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Neela’s Indian Style Cuisine

Author: | posted 07/23/09 | Print This Post Print This Post |

samosa.jpgThink curry with a spray tan and Pradas looking for it’s breakout role and you’ve got the idea behind Neela’s Contemporary Indian Cooking in Napa.

Not your everyday tikka or aspiring saag, former LA chef Neela Paniz (who inspired Southern California diners with her restaurant Bombay Cafe and subsequent cookbook), brings the flavors of her homeland to a higher consciousness.

The spanking-new restaurant in downtown Napa is all about clean lines,
balanced spices, fresh ingredients and an fusion of contemporary
California cuisine with Indian classics — tandoor, curries and
vegetable dish that are both familiar and exotic.

Unlike many local restaurants, Neela’s gets inspiration from both the
rich Moghul meat and milk-based curries of the north (Makhni Tikka,
$16) as well as spicy, mostly vegetarian dishes from the south (Eggplant
Bharta,
$9). Plus a whole lot in-between, like a deconstructed Mattar
Paneer
($12) — farm cheese with tomato coulis and fresh peas or crispy
okra strands seasoned with dried green mango powder
($6).

okra.jpgCan’t miss menu faves: prawn and mango samosa, delicate tilapia in
coconut milk curry (Meen Moili, $20), tandoor chicken and mint rolls and housemade naan
with sesame. At lunch, don’t miss “katoris”, traditional steel lunch
bowls with rice, naan, veggies and chutney. Instead of settling on a
single type of naan, indulge in a bread basket with chapati, onion and
garlic naan for the table ($8). Entree portions are small, and we mean tiny…but surprisingly filling. You’ll likely balk until you fill up, then end up with a backpack-sized doggy bag.

bowlcurry.jpgDesserts range from cayenne chocolate cake to a lush Gajjar Ka Halwa
($8) — a usually treacly mix of carrots and raisins — that is instead
richly infused with cardamom, milk and the natural sweetness of
carrots. All with a well-matched wine list from California and beyond — this is Napa, darlings.

Neela’s Contemporary Indian Cooking, 975 Clinton St., Napa, (707) 226-9988. Neelasnapa.com

Price Check: Dinner for two with two glasses of wine will run you around $70.
(Considerably less if you forgo appetizers and dessert or stick to
vegetarian entrees)
.

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6 Responses

  1. Lori August 5, 2009 at 8:31 pm #

    I ate at Neela’s last weekend and found the food very good. I believe they had a rough start and have gotten over the hump. The service was great and the portions are typical of Indian family style dining. It was very good and an overall nice experience. I will definitely eat at Neela’s again when I visit Napa.

  2. Missy July 27, 2009 at 9:25 pm #

    Please tell me more about Neela’s. The reviews at Yelp are not that great. Small portions, big sizes, and kind of “bland” is what a lot of people are saying. I’m going to try it possibly tomorrow.

  3. Peter July 26, 2009 at 10:22 am #

    “Spray tan and Pradas” doesn’t sound too appetizing to me, but this restaurant looks great!

  4. marilynn July 25, 2009 at 11:06 am #

    anyone know where to get SDoes anyone know where to get squash blossoms? done right they are soooooo good .

  5. Nancy July 24, 2009 at 2:27 pm #

    I ate at Neela’s right after they opened. It’s probably the BEST Indian food I’ve ever had. I wish they had a Sonoma County location!

  6. Susan Mall July 23, 2009 at 4:37 pm #

    I first tasted Neela’s food when she opened a little take-out place on Pico Blvd. in West LA called Chutneys. (1985?) She then went on to open Bombay Cafe, the only restaurant in which I ate so much I thought I would pop…I couldn’t stop!
    I am tickled she has moved up north and can hardly wait to eat there. Thank you for the great review.

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