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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Portland
Food
Feel
Price
7.2
7.0
$25
Indian
Casual restaurant

Hours
Daily 11:30am–2:30pm
Daily 5:00pm–10:00pm

Features Veg-friendly
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted

www.swagat.com

Northwest Portland
2074 NW Lovejoy St.
Portland, OR
(503) 227-4300

Beaverton
4325 SW 109th Ave.
Beaverton, OR
(503) 626-3000

Hillsboro
1340 NE Orenco Station Pkwy.
Hillsboro, OR
(503) 844-3838
Swagat
A reasonably priced feast for all the -vores that may not bore (but little more)

This Northwest mini-chain exceeds some expectations of Indian-restaurant atmosphere and vibe, and just yaws around others. The glossy hardwood floors and exposed brick give it a bit of character, and the sans-serif menu font is avant-garde (not literally). But the office-style ceilings and big parking lot in front make the place feel suburban and a bit corporate. Try to avoid getting stuck in the expansive room in back; it’s like a dungeon. Service is fine, but it seems as if the higher-ups have a certain self-importance and a noticeable favoritism towards certain customers. But if you’re looking to get full on the cheap, this place won’t disappoint.

Ultimately, this is more vegetarian-friendly comfort food than a rip-roaring South Indian flavor trip. Here you’ll find competent renditions of aloo gobi, with very tender cauliflower and some alluring spice; palak paneer with sparse cubes of browned paneer that create an appealing textural counterpoint; and wimpy, underflavored dal that only impresses with its more-off-putting-than-usual ochre color. Upma comes off like sweetened Cream of Wheat. Not that there’s anything wrong with Cream of Wheat. South Indian sambar (lentil soup-like) is excellent; it’s served like a soup on the buffet, without a starch to dip in it, but its flavor is clear and present, with judicious but not overbearing coriander and bracing heat.

If ordering from the menu, try a “Swagat South Indian combo” with a masala dosa, idli, urad vada, and sambar. It’s delicious, and it’s deliciously priced. A lot of the stews are relatively one-dimensional, but it’s a good, satisfying dimension; there’s a reason people crave this stuff.

Meats are a mixed bag here. Chicken is routinely rubbery and dry, even in a buttery makhani or with a nice char from the tandoor oven. Naan is also doughy and thin, and raita is more like chunky yogurt soup than a condiment.

So, while some dishes are better than others—with little rhyme or reason—it’s hard to get more satisfaction for your dollar than the $8.95 lunch buffet here. Especially if you’re a vegetarian. Isn’t that a nice change?

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