Humbly tucked away amongst the side street stores of the Down to Earth shopping strip on South King Street, Café Maharani’s presence may be small but its menu, portions and heritage are not.
Serving quite possibly the best Indian Cuisine on the Island, you can expect an overflow of loyal regulars, so the best thing to do is to go early and secure yourself a table (there aren’t many).
Having grown up in Durban, South Africa (otherwise known as ‘Kolkata by the sea’, parodying the extensive Indian population), I have tasted my fair share of Naan bread and acquired quite a taste and tolerance for spicy curry, but it was not until last week at Café Maharani that I truly came to realize the meaning of Indian mania.
Spinach, feta and garlic stuffed Naan bread roasted until slightly crispy and served with two sauces so good they are worth the trip alone – Raita minty yogurt sauce reminiscent of Greek Tzatziki and sweet tamarind style spicy chutney – this Naan bread very closely resembles the diameter and depth of a deep dish Chicago pizza. Ah yes, even Indian gets Americanized!
Make sure you are sharing this so called appetizer/side or you will happily work your way through it and have no space left for curry, which would be a terrible shame.
The menu is very extensive and whether it is chicken, lamp, vegetarian or seafood that you wish to enjoy, you will have a long list of options with equally as many rice style choices to accompany your main dish.
The shrimp curry and eggplant curry options are popular choices and are indeed very tasty. They have a great sauce consistency and the perfect spice bite to accompany the bland, starchy Naan bread. The Boti Lamb Kebab, is somewhat fatty and oily and was my least favorite entree, but its rich meaty flavor and grilled pepper stirfry medley provides a good contrast to the thicker, creamier curries.
As far as pricing goes it is very standard – roughly $13 an entrée – and the portion sizes almost guarantee that you will be leaving plenty satisfied, and with leftovers.
Spicy Tip: Café Maharani does not serve alcohol (appropriate to Indian tradition), but welcomes guests to bring their on booze. There is no corkage fee.
Café Maharani’s exact location is 2509 South King Street, and if you go early there is ample parking in the Down to Earth lot above or in the uncovered gravel parking area to the left.
Go in and enjoy the bright Bombay-like atmosphere and Bollywood videos; drink up and sample a variety of delicious, authentic Indian dishes. Small order takeouts are not available when the restaurant is busy (and it usually is).
Before you go you can learn about the history of Naan bread by visiting this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naan
And after your dinner, when your Naan bread addiction sets in, you can try making it at home with this great recipe: http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/naan/Detail.aspx