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Eat & Drink

The top 5 restaurants in Little India

Posted by Guest Contributor / March 5, 2014

Little India TorontoToronto's Little India neighbourhood, or the Gerrard Indian Bazaar as its officially known, might be getting less Indian by the day (we're not using the G word) but a walk along Gerrard between Greenwood and Coxwell is still filled with tantalizing smells of rich goat curries, stewed chick peas and piping hot samosas. For those in search of somewhere to eat, it can be a hit or miss proposition.

With apologies to Guatama, Moti Mahal, Siddhartha Pure Vegetarian and The Famous, here are five restaurants that stand out from the crowd.

Udupi Palace (1460 Gerrard St. East)
Vegetarians and vegans flock to this spacious subterranean restaurant for its meat-free offerings, like the mysore sada dosa (a thin pancake filled with spiced onions and potatoes, topped with a spicy chutney) and kadai bhindi (curried okra). With prices topping out at $9.95, you'll even be able to afford dessert: choices range from gulab jaman ice cream to rasmalai, a creamy dessert made from sugar, cream and paneer.

Lahore Chaat & Paan House (1344 Gerrard St. East)
This is not a destination that prides itself on looks; however, it does pride itself on the authenticity of its paan, bun kebabs and pistachio kulfi. Paan, a mixture of nuts, spices and sometimes tobacco wrapped in leaf and shaped into a triangle, is a popular digestive aid after a heavy dinner; Lahore Chaat & Paan House makes one of the best. Their kebabs are spicy and satisfying, and cheap to boot, and are a satisfying snack when washed down with a perfectly crafted Kashmiri chai tea.

New Haandi 2000 (1401 Gerrard Street E)
The competition for best buffet spot is fierce in Little India, with offerings touted on sidewalk menus every three steps. New Haandi 2000, formerly Haandi, stands out among its competitors for its diverse buffet menu: mutton curry, pani puri and six flavours of ice cream are among the highlights, while their a la carte menu offers interesting dishes like keema naan (a stuffed naan bread with minced meat) and chicken mughlai (chicken cooked in a dry fruit gravy).

Bombay Chowpatty (1386 Gerrard Street E)
Nevermind the name, this snack spot is quite popular, and has become well known for their Indian street food items, like samosas, pakoras and vada pav (a fried potato sandwich). Masala fries and traditional creamy shakes, like mango lassis and the 'Royal Falooda', round out the menu.

Lahore Tikka House (1365 Gerrard Street E)
The crown jewel of Gerrard, this Halal Pakistani restaurant, named after the capital of the Punjab province, draws customers from all over the GTA. Its flamboyant decor and loud music sets the tone of a crowded bazaar, with servers bustling around each other delivering sizzling skewers of lamb and chicken kababs, butter naan and sweet, icy almond and pistachio kulfi.

What did I miss? Add your favourite Little India spots to the comments below.

Writing by Amelia Ingram. Photo by Ian Muttoo in the blogTO Flickr pool.

Discussion

22 Comments

Anneliese / March 5, 2014 at 10:13 am
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Thanks so much for the recommendations. I've only ever tried Lahore Tikka House so I'll make sure to check out the others now too!
justin / March 5, 2014 at 10:14 am
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Guatama and Siddhartha stand out for me as the level of service is above some of the others,
I have seen the odd limo dropping off 4 and 5 star hotel guests here, including Ontario premier, and federal cabinet leaders

I also enjoy Famous (undergoing restoration after a fire or water damage)
Replying to Justin / March 5, 2014 at 10:20 am
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I was at Gautama this weekend, and the service was not up to snuff. It was so bad that I had to speak to the manager about it.Perhaps they took my patronage for granted considering I am from the sub-continent.

I am being generous when I say that the food is middling.

The only thing that Gautama has going for it is its mildly respectable appearance considering what other places on that strip look like.

There is much better Indian food in the city. Pukka on St. Clair W. comes to mind.

+ 1 for Udupi Palace
Andrew replying to a comment from justin / March 5, 2014 at 11:37 am
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@justin: agreed. I've never had an issue with the service at Guatama. I'm not denying that the other commentator had a bad experience, just saying that I've always had great service and I go rather regularly.

The food's not perfect, but it's great for the strip, and it's certainly less greasy than Lahore Tikka House.
Peter / March 5, 2014 at 11:55 am
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I finally tried New Haandi and it's now my favourite. The tandoori is properly smokey, the pakoras fluffy and light and the butter chicken perfect - not too sweet like at Gautama.
Christina / March 5, 2014 at 12:20 pm
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If anyone's looking for REAL Chettinad food, skip Gerrard Street altogether and head to Keraikudi at Kennedy & Lawrence...
Sara / March 5, 2014 at 12:24 pm
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I find Siddhartha's curries to be too sweet, with not enough kick. The Regency is a great spot - good service, a great buffet selection, and fresh naan made upon your arrival and delivered to your table.
Welshgrrl / March 5, 2014 at 12:24 pm
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The Regency's buffet is pretty basic, but its goooood ... better than New Handi IMO.
mike brown / March 5, 2014 at 05:27 pm
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ewwwww i wouldn't eat anything that looks like dog shitt!
Rico / March 5, 2014 at 07:14 pm
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New Haandi. Good stuff. Two Tandoors, excellent Garlic Naan.
Maddy replying to a comment from mike brown / March 5, 2014 at 07:38 pm
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Don't want you eating any any of these places anyway! Have fun eating hot hamburger sandwiches and grilled cheeses!
Anne replying to a comment from Anne / March 5, 2014 at 11:16 pm
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Forgot to mention - my son-in-law who's Indian and lived for 10 years in Hyderabad says that Chandni Chowk has the best, most authentic Hyderabadi biryani. It isn't a fancy restaurant (more like a diner). He says that Upudi has the best dosas idlies/vadas/south Indian thalis in the city. (Dosa Dabar on Albion Road in Etobicoke also has very good dosas and idlies although their biryani is so-so.)
Tammy terrific / March 6, 2014 at 10:58 am
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I love new Haandi.
The service is a delight and the food is always fresh. It is my favourite.
I have tried so many of them. I love Lahore Tikka but wish they'd use real plates. I cannot stand dining on disposable. I feel the same about the excellent food at Moti Mahal. I love the food but cannot stand the bleached paper and styrofoam.
Frandz / March 6, 2014 at 01:37 pm
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Another miss. As with the last time I saw Indian restaurants reviewed and as I expected, another fail. From an Indian point of view, Lahore Tikka House definitely does not make the list (kebabs are done well, everything else on the menu is garbage). Chandni Chowk is easily a step above Lahore Tikka House as most of the menu is good and their kebabs are comparable (imo better). Bombay Chowpatty is one that also should definitely not be on this list. I was really excited about this place when it opened as the food concept was different. Execution was a failure and service is horrible.
I haven't been everywhere in Little India but the places I always go to are Motimahal (North Indian) and Udipi Palace (South Indian).
Nathan / March 8, 2014 at 09:00 pm
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Just moved into this neighbourhood last September and have been enjoying eating my way through all the delicious food. The most recent place I tried was the Regency Restaurant (which isn't very easy on the eyes from the outside but the inside is entirely different). Great buffet, excellent service and a decent price!
Prince Aga Ghan / March 10, 2014 at 10:39 pm
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Lahore is owned by one of those cult followers who worship the aga khan...wtf are they called...smilers...similes...?? Anyways lahores owner is from africa...which if ya look at a fukkin map is NOWHERE close to pakistan or lahore. Also MoST of the servers at lahore are students. Students from abroad. Students who are NOT canadian citizens. Students getting paid cash-in-hand. Students working ragged for maybe $7-$8 an hour to feed ignorant twits who think lahore tikka house is a jewel. Next time ya visit la hore tikka, pat yourself on the back for paying twice the price for an african meal you just ate out of a paper plate served to you by a sweatshop labourer.
gl replying to a comment from Prince Aga Ghan / March 10, 2014 at 11:44 pm
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listen you half brained bigot. Every group that believes in something other than you is not a cult.
Be a decent person and use Google to find out the proper name. The Ismaili's follow the Aga Khan which is a leader in the same way the Dalai lama is a leader to Tibetans and Buddhists.

Second, immigration from the SE Asia to Africa and the East Indies (The Carribbean) was a huge mass movement in the early 19th century due to the British rule and the sugar industry.

Finally, Students work everywhere. From the sushi places in the Annex to the hip joints in Liberty village.


You're an ass
In a drunken stupor / March 11, 2014 at 08:38 pm
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Ambiance = plastic folding chairs and tabled! pepper plates.
Value = 4 bites sized pieces of chicken on a plate $9. Minuscule side dishes.
Service = fast and friendly
Food = good and spicy!

Overall = expensive and overrated
In a drunken stupor / March 11, 2014 at 08:38 pm
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Oops...my reviews was for Lahore tikka house
Tam / April 24, 2014 at 09:49 pm
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Udupi Palace is fantastic but their menu is terribly short. There should be more veggie options. Ah, more options of any sort.

I love the food at Lahore Tikka House but cannot stand eating on disposable plates. Moti Mahal too. There is no reason to eat on disposable dishes when you're in a sit down restaurant.
Regular on the strip / August 9, 2014 at 07:12 pm
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Lahore Tikka House is great if you like grease, disposable plates and cutlery, treacherous floors (see first point above) and food that all tastes the same.
justin / August 10, 2014 at 07:24 pm
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Anne / MARCH 5, 2014 AT 11:01 PM, you should be careful as your comments are in error , the restaurant that had the health violations, was in the same building as Siddartha was prior to its current location.

I really doubt Siddartha has every had any major health violations.

I strongly suggest you delete those messages as they may be considered slanderous, as you blaming a restaurant for the sins of the previous occupant. This is the same as assuming you are guilty of the sins, of any previous tenants or owners of where you live

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