Frommer's Montreal and Quebec City guide 2004*

They've modified the decor, eliminated the gift shop at the front, removed some of the Indian bas- reliefs, and painted and carpeted. But this remains one of the tastiest bargains downtown. The price of the lunch buffet hasn't changed in 18 years, and the five-course dinner costs less than US$17. The kitchen specializes in the mughlai cuisine of the northern Indian subcontinent. Seasonings tend more toward the tangy than the incendiary, but say you want your food spicy and you'll get it. (And watch out for the innocent-looking green coriander sauce.). Whatever the level of heat, dishes are perfumed with selections of turmeric, saffron, ginger, cumin, mango powder, and garam masala (a spice combination that usually includes cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon). For a real treat, order the marinated lamb chops roasted in the tandoor; they arrive at the table sizzling and nested on braised vegetables. Vegetarians have a choice of eight dishes; the chickpea-based channa masala is among the most complex. Main courses are huge, arriving in a boggling array of bowls, saucers, cups, and dishes, all accompanied by naan (the pillowy flat bread), and basmati rice. Evenings are quiet, and lunchtimes are busy but not hectic.