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November 2002

Curry On

You'll keep coming back-two of Munich's finest Indian restaurants

Seitzstrasse 13
(entrance on Christophstrasse)
Tel. (089) 22 39 31
Open Mon.–Fri. 11:30 am–2:30 pm and 5:30 pm–midnight, Sat.–Sun. 5:30 pm–midnight
Reservations recommended

When you step into Jeeta's, a tiny Indian restaurant in Lehel, the air, fragrant with cardamom, coriander and cumin, practically makes you swoon. Simply furnished with Indian silks draped across the ceiling and a few Hindu statues dotted around the dining room, this is an intimate setting. Tables are close together and conversations drift easily across the room. The charming owner greets his guests as they arrive—and he obviously knows many of them. Jeeta's may be one of Munich's most renowned Indian restaurants, but it still maintains a neighborhood feel and, after dining there, it's clear why people keep returning. Clippings of restaurant reviews are framed on the walls, proof that Jeeta's knows it has a reputation to live up to—something it manages to do very well.

Although the menu, like those of most Indian restaurants in Munich, is dominated by familiar tandoori and Punjabi specialties, such as grilled meats, slowly cooked vegetables and legumes, the results from the kitchen are far from ordinary.

The mango and avocado salad with fresh coriander and ginger (€ 6.39) gets the meal off to a tantalizing start, with the dish's sweet and spicy components in perfect balance. The arrival of the main course, however, marks the culinary high point of the meal. Spices are used judiciously and expertly, never overwhelming the palate. India's national dish, Dal Makhni (€ 7.93), slowly simmered beans garnished with cream and ghee (clarified butter), is slightly sweet with hints of ginger and chili and a meal at Jeeta's seems somehow incomplete without it. The rich, creamy Palaak Paneer (€ 9.46), spinach with homemade Indian cheese, possesses distinct undertones of cinnamon and coconut milk, and forever changes one's notion of how this dish should taste. Tender Himalayan chicken (€ 13.04), prepared with mint, fresh coriander and yogurt, gives this popular dish a new twist.

If you're having a difficult time choosing from the menu, consider one of the thalis, each of which includes a sample of two or three main dishes, rice, Indian bread, raita (a coolingyogurt sauce) and a salad. These are excellent value and start at around € 10. Dessert is worth saving room for. Try the Gulab Jaman (€ 4.25), round graham flour cakes soaked in sweet syrup, or Firni (€ 3.75), Indian-style rice pudding. Then breathe deeply and enjoy the final moments of your visit to Jeeta's. It's sure to be the first of many.
Food 10, Service 9, Atmosphere 8

Franz-Josef-Strasse 28
Tel. (089) 34 02 32 15
Open daily 11:30 am–2:30 pm and 5:30 pm–1:00 am

Sangam, with its polished honey- and molasses-toned wood interior accentuated by bold, bright colors, soft lighting and festive artwork, exudes warmth. The food and the professional, cordial staff do the same.

The extensive menu provides an impressive variety of meat, fish and vegetarian main courses. A full German-English menu is available at lunch and dinner and covers the familiar bases with grilled tandoori specialties, biryanis (mixed rice dishes) and thalis, the Indian equivalent to the tasting menu (each thali includes mini servings of three main dishes, along with papadom crackers, dipping sauces, raita and a light coleslaw salad). Prices range from € 8 to € 15 and are reasonable given the generous portions. A particularly good deal, the lunch menu (€ 5.60–7.70), offers a choice of selected main dishes served with poori (an airy wheat bread) and either soup or salad. The added benefit of swift service enables diners to enjoy a good meal within the brief timeframe of a typical lunch hour. Newcomers to the cuisine of the subcontinent will be pleased with the courteous and patient service—waiters are able to give knowledgeable answers to questions about the menu. Though the food is above average, a few items miss the mark. The coarse texture and saltiness of the lentil soup are disappointing and the basmati rice that accompanies most dishes is rather dry and lacks the aromatic character for which it is known. The small, complimentary cup of Chai, milky, spiced tea that ends each meal at Sangam is a welcome touch, however.

Overall, Sangam, which is near Elisabethplatz in Schwabing, is a worthwhile destination, offering well-prepared Indian meals in a comfortable, service-oriented setting.
Food 8, Service 9, Atmosphere 8

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