Voted Best Indian Cuisine of Hampton Roads by the readers of The Virginian Pilot, Nawab Indian Cuisine cajoles palates into contentedness with a menu sprawling with a variety of seafood, vegetable-based plates, and chicken. Guests can begin a subcontinent saunter with an appetizer of saffron lime mussels flavorfully swimming in a river of aromatic coconut broth ($8). A glass of 2006 French pinot noir ($8) augments the tomato-and-cream-sauce-slathered chicken tikka masala ($14.50), and an Argentinean chardonnay ($7) reliably sidekicks Goan shrimp curry ($17). Each of Nawab’s four locations envelops guests in a warm ambience festooned by elegant flourishes of Indian art or vibrant Technicolor paintwork. The high ceilings encapsulate visitors in an abundance of space and allow plenty of room for tall humans or dozens of babies stacked on top of each other.
The delectable eatery prides itself on its abundance of high-quality ingredients, its usage of certified halal meat, and its fresh, made-to-order dishes used to sate midday munchers and dinner diners alike. Rev up appetites with menu items such as the chat channa, a medley of legumes, veggies, and spices flanked with sweet-tinged chutney ($3.49). The aaloo wrap snuggles potatoes, tzatziki sauce, lettuce, onions, and tomatoes in a warm naan embrace ($4.49), and the beef-and-lamb tikka combo ($9.99+) grills up a duo of titular carnivorous offerings ideal for sharing with your mealmate or the ravenous stranger sitting uncomfortably close to you. Alight upon savory curry dishes such as the chicken tikka masala ($8.99) or the palak and paneer, laden with spinach and fried cheese ($7.99). Both are served with a choice of naan or rice.
Since 1999, Rajput Indian Cuisine has been delighting taste buds with authentic Indian cuisine that's garnered glowing reviews and accolades, including three 2013 Hampton Roads Magazine Readers' Choice Awards for Best Overall Restaurant, Best Indian Cuisine, and Best Buffet, as well as three 2013 Virginian-Pilot Readers' Choice Awards. Diners settle into crimson dining rooms with white-tablecloth-draped tables before savoring lamb or goat curries, tandoori chicken delicacies, and spiced seafood with foliage and framed artwork hanging overhead. The restaurant welcomes vegetarian and vegan diners with an extensive roster of meat-free fodder, and chefs keep the operation green by incorporating organic ingredients and high-fiving every tree limb they pass. Additionally, Rajput Indian Cuisine will soon be opening a third location in Suffolk's Harbour View West Shopping Center.
Geography teachers might quibble, but a fairly accurate map of India can be made by arranging the pots of Saffron Indian Bistro's octet of curries. Each curry draws on distinctive spices and herbs to represent a different region's cooking style. Acting as the common language to this culinary subcontinent is the blend of yogurt, ginger, garlic, and garam masala that marinates each skewer of tandoori chicken, lamb, or fish. Regardless of the entree, the chefs customize the heat to accommodate each diners' tastes, prepping plates with mild, savory flavors or enough incendiary spice to evaporate an iceberg.
Visual spice pervades the bistro's decor as well. Sunshine-yellow walls surround the small, striped booths and dark wooden tables. And when the sunlight ceases to stream through the large front windows, torch-like wall sconces and dangling pendant lamps take over, adding an atmospheric illumination to dinner dates.
Ornate lanterns bask the dining room of India Palace Restaurant in a warm glow, illuminating the classical Indian portraits and dark wood pillars surrounding the tables. Among these authentic confines—India Palace's second location, after spending 22 years at the original locale—the friendly staff helps guests choose the right dishes from a vibrant menu of fine Indian cuisine. Manning a clay oven fired by charcoal, visible to diners, chefs bake fresh bread, ground-lamb seekh kebabs, salmon tikka, and marinated tandoori chicken. A selection of 18 vegetarian specialties sates the hunger of plant hunters, whereas a variety of curries gives all diners the ability to roar cartoon flames. Indulgent beverages, such as an Indian chai latte or a mango milk shake, can be paired with any dish to sweeten palates.
Featured as one of the Best New Dining Spots of 2010 in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Lehja lays out a bountiful menu of traditional Indian dishes, sprinkled with a dash of contemporary flair, paired with a well-appointed wine list. Ignite your taste buds with the Fire Cracker chicken tikka, slathered in a ghost chili marinade and painted with haunted mango kewra ($9), and then repel culinary vampires with an order of garlic naan ($4). Lehja teases tongues with a sampling of the gastronomic masterpieces from the 28 best Indian states, including aam-anardana ka gosht––succulent lamb morsels sautéed with pomegranate seeds, mango, and scallions ($19)––and the classic chicken tikka masala––roasted chicken-breast chunks snorkeling in a sea of creamy tomato sauce ($16). Lehja's meaty menu also includes a septuplet of dishes designed for herbivores and herbivoyeurs, such as the paneer-asparagus lababdaar—a dish accented by bell peppers and a coriander-seed tomato sauce ($16)—and the dal of the day––a regional stewed-lentil delicacy ($12).