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Fearless Critic restaurant review
New Haven
Casual restaurant

Mon–Thu 5:00pm–10:00pm
Fri noon–2:00pm
Fri 5:00pm–10:00pm
Sat noon–10:00pm

Features Date-friendly, kid-friendly, veg-friendly
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted

West Haven
215 Boston Post Rd.
West Haven, CT
(203) 931-0108
Some of the city’s best Indian—and vegetarian—at these prices? We must be dreaming

When we think of Swagat, it calls to mind a line from A Midsummer Night’s Dream: “Though she be but little, she is fierce.” Not only does this fierce little contender serve some of the best-value Indian food in the area—underselling the downtown competition by a couple bucks—it’s also some of the very best.

Although standard northern Indian dishes like samosas and lamb curry are unremarkable here, the real deal is the authentic south Indian cuisine that you will find almost nowhere else in the area. The centerpiece is the dosa—a large, thinly rolled crêpe made from rice batter. There are seven variations on the dosa; the wonderful uttapam is a bit thicker, more like a pancake with onions and cilantro. A delicious masala dosa comes stuffed with potatoes. All arrive with a delectable assortment of condiments, from a sweet coconut chutney to an interesting pink tomato sauce redolent of ginger, to a soupy lentil sambar with turmeric and other spices. And a full lunch or dinner of these Southern specialties will often ring in under $10.

Other sensational, smaller dishes include vada—cakey, deep-fried patties made from lentils. They are surprisingly light, not at all greasy, and served with a spicy chutney juxtposed with cooling dal. For divine inspiration, try long slices of okra—which manage to circumvent that slimy okra thing—cooked with peppers and tomatoes in a spicy chili oil. Hey, we love us some lamb, but we don’t even go for it here. That’s the other great thing about Swagat: more than half of the dishes on the dinner menu, including every single South Indian dish, are strictly vegetarian.

Though tiny and a somewhat spare, the room was recently painted pepper-red and hung with black and white photographs, which, while not quite a total atmospheric turnaround, is certainly a slightly romantic improvement. Mondays through Thursdays they are closed to focus on their cart over by the Yale medical area in New Haven.

Despite its cult following, Swagat is never packed; perhaps this owes to its weird location on the outskirts of West Haven. But we highly recommend making the trip out there…else the Fearless Critic a liar call.

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