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.
Cafe Maharani is delicious!!! It's this little hole-in-the-wall restaurant that if you weren't specifically looking for it, you prolly wouldn't notice it.
Parking was a bit difficult. The lot they suggested is only like 5 spots and it's around the back of the place. We drove a bit down and parked in some back lot (that we're not even sure if we were allowed to park there, but seeing as how the places near it were closed we decided to chance it) then walked the short block to the restaurant.
The place itself is as I said small. At most it might hold 30-40 people. When we got there, there were people waiting for tables but since there was only two of us, the wait wasn't long, just a couple minutes. First thing you notice upon entering is the smell of spices and delicious foods. There looked to be about 4 waitresses but only about 2 walking around at a time. Service is kinda slow (we didn't get a single refill on our waters, and it took about 25 minutes to get some to go boxes and the check) but the food totally makes up for it. Absolutely delicious! And reasonably priced.
Cafe Maharani allows patrons to bring their own alcoholic drink but they charge $1.50 (I think per bottle). It might be worth it to some. And there is a Star Market literally across the street if that's what you want to do.
We look forward to going back and trying the other items, though I think if we were going to order foods we were already familiar with, we just might do to-go instead.
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.
the wait may be long but that's only 'cuz it's cooked from scratch! the wait is always well worth it! i love this place! do go @ about 4-5pm when ur not so hungry! lol trust me, by the time ur dinner's ready, u'll be starving! lol enjoy!
My husband and I went here for dinner with another couple for a date night. We didn't wait more than 10 minutes on a Saturday night. Our waiter was friendly and our vegetarian stuffed Naan bread appetizer came out after about 15 minutes. We were shocked to see how big it was. We shared it amongst the four of us and still had leftovers. We each ordered an entree, not realizing how much food comes out--each entree was around $12-$16 but it was all amazing! From the regular Naan to the sauces to the cashews and cardamom, to the saffron infused rice it was like a beautiful symphony of spices with every dish. I had the chicken masala which 3 weeks later I am still craving!
Wow, talk about authentic!!! The food is superb, the service however was decent at best (just hope you aren't greeted by the old woman - she never spoke to me once until she had a table ready). Seriously though, I spent 3 yrs in the Middle East and the food served here was as good as it gets. If you have a lot of time to kill, eating in is an option but be prepared to wait as they only have about 12 tables total (I waited 10 mins at 6pm on a Saturday night), I'd recommend take out instead as it's too cramped in my opinion. The restaurant is cozy with bright reds, golds and Indian decor with lots of sparkly stuff. Oh, before I forgot, the portions are VERY large. I ordered 2 kebab plates (Chicken Tikka and Boti Lamb), Yellow Rice and extra Naan bread (2 pieces come with each plate + I ordered another order) and it's enough to feed 4 people easy. Enjoy your meal.
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