I love Indian food!! On the mainland I had eaten at many Indian restaurants and was wowed by the fragrant and spicy flavors. When we moved to Hawaii, I had trouble finding anything that came close. Cafe Maharani was definitely an unexpected find. While most of the Indian restaurants we've seen here serve Southern Indian food, Cafe Maharani serves the Northern dishes we were used to. The naan bread was fantastic. The rice delicious. The masala chai tea excellent. The entree selections were hard to choose from because they all sounded so good. We were very pleased with the food. The service was very slow, so don't go in a hurry; but it was worth the wait. They seemed to understaffed for their very busy cafe.
Hawaii is not the best place for Indian food, because there are not so many Indians live on this island. There wasn't any good Indian restaurant until few yrs ago. In about 5 yrs there are a number of Indian restaurant opened and some are doing good and some are not, the reason why people here in Hawaii don't have any idea about Indian food. I recently visited a few Indian restaurant and tried their foods. The only Indian restaurant I would recommand is Cafe Maharani. Most of the restaurant has curries and stir-fried meat and vegetables, so if you visit these Indian restaurant you just get board in few times. Cafe Maharani has a wide variety of choices of vegetarian, chicken, lamb seafood, and most of all Kababs, tikkaks, tandoori, all different nanns, tandoori rooti, parathas. The only Indian restaurant that don't serve frozen breads while some of the Indian restaurants here don't serve any bread at all and who does almost all they serve frozen breads. Indian foods doesn't taste good with frozen breads, you wouldn't know until you try the fresh breads at Maharani. However, the restaurant is not that large so you might need some extra time to be seated ( I had to wait about 25 mins to be seated), and the service was little slow ( may be they are trying to serve fresh food). I lamb biryani dish was large enough to feed almost 4 people, and yeh I will not forget to try the mango lassi ( a yougurt drink with fresh chunk mango). It was a wonderful exprience. Try it out.
It was about 7 at night while I entered inside Cafe Maharani and I was shocked to see the entire place was full and people was waiting inside and outside the restaurant. I put my name on the waiting list and I was told the waiting time was about an hour. Eventhough I wasn't prepered to wait that long but I wanted to eat their so bad. After waited the long hour when I sat on my table I was ready to order, but I had to wait another few minutes for that. I wanted to order almost every single dish on their menue because they sounded so good, but me and my friend ended up ordering a combination dinner for two which comes with Samosa, two dishes , rice and naan for 2. I didn't have to wait long for my samosa, it was right from the frying pan, and it was wonderful with the 2 chutneies ( mint and turmarind ). The spices and the flavor was excellent and the pastry was cryspy ( probably the best samosa I ever had). The 2 entrees I ordered was Lamd masala and Chicken curry was excellent, the one mistake I made ask them to make the lamd really spicy, even though the friendly server kindda told me go for hot but I wanted to try fire hot and it was really spicy ( becareful). I was really happy to see the real and goodl oooking Naan bread on my table ( the only Indian restaurant that have a clay tanddor oven). I was very excited to see how they make Naan in the Tandoor so I asked for the Manazer and he was kind enough to give me a tour to their Tandoor, it was a very wonderful exprience. If you like fresh Indian food don't miss this place, the best Indian restaurant on this Island, every single $$$$ you would spend will be worth.
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