Before my husband dated me, he had never had Indian food in Austin before. Most of his friends were in the same boat. So I like to pride myself on educating multiple born-and-bred Texans on delicious Indian food.
One of the first places we ever went together was G’Raj Mahal. And this was back in the day when it was still a trailer. Do you remember those days? I sure do! I remember ordering at a table and then sitting down at a basic arrangement of tables and chairs, waiting for my food. Now, G’Raj Mahal is an impressive brick-and-mortar restaurant and has been for about two years. My husband’s best friend even had his graduation party at this restaurant; that’s how quickly delicious Indian food spreads.
Many first-timers to Indian food love G’Raj Mahal. The standards I’m setting are high for my third favorite Indian restaurant, I know. But thankfully the taste of the food is worth all the hype. Also, I wasn’t always a fan of G’Raj Mahal. Keep reading below to find out what happened.
So where even is this place?
G’Raj Mahal is located on one of the hippest streets in Austin: Rainey Street. It is near brunch spots, bars, downtown, and Lake Austin. Because it is close to so many busy streets, it is difficult to find parking during peak hours. I find parking a few streets away (by the Holiday Inn or Windsor on the Lake) and then make the walk over to Rainey Street. You’ll probably have to pay to park for most spots. One option is to use their valet parking, offered Thursday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to close.
Even though G’Raj Mahal is authentic Indian food in Austin Texas, this place is always crowded. Literally. I went in at 2 p.m. for a late lunch, and it was crowded. So definitely remember to make a reservation before you go. You can do that here. For large parties (15 people or more), you can make your reservation here.
I’m not sure if this is part of the quirkiness of G’Raj Mahal, but half the servers have a constant RBF. They look very angry, and sometimes I’m a teeny bit scared of them. I’ve never had an awful encounter with them, just slightly rude once, but I’ll pass it off as a bad day.
What was the encounter, you ask? Well, once I ordered the malai kofta, pronounced muh-lie koef-ta (like toe + f + ta). The hostess corrected me and said, “Oh, you mean the mo-lly cough-ta.” I looked at her like, are you seriously correcting an Indian person on how to say an Indian dish? There’s no “cough” in there. But then I took a sip of my mango lassi and let her smart alec (or not-so-smart) remark pass. Whooosaaaaa.
Okay, so I’m not sure what I haven’t had on their menu. As an Indian food fanatic and a vegetarian, I tend to cover my favorite restaurants’ menus pretty thoroughly. Check out G’Raj Mahal’s menu here. If you’ve never been to G’Raj Mahal, I would encourage you to try their pakoras, aloo tikki, or pani puri for starters.
If you’re trying not to eat white grains and only wheat, order their roti. You can supplement the wheat roti with any of the curries. Because I don’t eat meat or much dairy, I usually order a few starters: roti, dahl makhani, and vegetable vindaloo. But their cream dishes are delicious. My favorite ones are the saag (simply incredible), malabar (ughhh mouthwatering), and of course, the tikka masala (all the praise hands emojis). If you’re not familiar with tikka masala, it is the ultimate intro-to-Indian-food dish. It should be a creamy consistency with very flavorful veggies or meat.
Once a long time ago, I ordered the tikka masala from G’Raj Mahal, and it was the wateriest thing I’ve ever seen. I returned it three times until it was correct. Thankfully, they’ve come a long way, and now the consistency is without a doubt perfect. I add paneer to my dishes sometimes. If you’re not familiar, paneer is a very light cottage cheese that soaks up the flavor from the sauce it sits in. Sometimes at home, I substitute tofu for paneer for a healthier alternative.
Order a chai for your post-dinner sweet, and you’ll be set. One of the best meals you’ll have in Austin! G’Raj Mahal is in my top three Indian restaurants in Austin, Texas. You’ll just have to stay posted for number two and number one!
So tell me, have you ever been to G’Raj Mahal? Or have you ever had Indian food before?