Our friend Ciara's brother was visiting so they proposed to go to Vatan, a well known Indian restaurant in Murray Hill that serves an all-you-can-eat vegetarian menu. I had Vatan on my list for a long time and it did not take too much time for us to accept such a nice invite.
If you walk on 3rd Avenue, you cannot miss the big elephant carved on the facade, but the best is the restaurant itself: spacious with an incredible decor made of traditional paintings and dominated by a big Lord Ganesha in the back. Although there are no windows, they want to give you the feel that you stepped in another world, eating outside, a feel that is even underlined by the huge tree in the middle of the main dining room.
Food wise, it is only vegetarian and all-you-can-eat that, for $34, is a great price for dinner: it includes appetizers, entrees, bread (their puri is fantastic) and desserts with chai (tea). Beverages are not included (of course, I had a mango lassi and Jodi their fresh lime soda) and, if you want, you can order a couple of dishes that are not on their all inclusive menu. In term of spiciness, you can only specify what you prefer (mild, medium or hot) for the entrees, not the appetizers, but these were not that spicy except for one item as well as some sauces that they warned us about.
We had a great dinner at Vatan, with great company and great food, where there was not one single dish that I did not like. I should mention the service that was exceptional, making us feel welcome and ensuring that we had a good experience there. Vatan is definitely a place to know, whether you are vegetarian or non-vegetarian; in fact, I did not mind at all that they did not serve any meat. I would definitely go back but not often, as their menu does not change regularly.
Enjoy (I did)!
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Vatan - 409 3rd Avenue, New York, NY10016