Taj Palace

Tandoori Chicken. I love how colorful they make their poultry.
Tandoori Chicken. I love how colorful they make their poultry.

795 Foothill Blvd
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
805-543-0722
Website

Hey guys! It’s been a while, because we’re now just counting down the days on one hand until we leave for Portland! This will probably be my last post from SLO for quite a while, so I brought you one of my personal favorites. Taj Palace is an extremely quaint Indian eatery that serves up traditional Indian food in a setting I can really only describe as grandmotherly. Think pink tablecloths, pink walls and folded white cloth napkins. You will not feel like you are walking into an Indian restaurant upon arrival. The atmosphere is definitely lacking, but the savory smells that greet you as you walk in the door makes it easy to overlook the garish interior décor.

Vegetable samosas and sauces I do not know the names of.
Vegetable samosas and sauces I do not know the names of.

If you ever eat here, you have to start off with the vegetable samosas. An order comes with two of them, so if you’re eating with more people you’ll need a couple orders because you definitely need at least one. I could eat an entire meal of these things. They’re basically super thick won-tons filled with a spiced mixture of potatoes and peas. It sounds simple but the flavors in this dish are what keep me coming back to Taj Palace! The chutney and relish (I will call them that for lack of a better description, or until someone can inform me as to what these delicious concoctions really are!) perfectly compliment the crispy samosas, cutting through the fattiness with fresh herbs and tart fruity notes. I’ve never had a samosa in another Indian restaurant that I’ve enjoyed half as much as this one. And the frozen ones at Trader Joe’s? Forget about ’em!

Garlic Naan
Garlic Naan

I’ll just say right now that I never order anything different off this menu. I have always ordered the same things because to me it makes the perfect meal. Also, none of the curries come with rice or naan, so you have to order those things separately. This is a bit of a downside, price-wise, but the food is solid and I haven’t had better Indian food in SLO. The Garlic Naan is wonderful! I’ve never had the regular Naan, I’m sure it’s lovely but this is where it’s at. It’s tender and fresh, and the garlic adds a nice punch of flavor when you’re using it to mop up your curry! The rice here is worth mentioning too, it’s always perfectly cooked and obviously very freshly made.
We ordered the tandoori chicken (pictured up top), which is marinated in yogurt and spices and then baked in a red hot tandoori, or stone oven. I love the presentation of this dish! It comes out still sizzling and steaming, so while you wait for it to cool down you can admire the bright red finish on the chicken. It’s perfectly cooked, the skin is crispy and smoky and the meat is juicy and flavorful from the wonderful marinade.

Lamb Tikka Masala
Lamb Tikka Masala

I was a little disappointed by my Masala this time. Usually it’s not an issue, but today it was a little under-spiced and felt more like tomato sauce than Tikka Masala. I’m going to pass it off as a fluke because this dish has been consistently great every time I’ve eaten here. It is full of flavor and I usually end up licking my plate! The lamb was so tender had had great flavor, and you really can’t pass up the rice because it sucks up all the flavors of the sauce and makes it sing! I go back and forth between lamb and chicken when I order this and I think I like the chicken more.
The atmosphere is odd, the prices are a little high ($13.95 for the Tikka Masala and you have to order rice and naan separately) but one dish can be shared by a couple people and there’s always something that makes me come back to Taj Palace. This is the place for authentic Indian food in SLO!

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