I love Indian food - it's flavorful, spicy, vegetarian friendly and so varied that there's always a completely novel item on the menu for me to try. Lucky for me, and visitors to the city, Columbus has a large selection of Indian restaurants to choose from. Here are my favorite:
Banana Leaf Banana Leaf, in a strip mall off Bethel Road, is another South Indian, vegetarian restaurant. I'm not usually a buffet fan - I usually crowd my plate too much and can never identify what I'm eating. Banana Leaf's buffet is definitely one I love. A good variety of appetizers like pakora (battered, fried vegetables) and samosas (pockets of dough filled with spiced potatoes and peas.) The breads, made of wheat, rice or chick pea flour are all outstanding, and the rice dishes are incredible, too. The buffet includes a large variety of freshly made lassis (yogurt milkshakes.) The mango are rosewater are great. It's dining room is comfortable, and the service is great.
Udipi Cafe In an easily overlooked strip-mall off Route 161, Udipi serves up the cuisine of southern Indian, and is completely vegetarian and vegan-friendly. I visited briefly while on the Alt Eats Tour with Columbus Food Adventures. We sampled deep fried idli (rice flour cakes) with spicy dipping sauce - these were addictive - and dosas with mildly spiced potato filling and sambal. Wine and Indian beers, like Taj Majal, are served. The mango lassi tended toward the over-sweet. On weekdays, Udipi serves a very affordable and amply-stocked lunch buffet.
There are plenty more great Indian restaurants in Columbus - stay tuned for tomorrow's post for more!