Cuisine out of the box

Taj Mahal Restaurant offers authentic, tasty Indian cuisine at an extremely affordable price.

The extensive menu presents a variety of meal options for vegetarians and meat lovers alike.

The menu offers unique beverages, appetizers, entrees and desserts only available in Indian restaurants. If dining with a group, order a few dishes and share.

Flavorful mango juice provides a refreshing beverage option.

Taj Mahal’s take on Mulligatawny Muglai Soup costs a reasonable $1.50. The menu describes the soup as fresh mix of vegetables and lentils, but the style varies greatly from the typical American version of lentil soup.

Instead of a soupy mixture of whole beans and vegetables, the ingredients are blended together to create a thick orange broth with excellent flavor and consistency.

Fresh-baked Indian breads double as utensils, but forks are also provided.

All of the generously portioned entrees cost less than $10 and the menu is very extensive. Take time to review all the options. Entrees include a variety of beef, lamb, seafood and chicken meals, as well as a wealth of vegetarian dishes.

If possible, bring someone who knows something about Indian food. Communicating with the foreign staff presents difficulties, but it adds to the authenticity of the experience.

Good luck attempting to get the waiter to translate the menu.

The presentation of food differs greatly from American culture. The “chef recommended” entrée, Taj Mahal Vegetarian Bhojan, includes vegetable Samosa, three vegetables, Raita, Poori bread, Basmati Rice, and Pappadum.

The English translation? Rice lies in the center of the plate next to fresh pita-like bread. Five separate metal bowls hold the other ingredients. One bowl includes flavored garbanzo beans.

Another contains a sweet coconut mixture and the three remaining bowls hold more mysterious-looking flavorful mixtures. The components can be mixed together with rice and pita or eaten separately.

The customer must have a sincere desire to experiment in order to truly enjoy this restaurant. Even after eating a dish, one may be unsure of its contents, but cannot deny its delicious taste.

Most of the Indian dishes do not require extensive chewing. Many dishes have a soft texture, which allows the eater to focus attention to the unique flavors.

The nutritious food and generous portions leave the customer feeling warm and satisfied for a low price.

Customers can order from the menu seven days a week, but a buffet is also available on weekdays. The lunch buffet costs $7.95, and the dinner option costs $9.95.

The Taj Mahal Restaurant, located at 1903 Chestnut Street, serves a lunch buffet Monday through Friday from 11:30 to 2:30 p.m. A dinner buffet is available from 5-9 p.m. for $9.95 on weekdays only.

Saturday hours: 1-10 p.m. Sunday hours: 5-10 p.m.

Diners who wish to experience a unique and foreign meal on a small budget, should definitely check out this restaurant.

Kiana Harris can be reached at

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