India Palace

We’ve been fans of India Palace for years, but since Bipin Jadav took the helm last year, we can feel even better about what we eat at the restaurant. A physician by trade, Bipin is passionate about serving healthy cuisine. The interior of the restaurant hasn’t changed – you’re still surrounded by a mural painted by local artist Paul LaWrence Curtis – and for that matter, the menu looks exactly the same. It’s the ingredients that make the difference, says Bipin.

India Palace offers an extremely popular daily lunch buffet, but we prefer going for dinner when it’s quieter, and we can order our regular menu favorites like the Vegetable Samosas appetizer. Two large pastries are stuffed with potatoes and peas, and then deep-fried and served with a tangy dipping sauce. We tend to eat family-style at India Palace, and we have several favorite entrées that we share, starting with the creamy, flavorful Lamb Korma. Boneless chunks of marinated, tender lamb are served with a yogurt sauce spiced with curry and herbs. All items can be ordered as mild or as spicy as you prefer, so make sure you specify your preference when ordering. (For vegetarians, the Vegetable Korma features the same sauce with broccoli, carrots, peas and mushrooms taking the place of the lamb.) You can’t go wrong with the Saag Paneer (a perennial Western favorite), which features fresh spinach cooked curry style with homemade Indian cheese, cream and herbs. Order a side of Basmati Rice and Kashmiri Naan (unleavened bread stuffed with raisins and nuts that is particularly complementary to the kormas), and you have a feast for two.

India Palace has a nice selection of Indian beers like Taj Mahal and, our favorite, Kingfisher, which go well with the spicy cuisine. When the weather is especially cold, we forgo the brews and warm our bones with hot chai tea. We are usually too stuffed for dessert, but if we have any room left for a sweet treat, we opt for the Gulab Jamun – airy, fried cheese balls floating in a light syrup scented with cardamom and rose. The fact that we can find such sublime Indian food in small-town Arizona is another reason why we love living in Sedona. – Erika Ayn Finch

India Palace, 1910 W. SR 89A in the Bashas’ shopping center in West Sedona. Open daily, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., for lunch, and 5 to 10 p.m., for dinner. MC, Visa, AmEx, Disc, DC (928-204-2300) (INEXPENSIVE TO MODERATE)

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