Shivalik Indian Cuisine specializes in Tandoori and Indian Curries.

People who vacation in Hawaii frequently return to Kauai may not know about Shivalik. The island has been void of Indian restaurants for decades. Shvalik is one of two that opened this year and one of my favorite places to eat. My husband Dan likes it a lot also, he is a spice lover and here he can get a super spicy chicken vindaloo.

“We are North Indian cooking,” says restaurant Manager Bahadur “Bob” Thakur with a thick accent; he is from a small town close to Punjab, in the Northwestern tip of India. “We make mostly curries, bread, different rice flavors and Tandoori.”

Tandoor is an Indian clay oven traditionally fueled by charcoal, but Shivalik uses a gas Tandoor to minimize pollution and adds wood for a smoky flavor. Chicken and fish marinate overnight before the Tandoori chef roasts them to order at 400 degrees. His calloused hands deftly reach inside to stick naan – a yeasted flatbread – to the oven’s wall before peeling it off a minute later.

Thakur recommends that folks new to Indian food try the all-you-can-eat buffet. “There are a lot of choices; rice, bread, curries and nothing is hot. Everything on the buffet is mild.” Adding “that is why we have the buffet, so people can try our food and not be afraid of the heat in our dishes.”

The lunch and dinner buffet offer at least ten options including two meats dishes. “The rest is vegetarian plus naan and dessert.” Thakur proudly says. It’s a great deal, the lunch buffet is $13.95 and the dinner buffet, with more choices is $16.95. He happily adds “Last month we got our liquor license so now we have a full bar.”

Since Dan and I frequent Shivalik, we order off the menu. After the meal, we are happily full. Warm spices linger on my tongue, a reminder of the complex flavors we enjoyed, a testament to North India’s flavorful food. “We have a nice atmosphere, it’s air-conditioned and quiet, good food, good prices and good service.” Thakur says. A perfect place for the hungry traveler!

(Vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options are available.)

Photos by Dan Lane

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