Royal Indian Restaurant
1250 Emmet Street
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Indian | $
My wife and I meet a large group of friends from the Charlottesville area several times a year at Royal Indian for dinner. We have never been disappointed. This was our first dinner at their new location on Rt. 29 directly across from The Federal Executive Institute. The new space is larger and quieter than the last with plenty of parking and access from both directions on Rt. 29.
I started with a smooth hot chai tea.
Roasted Cauliflower appetizer.
This Paneer Pakoras is a cottage cheese fritter dipped in gram flour batter. I have never had this appetizer and was intrigued with deep fried cottage cheese. Picturing the cottage cheese in our refrigerator I’m guessing my subconscious was saying it couldn’t be done, so I ordered it. The fritters have a consistency similar to tofu and are served with tamarind sauce to give it more taste. I can’t say I was disappointed, it’s just that I am used to Royal Indian dishes bursting with flavor, which makes it just an ok dish. But I am glad I tried it.
I love Naan bread and Royal Indian makes it fresh every day. We ordered several bread baskets which come with Naan, Garlic Naan, and a third selection of your choice. I didn’t hear what the third choice was because my brain locked up when I heard Garlic Naan. This is my favorite and the best I have had.
My main course was steaming hot Chicken Tikka served in a super-hot cast iron oval fajita griddle. This allows vegetables to keep cooking if you like them well done.
The Chicken Tikka with Masala sauce is amazing. The chicken had a hint of citrus from marinating and the Masala had the savory flavors of cumin and turmeric. Mine was ordered on the mild side but still a little hot. If you like it hot they can accommodate you. Some at our table prefer spicy food at a level that would cause normal people temporary blindness.
The finished product, Chicken Tikka over rice with Masala sauce.
My wife ordered the Lamb Korma which was wonderful. I have had the Beef Korma several times and I think it is my favorite.
We dined at the start of Charlottesville’s Restaurant Week and a member of our party got a great 3 course meal for $26. She ordered this vegetarian plate with Smashed Cauliflower, Green Peas, Potatoes, and Onions with Spices, Basmati Rice, and Spinach Bread.
We have tried other Indian restaurants but none compare to Royal Indian. The service is great and the staff always friendly. With the restaurant over half full the noise level was low at 70 decibels. The level of freshness and quality of the food for the price make it one of the best dinning values in Charlottesville. If you anywhere near Charlottesville you should dine at least once at Royal Indian to learn the standard with which to judge Indian restaurants.