A Lunch Rendezvous At Saravanaa Bhavan

Saravanaa Bhavan

Recently, I was able to visit one of my favorite Indian restaurants, Saravanaa Bhavan in the Murray Hill Map to Saravanaa Bhavanneighborhood of Manhattan. There are so many Indian restaurants in this neighborhood that it is nicknamed, Curry Hill. On a weekday, I met a friend for lunch at Saravanaa Bhavan.  In this neighborhood, most of the restaurants close for a couple of hours in between lunch and dinner service. So I timed our lunch incorrectly, the restaurant was about to shut its doors for the dinner set-up. But we were able to get a table as the last lunch customers before their afternoon closing. Yay!

Why Eat at Saravanaa Bhavan?

I chose Saravanaa Bhavan because it is a vegetarian restaurant and a great place to visit if you haven’t tried Indian food before. I chose a tiffin meal, which is usually a light lunch with a selection of small tastes to try lots of different things. Instead of going by suggestions you can taste everything for yourself. The lunch meals are usually served tiffin style. Traditionally, tiffins are little metal containers used to carry servings of food separately, the pre-plastic Tupperware. But at the restaurant, the plates are sectioned like the tiffins would be. It is usually what someone would make at home and send with a family member to work or school,  in other words, comfort food mainstays.  So it is great to get authentic food and for Indian food newbies.

What Did We Order?

I was super hungry and I ordered the Business meal which consisted of Poori, rice, sambar, dosa, rasam, poriyal, yogurt, papad, pickle and sweet. Ok, you might not know what all those words mean but it’s all good and I couldn’t finish it. The food ranged from mild to spicy, and if you are sensitive to spices the chefs will willingly make the food mild if you ask the waiter. I, however, love spicy food!

Saravanaa Bhavan in NYC
Business Meal

My friend Veziah, who was an Indian food newb asked me to order for her and I selected the Mini Tiffin which is a serving of rava khichadi, mini ghee idlies, mini masala dosa, and sweet. The sweets for both meals were Badam Halwa. She didn’t finish hers either, but she enjoyed her first time at an Indian restaurant.

Saravanaa Bhavan in NYC
Mini Tiffin with a Mango Lassi

Saravanaa Bhavan’s Atmosphere Is Great For Families, Girls Night or A Date

Saravanaa Bhavan in NYCThe restaurant, when I last checked is BYOB which isn’t a concern for me, but I haven’t been to dinner service in years so maybe that has changed. We were seated at a two person table, there were also dining tables of six and four pulled together for larger groups. During the day, the light is bright and inviting but at night it is candlelit and very intimate. The decor is sleek and ivory colored, different to the other brightly colored and festive looking restaurants in the area. The prices are a couple of dollars higher than most of the other vegetarian Indian restaurants in the area but I believe it is because Saravanaa Bhavan is a world-famous chain. But, I think the amount of food given with the lunch special is pretty reasonable. Saravanaa Bhavan is located at 81 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY, 10016.

Are you an Indian food newbie? If you’ve tried it, what is your favorite dish? Where is your go-to Indian restaurant? Tell me everything in the comments and we’ll keep the discussion going.

Rendezvous At Saravanaa Bhavan

Until our next rendezvous…



47 thoughts on “A Lunch Rendezvous At Saravanaa Bhavan

  1. Now I know you would be an ideal lunch companion for me. If I didn’t know what to order, you would help me. Thank you ahead of time. That would be so much fun to have several bits of things for a meal.

  2. I recently found out I LOVE indian food!! I would love to check out all your recommendations. I live in a small town with not a lot of options so when I get a chance to eat something different it is so exciting!! (Yes, I’m a foodie, lol!)

    1. Variety is the spice of life. I love trying new types of food. Now I’m not into bizarre food, but different spices and techniques are all the way up my alley.

  3. We hope to go to New York this summer. I love Indian cuisine, especially vegetarian. So we’d be sure to check this one out for sure.

  4. I recently took an Indian cooking class and fell in love with the cuisine. When I ever get to the big city I’ll be sure to try this place out also along with the 2000 other things you have suggested :).

    1. You know what? I’m a fan of Japanese and Thai curry right now. And I love anything spicy! Does your baby have a mole that looks like a pepper? They say that happens when a pregnant woman craves a food all the time.

    1. Thank you very much. I really appreciate the compliment. I try to make it feel like you’re with me or make you want to do it for yourself, when you can.

  5. I am an Indian and I quite enjoyed reading your experience at Sarvanna Bhavan, although I cant imagine going there for a date or a girls night out ?

    1. This is one is near a university and in a very diverse neighborhood and is used for meetings like that all the time. And I when I say girl’s night out, I don’t mean on the way to the club , just a large group of girls hanging out in the evening. And again happens all the time after evening classes.

      1. I am not disagreeing….it’s just that in India Sarvanna Bhavan is looked at in a different light. Crowded -noisy -comfort food – go there when you want tried n tested preparations at the highest possible speed of serving.

        1. I understood what you meant, so I figured that I didn’t explain the neighborhood well enough. It’s not fast paced at all here and I think that’s because of the wealthy neighborhood it is in. It isn’t the wealthiest neighborhood but there are lots of banks and schools in the area. The only reason that I am that familiar with the restaurant, is because I went to college there. And when we had the money and time to set and take a leisurely meal, that was one of the options.

          1. Glad to learn that you enjoy Indian food! Sarvanna Bhavan offers South Indian Cusine – you should try places that offer North Indian Prepartions, I think you might enjoy them as well.

  6. Trudy, this is making me drool and I’m a long way from there so I can’t go, but I will try to replicate it, even slightly. You have inspired me and made me drool all over my keyboard. ?
    Hope this week treats you kindly. ?
    Off to share so others can drool too. ?

    1. Thank you so much for doing so! I need all the help I can get! I love Indian food, I would love to learn to make dosas thus beautifully.

  7. Indian Food. I’ll never tire of eating curries. I ate my first ever curry at the age of 19 – a group of friends and I left our usual Saturday night nightclub haunt and wandered over the road to the restaurant opposite for a late night meal. It was love at first bite. That was 33 years ago. The restaurant is still there! I have a curry once or twice a week – my children have grown up eating curry since they were weaned. I am a mean curry chef myself – chicken and king prawn curries are my speciality; but in a restaurant or take away I always go for Lamb Rogon Josh. ?

  8. I never thought I liked Indian food–I’m not a spicy fan–but I had a whole class of Indian women (I teach ESL) prepare me a surprise feast and everything was so delicious! they were so sweet–they purposely left out a lot of the really strong spices because they knew wimp that I am couldn’t handle it! On the other hand, I love Indian cinema! ?

    1. Bollywood movies are so much fun, even the sad ones are lovely on the eyes and acted so beautifully. A lot of Indian casual restaurants have them playing in the background.

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