Boston Restaurant Blog -- April, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
While most restaurants we talk about within this site are located in the Boston area, every now and then we check out places in Providence, as it is such a great city for dining out. Many of the restaurants we go to are around College Hill as well as the nearby neighborhoods, including Wayland, Fox Point, and the Hope/Mount Hope area. And it is this last section of the city that we visited last weekend, as we headed to an Indian place in this quiet, attractive neighborhood called simply India Restaurant.
Located across the street from the beautiful Lippitt Memorial Park and just south of the Pawtucket border, India Restaurant is a positively gorgeous spot. The place has a cozy outdoor dining area in the front, another outdoor section in the back (this one having swings for chairs--I kid you not), an exotic bar with unusual lighting (it looks like hundreds of votive candles are burning), a main dining area with lots of nooks and crannies, and a private room toward the back with a single table and a fireplace. The main area has lots of nice touches, including fabric-covered pendant lights, murals of people on the walls, comfortable booths, and a large television in the middle that shows Bollywood movies.
The sleek, upscale look of India Restaurant was certainly memorable, but we were also here for the food, of course; and fortunately, nearly everything we ordered was as impressive as the atmosphere. We started with both plain naan and basil pesto naan, both of which were excellent--neither one was excessively oily, and the basil pesto version had a ton of flavor coming from the herbs. The spinach and lentil soup was thick and slightly creamy, though a bit of salt and pepper were needed to add a boost of flavor to it. Our main entrees were both outstanding, with the lamb kabobs being rich-tasting and fairly lean (but not too lean), and the pieces of mango in the rice gave the dish a nice dose of sweetness. And then there was the paneer vindaloo...now I have had plenty of vindaloo in the past, but this one was about the hottest I have ever tried, so hot in fact, that the server brought over some yogurt to cool it down a bit for us. But even with the incredible amount of heat coming from the red-hot peppers in the sauce, the taste of the dish was wonderful, with the soft and mild farmer's cheese adding a nice balance to the nuttiness of the rice and the extreme heat of the sauce. We finished our meal with desserts and tea, with the gulab jamun (basically Indian donuts) served with a maple and rum sauce that was overly sweet, but the other dessert--the rice pudding--was nearly perfect, with a good sprinkling of cardamom adding a slightly sweet and almost floral taste to the rice.
India Restaurant impressed us in a number of ways. Its great atmosphere, satisfying food, and friendly service made for an enjoyable evening, and the prices, while just a tad high, weren't all that bad considering how much food we had. It doesn't quite seem like a hidden gem (it was packed by early evening), but India Restaurant is certainly a place that we can recommend. Plus, it is located in one of the nicest sections of Providence and only a short ride from College Hill, so it can easily be included as part of a fun trip to this always-interesting city.
For those who want the address for India Restaurant, here it is: India Restaurant, 1060 Hope Street, Providence, RI, 02906. The phone number is (401) 421-2600.
We returned to India Restaurant in Providence over the past weekend, enjoying another excellent meal there. We started with a vegetarian platter that featured vegetable samosas, papri chat (a kind of Indian nacho dish), and kale cucumber salad, with the samosas being the highlight here. For our meals, the chicken tikka masala had a deliciously rich tomato cream sauce that was better than most I've tried, while the chicken biryani was excellent, with a mix of raisins, pineapple, almonds, cashews, and various herbs and spices helping to make it a wonderfully complex-tasting dish.
Posted on 2/15/11
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