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Archive for the ‘Indian’ Category

Spicy Dinner


We ate dinner at Bawarchi Indian Cuisine tonight.  We were the first ones in the restaurant for dinner, but several other tables filled up as we were eating.  I ordered the same thing I always get, the butter chicken and Loren tried something different the lamb bhuna.

The sauce on my chicken is the best sauce to dip the garlic naan in.  I think I had to swat Loren’s hand away a few times.  Loren doesn’t normally like lamb, but the flavors in his dish changed his mind.  He also finally remembered to get the heat level on his just slightly over mild.  Medium is a bit too spicy for him here.   Total bill with a drink was $36.

Bawarchi Indian Cuisine
34832 US Hwy 19
Palm Harbor, FL
727-789-9760

Bawarchi Indian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Food5/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.8/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Indian, Palm Harbor
  • The last time we ate at Bawarchi Indian Cuisine in Palm Harbor, the service was lacking.  Tonight, however, they had an additional person in the dining room which was so much better.  We decided to skip the appetizers and went right for the spicy goodness.

    Loren tried the chicken piaza.

    He still hasn’t learned that medium spicy here is a bit too spicy for him.  He said it was very flavorful and even had some leftovers.  I ordered the butter chicken and some garlic naan.

    There were chunks of garlic on the naan.  Good stuff.  The butter chicken was some of the best I’ve had in the area.  The chicken was very tender and the sauce was amazing.  There were no leftovers for me since I managed to scoop up every last yummy drop.   Total bill with a drink was $35.

    Bawarchi Indian Cuisine
    34832 US Hwy 19
    Palm Harbor, FL
    727-789-9760

    Bawarchi Indian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    3.4/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Indian, Palm Harbor
  • The thing that has impressed us the most about Indian cuisine is the amazing depth of flavors in the dishes.  Unfortunately, our trip to the Bollywood Cafe in Westchase didn’t live up to our expectations.

    They had a large menu plus a smaller portion lunch menu which we ordered from.  Loren got the chicken 65 burger.

    He said the bun was stale and though the chicken was spicy, it lacked any deep down flavors.  I ordered the butter chicken which came with rice or naan, but I went ahead and ordered both.

    The first thing I tasted was the rice and to me, it tasted like Minute Rice with butter on it.  Not a good start.  Then I tried to break off a piece of naan to find it hard as a rock and completely inedible.   The chicken did not have a good texture and the gravy just lacked flavor.  It was a complete disappointment.  The waitress did bring me another order of softer naan, but given it’s temperature, I would have to guess it was placed in a microwave to soften it up. 

    The dining area wasn’t very big and they had the music up way too loud for a Sunday afternoon.  When the waitress asked how we enjoyed our experience, we told her we won’t be back.  If you want authentic Indian food, there are much better places in town to go.   Good thing we got the lunch portions.  Total bill was $14.

    Bollywood Cafe
    9648 W Linebaugh Ave
    Tampa, FL
    (813) 926-4000

    Bollywood Cafe on Urbanspoon

    Food2/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere2/5
    Value3/5
    2.5/5

    Our experience with Indian cuisine is less than a year old and given my aversion to very spicy food, I’m probably not the best judge of authenticity, but I do know what I like. We’ve been to a few places in the area, most recently, Laziz Indian Cuisine tonight and before that, the new place in Oldsmar, 5th Element Indian Cuisine.

    I order pretty much the same thing no matter which restaurant we go to.  I like the creamy, tomato based sauces.  Tonight at Laziz, I ordered the butter chicken.

    The dish here has a more earthy taste.  I’m not sure how to explain it.  The cilantro (at least I think it’s cilantro) permeates the dish more.  Unfortunately, I find it detracts from the dish more than enhances it.  I prefer the sauce at 5th Element.   The chicken, however, was cooked better here.  At 5th Element the pieces are thinly sliced and I’ve found more inedible pieces of chicken in their dish.

    I like the garlic naan bread at Laziz, even though occasionally, some of the pieces are a little burnt.  I found the naan bread at 5th Element to be a little more doughy and softer.  It has good flavor, but I think the texture should be a little firmer.

    Loren ordered the chicken saagwala at Laziz tonight.  It had chicken and spinach with some spices.

    He really liked it.  He said you could definitely taste the spinach and even though he ordered it medium spicy, he said it wasn’t too spicy to eat.  I don’t have anything to compare it to since this is a new dish for him. 

    Portion size is about the same.  As for pricing, Laziz is more expensive.  Tonight’s dinner was $34.  Our last meal at 5th Element was $31, plus we had an appetizer.  Where 5th Element really shines, though, is in the service.  The owners are very friendly and seem happy to see you.  Granted, it’s a brand new restaurant, so they’re trying to impress, but I prefer their smiles to the almost standoffish service at Laziz.  5th Element stikes me more as a family-type restaurant. 

    So, which would I choose?  I’m leaning more toward 5th Element, mostly because I feel more comfortable there.  The flavors are similar at both restaurants, but I find I enjoy the experience at 5th Element more.

    Laziz Indian Cuisine
    2475 N McMullen Booth Rd
    Clearwater, FL
    727-797-7541

    Laziz Authentic Indian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere2/5
    Value2/5
    3.1/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Clearwater, Indian
  • Every time we go out for Indian food, we’re both amazed at how many flavors can be packed into what look like rather simple dishes.  The sauces are so rich and have such a warmth as you’re eating it that we both can’t seem to find the right words to describe it.  The same held true for our trip back to 5th Element Indian Cuisine in Oldsmar tonight. 

    We were there for their opening a couple of weeks ago and decided to try it again tonight to order off the menu.  I was happy to see at least half of the restaurant full with customers.  New restaurants come and go so quickly nowadays. 

    Loren munched while we looked at the menu.  He loves the green sauce.

    We wanted to try the lamb samosa for an appetizer, but they didn’t have any, so we ended up trying the veg samosa instead.

    It had some spice to it.  I used the sweet sauce with it, but it still made my tongue tingle.  For a potato and peas deep fried pastry, it packed a lot of punch. 

    Loren ordered the chicken tikka masala with medium heat.

    The heat level on this dish was very deceptive.  I tasted it and it didn’t taste overly spicy to me, but Loren said he really didn’t feel it until later in the evening.  The chicken was very tender and the sauce creamy and flavorful.  He really enjoyed it and even had a little left for lunch tomorrow.

    I ordered the chicken makhani, mild, and some garlic naan.

    The chicken was julienned, so the pieces were thin, but really tender.  The sauce was amazing.  Again, I just can’t find the words to describe it.  It’s smooth and silky with an overall warmth and a spice combination that just works.  The naan bread was good, but I couldn’t really taste a lot of the garlic.  Mind you, by this point, my tongue was probably numb anyway.  I had some leftovers as well.  For $31, we left full and our taste buds were really happy.

    5th Element Taste of India
    3780 Tampa Road
    Oldsmar, FL
    (813) 475-5955

    5th Element Taste of India on Urbanspoon

    Food5/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere4/5
    Value4/5
    4.4/5
  • 1 Comment
  • Filed under: Indian, Oldsmar