Edition 20 June 2017, by Sagar Harinarayan
South India boasts of uniquely flavoursome food. No wonder Mr. P Rajagopal decided to create a massive chain of South Indian restaurants for the world to enjoy. Located at Stadhouderskade 123 in Amsterdam, Saravana Bhavan serves food that ought to be tried if you are in the Netherlands. Over time, this brand has evolved leaps and bounds, and is synonymous with ‘home food’ to every Indian residing abroad (especially students).
It is a vegetarian restaurant, and believe me when I say that the flavours are no different from its outlets in Tamil Nadu (a province in south India). A whole assortment of idlis, dosas, uthappams and vadas, served with multiple chutneys and sambhar, is a good way to start of the feast. With the dosa, I would recommend the ghee roast which is not prepared with oil, but ghee (clarified butter). This must be accompanied by a steaming cup of ‘filter coffee’. Of course Netherlands has its own pristine coffee varieties, but this one’s feel is something I cannot express in words.
Moving on to the full meal options, thalis (also referred to as ‘meals’), provide the perfect all in one option. You get limited quantities of various dishes, thus filling your tummy and at the same time, pleasuring your palate. A less known dish that I tried is ‘Adai Avial’, which was every bit as good as that made by mom. So please don’t miss out on it!
Although Saravana Bhavan is recognized as a south Indian restaurant, it has adapted itself to the north Indian cuisine as well, which is indeed the more globalized version of Indian food. So if you wish to have some naan with paneer butter masala, rest assured you will leave satisfied. Additionally, back in India we have our own version of (spicy) Chinese food. If you’re on board for a little experimentation, don’t hesitate in trying some chilly paneer as well! Every time I visited, I was too full to try dessert. But the gulab jamun, I’ve heard, is to die for! There are too many dishes that I have not mentioned, for obvious reasons. The menu is available online, so you can do a bit of research before visiting. Or simply ask an Indian friend. The restaurant is open from 11 am to 10 pm everyday, except on Fridays and Saturdays when it closes at 10.30 pm. Go ahead and enjoy!
1074 AV Amsterdam
T: 020 753 1250
Open 7 days a week: 11.00-22.00 Friday & Saturday open till 22.30