Starting over

Downtown Indian Restaurant Rebrands, Overhauls Menu

Healthy Café is now India Café, and it has a new, more traditional Indian menu.

By Cooper Levey-Baker September 4, 2020

Clockwise from bottom left: India Café's lamb curry "lunch box," medu vada and paratha

Healthy Café debuted last year with an interesting Indian twist on the fast casual bowl trend, but now the restaurant is going in a different, more traditional Indian direction, and it has a new name, as well. The restaurant is now known as India Café.

The new menu includes a range of dishes from across the Indian subcontinent, with a long list of curry and biryani options, plus breads like naan and paratha, soups, and snacks like samosas and pakoras. It's also offering themed weekend specials, such as Indian breakfast items or Indo-Chinese mashups.

Like its predecessor, India Café is a solid lunch option, with "lunch box" combos that cost $9-$12 and can be ordered online. (The restaurant is only offering takeout and delivery right now because of the Covid-19 pandemic.) A typical box contains a main item, such as chana masala or chicken or lamb curry, plus lemon or brown rice, vegetable sides and a piece of naan. The lamb curry is rich and filling, but the real revelation here is a side of simmered chickpeas—fantastic. The lemon rice, meanwhile, acts as a bright, fruity counterpoint.

I love any restaurant that contains a whole section devoted to bread, and India Café's carb options are quite tasty. The naan is the perfect vessel for sopping up the remnants of the rest of your lunch, but try the paratha, too. It's made with whole wheat, and has more of a toasted, nutty flavor. You can order it plain ($2.50) or stuffed with potatoes ($2.95) or paneer ($3.95).

The appetizer section also has some choice options. An order of medu vada ($5.95) comes with three savory doughnuts made from chickpeas. They're not super-crispy, but they possess a nice spice, and taste great dunked in a light chutney served on the side.

I'll miss Healthy Café's bowls, but India Café is a welcome addition to downtown, and the restaurant's cuisine works well in the new Covid-19 era of takeout and delivery. If you enjoy Indian food, you'll find something here to like.

India Café is located at 1987 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota. For more info, call (941) 552-9293 or visit the restaurant's website.

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