Dec 23 2012

Indian Raja


This is such a gem in Latvia if you like Asian food. Latvia is so small we don’t really have any exotic restaurants and also historically there has not been much demand for authentic Asian food or even the desire from people to eat it, so you can’t really get good Asian food in Riga (there isn’t a good Chinese restaurant for example), which is why it is such a surprise for me that you can find amazing Indian food in Indian Raja in Riga. I have been going to the original Indian Raja located in the Old town for years, but the original one closed around 4 years ago as it cost them too much to do redecoration of the place (in their website you can still see pictures from the old restaurant), so they moved locations and now instead of being located in the basement of a side street in Old Town, they have a ground floor restaurant next to one of the main churches in Old Town, St Peter's church, so an upgrade in terms of the location (note I did prefer the décor though in the old restaurant as it was more “Indian”). I went to Indian Raja for dinner with my family. Indian Raja serves Indian main courses but note as starters and as soups they also offer Thai and Chinese food, which if I was in any other country I would find it bizarre and think that a restaurant should focus on their own food, but which I really welcome in Latvia, just because you can’t get a good hot and sour soup or tom yam goong in any other place. When we got there we ordered some poppadoms, and they brought us some really nice ones, just like the ones I had in a Michelin star restaurant Trishna a few months ago. The only one of us that had a starter was my brother and he went for a sweet corn and chicken soup, and I tried a bit of it and the only difference between this and a chicken and sweet corn soup that you would have in a Chinese restaurant in London is that in London the soup would be a bit thicker (so they would use more cornflower) but apart from that it was very tasty and nice. The curries that followed and we had ordered were amazing, as good as you would get in a good Indian restaurant in London, without the oil and full of flavour. I ordered a chicken vindaloo (prepared with extra garlic, ginger, pepper, coconut (grated and milk), vinegar, tomatoes and chilies), and it said on the menu it would be very spicy (they gave it 3 chillies out of 3 to mark maximum spiciness on the menu), and as in Latvia people don’t really like and can’t really handle spicy food, I thought this spice level would be ok for me as they were going to exaggerate it on the menu, but it was really spicy, and I usually can take some pretty spicy stuff and here even I had problems, which shows how authentic this place is and that they don’t compromise for the Latvian taste buds. My boyfriend had the Chicken Tikka masala, and that was also extremely good. The rest of the dishes that we had on the table – chicken kebab cooked in the tandori oven, Karahi Chicken (Chicken sautéed with cumin, coriander, capsicum and rich red masala over high flame), prawn vindaloo and also chicken curry – also looked extremely appetising and everyone around the table loved the food (note in case you are wondering why we had so many chicken dishes, the reason is that the next day we were going to cook lamb at home, so we tried to avoid lamb). We had all these dishes with some cucumber raita, garlic naan bread and some plain basmati rice and some yellow rice. And another great thing was that because it was Christmas, the menu said we would be getting a "surprise", and in the end we got a free chocolate mousse as our "surprise", a lovely little touch. It is still such a mystery to me why you can get amazing Indian food in Latvia and not really any other authentic type of cuisine from Asia or Latin America (or even some European countries), but besides this, if you feel like some Indian in Latvia (or some Chinese or Thai soups) this is the place to go, all the cooks are Indian and they cook some amazing authentic dishes.

Date: 23/12/12
Location: Riga
Price for 6 people with alcohol and service charge: LVL 140

Maija rated: 




Indian Raja
Skarnu street 7
Indian Raja Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 3.5