In Quest For Real Indian Food in Berlin
Nestled a few blocks north of Wilmersdorfer Arcaden is a small Indian restaurant named Himalaya. To arrive there one heads north on Wilmersdorferstraße. Two blocks past Bismarckstraße is Thrasoltstraße. On the corner resides this little square of Indian heaven. The details of the restaurant, such as how long it has been there or does it specialize more in Northern or Southern Indian cuisine, will remain a mystery as no one at the restaurant can answer these questions in either German or English. However, the full flavors, fresh ingredients and cheerful atmosphere will satisfy any appetite. Is it the best Indian food in Berlin? It couldn’t be said that it isn’t!
Himalaya is frequently at capacity. If you happen to enter at a time when it is empty be assured that it will fill while you are dining. At lunch and especially in fine weather, the shaded sidewalk tables are fully occupied and in the evening the restaurant is indeed quite busy. Many locals order takeout, and the kitchen, which can be seen from the dining room, is bustling. The food arrives hot and steaming, watch your fingers if you are reaching for the delightfully stretchy Naan bread! Each dish, whether it be an appetizer of a main course comes with a small side salad. The vegetables are cool and crisp with a tangy tamarind dressing and a cool mint sauce drizzled on the sliced carrots and cucumber. The main courses consist of vegetarian, chicken or lamb courses. The sauces are pungent, smooth and/or spicy.
If you ask the server to make it spicy, and emphasize that you really would like it spicy, you will get a very spicy, hot dish. The flavors are clean and delicious. The rice is fluffy and is just the right amount. It would be rare if you had to ask for an extra serving. Along with each main dish they bring Indian bread (Bathura) that is scrumptious. All the dishes deserve mentioning, and the Vindaloo sauce is certainly one of the best and with its blend of flavors you will be cleaning the plate. If you still have room, finish the meal with a mango lassi; it is fresh and rich and will cool the fire that may still be burning on your palate. They have Indian as well as domestic beer and wine.
The decor is warm and welcoming with an Om painted on the wall. There are large Indian paintings and a few colorful, decorative umbrellas. With only two compact rooms the dining space is small but clean and welcoming, the chairs are comfortable and the tables have four legs, so you are not fighting with a center pole for foot space. With delectable currents of curry wafting through the air, your nose is treated and primed for what is to come. The prices for the main courses are less than 10 euros and the portions are generous and the staff is friendly and helpful.
At Himalaya you are free to dine at as leisurely a pace as you wish, sipping drinks, savoring appetizers and drawing out the dinner to make it an evening. However, the service is efficient and you can also request that the food be served quickly so you can make the show. There are frequently lone diners, sipping coffee and enjoying the culinary treats. Of course, as in most restaurants in Germany, your four footed family member is always welcome.
Himalaya Indisches Restaurant, Thrasoltstraße 12, Charlottenburg. Telephone 030 2461506. Hours of operation: Monday thru Saturday 12:00 to 22:00, Sundays 16:00 to 22:00.
By Sasha Prince.
Photos Doug Prince.