Shalimar of India

546 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139

“I don’t think that I’ve ever been to an Indian restaurant until I came to Boston,” I’ve heard many of my friends say. It’s almost true for me—I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve tried Indian food in Pittsburgh. Boston seems to be alive with Indian eateries, and while we walked down Massachusetts Avenue, it took less than 10 minutes for me and my floormates to come across one named Shalimar.

The dinner menu had entrees in the $12-$14 range, but we came for lunch, for which the restaurant had a $8.95 all-you-can-eat lunch buffet. With more artwork on the walls than people at the tables, the spacious restaurant was sparsely filled at the time. The buffet was not extensive, but had various options, including vegetarian and gluten-free items.

I sampled the chicken tikka masala, the chole (chickpeas), and the beef vindaloo, along with some rice and naan (flatbread). Nicely toasted and warm, the naan paired well with the items I tried and it had a wonderful consistency. The chicken tikka masala had a noticeably strong tomato flavor, and because it was not spicy at all, it almost tasted like a thick, chicken tomato soup. Nevertheless, the chicken had a bold flavor that paired well with the neutral white rice.

The beef vindaloo, on the other hand, was quite spicy. I usually don’t mind spicy foods, but this beef dish took me slightly aback because I tasted it right after I tried the mild tikka masala. In terms of temperature, the vindaloo was also significantly hotter than the tikka masala, and so I would have appreciated a slightly more consistent hotness level for both temperature and spiciness. The beef was tangy, and had a boldly unique flavor that again paired well with the neutral rice and naan.

With strong flavors and a wide selection of food, I was pleased with Shalimar. The extremely reasonable lunch buffet price will certainly take me back to this Indian restaurant again sometime in the future. 7.5/10