Complaints run high among Seattleites when it comes to Indian food. "Too authentic," "not authentic enough," "overspiced," "underspiced," and traits as simple as the quality of basmati rice seem to prompt much debate. Maybe this is because aside from the proliferation of independent eateries in the University District, there is no specific Southern Asian destination in Seattle, like Vancouver's Little India or Jackson Heights in Queens, N.Y., where your senses are pleasantly assaulted with scintillating smells, music and cultural color that fully immerse you in the dining experience.
When you have to put so much effort into the hunt for incomparable naan, you are bound to be a little dissatisfied with the end result. To help you out a bit, here are five tasty Indian lunch buffets, in no particular order, that all clock in under $10 on weekdays and offer a bevy of vegetarian and carnivorous entrees that will guarantee a sweet, turmeric high.
Spice Route Indian Cuisine (2241 148th Ave. N.E., Bellevue). To find the best Indian eats your have to go east, if only ever so slightly, to Bellevue for Spice Route, a superior destination location that fuses the cuisine of Northern and Southern Indian. The daily buffet boasts 10 vegetarian entrees, 5 dishes that are delectably meaty, 4 salads, and 2 desserts for $9.95
India Bistro (2301 Northwest Market Street), (6417 Roosevelt Way N.E.). Both the Ballard and Roosevelt locations of this local fave boast lunch buffets, though it will cost around a dollar more to dine in Ballard. Fans of the Roosevelt location note the to-go buffet option is so generous you can get about three meals out of it for $7.95
Laadla Cuisine of India(234 Fairview Ave. N.)
With a location slightly off the radar across the street from the Seattle Times building, Laadla is a hidden gem. While the number of buffet offerings are smaller in comparison to other establishments, the dishes offered are perfectly spiced and make a lasting impression. I've personally patronized this joint for years and have never had a less-than-stellar dining experience. Quality goodness at $8.95.
Bombay Grill (4737 Roosevelt Way) For some, the biggest beef with Indian buffets is inconsistency, and Bombay Grill is nothing if not consistently good. They've got their buffet down to a science, with nine daily entrees, the majority of which are vegetarian. BG is also a good spot when you have to accommodate co-workers, some of whom may not have as an adventurous palate, offering stir-fried veggies and traditional salads for $7.95
Masala of India (539 N.E. Northgate Way)
Don't let the host of Internet complaints regarding the service at this establishment put you off: Stick with water and serve yourself at this generous and affordable buffet. A nice alternative when you want quick, sit-down satisfaction in Northgate. They buffet to-go by the pound ($5.99), and in-house dining will cost you $8.99.