It's tough to find a restaurant that's 100% vegetarian, but when in doubt, look for a place that serves authentic Indian food. Why? India has the highest population of vegetarians worldwide.
Find out what we ordered after the jump...
Dosa are a popular South Indian street food. The huge, thin, crepe-like shell is made from rice flour, and it's stuffed with a wide variety of options. Woodlands offers 14 types of dosa, and while it took a while to pick one, we settled on the Woodlands Spring Dosa, stuffed with vegetables and hot chutney. The mix of potatoes, onions, carrots, tomatoes, and cilantro was light yet filling, and our server suggested enjoying it with coconut chutney, which added a sweet note to the rich flavor profile.
No Indian restaurant would be complete without curry, and Woodlands offers 9 different types, and no, the Anglicized tikka masala isn't one of them. For something a little different than the usual dhal or vegetarian curries, we tried the Gobi Manchurian, described on the menu as "cauliflower marinated with flour & sautéed with garlic, ginger, chili, and soy sauce." But it is so much more than that. Gobi simply means cauliflower, but these veggies were served as little fritters in a savory-sweet sauce. As the name "Manchurian" implies, this curry is an Indian riff on Chinese food. The sauce is a lot like the sweet red glazes found in Chinese restaurants, but this curry definitely had an Indian twist with the cauliflower, cilantro, and basmati rice. This was the least spicy item that we ordered, which means it's about a 3 out of 10.
Be careful to know that almost everything in Woodlands will have a bit of heat, but the best part about South Indian cuisine is that they skillfully add the heat without ever sacrificing flavor. To balance out the heat, try a Mango Lassi. Milkshake fans will enjoy this yogurt-based drink. It may take a few sips to get used to the tangy flavor, but there's nothing better to cut the heat from the delicious onslaught of spicy food.
Woodlands Vegetarian South Indian Kitchen is located at 4980 W. Ray Rd, Suite 10 in Chandler. They are open for lunch on weekdays from 11-3. For dinner, they're open Monday to Thursday from 5-9:30 and on Friday from 5-10. Visit Saturday from 11-10 and Sunday from 11-9:30. They also cater and can be contacted at 480-820-2249.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.