Daawat Authentic East Indian Cuisine – Edmonton, Alberta

Daawat Authentic East Indian Cuisine
10015-82 Ave
780.469.3517
Daawat (Whyte Ave.) Authentic East Indian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Another holiday season get together, only this time for Indian. Located on the east side of Whyte Ave, just west of Luzzara, and across from Furusato, you’ll find the south location of Daawat Authentic East Indian Cuisine. A favourite of many locals, and one that receives plenty of good word on Twitter, Sarah and I headed down last week to meet up with LA and JD.

Growing up in a 5 o’clock supper household, I can safely say I was very hungry when we rolled in for our 7:30 reservation. Finding our dining partners already in place, we sat in the low, cushy booths and had a look around. It was packed. With the buffet in full swing, people were everywhere. Not bad if you want that sort of thing, but I’ve had enough experience now to know that picking off the menu at an Indian restaurant is the real deal breaker. Plus, with LA and JD not meat eaters, it was easier to pick through the selections and hopefully find some treasures.

With it being a regular stop for LA and JD, we let them control the food selections. Only a few minutes in and it was clear they were a little worried about what to pick for the larger group (hey everyone’s got their favourites), so Sarah and I grabbed the menu and looked for a few choices. Hey is that Chef Boyardee on the menu? I like that the menu was broken down into specialties; Rice Specializes, Veg Specialties, Chicken Specialties etc.. This allowed us to stay focused and made the ordering a lot easier. On that note, does anyone else get confused when you order Indian. Half of the descriptions sound the same, but the ingredients are in a slightly different order “chickpeas, tomatoes and cumin in a rich sauce…a rich tomato sauce with chickpeas and cumin.” So similar but so different.

For something to snack on while we waited for our food; Papadumsroasted crispy pancakes made from lentils, lightly spiced, served with dip. The papadums were good, more cracker-like than pancake, while the green dip was thin and hot. I wonder if I can get this sauce somewhere. With plenty of great conversation, it only seemed like moments had passed before we started to see our mains arrive. Saffron Ricebasmati rice cooked with saffron, Veg. Jalfazielarge chopped vegetables sauteed in herbs and spices, Chana Masalachickpeas cooked with ground cumin, onions and tomatoes, Dal Maharaniwhole black lentils cooked overnight with onions, tomatoes, butter and Indian spices, Kadai Paneerhomemade cheese cooked in a tomato based curry with green pepper and onions.

We also grabbed a few orders of Plain Naanfresh leavened white bread baked in a clay oven, which they were kind enough to bring out over the meal as our server wanted to make sure we weren’t eating cold naan by the end. We debated over the heat levels, and eventually left it up to the staff to make the decision whether the dishes should come out medium or hot. As the plates arrived, you could see a red chili’s sitting in the mix, so there was a definite visual different. We soon found the Chana Masala and Dal Maharani at medium, with the Kadai Paneer and Veg. Jalfazie a notch up at hot. Not a bad mix.

I’d have to say the creamy Dal Maharani was probably my least favourite of the dishes, which still says a lot, as we happily consumed every dish. There is just something about a heavy sauce that, when compared with say, the Kadai Paneer, doesn’t work as well for me. As well, I don’t recommend eating any of the red chili’s. Let’s just say my head was like a sprinkler! Good thing we had the Veg Raitahomemade Yogurt mixed with crushed cucumbers and special blend of spices to cool me down! As we neared the end of our dishes, we decided to order more. I had to laugh at this point, as our server likened us to hungry hungry hippos.

We did see our first big gap in service at this point and I wonder if it had to do with staff clearing the buffet. I know it gets busy, but our refills of beverages and so forth seemed to drag a bit longer than any of us would have like. After some arm waving/flagging down, we were moving our food train in the forward direction again. Round two included another order of Saffron Rice, Naan, Dal MasoorRed lentils mildly spiced, cooked in tomatoes, cumin seeds and onions and Bhindi MasalaFresh okra cooked with tomatoes, potatoes and spices. The Dal Masoor was a nice change, and something I would order before the Dal Maharani, while the Bhindi Masala dish suffered from a heavy salted hand and had me sucking back glasses of water.

At the end of almost 3 hours, Sarah and I were both stuffed; with good food and great conversation. Not sure what to expect from an all out veggie meal, I can safely say it was wonderful. And as someone who has roots in Mill Woods, I can safely say that Daawat has won me over. Another great restaurant east of the tracks! Thanks LA & JD. I wish you the best this season. It was a pleasure.

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4 thoughts on “Daawat Authentic East Indian Cuisine – Edmonton, Alberta

  1. FYI, this place caters nicely to the gluten-free types as well. I was there recently with one such friend, which we thought would prevent us from enjoying naan bread. Not so. The cook prepared fir us done fresh chick pea flour bread that was quite good. Eat it hot, though. It sort of vaporizes once it gets cool.

    -Jerry

  2. Wondering if the service is a cultural thing, as I’ve experienced a leisurely pace of service at a variety of Indian restaurants throughout the city as well. Mind you, the service isn’t poor – just a bit slower than I’m accustomed to. We were recently at New Asian Village (North Side) and they served the most delicious bread with their Channa Masala (which is my make or break dish when judging Indian restaurants). It was fluffier and lighter than Naan, a definite win for me! I seem to remember them offering a variation of this bread as their version of elephant ears during all the festivals in town this summer. No clue what it’s called, but it’s my recommendation that you try it! We also got some free appetizers, very much more like crackers than anything else, with the same spicy green sauce — I’m sure you could track it down at one of the plethora of stores on 34 Ave.

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  4. Hands down our favorite Indian restaurant, and I swear we’ve eaten at them all by now. The service when we went was phenomenal, the food, oh the veggie korma is my fave, the coconut naan….they even made my picky 6 year old daughter her OWN non-spicy dish of veggies! I can’t rave enough.

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