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Eats and Drinks

Best Indian Restaurant

Banjara

1017 S. Charles St., (410) 962-1554

Posted 9/17/2003

It's hard to imagine that they were once siblings: the Ambassador Dining Room in Homewood, politely presenting genteel Indian dishes in an impossibly louche atmosphere; and Banjara, a narrow storefront in Federal Hill dishing out heaping helpings of traditional fare. But a few years ago, the owner of both places sold off Banjara, and since then the once-dowdy kid sister has come into her own. Banjara's menu is still nearly identical to the Ambassador's, and while its ambience is more humble--cloth napkins meet year-round Christmas lights--there's no mistaking the flavor. Dishes are simmered long and attentively here, which gives everything we've tried a deeply steeped and tantalizing tang. Banjara's chicken vindaloo is the hottest anywhere, but it tastes like more than heat. The palak paneer is a vegetarian's delight, with cubes of cheese awash in savory spinach. And no visit is complete without sampling the crab masala, a dish that may sound like some hokey Chesapeake spin, but it's really a take on the crustacean you've never had before. Add to this a basket of toasty garlic naan, a modest but reliable wine list, and alert service in tux-clad staffers--left over, perhaps, from its days of kinship with the Ambassador--and you have a top-rank excursion into Indian cuisine.

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Other Awards for Best Indian Restaurant:

Indigma, 9/16/2009

Akbar, 9/17/2008

Akbar Restaurant, 9/19/2007

India Rasoi, 9/20/2006

Ambassador Dining Room, 9/21/2005

India Rasoi, 9/22/2004

Ambassador Dining Room, 9/18/2002

India Rasoi, 9/19/2001

Ambassador Dining Room, 9/13/2000

India Tandoor, 9/15/1999

Banjara, 9/17/1997

Banjara, 9/18/1996

All Awards for Banjara:

Best Indian Restaurant, 9/17/1997

Best Indian Restaurant, 9/18/1996

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