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Fearless Critic restaurant review
New Haven
Casual restaurant

Mon–Thu 11:30am–3:00pm
Mon–Thu 5:00pm–10:30pm
Fri–Sat noon–3:00pm
Fri–Sat 5:00pm–11:00pm
Sun 11:30am–3:00pm
Sun 5:00pm–10:00pm

Features Delivery, veg-friendly
Bar Beer, wine
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted

Broadway District
140 Howe St.
New Haven, CT
(203) 787-9493
Royal India
This cozy, popular Indian buffet is a meaty—if inferior—alternative to the Thali Too

It’s easy to miss Royal India; the only indication for this old house is a small blue-and-white sign that makes it look rather like a 1970’s office-supply store. Inside, it’s worn around the edges, with chipped paneling and fake flowers, but it still feels cozy and welcoming. The food is consistently good enough, and the prices make it the best-value Indian in the area, especially the all-you-can-eat buffet, which, despite the confusing sign out front, is now available only Fridays through Sundays (although the restaurant is still open seven days a week).

The hearty, classic Indian fare puts its Howe Street competitors to shame (for meat-eaters, that is—right over on Broadway is Thali Too, now the best Indian around). Stick with the basics like saag paneer, which you just want to eat, eat, and eat, and lamb vindaloo, with deep heat and a rich flavor that’s accented by the fresh bite of cilantro. There’s an underlying sweetness to the vindaloo, whose potatoes sit at that magical meeting place of soft and firm. To top it off, an exquisite tamarind sauce is irresistibly tangy. We have also been convinced by the eggplant with peas, creamy and mild, with a sweet burst of pea flavor, and an extremely delicate dal. When the naan is fresh, it’s transcendent; otherwise, it’s serviceable, erring on the side of spongy.

Chicken tikka masala is not too rich, but it’s often undersalted, and the chicken can be dry; this dish is better elsewhere. So are sautéed mushrooms, which are bland at Royal India.

The place also does a great take-out business, and it’s one of the best choices in town for catering, which includes delivery. We salute Royal India for its devotion to a simple recipe for success: a good attitude; a warm and attractive space; and food that is satisfying, reliable, and easy on the wallet.

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