100 Very Best Restaurants 2013: Passage to India
The dining room at Passage to India in Bethesda, Maryland. Photograph by Chris Campbell.
Comments () | Published February 19, 2013
100 Best Restaurants 2014 100 Best Restaurants 2013 100 Best Restaurants (2011) 100 Best Restaurants (2010)

Passage to India
Address: 4931 Cordell Ave., Bethesda, MD 20814
Phone: 301-656-3373
Neighborhood: Bethesda/Glen Echo
Cuisines: Vegetarian/Vegan, Indian
Opening Hours: Daily for lunch and dinner.
Nearby Metro Stops: Bethesda
Price Range: Moderate
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Intimate
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Sev-murmura chaat; samosa with chickpeas and yogurt; lamb cooked in the tandoor oven; shrimp in coconut curry; pickle plate; fresh mango with yogurt.

If you think of Indian food primarily as takeout from the neighborhood curry house, you’re missing the pleasures to be had in a restaurant that aspires to the first rank.

The dining room is decorated in gold and brass and adorned with royal prints. Servers seem to impersonate a concierge at a four-star hotel—spooning curries from copper pots, bringing seconds of cinnamon-flavored rice, and smiling all the while.

This could feel overdone if the food weren’t equal to the level of the attention, but the kitchen is more than capable. Take its saag—so good you might think you’d never tried the dish before. Most of the menu, however, is an enticement to break from the expected, and the fun is in exploring seldom-seen dishes of the East and West, including the coconut-rich flavors of Kerala. Don’t miss: Seekh kebab; pan-fried okra with mango powder; shrimp in coconut sauce; goat curry; potatoes with onions and curry leaf; garlic naan or kulcha; pickle platter; dal. Open: Daily for lunch and dinner. Moderate.

100 Very Best Restaurants 2013
Subscribe to Washingtonian

Discuss this story

Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question. The Washingtonian reserves the right to remove or edit content once posted.
  • Alex

    I love Passage to India and have been on a number of occassions. For those willing to go beyond chicken tikka masalla, sambussas, and saag paneer, you will find a wealth of dishes not offered anywhere else.

  • May

    I recently visited Passage to India based on this review. We visited with my family for a Saturday lunch. In our opinion, the food was average in taste, flavors, and quality. In our opinion the chicken tikka was rubbery. Also in our opinion the service, while attentive was not warm or welcoming, or first rank. In my opinion there are better Indian restaurants out there like Jewel of India, Rasika, and many others with better food and better restaurant ambience.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Posted at 09:00 AM/ET, 02/19/2013 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews