Delicious and aromatic Indian cuisine, in an attractive ambiance, is what you’ll get at the Mint Leaf restaurant in Pasadena, and without the parking hassles of Old Town.

Mint Leaf is located in the Altadena/Pasadena area, with the gorgeous San Gabriel Mountains as backdrop. Indoors, it’s a splendid combination of copper ceilings, artful wallpapers, and comfortable and elegant tables.

But what about the food? Every dish on the menu sounds like a winner. Even the house water, infused with mint and cucumbers, is special. I will tell you about four dishes that I’ve tasted. Any of them will guarantee you a scrumptious dinner:

Goan Shrimp Curry – shrimp slowly simmered in a traditional Goan curry sauce made of coconut milk base and flavored with curry leaves and tomatoes – This dish is outstanding! It’s dairy free and superbly flavored. (A plus on the Mint Leaf menu is that dairy, glucose free, and vegan dishes are clearly marked.)

Tandoori Tiger Shrimp – Tiger Shrimp marinated in black pepper, ginger and a special blend of spices, barbequed in a Tandoor oven – Full disclosure, I’m not a fan of dairy, and yet, I couldn’t keep away from eating one of these enormous and delectable Tiger Shrimp that are dipped in yogurt during the cooking process. Fabulous!

Chicken Vindaloo – chicken marinated in traditional ground spices and malt vinegar blend, cooked in a fiery curry and served with potatoes – The meat melts in your mouth. The spices are on point at every bite. This dish is perfect.

Vegetable Biryani – saffron flavored basmati rice and seasonal vegetables slow cooked in a traditional dum puknt – Biryani is one of my favorite Indian dishes and the Mint Leaf’s rice did not disappoint. It has a spice mix that is unique and that I’m sure Chef Jayanta K. Paul guards over carefully.

Add to the above a long list of appetizers, main courses, and desserts, and realize, as I did, that it will take several visits to really know all that the Mint Leaf has to offer.

Santos was my server. He was attentive and humorous even though he was quite busy since the Mint Leaf is popular even mid-week. According to him, the smart thing to do before a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday visit is to call in a reservation.

The Mint Leaf Indian Cuisine restaurant is located at 2535 East Washington Dr., Pasadena CA 91001. For reservations call (626) 460-8776. More information at MintLeafPasadena.com

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