Lunch Buffet at Little India Cafe
Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken) at Little India Cafe
Foods from Little India Cafe
Comments

2015 Jul 7

I've loved this place for years but had never tried the lunch buffet until yesterday.

The buffet - similar to the experience of other posters below - is small but excellent. Obviously not as spicy as when you order for dinner but still very well-flavoured - none of the blandness you usually find in buffets.

I particularly enjoyed: The chana masala, sag paneer, butter chicken, aloo gobi, and samosas. And the naan, omg the naan!

The dish list was similar to what Fresh Foodie posted years ago, but with 2-3 differences so I suspect that like most lunch buffets they have mostly a standard set items and a couple they rotate.

But the most stand-out thing was a couple of serving decisions I have never encountered anywhere else, and and both are A+ decisions:

1) Naan bread was brought directly to each table - fresh garlic naan from the oven and their naan is super yummy. So much more awesome than naan from the buffet! They will even bring you more! So much superlatives! So many exclamation points! (seriously - good garlic naan)

2) When the server cleared my plate, she removed the fork from my plate and left it on my bread plate. In this case I was already full from round one (hence the fork being on the plate in the first place) so it didn't matter, but I loved this as a serving decision because I have so often encountered the buffets where you do a very light first round to see what you like and then when you want to go up for round two you need to flag down new cutlery first because the old cutlery got cleared with your plate when you absentmindedly left it on the plate instead of the table.

Only disclaimer is the restaurant is small and the buffet is popular. They open at 11:30 so if you want to go, probably go then (or possibly late).


2014 Apr 22
I finally made it to Little India for their lunch buffet. I think it was identical to the what FF posted back from 2011. It would be interesting to know if they ever change it up. It was a great Indian buffet - one of the better ones I've had in town. A great value too. I would suggest arriving early, as it really is a small place. If you haven't tried it yet and are in the west end, go out of your way to stop in.

2013 Dec 15
Had the Vegetable Biryani: descent/ good.

Shahi paneer: LOVE. Very creamy with thin slices of paneer cheese and a little heat. Shahi paneer tastes different depending on where you go. Had some at Karara's which was more tamatoe based and a little sweet. This one doesn't have a strong tamatoe taste, more on the creamy side.

Naan bread: yummy

Mango Lassi: not as great as I hoped it would be and a little expensive considering the size of the cup that is filled with ice. It tasted like mango juice and not enough yogourt.

2013 Aug 12

Came here with a friend before we went to see a movie across the street, neither of us had been here for many years, and I was pleased to discover the food and service were as good as I had remembered.

They have what I think may be the yummiest naan in Ottawa.

We ordered (apart from naan and rice - also very good) the murg masalam and the eggplant (I forget the exact name) and were pleased with both dishes.

The murg masalam used to be a favourite of mine when I came here more regularly, and it was still quite flavourful. We asked for "medium" on the spice level, which gave us a pleasant heat without overwhelming the other flavours.

The eggplant was a newly tried dish and it was very good, barbecued and with plenty of ginger.

We had given ourselves plenty of time before the movie to have dinner, but in fact despite the restaurant being packed to the gills and a constant array of people coming in to pick up take-out orders as well, then service was quite fast and very friendly.


2012 Aug 9
Our favourite indian restaurant by far.

The sauce and spices in their dishes are to die for.

Ordered and really enjoyed the following dishes: pakoras, chicken tikka masala, butter chicken, beef curry, lamb korma and beef vindaloo. Korma being at the top of the list. All orders have been spiced to perfection and order.

Only complaint is that the portions are small, especially the amount of meat, but the flavours more than makes up for it. Also the restaurant is very small (approx 25 seats) and you do not want to sit by the door on a cold and windy winter night, unless you want to catch a cold.

Very interested to try this place for their lunch buffet.

2012 Apr 13
Friday evening (before the rush). Ordered: tandoori chicken, butter chicken, vegetable korma, rice pulao, garlic naan & tandoori roti.

A friend highly recommended this 'little' place. Service was friendly but slow. Tandoori chicken was well done, tasty and very hot - which is good! Butter chicken was okay, a little too creamy for my taste. Vegetable korma was amazing, all the veggies and paneer in the cream sauce - a really good balance of flavour. The breads were good, but I found the naan a tad small for the price. Rice pulao was really lacking in flavour and somewhat dry. I know basmati rice, and how to cook it well - they just haven't got it right here.

Overall food is very good, much better than a lot of other places in Ottawa. Recommend going early as it fills up fast and the wait can be quite long.

2010 Sep 12
Enjoyed a takeout dinner tonight, including Samosas, Tandoori Naan, Butter Chicken, Dal Makhni, and Pulao Rice.

The food is very good, but the service baffles me. I used to think the inevitable confusion was just because they were busy, but this time the dining room was empty (at 6:30pm on a Sunday!!) and there was just a trickle of takeout orders. Still, I had to wait 15 minutes past my pickup time, and when the server confirmed my order with me it wasn't quite right. She said, "pakora" and I said, "samosa" and then she went back to the kitchen to see which one of us was correct. She came back and told me that I in fact did know what I had ordered, which of course was not news to me. Haha. :-) I realized just now that she probably charged me for the more expensive pakoras too. Sure, a couple bucks is a drop in the bucket on a $46 order, but that just isn't classy. They're polite and pleasant but just not very competent.

So come for the tasty food, don't be in a rush, and keep an eye on the details of your order!

2010 Jun 18
After reading what people had to say about this place it was time for a visit. Ordering alcohol isn't a great idea. My wife wanted a rye and ginger ale but were out of rye. They seemed to think rum was the same thing. Our third wheel ordered a gin and tonic but got ginger ale instead of tonic. This all can be overlooked since the food is very good. The chicken vindaloo had just the right amount of heat. I wouldn't say very hot as the menu states but I eat a lot of hot food so my taste buds are a little bias. The naan was fresh and hot not too thick with a nice crispness to it. The saag paneer was a delight. My wife thoroughly enjoyed her lamb bhuna and the orange zest in the rice is a nice touch.

2010 May 2
I'm a regular here, and take people here frequently - both for the lunch buffet and for dinner, and have yet to find anyone who wasn't impressed.

The lunch buffet is very good, much better than the other, larger west-end Indian buffets that most people go to. It has gotten a bit more bland over the years as they've tried to accommodate guests who don't like spicy food, but it's still very good compared to the competitors...the fresh garlic Naan is one of the best parts. Go early (11:30) to ensure you have a table and get it while it's fresh.

Dinner is much better than the buffet - with dishes seasoned to taste. The Lamb Vindloo, Eggplant curry and chicken tikka masala are some of my favourites - all can be a bit on the spicier side, with several fresh ingredients combining to make a collage of flavours. The butter chicken or one of the Korma dishes are very creamy and rich - complementing the spicier ones well.

The service is usually excellent, but this is a family run place though, and sometimes they have kids or relatives helping out that aren't as attentive as the main crew - still, the food tastes just as good.

Takeout is great value - I'm pretty sure they give you more too.

This is also a good place to introduce people who claim to not like Indian food. The Butter Chicken or one of the Korma dishes are very tasty for those who want to try curry for the first time. I've converted a few people with them.

I realise Indian cuisine is highly personal - there are huge differences in opinion over what things "should" taste like - that likely explains "from T.O."'s review below. I don't claim any great credentials other than being a satisfied customer for a few years now. I have tried "Le Taj" in Montreal, which "from T.O." recommends, and while they have great flavours, they use frozen vegetables. You won't find any of that at Little India... to each and their own.

2009 Jan 5
To answer the question re: white meat. I have had both versions in India (with white meat and with dark meat). Traditionally, in my family (who originates from Northern India- Punjab to be specific), we have always used white meat. It cannot be overcooked, or yes, it will dry out. Many restaurants in North America will use white meat (however, there are those which use dark meat to save $$). Some restaurants will charge a premium if you specifically ask for white meat.

So I guess I'm the self-proclaimed authority on butter chicken eh? :) Well, I am not a chef (however I must say I make a pretty mean butter chicken and delicious naans). My family originates from Punjab (the North) and in the North we primarily cook in the Mughlai (or Mughal-inspired style). Having come from a lineage of foodies, and a few chefs in the family, we consider ourselves to know a thing or two about Murgh Makhani and other North Indian dishes.

I have dined in Bangalore. For Southern Indian food, Bangalore is faboulous! I've also dine at a few North Indian restaurants in Bangalore, and I can't say that I had a memorable butter chicken. On the other hand, in Delhi, I had some of the best Mughlai cuisine!

Anyways, at the end of the day..it's all about personal taste I suppose. If you are thousands of miles away from a decent Indian restaurant, I guess Little India would seem appealing??! Maybe I'm just too picky about my butter chicken?? If you are in T.O...try the Host in Yorkville and tell me what you think. Also, the last time I was in Montreal (it's been a few years now), Le Taj was pretty darn good too!

Cheers!

Ms. 'From T.O.'

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2012 Jul 20
So incredible! My husband and I have been dining here for the buffet for about three years almost once a month. The food is so fresh, and the spicing is perfect. We have now tried eight different Indian food restaurants in the Ottawa area for lunch buffet, but they truly are not in the same category. If you go for lunch, arrive by 11:45, especially Mondays and Fridays. I cannot comment on the evening full menu, but have read that service can sometimes be unsatisfactory. Because of this, we continue to visit Little India for lunch whenever we can.

2011 Mar 29
We normally get takeout from here but ventured in for a weekday lunch. Arriving right at noon, we took one of the last tables available. I counted a total of 26 seats.

Service was friendly and effective. This is a tiny and cramped restaurant, so you manoeuvre between chairs to get to the buffet, and you might contort a little to reach some of the offerings while staying out of the staff's way.

The food was delicious, as expected! Nothing spicy but everything tasty. Papadum, Pakora, Samosa, Chutneys and Pickles. Basmati. Saag Paneer, Mushroom Paneer, Lentil Daal, Chana Masala, Aloo Gobi, Butter Chicken, Tandoori Chicken, Beef Bhuna Gosht. Kheer, Gulab Jamun (and what looked like unfried gulab jamun -- tasty white milk balls). A garlic-buttered Naan, cut into 4 pieces, was brought to our table of two soon after we sat down with our first plate of food.

Particularly good were the Samosas, Mushroom Paneer, Aloo Gobi, Butter Chicken, Beef Bhuna Gosht (tender beef simmered with tomato and green peppers). The Tandoori Chicken is much less seasoned than in other places, allowing the flavour of the chicken itself to come through. I don't see this as a bad thing, but it might not be what you expect. The butter chicken is really nice here, but the lunch buffet version is a little toned down in terms of spice.

2010 Jul 31
Stunning, my family raves about the owners cooking. So this week being in the neighbourhood I gave it a go. Boy am I ever glad to have gone. While it gets super busy around noon the food is replenished quickly, and naan arrives fresh to your table as requested.

I'd never had a mushroom paneer saag before, and I have been missing out! I really enjoyed the beef curry dish as it had just the right amount of spice and excellent flavor. The butter chicken was ok, and the tandoori chicken was decent but could have held a bit more flavor. I'd have to say the Taj restaurant still does a better tandoori chicken.

Myself and my partner thoroughly enjoyed our lunch and parted perhaps having enjoyed too much of the delicious food. Came to 31$ for two lunch buffets and two soft drinks.

Recommended for sure! -Ravi Shanghavi, Ottawa



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2009 Jan 6
Hey Captain Caper!

Haven't been there yet. I will definitely check it out!

thanks!

2009 Jan 3
Hey Newbie from T.O.,

Never had the Butter Chicken from Little India Cafe but ...

How about the Murgh Makhani from Indian food Express and Sweets ? (Indian Express Food and Sweets)

I'll put that one one up against anyone I ever had in The Tee Dot Oh or most of the ones I've had in England, including the prestigious Zaika.


2009 Jan 3
It was BRUTAL!!! Not at all what a true Murgh Makhani should taste like!! what a disaster!!

2007 Dec 9
Best butter chicken I've had in Ottawa! Very flavourful and creamy.


Samosa 3


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2007 Dec 9
Very good, with above average spice level.


Naan 2

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2007 Dec 9
Good, fresh tandoori naan. Not the best in town, but a welcome addition to the meal. We ordered two last night and one of them had a bit too much blackening.