As a recent convert to Indian Food, stemming from my three year stay in England, my experience and expectations for Indian Food are sky high. Many in the world consider the Indian cuisine found in England to be the best in the world. I am not sure of that but I do know that it was amazing. So upon my return home one of my first tasks was to try and find some Indian food in the states that could hold a candle to my stomping grounds in England. I finally have been able to try a few local restaurants in the Annapolis and Columbia areas of Maryland and can report that they definitely will satisfy that Indian food urge.
India’s of Annapolis
Located right on West Street, India’s of Annapolis in the only Annapolis area Indian restaurant. Luckily, the owners did not take advantage of that fact and skimp on the quality and quantity of food. While some of the serving techniques seemed a bit off (chicken was in large breast size portions vs. being cut up into small pieces) the food itself was very good with a nice bit of spice to it. The restaurant itself is very nicely set up, nothing fancy but an obvious upscale feel. The price was a bit high for my taste, most meals were pushing 20 dollars, but as it is the only place in town there is not much to do about that.
Akbar’s actually has two locations, one in Columbia and one in Downtown Baltimore. The restaurant is entering its 25th year of serving Maryland and there is no sign that it will be closing its doors anytime soon. The Columbia restaurant is located in an unassuming strip mall on Snowden River Parkway, easily missed. The restaurant itself does not appear to have been updated much in the past 20 years but, rather than detracting, it actually adds a bit of warmth to the experience. You feel as if you are in a local place, vs. a large chain. The food itself is delightful, with a nice choice of dishes and a huge helping of flavor. I am used to a bit more spice than the normal American but that takes nothing away from the flavor itself. The owners and wait staff were extremely friendly and accommodating and their attitudes alone have secured them a returning customer.
House of India
House of India is another Columbia special that actually was voted best Indian food by Howard magazine in 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2009. Offering a very similar menu to Akbars, House of India is another great choice for those in Howard County. Located on Snowden River Parkway it offers comfortable seating and a nice atmosphere. The food is flavorful and some dishes have a nice helping of spice to liven things up.
Compared to what I was accustomed to in England, 20 places within a 2 mile radius, the Indian food pickings are a bit sparse in Maryland. However, for the dedicated connoisseur, there are available restaurants that can more than satisfy the craving.