Gandhi Mahal

Twin Cities, Minnesota


Image for vaxjo

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Service was friendly, if a bit of a mess. Despite the numerous reviews here indicating their white rice is cooked in butter, our waitress insisted this was not the case. Her credibility is suspect, however, as she tried to insist that canola oil was not vegan.

The food (samosas, dewani handi bajee) was pretty good, if a bit heavy on the oil.

Image for Dave Rolsky

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I'm not sure why this place is so highly rated, or why it won Best Indian from the City Pages this year (2012).

I've eaten here a couple times and found it largely mediocre. I've tried samosas, onion bhujia, chana masala, and tofu jalfrezi. Basically everything was a little flat-tasting. The samosas needed more spice. The bhujia was balls of breading around onion, rather than batter-fried onion which I expected. There was way too much breading, so it ended up dry and mealy. The chole peshawari and tofu jalfrezi were both heavy on spices, but it seemed like too much of the wrong ones. The food tasted too earthy for my palate. It really needed more tomato or something else sour as contrast.

I did love the onion chutney they give you with the pappadum when you sit down. The tamarind chutney, on the other hand, was weak, and the second time I went it was more like tamarind water.

The service was always friendly, though the first time I went they served us white rice (which I ate not realizing it had butter) even after we'd asked what was vegan.

Overall, it was all okay but not great, and I don't think I'd go back.

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While I do find the name of this restaurant strange, considering Gandhi's views on consuming animals, the atmosphere is warm and a little exotic in an interesting way and the waitress really knew her stuff. She was very aware of what was vegan and was upfront about it. My date and I shared one dish, the vegetarian vegetable curry and it was plenty for two people. With one entree and two drinks, the bill was only $17. The food was also perfectly seasoned and presented in a beautiful way. There was live Indian music. It was a lovely experience and I'd go there again, although it would have been nice to have a vegan option for dessert because I have a serious sweet tooth.

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I ate here last night with some friends ,and wowserzzz!! The vegetarian Gandhi Thali is their big deal item--a huge platter served "thali" style, which is Indian for finger food. The platter fed three people for 23 bucks, and had five samples of vegetarian entree's, served with nan bread.

The vegetarian pakora were fresh, and appeared to be cooked minutes before I came in, unlike some Indian joints where you get lumps of grease soaked store bought vegetables that may or may not be fresh. The chutney was average though, just the usual tamarind, onion, and cilantro/chile sauces.
The badami lassi was made fresh, and off set the spice in my dish perfectly.

Overall, I was thoroughly impressed with the menu, and found it an interesting place. I don't know a lot about Gandhi other than that he was the precursor to the peaceful resistance movements of Martin Luther King Jr., and others who brought people of different beliefs together--just like our table-- but the atmosphere was definitely relaxed, conversational, and romantic, with sari's on the walls and lots of curtains( I loved the table clothes--vivid elephant patterns, colorful Indian fabrics). I will be going here again, next time for the "Bollywood jana" spice, which the waiter said had more heat than the tandoori oven;-)

Image for conde.kedar

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"To my mind the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body. I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to the protection by man from the cruelty of man." Mohandas K. Gandhi, The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism

Gandhi, the father of India, the anti-colonial revolutionary who overthrew an empire and helped create the world’s largest democracy, was a vegetarian. When he was a young man, he struggled with his food choices, especially when he went to London to study law in 1888. After continuous soul-searching and no end of personal and cultural obstacles, he not only amazingly remained vegetarian in meat-heavy Victorian England, but went on to play a prominent role in The Vegetarian Society in London, and became an ardent vegetarian spokesman until his death in 1948. Aside from the above quotation, he also stated, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

Had the owners of Gandhi Mahal Restaurant cared to read Gandhi's autobiography, which the restaurant displays prominently when you walk through the front door, they might not have chosen to use his name and visage for their establishment.

Had the owners cared to read Gandhi’s treatise, The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism, they might not have chosen to serve meat, and to use his familiar, smiling face to brand their business.

If the owners had any respect for Hindus, Jains and Indian Buddhists, they would not have chosen to serve meat, and especially not beef, in their restaurant.

Then, appallingly, the restaurant has the sheer disrespect and gall to state on their menu that they are “dedicated to the principles that Mahatma Gandhi advocated in his lifetime. Gandhi lived a life of satyagraha, peace, voluntary simplicity, and an end to discrimination against people.”

Conveniently, they don’t mention his vegetarian principles, lest it conflict with their business model.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so appalled and angered by a restaurant in my entire life. For the record, I am Indian-American, and a vegan. Though I was born in the US, I have a deep admiration for Gandhi. And, while I prefer vegetarian Indian restaurants, I am not opposed to non-veg. Indian restaurants in principle. As such, I came to Gandhi Mahal with an open mind. I read all the previous reviews on Yelp and which spoke highly of the food and of the service.

But I found the food to be passable at best, with nothing special going for it. We couldn’t order some dishes because they could not be modified to exclude dairy products (ghee/butter/cream/yogurt are commonly used in North Indian cooking), which I found questionable, as I’ve lived in India and know you can make any dish vegan if you have a good, creative chef (which Gandhi Mahal does not have).

So, after asking a lot of questions about ingredients, we ended up with two dishes and an appetizer. Our “eggplant pakora” appetizer was decent, but nothing I’ll remember tomorrow. Our “Alu Begun” (potatoes and eggplant) curry was okay, but used bland, industrial-grade vegetables bought from any generic supermarket. The “Vegetable Kahari” suffered from the same issue and had strange spices that tasted wrong somehow. The main dishes were both oily and heavy, which I’ve come to expect at North Indian restaurants in the US, but is disappointing and tiresome nevertheless.

The service was all over the place. We seemed to have three different waiters, all of whom were friendly, but not particularly attentive. The service wasn’t fast by any means nor was it special. At the end of the meal, they gave each of us a gigantic wet paper napkin to clean our hands, which was wasteful not only because of the paper material, but also the sheer size of the napkin, which was more like a hand towel. In a traditional Indian restaurant, you would be served a finger-bowl with lukewarm lemon water, not an environmentally-destructive piece of paper. At least they could have given us something made of cloth instead?

If you’re looking for good Indian food, go to The Vegetarian or Nala Pak instead, both of which label their vegan dishes. If you’re looking for fresh, light, innovative and Indian-esque food, check out the wonderful Nepalese restaurants, The Himalayan or Namaste Café (both of which serve meat, but have excellent vegan food as well).

Gandhi Mahal not only spits on the memory and philosophy of India’s first and foremost citizen, and one of humanity’s great spiritual and political leaders, but it serves mediocre food to boot.

Image for Unny Nambudiripad

rating star

The food was tasty and the service and prices were reasonable. I didn't understand why we seemed to have multiple servers. I might go back here.

They named the restaurant after Mahatma Gandhi, and prominently display his image. However, the serve meat, which seems to insult the memory of a strident and outspoken vegetarian.

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This is our new favorite restaurant in the Twin Cities area, and is definately one of our favorite restaurants ever! We are vegan and from New York City, and have lived and traveled many places. We have had amazing Indian food. Gandhi Mahal is one of the best restaurants we have ever been to. Everything about it is fabulous. It is beautifully decorated, the service is gracious, and the food is beyond delicious. They are extremely vegan friendly. We had the mulligatawney soup (the best anywhere we ever had)which came with papadam and the three relishes, the banana pakora (which we have not had since leaving NY), the chole peshawari (medium heat) with basmati rice, the flavors I cannot begin to describe, and great poori. The portions are generous, the price is good. They even brought out a dessert with a candle (though not vegan) because we had a birthday! So sweet! You must must must eat here! We love it and so will you!

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The Service was Old World. They greeted you when you came in, watched and anticipated your needs (without interfering with you). This is what all locations should have for service.

Now about the food, it was served with precision. The appetizers were delivered quickly, then at just the right moment the main course was not only delivered, but actually served.


Great atomshpere, great service and great food. What more could you ask for!! Wait your right, you could ask for fair pricing, well, for the quality of service and the quality of the food, the prices were a steal.

So, do yourself a favor, your family & friends a good turn, take them to this location, it is worth the time & money.

(and no, I do not work for them!, We were wanting a good Indian resturant and took a chance on this one, so why not you do the same.)

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