I often complain there is not much Indian food in my neighborhood, but there are lots of great Indian places. Some are vegetarian only, some aren’t, some are Americanized, some are less so, but they’re all pretty great.
There’s almost a Vegetarian Indian District in the OBT/Florida Mall area, topped off with an Indian grocery in the same area. I have yet to try them all, but I’ve heard it’s certainly worth checking out. Two bonus reviews for you too, one by I-Drive and Kirkman and the other in East Orlando near UCF.
1. Woodlands Indian Cuisine
I often go for a sampler, about $16, which features small bowls of different sauces, soups and even a dessert, along with a bit of rice, some flat bread and a few appetizers – including a veggie and potato Somosa, yum! The other popular choice for us are called Dosas, which are giant pancakes/crepes with some filling, normally potato, rolled inside. They always bring a pitcher of water to the table, and be ready for some spicy food. You can request different levels of heat for some dishes.
I first heard about Woodlands from some vegetarian/vegan friends of mine. I have been seeking out veggie places lately, because it lets me know I have a city that is tolerant of different lifestyles, and it proves I don’t have to move somewhere else to get access to other cultures. This restaurant is not decorated very lavishly, unless you count the lemon and chili peppers hanging by the front door. Right off of north OBT, easy to get to, and always good service, and a staff who is used to helping us Americans figure out what we should order.
2. Udipi Café
Head here for the lunch buffet. Completely worth your time. They even have a dish on the buffet that resembles “Sloppy Joe”, but it’s made with some meat substitute, and still served on a plain hamburger bun. Every buffet comes with a giant Dosa pancake/crepe filled with potato and vegetable – delicious. The food is all vegetarian. (hint: Udipi is a region of India that is known for vegetarian food) Would definitely come here again, despite the fact that it’s almost up in Longwood, which is not close to my home. Hopefully I’ll have a good excuse to go again soon!
3. Khasiyat Indian Restaurant
The interior (and exterior) is not all that interesting, but they do have a a few things going for them. The service was pretty delightful. We saw a large family who must have been visiting the theme parks, and made the trip all the way out to this neighborhood for a taste of home. I’m also going to assume they might have been vegetarian, which can be a challenge at the local theme parks, unless you like salad. After having been to a few other vegetarian places in town, Khasiyat held few surprises, but they did sport a television with music videos and other Bollywood gems.