The most geographically and culturally authentic bites at CurriBox are lemon and mango pickles imported straight from India. But the restaurant's cooks masterfully conjure traditional Indian flavors just fine with more local fixings, which they assemble into nearly 75 dishes. A clay tandoor oven bakes all roits and naans, as well as boneless chicken, which the culinary team stirs into mildly spiced butter cream. Other entrees incorporate CurriBox's housemade ingredients, from hand-crafted cheese cooked in spiced gravy with peas to marinated lamb doused with nuts and fresh cream sauce. Besides dine-in feasts, CurriBox's cooks prepare food for takeout and even cater feasts for weddings, birthdays, or birthdays for each taste bud.
When Marianna Ristorante opened, the restaurant’s trademark was a dish perfect by the owner’s mom. The Renton Reporter wrote that the farfalle alle Marianna— bowtie pasta tossed with yellow peppers, prosciutto, and cream—came from co-owner Salvatore Lembo’s mother, for whom the restaurant is named. These days, Salvatore lets Executive Chef Jackson Cavanaugh put his own stamp on a seasonal selection of Northern Italian specialties. Those range from homemade gnocchi to fettuccini tossed with salmon and boneless chicken breast smothered in gorgonzola cream sauce. Dinner is served inside Marianna Ristorante’s candlelit dining room, which evokes the atmosphere of an Old World eatery with earthy tones .
In 1997, Chef Muhammad Uddin took over a failing Indian eatery with dreams of turning it into something more. After closing to remodel the dining room and overhaul the menu, he threw open the doors of the new restaurant, which he renamed Bengal Tiger Cuisine of India. By 2009, it had grown such a large following that Chef Uddin moved to a bigger location with ample seating, a full bar, and space for servers to practice their plate-spinning acts on breaks.
Though the warm-colored decor and friendly service are a draw, the real key to Bengal Tiger's appeal is the food. Chef Uddin and his team rely on fresh spices and lean-cut meats to flavor recipes from across India—from the madras curry inspired by the city of Chennai to the vindaloo dish that originated in Goa. Though Bengal Tiger's menu is à la carte, servers spread out a smorgasbord of entrees during the Chef’s Special dinner buffet, which, like games in the world's least active football league, occurs on the last Sunday of every month.
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.
The Taj Mahal is near-universally admired. So are Indian people. And so is their food. For $15, you’ll get $35 worth of Indian fare at Navya Lounge (valid for dinner only), a downtown eatery in the Rainier Square Building where classic Indian dishes united with classic Indian dish names live happily ever after in a charming fantasyland where everyone is best friends with their stomachs. Follow @Groupon_Says on Twitter.