indian food 88.
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On the outside, Tandoori restaurant in Herzliya Pituach is so discreet that it would be easy to walk past without being aware that a modern oasis is just a wall away. But the inside of this Indian-style restaurant owned by Reena and Vinod Pushkarna is a hive of activity, with barely a table empty.
We made our way across the large dining room, which was alive with atmosphere and bustle, although a bit on the noisy side for my liking (probably due to the room's high ceiling, which made everything rather echoey). This factor, combined with the oversized tables for two, made it rather difficult to chat comfortably without raising our voices; probably not the best venue for a romantic dinner. The ambience was pleasantly enhanced by subtle background music that was Indian in origin but modern in style.
Never fear if you're not a big fan of spicy Indian food. The kitchen caters to all levels of chilli-tolerance, and can cook most dishes to the requested degree of sharpness.
We found the service to be friendly, attentive and very professional, with waitresses dressed in authentic saris stopping next to each table to make sure orders arrived on time.
For appetizers we tried an array of flavorful samosas - a triangle-shaped fried pastry filled with vegetables, meat or chicken. It came with papads (thin, crisp, sundried wafers of dal flour) and three dips: a spicy mint and coriander sauce; sweet mango chutney; and yogurt sauce.
The choices for the main course are plentiful, as the restaurant has set out a menu to satisfy all tastes - carnivore (beef, lamb, chicken, and duck), seafood or vegetarian. All the recipes are cooked with fresh spices and meats.
We decided to taste the mixed grill (NIS 87) - a dish for two which is a good bargain if you find as many of the appetizers as tempting as we did and can't make up your mind. Your waiter will be able to change the mix to your taste. Our platter was composed of the tandoor-style chicken, lamb chops and kebabs, served with Biryani rice and vegetables in coriander sauce.
I couldn't resist the wonderful Indian-style dish of chicken curry in coconut (NIS 52). It was very tender, rich and full of superb flavors, and came with nutty basmati rice and nan bread.
Needless to say we skipped dessert, but certainly know where to come when craving Indian ice-cream, or to find out what Gulab Jamun is.
TANDOORI, Rehov Maskit 32, Herzlia, Open Sunday to Friday 12 noon to 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m to midnight, Saturday 1 p.m to 4:30 p.m and 7p.m to midnight. Tel: (09) 954-6702. (not kosher)
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