Anyone that knows me knows that I have a serious addiction to Indian food. From as far back as I can remember, I’ve craved spicy, aromatic curries and fluffy basmati rice. My first stop en route home from the airport once I touch down on US soil is our local Indian restaurant that I’ve been going to since I was in elementary school. (Side note: The owner’s children are probably going to some pretty fancy colleges thanks to my dedicated investment in their business. Moving on.)
Therefore, moving to Buenos Aires was a shock in the sense that the availability of Indian restaurants went from what felt like infinity to just a handful. Way back in 2007 I remember going to Tandoor on its first night in business, actually. Good times. Since then, slowly but surely there has been steady growth of classic, no-frills and authentic curry spots that have been able to sate the beast within me, also known as my murderous desire to eat Indian on a weekly basis. Warning: Indian food does not photograph well (duh). Sorry I’m not sorry.
Living just one block away from Bengal, I was very spoiled to become close with the head chef there; he’d always indulge my obsession with spice and make sure my dish was always “nivel extranjero” instead of “nivel porteño.” He’s a good man. What makes him an AWESOME man is that in recent years he’s branched out and opened up several restaurants of his own – all thanks to the help of his family members that he brings over from India to help run the show. I’m hoping they’ll adopt me one day.
This is a lot of build up for one lousy review, but it was necessary. Delhi Masala, located right in the heart of hippie dippie San Telmo nightlife, is pretty much the only place I’ll go for a curry these days. An incredible range of dishes (so far they’re the only ones who do mattar paneer … and extremely well), the typical tacky-kitsch atmosphere of bright overhead lights and lots of little elephants strung everywhere and overall authentic flavors make this my favorite Indian restaurant in Buenos Aires.
You can’t really go wrong with anything on the menu, but if you’re really hungry I would skip the appetizers and head for the mains (the samosas are quite good though). Dal, prawn tikka masala, mattar paneer, aloo gobi, vindaloo, korma … I have to stop myself before I drool all over everything. Great range of vegetarian dishes and a whole section dedicated to briyani. Yay! Sopping up those sauces with hot buttery naan is so delicious it should be illegal. Actually, I’d totally brave the wilds of Fuerte Apache or some other scary barrio if it meant I could get my hands on whatever magic is coming out of Mohammed’s kitchen. True story. Portions are generous, waiters understand the diners’ need for truly spicy food, and they even offer house-brewed cerveza to wash it all down. Remember that in BA, you have to order the rice separately from you main dish – kind of a drag but not the biggest deal.
Before you pass out in a heavenly food coma, try to give dessert a whirl. The pistachio ice cream is super rich and at the same time refreshing, though you might need an Uvasal after all is said and done if you’re anything like me. (For clarity: If you’re anything like me you will order three mains between two people and stuff yourselves to the brim with naan and basmati rice just for good measure. So basically you probably have more self control and better judgment than I do.)
The best bit of all of this? Delhi Masala accepts Club La Nación meaning your meal will be at least 20% cheaper every night of the week – 50% off on Tuesdays! Who doesn’t love a bargain in this inflation-ridden town? Just me? Don’t be shy. Pinching pennies is the new extravagance. Or not?
No matter the day of the week, the place tends to fill up, so either head there on the earlier end or call ahead to reserve if you want to be sure. They also do take out if you prefer to smother yourself in tikka masala in the privacy of your own home. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: No judgment here.
So if you’ve been craving a good curry and haven’t found the right spot, are looking for a new place, or have never even had Indian food because you were raised in a barn … Mosey on down to Delhi Masala and prepare for a camino de ida. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Defensa 714, San Telmo
Open for Lunch & Dinner
Discount with Club La Nación
Take Out & Delivery
Final Photo Credit: Via Resto