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Saravana Palace - Primarily Southern-Indian Vegetarian on Lee Highway, Western Fairfax

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We stopped off for dinner here last night prior to the Van Morrison show. The menu is pretty interesting. In addition to the variety of vegetarian curries, dosas, uthappams, and rice dishes, they also have an "Indo-Chinese" menu - Chinese food done Indian style. We ordered two dishes off this part of the menu - the hot and sour soup, which was thinner and less vinegary than the typical Chinese style, but with the addition of more vegetables like carrots and cauliflower and a rather large amount of chili oil; and the Gobi Manchurian, which is comparable to a General Tso's (insert ingredient here), except not as sweet or gloopy. I'm a big fan of cauliflower in general, but this was particularly good.

We also tried the assorted appetizer platter (pakoras, samosa, and a couple of lentil-based donutty things which don't appear on the online menu and which I can't remember the name of), and the paneer butter masala, as well as the zeera rice (basmati with cumin and mixed vegetables). All were worth ordering again, although if you're planning to try a number of dishes I'd stay away from the lentil donut things - they're pretty filling.

The dosas also look spectacular. We saw one that had to be 3 feet long being delivered to another table, which I hope was one of the ones they list on the menu as "extra long," otherwise I'm going to have to plan on fasting for a couple of days before our next visit.

Saravana Palace is about a mile and a half north of Fairfax County Parkway on Rt. 29 - if you're using Google for directions, the road name it gives for the final turn is incorrect. Instead of McKenzie Dr., it should be Robinson Hall Dr.

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Saravana Palace is about a mile and a half north of Fairfax County Parkway on Rt. 29

Actually it's less than a mile east of Fairfax County Parkway on Rt. 29. Relatively close to the Fairfax Wegmann's, a block or two west of the intersection of Monument and Lee Highway, actually, but on the other side of Lee Highway.

That's a newish shopping center, glad to see there's an interesting place there.

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The mile and a half (actually 1.3 miles) is straight from the Google maps directions, and seemed to be pretty accurate (although I'm willing to dock them a tenth since the road name was wrong.)

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We enjoyed Saravana Palace last night for dinner. It has a casual atmosphere, and there were families with young children/babies. It's all vegetarian, website with menu here. We ordered the assorted appetizer platter -- I liked the samosa and vegetable cutlet the best. I was particularly interested to try an Indo-Chinese dish so I ordered the vegetable manchurian (mixed vegetable fritters in corn flour in spicy manchurian sauce). The deep fried fritters had bits of zucchini, carrot, and possibly other vegetables, and the fritters were lightly crispy on the outside with a mashed potato-like texture on the inside. The sauce had a touch of ginger and generous amounts of chili pepper and chopped onions. I really liked this dish -- I thought the balance of flavors weighed more towards Indian than Chinese. My husband ordered a paneer dish from the Indian portion of the menu that he liked. We also ordered the vegetable biryani which was light on the vegetables and just ok, and the peas paratha (bread). Dinner was inexpensive -- for the appetizer platter, two entrees, biryani, bread, and two soft drinks, the total was a little less than $40 before tip. Service was efficient and friendly. If we lived closer, we'd go back often to try more dishes from the extensive menu.

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We live east of DC and usually go to Woodlands, but we were in the neighborhood and just loved Saravana Palace. Interesting, we got things we don't often like, and the utthapam in yogurt sauce was just amazing. I had a dosai with whole chili's, fresh curd cheese, fresh spices and herbs, and a lot of onion and garlic-- very tasty. Good value as well. We hope to be back!

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Saravana (south indian) for sunday buffet. The best masala dosas I've had. Really amazing. Rice sucked. Are any indian places using quality basmati anymore? I don't think this was basmati. Pakoras were excellent. Lentils was really good and the turnips were excellents.

99% indian clientle, the spice level was turned up more for indian palet and the food for the most part was really good. One interesting thing was when a dish was finished, they replaced it with a different one. So we got to try more than the dishes that were on the buffet. The dessert variety was good. They also had this one items, don't know what its called but I saw anthony bordain eating it in the bombay NRs. A mixture of crispy fried stuff with some veggies. Looked pretty interesting but by the time I went through the buffet 3 times, I just couldn't...

I would recommend... Didn't even miss the meat. If I was vegitarian, I would have to go indian.

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I had a disappointing D10 Rava Masala Dosa ($9.50) today at Saravana Palace. The crepe itself was decent, slightly undergriddled, but acceptable; the problem was the potato and onion curry filling, which was brutally laden with raw onion. They actually have a raw-onion dosa on the menu (D9 Onion Rava Dosa, $7.95), which is described as a "rava dosa filled with minced raw onions." But for the one I ordered, I was really expecting the onions to be cooked and integrated into the curry. Forgive me, Woodlands.

Cheers,

Rocks

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Saravana (south indian) for sunday buffet. The best masala dosas I've had. Really amazing. Rice sucked. Are any indian places using quality basmati anymore? I don't think this was basmati. Pakoras were excellent. Lentils was really good and the turnips were excellents.

99% indian clientle, the spice level was turned up more for indian palet and the food for the most part was really good. One interesting thing was when a dish was finished, they replaced it with a different one. So we got to try more than the dishes that were on the buffet. The dessert variety was good. They also had this one items, don't know what its called but I saw anthony bordain eating it in the bombay NRs. A mixture of crispy fried stuff with some veggies. Looked pretty interesting but by the time I went through the buffet 3 times, I just couldn't...

I would recommend... Didn't even miss the meat. If I was vegitarian, I would have to go indian.

My family enjoys Sarvana Palace, though we invariably get just the dosas. Never tried the rice there but did have a comment about basmati.

Basmati rice is more popular in North India. In the South they tend to favor the ' par boiled' rice which does not have the polished grain or the aroma that Basmati has but the par boiled rice tends to absorb / soak up the sauces much better.

Interestingly I attended an Indian cooking class by famous chef/auther Julie Sahni at Sur la Table and was surprised that she propogated jamine rice instead of bamati with the curries she was dishing out, perhaps for the same reason.

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My family enjoys Sarvana Palace, though we invariably get just the dosas. Never tried the rice there but did have a comment about basmati.

Basmati rice is more popular in North India. In the South they tend to favor the ' par boiled' rice which does not have the polished grain or the aroma that Basmati has but the par boiled rice tends to absorb / soak up the sauces much better.

Interestingly I attended an Indian cooking class by famous chef/auther Julie Sahni at Sur la Table and was surprised that she propogated jamine rice instead of bamati with the curries she was dishing out, perhaps for the same reason.

I totally agree and would extend this to even some northern portions of india. My family is more northern (gujarat and bengal) than southern and we rarely use basmati, not because of cost or availability, but mostly because that for many dishes, it doesn't go as well as say jasmine, kaljira, or dheradhun would. in my opinion, basmati is best for pilafs/pullaos and things that are rather dry and don't integrate with rice much, like chicken tikka, or very watery, like a very thin rasam or osamun. for other things, dals, any veg. with a sauce, the other rices really work better, partially for the reason noted above, that they soak up the flavors better, and also just because the flavor of say jasmine just matches the food much better.

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Had the buffet lunch here today and it was well worth the $7.95 price tag. After I finished my first plate they brought out a fresh potato and sauted onion dosa which was very good. The selection was much better than other Indian buffets that I have been to, although one does have to realize that his is a vegetarian only place. I should have done better to remember all that was available. The fried jalepenos stuffed with a sesame and peanut puree were spicy and addictive.

I am surprised that it has been so long since the last comment. I do have to remember that this place is here and come more frequently.

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I had the buffet lunch this past Saturday (coupled with a trip to the nearby Wegmann's).  I wasn't thinking about posting here when I ate so I didn't take mental notes on the meal.  The last post on this thread was 3 years ago, though, so I thought I should post something, even though it's low on detail.

I liked the large selection on the buffet of Indian and some Indo-Chinese dishes (including noodles, broccoli).  Remember this is all vegetarian.  Someone also came by all the tables to pass out plates of smaller-sized masala dosas.

While I generally enjoyed my meal, I was disappointed that the dishes were not that spicy, including the soup that was specifically labeled as being spicy.  Nice friendly service.

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While I generally enjoyed my meal, I was disappointed that the dishes were not that spicy, including the soup that was specifically labeled as being spicy.  Nice friendly service.

Wonder if it was an off day or something as I have had some spicy dishes there, even ones that were not labeled as such. Overall the food is very good and this reminds me that I should get back there.

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