Lahore Tikka House Trades a Trailer for a Tent

They’re gone. After years of construction delays and flapping tarps, the two trailers that served as a makeshift restaurant have been torn down as the main floor of Lahore Tikka House (1365 Gerrard Street East) opens for business. I was there on the weekend to take a photo to go with my piece on and happened to run into owner Alnoor Sayani, who happily showed me around.

The space directly east of the building where the trailers once stood is now home to a giant tent and patio area. Decorated with saris and colourful fabric as well as thousands of tiny lights, it’s already easy to imagine dining here on a hot summer night. Sayani points out where landscaping is still to be added, as well as a spot out front that will house a fountain. Large glass garage doors on the east side of the building also open up to make the whole indoor space feel like a giant patio.

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Treated Like a King at Udupi Palace

udupiappUdupi Palace
1460 Gerrard Street East
Dinner (no dessert) for two with all taxes, tip and mango lassi (unlicensed): $40

Everyone who visits Little India inevitably has their favourite place to eat. Mine happens to be a chain. Yes, a chain. Udupi Palace has locations in Maryland, Illinois, Seattle, Queens and Mountain View, California to name but a few. All focus on South Indian vegetarian food, and all are located in areas with a concentrated Southeast Asian population.

The Toronto location, smack in the middle of the Gerrard India Bazaar, is a basement space that disconcertingly resembles a banquet hall. Tile floors, granite tables, and trompe l’oeil paintings on the wall combine to make the space feel somewhat cold and stark. It’s freakishly clean to the point of being almost clinical, and while it doesn’t actually smell of bleach, I always have the impression that the whole place is “sanitized for your protection” every evening at closing.

None of that actually matters though, because no one comes here for the ambience. At Udupi Palace, it’s all about the food, and it’s the food that continues to pack people in.

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