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January is the month of new beginnings, resolutions and, for me, food. Basically, I just eat my way through January.
If you’re like me and are looking for a local restaurant with delicious dishes to get you through the winter, try Royal Taj Fine Indian Cuisine in Fresno. The restaurant has been around for a while, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth going to on a compulsive basis. There’s an extensive lunch buffet, for one thing.
Recently, I headed to Royal Taj for dinner with friends after an exciting but futile attempt at an escape room (you can read about my experience last year at Mindgames escape room here).
I’m not a foodie, but I love to eat. I judge all Indian restaurants by their chicken tikka masala, a nice tomato cream chicken dish with a little spice to it. It’s one of those dishes that, when I write about it, or think about it, I want to eat it. (I’m very sad right now because I’m talking about chicken tikka masala and am not eating chicken tikka masala.) If you’ve never ventured to try Indian food before, it’s the dish you should begin with. It’s a dish that makes January awesome, especially with basmati rice and some naan bread.
Of course, one cannot live on chicken tikka masala alone (just kidding, that’s actually a dream of mine), so we also ordered other dishes. I tried the lamb saag, which is a curry sauce-filled lamb dish infused with mustard leaves and other herbs and spices. It’s green. I usually make it a point to avoid both lamb and any meat that’s swimming in green sauce, but in this case I was glad I tried it. The lamb saag ended up being one of my favorite dishes.
We also ordered chicken tandoori which, according to the menu, is cooked “tenderly” in a clay oven. It was actually very tender and flavorful but I’m a fan of spicy sauce, and chicken tandoori is not drowning in sauce. We also ordered a chicken kabob, and it was flavorful with a sausage-like consistency. Although this is getting a little embarrassing, I’ll confess we ALSO ordered a vegetable curry dish. It was good—saucy.
When I go back to Royal Taj, (and I will be back!), I want to try the pakoras and samosas, and maybe even a dessert. Royal Taj has a dessert display, and you can order gulab jaman pastries or mango ice cream.
For those wondering, the service was great when I visited. My water glass was never empty and our server answered all the questions about the menu and allowed us to modify the spice level of certain dishes. My friend ordered a mango lassi to share with her husband and the server brought it to them in two separate cups, which was nice.
If you visit Royal Taj Fine Indian Cuisine
Royal Taj offers catering and delivery as well as the previously mentioned lunch buffet. You can check out their website here for a complete menu. I still consider myself an Indian food newbie, only having discovered it in college (which was super recently BTW), so if you have suggestions on what to order, let me know. In the meantime, I’ll be visiting Royal Taj frequently, getting through the winter with comfort food that has a little kick to it.
Location: 6735 N. First St. (First/Herndon) Fresno, CA 93710
Phone: (559) 443-7246
Cell: (559) 761-9641
Monday-Saturday: 11 a.m.–2:15 p.m., 4:30–9 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m.–3:15 p.m., 5:30–9 p.m.