Inside Maharaja Indian Restaurant, the air is heady with the scents of traditional Tandoor-grilled Indian meats and flavorful curries, all served in a dining room done in striking hues of royal blue and canary. It's easy to feel like you've been whisked away to somewhere in Bombay, but if you look outside, you can see sweeping views of Rhode Island's Narragansett Beach. The restaurant occupies an upper floor of the Village Inn, a stone's throw from the shoreline. Beach views provide a temporary distraction, but the menu commands most of the attention, with spicy lamb vindaloo, Halal goat biryani, vegan channa masala, and ten different types of naan bread.
India Restaurant's chefs modify iconic South Asian staples to eliminate excess fat, cholesterol, and calories while still ensuring that the dishes are delicious enough to win various accolades. The chefs craft each authentic dish with locally sourced seafood and produce, and they avoid frying any dish, eschew butter entirely, and only cook with canola oil. Yet their nacho-like papri chaat appetizer has been called "truly addictive" by the Providence Phoenix, which also called the restaurant’s biryani “a veritable feast for the senses.” To make their cuisine even more inclusive, the chefs prepare an array of vegan-friendly and gluten-free dishes.
The decor strives to be similarly accommodating, presenting diners with numerous seating options, each with a distinctive ambience. A projection screen playing subtitled Bollywood films dominates the main dining area, smaller tables surround each of the three roaring fireplaces, and more than 200 flickering candles line the bar area. During the warmer months, the garden courtyard tempts patrons with its swings for seats, lush gardens, and bubbling water fountains. The sidewalk seating allows guests to dine alongside their dogs and pet lobsters; a doggie menu offers hamburger-and-rice dishes and yogurt pops for canine companions.
Traditional belly dancers drift throughout the space on Friday and Saturday evenings, and the restaurant's global jazz ensemble entertains diners with its contemporary melodic stylings.
Chef and owner Sanjiv Dhar has delighted College Hill diners with his extensive menu of authentic, fresh Indian cuisine since 1987. Drawing upon the flavors of India's many culinary regions, Kabob and Curry features a wide range of dishes beloved by both herbivores and meatophiles alike. Lunch and dinner menus are clearly labeled for easy identification of spicy, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and Lego-free dishes. Starters and breads appear on both menus, granting patrons the uncanny ability to enjoy minced-lamb samosas ($3.50), pesto-stuffed naan ($3), and South–Indian lentil soup ($2.99). For midday mastication, travel to India's western coast with spicy-chicken xacuti ($6.75), or set out toward southerly climes with a creamy, coconut-based South–Indian shrimp curry ($7.25). Chronic coin-flippers can have the best of both worlds with lunchtime combination plates ($9.99+), which come with two dishes and a choice of rice or naan.
The sounds of conversation and laughter compete with the clinking of glasses in The Wine Artist’s lofty venue. The space sprawls over 2,500 square feet, with plenty of room to host private parties, bridal events, corporate events, and private cooking classes. Events at The Wine Artist feature unique wines, gourmet catering, and experiences such as wine bottling and team building activities.
The chefs at Bombay Club have been serving up Northern Indian favorites?including chicken tikka masala, shrimp mirch masala, and anything out of the tandoor oven?for more than a decade. Diners can complement the entrees with naan, housemade pakora, mango ice cream, and Indian beers and cocktails from the bar menu.
Garbed in crisp white jackets, chefs in the Apna Punjab dart among pans of simmering curries and pots of bubbling biryani rice as nimbly as dancers, their faces aglow in the open flames. They fold fresh meats and seafood into a sweeping array of authentic North and South Indian dishes, from tender butter chicken to flavorful goat curry. In a fiery clay oven, the chefs bake lamb kebabs, tandoori shrimp, and naan breads stuffed with minced lamb and fresh green chilies. One of the most popular dishes—chicken tikka masala—was lauded by reporters from India New England as "distinct and rich."
To enjoy those dishes, customers perch on cushy green booths, clinking mugs of imported Indian beers. Others linger over last bites of sweet rice pudding, watching the sun set through lofty yellow-curtained windows. During lunch, 15 freshly made specialties pour forth steam at a lunch buffet, ideal for diners who need to rush back to work or hurry home to see if their long-lost childhood parakeet has at last returned.