Udupi Palace

Vegetarians flock to this Southern Indian eatery.

From June 2006 Cheap Eats

In a bustling intersection where Indian meets Latin American meets Asian, this vegetarian southern-Indian eatery will wow even a carnivore with a laundry list of choices.

Whether it's a buttery footlong dosa (rice crepe) filled with gently spiced potatoes and peas or the put-hair-on-your-chest chili pakora–deep-fried hot peppers–a meal in this large, lively dining room is never ho-hum.

The buffet is an unusually good one, the only downside being that breads and curries tend to be tepid rather than hot. So serious diners tend to order from the menu–puffy flatbread to tear and dip into chickpea curry; addictively satisfying curd rice with yogurt; malabar adai, an appealing little pancake studded with vegetables; and a complex, aromatic eggplant curry (one of 25 curries to be had).

Thali platters–samplers with the likes of fried-lentil doughnuts to dip in a spicy vegetable sauce or a coconut-based vegetable curry–are no-brainers if you want to leave it to the kitchen to pick starters and entrees.

Save room for one of the 35 neon-hued Indian sweets on display in the sweet shop–we like the almond burfe, sort of like almond fudge.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.