The Little India
1109 West Bryn Mawr
Hours: Sun – Thurs 11am – 10pm; Fri – Sat 11am – 10:30pm
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Who says that eating on a tight budget is neither fun nor filling? Here in Chicago, it can be all of that and so much more. You just have to know where to look. Sometimes the tastiest deals are right under your nose; not in the famed restaurant rows, but out on the streets of the little neighborhoods that make up this great city. Nestled on a corner in Edgewater is a small restaurant with an apt, if somewhat ironic, name. Welcome to Little India, a tiny spot that cranks out some really big flavors at some really great prices.
With a menu that includes chicken, red meats, seafood, and vegetarian dishes, The Little India offers something for everyone. Full-sized entrees for meat-eaters pretty much come in under $15. Vegetarians fare a little better, with meatless dishes coming in under $10. The prices aren’t bad and the portions are large. But what really makes this place a frugal find is its Chef’s Special Lunch. Order one of these and for less than a 10-spot you will get an entree, soup or salad, rice, and naan. Now that is deal! The lunch entrees rotate, so be sure to ask when you arrive.
We stopped in on a sunny afternoon to sample a few selections. Little India’s space is small, yet cozy. The staff were friendly and saw to our needs with great attention. We decided to whet our appetites with a few of the vegetable samosas. They were golden and crispy on the outside, soft and savory on the inside. The filling of potatoes and peas was spiced just right and made for a perfect introduction to our meal. For a main course, we ordered the Paneer Tikka Masala. It was excellent and boldly flavored. Homemade cubes of Indian cheese were served in an orange blanket of spicy, rich cashew sauce. Of course, we needed some rice to accompany this dish and their Rice Pulau did not let us down. It was a match made in heaven. Even the naan we chose was outstanding. We ordered it Kalonji style with black onion seeds for a little extra kick. Suffice it to say that there was no room left in any of tummies for dessert. We were stuffed about as tightly as our samosas were!
Part of the fear that many people have with frugal dining is that restaurants will skimp on portion-size, quality or flavor to make up for the special prices. While it may happen in some places, it was certainly not the case at The Little India. We found nothing lacking except for a big bill at the end of our meal. This is economy dining the way it was intended to be – great food, great prices, and a great experience. The next time you are in Edgewater with an empty belly and a nearly empty wallet, stop in and fill up on great flavor.