Cheap Eats 2011: Amma Vegetarian Kitchen

With its green walls, freestanding electric fans, and bus-your-own-table setup, this southern Indian cafe is about as humbly appointed as it gets. The excitement comes when you pick up your tray at the counter. Dosas, those ultra-thin crepes that are a meal in themselves, are expertly made. Lemon rice and chole–a chickpea stew topped with chopped jalapeños–make good pairings. One caveat: The kitchen has noticeably amped up the spiciness of its cooking, from the dosa fillings to the accompaniments, so an order of the puffed bread called poori, or a sweet lassi, can help soothe burning tongues.

Also good: Masala dosa, filled with potatoes and onions; onion rava masala dosa, a web-like semolina crepe; idli, steamed rice cakes.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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.