For the last few months, it was generally well-known that Maharani was going to close. In its place, a brew pub type of offer was to sprout forth, but in the end, this never materialized. With this offer off the table, Maharani went back to business as usual and we realized this might have been a sign to finally check out their food. For some reason, we had never gone in for a bite despite walking past it for the last 10 years or so. As much as we love going to Lahore Karahi for Pakistani/Indian food, it was about time to give Maharani a try.
We were quite curious as to how it stayed in business. The quick answer to that is tours from India, which can be a bit of a problem. You see, during our first visit we came in while large tour group was eating and they have a lot of trouble keeping up with regular customers’ orders which meant that we had to wait a great deal for our food. On our second visit a few days later, we placed our order before a huge busload of tourists came in so our food arrived promptly and the service was extremely attentive and great. Moral of the story, you need to plan your visits carefully to avoid getting there at the same time as one of those groups. The secret we’re told, is to call ahead, or just get take out/delivery.
Why would we bother telling you to go to the trouble of dealing with this? Because, the food is easily the best Indian food in the area and definitely one of the best in the city. The fellows around the corner at New India Bazar heavily concur. On a price/quality comparison, it’s at the same level as Lahore Karahi in that it’s a bit more expensive than Lahore, but it’s a bit higher quality as far as the dishes go and it’s a proper sit down dining experience with tablecloths and all.
We had a number of their dishes over multiple visits including the Chicken Korma, Tikka Masala, and Lamb Vindaloo as well as a selection of their chutneys. Everything was fantastic and there wasn’t one thing that stood out as the “must have” which in some ways is actually better in that they have an across-the-board solid selection. The flavors, while rich and delicious, are much lighter than the general Indian offer in the neighborhood. You come away feeling full, but not completely stuffed.
One tip though in that if you are feeling in the need to be stuffed, we would highly recommend the buffet. At $18 a person, it’s just a couple dollars more than a place such as Naan & Curry, but it’s comprised of a much higher level of food. After all, there’s a reason all these tour buses of Indian tourists happily munch down day after day.