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Takadanobaba restaurants - Indian food
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PostYou have posted in this forum: Thu Nov 09, 2006 5:17 am Back to top

Takadanobaba - Indian food


Durga - Bengali ****


Malabar - Indian ****


Great India - Indian ****


Rajput - Pakistani ****


Maya - Nouvelle Nepali Cuisine ****

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PostYou have posted in this forum: Thu Nov 09, 2006 5:18 am Back to top

Durga - Bengali ****

Address - Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Takadanobaba 2-9-11, Shibaharaso 1F
Opening hours 11:00 to 14:00 and 17:00 to 23:00
Telephone - 03-3202-7699
Menu - In English and Japanese
Credit Cards - No

Durga is certainly one of the tiniest restaurant I have ever seen. Opened on a shoestring, it has just 12 seats, but it's a pleasure to review. Named after the Hindu Goddess of Fortune, it used to be called Shapla. Now a man from Kolkata (I found that this spelling more closely resembles the original pronunciation) runs it, but apparently with little financial success. I can't figure this one out, because the food is excellent. I give it just four stars just because visually speaking it's so simple to be almost drab.

You will like however its smallness, its homeliness, its warmth, and the many final touches the cook thoughtfully adds to your food. And this is a one-man operation: while chatting in Bengali with a friend or a customer, this guy washes dishes, wipes the tables, prepares the meat and the naan for the tandur, heats up the curries and serves at the tables.

The stuff on the menu isn't spectacular, being rather what I imagine you normally see on Indian tables every day, but very tasty. You can decide how hot you want it.
This is a sort of place, like Yeti, where you can go dozens of times without ever getting tired and where, besides the food, you can at no extra cost gossip with the owner about local events. And in spite of its qualities, Durga is cheap: the last time I went, about a week ago, between the three of us we spent 5000 yen for a very good and very pleasant meal.

Walk on the left side of Waseda Dori towards Waseda and turn left before the Yoshinoya (gyudon shop). Durga is few meters ahead, on the left side of the street. Durga, as you will see, is not the kind of place where you reserve tables or call in advance. No credit cards.

21 October 2005

Malabar - Indian ****

Address - (1) Shinjuku-ku, Takadanobaba 1-25-29 and (2) Shinjuku-ku, Waseda 3-15-5 K2 Bldg
Opening hours - 11:30 am to 11:30pm
Telephone - 03-3209-4903 (Takadanobaba) and 03-3208-4453 (Waseda)
Menu - In Japanese and English
Credit Cards - OK

Malabar in Takadanobaba belongs to the same group as the two Kao Tais, but strangely enough it's not nearly as interesting. I don't have the heart to put it in my Shit List, because the guys there really do not deserve it, but their food is singularly undistinguished. Over the years cooks (because I have known Malabar for a very, very long time) have come and gone, but the food is still the same, well prepared, attractive and bland. The sets are convenient, though, and for 500 yen you can have an "Indian burger", that is a shish kebab wrapped in half a naan. That's also bland.

To go there, walk from Takadanobaba station towards Waseda for about 300 meters. Malabar is on the right side of the street right after a school.

Since 1999 there's another branch in Waseda on the right side of Waseda Dori. Smaller and cheap-looking, but inviting and friendly, it "feels" right. I will tell you what it's like after I will have eaten there.

March 20, 2000

Great India - Indian ****

Address - Shinjuku-ku, Takadanobaba 3-4-17 (Sakae Dori)
Opening hours - Every day from 11:30am to 22:30pm
Telephone - 03-5386-8551
Menu - In Japanese and English
Credit Cards - OK

For the past few years me and my closest friends have spent almost every Friday night at Yeti. I love the place and I really don't mind going so often, but some of us recently feel Yetied out, so last week we went to a new Indian restaurant that has opened recently on Sakae Dori, the street that runs along the left side of the Yamanote outside Takadanobaba station. That's an unusual place for an Indian restaurant to be, in the midst of dozens of pachinkos, yakitori joints and other assorted, exclusively Japanese paraphernalia. I therefore suspect the fact it was empty when we went was not incidental, and that we might not enjoy Great India's company for long. Let's enjoy it therefore now that we can, because it's good and reasonably priced, even though the menu contains no surprises.

They have eight kinds of naan, including kabuli naan, good biryanis, tandori fish, tandori chicken and many interesting snacks. Lunch goes for 800 yen and evening sets for 2380 and 3800 yen.

A note from reader Dan Dumas : Frank, you have reviewed Great India in Takadanobaba. There are four others that I know of. One is in Shinjuku on the same street as Studio Alta, but closer to the crossing. The other is between Shin Okubo Station and the north exit of Seibu Shinjuku station on Shokuan dori (across the street from Hello Work). I have eaten at the Shin Okubo branch and found it very good. My only complaint is that the inside is lit up brighter than a convenience store. There are also two branches in Ikebukuro

Rajput - Pakistani ****

Address - West Side Shinjuku-ku, Takadanobaba 4-13-12, Tokairin Bldg 2F
Opening hours - Open every day - Lunch: 11:30 am to 3:00 pm, Dinner: 5 :00 am to 11:00 am
Telephone - 03-3360-8372
Menu - In English and Japanese
Credit Cards - No

Real Pakistani home-made food! Gandhara in Ginza and Patohar in Shibuya, Takadanobaba and Kichi Joji are also Pakistani restaurants, but Rajput is way more authentic. Not fancy or anything, but as my friend Sohan (who comes from Bombay) says, it offers an example, rare in Tokyo, of what people actually eat every day in Pakistan or India. The only other example I can think of is the excellent Gandhara in Ginza, because the superlative Marhaba in Ikebukuro is rather more fancy in style. They have things you will not find in any other restaurant. I recommend their Karai Chicken (where Karai does not mean hot, it means dry), and a Paratha, either in the Masala or normal version. The hotness of the curries can be chosen in degrees varying from -3 to +10 (or "Muslim Hotto").

Maya - Nouvelle Nepali Cuisine (sic) ****

Address - Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Takadanobaba 2-14-8 NT Bdg. 3F
Opening hours - every day from 11:00 to 15:00 and 17:00 to 23:00
Telephone - 03-3208-1766
Menu - In Japanese and English
Credit Cards - No

As I wrote some in November 2005, Yeti is no more. Too bad, because it was cheap, friendly and good. Its successor, Maya (love in Nepali), is however a valid replacement, and I cannot but recommend it, because I often eat there.
The place is run by Kobita, the Nepali woman who was Yeti's waitress all these years: she has two partners, she says, one of which is the owner of another, older Nepalese restaurant also called Maya (in Meguro: for more info, see the Tokyo Food Page).
The place shows clearly that the hand of a woman is at work: it's much less spartan, all plates carry the Maya logo, and there are some more decorations on the wall. All in all its more pleasant this way.
The menu is much longer and varied, and well justifies the subtitle "Nouvelle Nepali Cuisine" it bears: there's even Tom Yam soup ... In spite of this, I truly liked everything I ordered, from the highly mongrelized Everest Roll, a rolled-up chapati filled with vegetables and Panir to be dipped in a soy sauce-like dip, to the Red Tibetan Curry (not on the menu, but available on request).
Kobita says that created the recipes together with her partners, and obviously without paying to much attention to purity. She has done well, though. I am sure that, although you may dislike individual dishes, you won't fail to enjoy Maya.

January 2005

sanji's note : Following fvz recommendation, I visited this place in February 2007. The restaurant has about 20 tables, and is simple but comfortable. The menu offers a large selection (with some pictures), including many small dishes, which reminded me of a japanese izakaya. Each of them costs between 400 and 1000 yens. I was pleased with all the food I ordered, especially their speciality curry.
Only unpleasant surprise was the TV turned on for lonely guests...

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