Indian Food Sucks at Niagara Falls

This weekend the missus and I find ourselves at Niagara Falls, NY one more time. In the 8 years Ive been here this is my 9th trip here and the missus’ second or third. We are “tourist-babysitting” a friend visiting from India.

The one thing that struck us, and has always been the case is the overtly high number of Indian tourists here at Niagara. I’ve always been fascinated about seeing thousands of Indian tourists here and sometimes wonder if I am in India or the US.

The typical Indian tourist comes into two demographics. The first one is a family with husband and wife, kids, and grandparents visiting from India. The second one is a bunch of guys who have decided to jump into a car and just drive out to Niagara at the last moment. Something akin to what we would do in India, going to Matheran, Mahableshwar or Goa.

Because of the droves of Indians visiting here, there are quite a few Indian eateries. Too many I would say. And frankly they all suck !

Walking around last night in a steady drizzle and a cold wind, we had an urge to have Indian food. So off we go hunting for the best Indian joint. We find out that there are 5-6 places in town. We land up checking each and everyone of them and come out disappointed by the food on display.

The best one we are told is Punjabi Dhaba. We go in to check the “all you can eat buffet” and see very generic looking Indian food being attacked upon by some of the hungriest Indians outside of India. The next one, Sardar Dhaba in the Ramada Inn, is equally pathetic. The missus and the friend go in and run out as fast as they can, psyched out by the pathetic state of the food.

The third one, Taste of India, is even worse than the first two. There is an Udipi joint that we dont even venture to, because the friend wants to eat only tandoori (blame her punjabi genes).

Finally we decide to check out this one restaurant that was “recommended” by the Ramada Inn concierge. His recommendation in hindsight was so wrong. When we first told him that we didnt like Punjabi Dhaba, which everyone said was the best in town, he was shocked.

So anyways we decide to check out his recommendation….a little away from town. So off we go trying to find that place with no directions. After nearly 20 min on the telephone while driving around, the hotel manager guides us to that hotel. Its 11pm and we now have no option but to eat what is there.

This is also a buffet. An all you can eat buffet. Except that there is very little of everything left.

So all three of us decide to ratchet down our taste buds to zero sensitivity and just wallop down food and fill our bellies. We do that, pay up a hefty 10 bucks for not so good food and get back in the car, feeling stomach full but disappointed.

A stop at Dennys to wash down some dessert brings up the moods. I think the sugar kick did it.

And then we spend the night at the Casino, trying to win some moolah.

All in all a lesson learnt. There are no good Indian restaurants. The ones that are there are giving a bad name to India and Indian food. The Indian Embassey should sue these restaurant for fraudulantly advertising bad food as Indian food. The money that it collects as damages, should then be pumped into starting a really fancy kick ass Indian restaurant, so that we can regain our lost crown as one of the world’s premier cuisines.

14 Comments

  1. Karsh September 6, 2006

    I hear you. The Punjabi Dhaba was highly recommended by some uncle on the street. Turns out it is actually run by Gujaratis. Now we dont care whether Gujaratis or bengalis cook punjabi food as long as it is tasty and edible. But this was some of the worst Indian food I’ve eaten this side of the sun and that too more expensive.Also turned out that the “helpful uncle” who recommended it was related to the family who runs this joint because after our awful meal we saw him come into the restaurant. My mother gave him an earful. That helped digest the atrocious food a little bit…

  2. The Great Ganesha September 6, 2006

    I share your pain. What amazes me most about Indian restaurants throughout the US (and believe me, I have eaten at more than my fair share) is that somehow magically, they all have food that tastes exactly the same. For a buffet, you have the standard “red chicken curry” (butter chicken) the “red chicken legs” (tandoori chicken) and a couple of token veggie dishes, and miscellaneous bhajias. It’s almost as if they were all franchises of a larger chain. Is there some “Bad Indian Food Association” or something?

    The only exceptions from the usual run-of-the-mill crap, I think, are the Pakistani dives that you have in big cities like Chicago (at Devon) and NYC (on Lex or ‘Curry Hill’). The places where all the cabbies go. It’s greasy, and you pay for it the next morning, but believe me, it’s worth it! Almost reminds you of Chowpatty bhelpuri…

  3. arZan September 8, 2006

    karsh

    Thank God we did not meet that uncle. My wife wouldve given him an earful for sure.

    Great Ganesha….

    I have found the food at Curry Hill to be equally repititive.

    Infact some of the independant restaurants in NYC, not situated in Indian neighborhoods are much better. Cafe Spice for mid end and Devi and Amma and Tamarind and Tabla at the higher end, are spot on.

  4. Food taster 2006 September 9, 2006

    What you need to do is come to Australia, theres a few really good indian restaurants’ here that are liked by indians and loved by poms. So if you ever come to Australia go to a place called mittagong in the southern highlands of Nsw, theres a great restaurant there that i’ll guarantee you love.

  5. Sun October 2, 2006

    Hi,

    I wholeheartedly agree with you!!! I’m so glad somebody else feels the same way. Your review of Punjabi Dhaba was spot on!! I was so mad at that place!! I wrote a review for the restaurant on citysearch.com, and you can add your review there if you’d like. Like you I anticiapte having to make multiple trips to Niagara Falls with visiting family, since we live in in the NYC area, and I dread having to take them to one of these dumps.

  6. Sun October 2, 2006

    Well, I just went to check out my review of Punjabi Dhaba at citysearch.com, and apparently, they have removed my review from the website! I guess stifling the voice of truth is a long-standing tradition that is still practiced ….

  7. thomas July 30, 2007

    the indian resturants both sides of the border sucks!!!!! i mean really sucks!!!!

  8. sam August 6, 2007

    Last week we visited Niagara Falls and unfortunately we fell into Punjabi Dhaba. It would have been nice if we fell into the River. Unbelievable! We normally do not eat Indian food in any restaurants, since our family friends like Indian food. We ended up in Punjabi Dhaba. I took the chappaties and threw it on the cash counter and asked that guy, do you call this as chappaties? and I said what you are collecting is sin and it is such a shame on Indian culture. Please advice any one you know traveling to Niagara Falls to avoid INDIAN FOOD to save our fellow Indians from Indian thieves.

  9. Karabana September 1, 2007

    10 bucks isn’t hefty for not so good food, it’s quite cheap, so sounds like you got what you paid for, cheap food. And at 11pm, of course there is very little of everything left.
    When reviewing a restaurant, it’s helpful to give details, specifics on the food, describe the taste exactly, so readers will get a better understanding of why you hated it… saying it sucks is rather vague.

  10. Cody June 25, 2010

    I’m from St. Louis and we checked out Sardar Sahib Indian Cuisine. They wanted to charge about 10 bucks for the entree which is cool, but then they wanted us to pay 6-12 bucks for the EFFING RICE!!! I love Indian food in St. Louis and this has never happened before. It must be a part the Niagra Falls theme: complete your meal! So we walked out after they offered free rice to one of the four of us. Ha. Next we went to Taj Mahal… Craptastic. They must have cooked the food about 10 in the morning and just left it out all day. It was soupy.

  11. CJ July 11, 2010

    Across the border & in the heart of Toronto’s financial core is Tamarind The Indian Kitchen. I have been there a couple of times when visiting CN Tower (Its across Union Station in Brookfield Place food cout) It’s run by ex Welcomgroup (Sheraton) graduated couple. He is from North and She is from South and they have both flavours in the menu. Lo! Awesome food, tandoor in the food court!, Chef’s from Sheraton Dubai, Chick Branding, Great Service. Tastes like Mom’s food back home. http://www.tamarindkitchen.com

  12. Erin April 5, 2011

    I am a white girl living in Niagara Falls, NY & I’m so glad I have not tried the indian restaurants around here. I have not been to India but, I have eaten yummy Indian food in major us, canadian & euro cities. Glad I haven’t wasted my money in the falls! From all the comments, I am craving some REAL Indian food. Any recommendations in the rest of Western NY? Anything good in buffalo or niagara falls, canada? Thank you!

  13. BABA SAHIL April 26, 2011

    Guys,

    I am Punjabi and I agree with you guys whole heartedly. All Indian food served at Falls are fake and rip off. I have seen agents calling tourists at the US siade and invite them to road side dhaba or buffet and you will be disappointed. Better you prefer a Dennys or Burger king rather than these Indian food cheats.

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