Whenever my friends and I discuss going out for Indian food one or the other always ends up saying, “Maaan, I’m really not in the mood for curry!”. Well this particular blog post is dedicated to all those who sometimes (but almost always!) limit Indian food to Chicken tikka Masala and butter chicken.
The seventh largest country in the world has more to offer than just that. The food that originates in the North differs vastly from South. The spices and flavors used are just as vast as the distance between them. The North, the South, the East, the West as well as Coastal and Central India offer you a variety of distinct flavours. So here I’ve compliled six completely different Indian food experiences offered here in the 6ix:
Located in Little India, Lahore Tikka House offers you your typical (North) Indian food experience. Food is dripping with oil (I really don’t mean that in a bad way!). It’s as close as one can get to the Pandara road experience here in Toronto! The naan is soaked in garlic and butter, the chicken karahi bursting with spices and of course not to forget the classic Butter chicken served spicy NOT SWEET. There’s no avoiding a food coma after a meal at Lahore Tikka House.
Pukka isn’t your average-everyday Indian food. A Forrest Hill establishment, Pukka offers a perfectly balanced integration of the Indian sub-continent with Europe and North America is presented on a plate. The Garam Masala duck breast, the lamb shanks and the goat cheese kebabs are a must have. The cocktails at Pukka are outstanding as well. Try the Mumbai sour. Pukka offers an evening (they’re only open for dinner) full of flavours but also brings with a little guilt for the wallet.
The best place to get Dosa! For those of you who don’t know Dosa a staple of South Indian food – Crepes brushed with butter and stuffed with spicy potato fillings and served with spicy soup or sambar on the side but its the coconut and coriander chutney on the side that neatly ties-together all the flavors. Saravanna Bhavan is an international South Indian food chain and we are blessed with two here – Mississauga and Scarborough. The Dosa’s here are perfect – crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and soaked in butter (Still, not complaining)!
Freshly prepared Undhiyu, Rotla, Shirkhand, buttermilk to wash it down with and so so much more. I promise you, you can’t eat just one Dhokla. Its simple vegetarian Gujarati (west-Indian food). Let’s face it -what else can you really want?
Until now, this is my favourite find in Toronto because Coastal Indian food is really – in my opinion – the most flavorful food India has to offer. The entire restaruant was engulfed in an aroma of spices. My friend devoured the Mutton Chettinad Biryani served with raita. On the other hand I treated myself to a Kothu Parotta – a delicacy that is highly popular in the Southern state of Tamil Nadu. It is made using parotta or flabread, egg, meat, and salna, a spicy sauce.
Anyone whose ever been to India has seen the abundance of street vendors on the roads of any city. Street food is an indispensable part of the overall Indian experience – Nothing is complete without a little paani-puri. And this Bayview restaurant has captured an ambiance and menu like no other. Top picks were the baingan fries (eggplant fries) and my all time favourite – paapri chaat.
Toronto being the multicultural city that it is I am sure there are tons of places I’m yet to come across. Share your favourite places in the comments and I’m sure I’ll end up there soon enough!