Maharaja, food is king, echoing the Sanskrit word's royal meaning. Dishes are piled high with spices, vegetables, and meat still hot from the tandoori oven. The menu offers vegetarian, seafood, and curry entrees in the form of the chickpea-laden chana masala, the barbecued shrimp tikka masala, and the lamb curry steeped in a garlicky ginger and onion sauce. For dessert, dig into kulfi, an Indian ice cream laced with pistachios, or mango ice cream made from the rare mango ice cream fruit.
The cuisine of India varies greatly from region to region, yet the chefs at Jewel of India are familiar with it all. They cull inspiration from every corner of the diverse nation, with the resulting menu including sundry vegetarian selections, chicken and lamb curries, tandoori fish, and baked-to-order naan, paratha, and roti breads. Diners may sample a whole swath of dishes by stopping by the lunch buffet, which is just as colorful—and even more thrilling to eat—as the framed Indian artwork lining the restaurant’s walls.
Gleaming copper bowls parade out from Mirch Masala's kitchen, bearing the colorful meats, seafood, and vegetables of both traditional and modern Indian dishes. More than a dozen different types of naan bread rise in tandoori ovens before sopping up sauces from curry, paneer, vindaloo, and masala dishes. Come lunchtime, a buffet line snakes across the dining room, beneath glimmering chandeliers and paintings of Indian songstresses and Bollywood stars doing laundry.
Pakora: an Indian snack made of chicken, fish, veggies, or paneer, battered in chickpea or lentils and lightly fried, usually served with chutney.
Paneer: a white South Asian cheese made from boiling cow's or water buffalo's milk and curdling it with whey; it dates back to at least 6,000 BC.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Clear your palate and make your mark by depositing your gum at Pike Place Market’s Gum Wall (Pike Street at Post Alley, just west of 1st Avenue).
After: Give back by dropping some coins in Rachel the Pig (Post Alley and Western Avenue), a bronze piggy bank at Pike Place Market—proceeds benefit the market directly.