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You can smell the spices, tandoori baked breads and savory, coconut curry sauce three floors down from Samrat's. The 17-year-old family-owned Indian restaurant serves authentic Indian cuisine seven days a week. Its quaint 15-table dining room is ideal for rich, spicy flavors on a cold Syracuse day. 

When to go: Make a lunch date to visit Samrat's buffet Monday-Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. At $9 it's the cheapest way to sample the most flavors on the menu. Dinners are more expensive at $12 to $15 an entree but you get more variety with a 76-item menu. Bottom line: Eat a light breakfast and visit the buffet. Just tread with caution, as self-restraint may fall victim to the flat breads and succulent sauces.

Blue Plate Special: To start, try the tomato soup. It's not your average Campbell's. They've kicked it up with Indian curry flavors and spices. The Mango Lassi is a smooth, sweet yogurt drink that goes well with most dishes. For the main course, it's hard not to try the favorite: Chicken Tikka Masala, chicken in a creamy butter and coconut sauce with tomato and fresh spices. A delicious vegetarian option: Navrattan Korma, nine vegetables marinated in yogurt and cooked in cream and an Indian spice blend. Bottom line: You can't go wrong with savory sauces, chicken, lamb and vegetables. Almost any combination is a safe bet.

The Scene: Samrat's a favorite for members of Syracuse's Indian community as well as SU students, professors and area-professionals. Those who have discovered the third-floor restaurant across from CVS tend to become regulars within the restaurant's pink walls. Owners and wait staff hail from northwestern India and know the cuisine as well as their regular customers. Bottom line: It's a welcoming, comfortable escape from those commercial, quick eats on Marshall Street.

On Tap: Samrat has a newly acquired small list of bottled beers and glasses of wine. Not much variety but it's available for those who need a Merlot to wash down their Masala. Bottom line: The spices are intoxicating enough. Skip the booze. Save room for the Mango Lassi.

The Deets: Accepts credit cards for bills more than $10. Available for catering, birthdays and wedding parties. Vegetarian and non-vegetarion options as well as a list of naan breads, desserts, beer and wine. Not wheelchair accessible. Bottom line: If you find this third-floor nook in the wall, there's a good chance you'll be back for more.


701 S Crouse Ave #2
Syracuse, NY 13210
(315) 479-6051

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