Omnivore - Visits to Thali and Luqma

One West Indian, one Pakistani



I dined Indian and Pakistani this weekend, with visits to Thali (1709 Church St., 678-705-1290) and Luqma (1706 Church St., 404-477-1400), both at the intersection of Scott Boulevard and Church Street in Decatur. I've been urged by several friends to try Thali, whose menu is west Indian, so I headed there with my usual Fat Friday mates.

I'll have more to say about the food in "Grazing" later this week, but I heartily recommend the place, if not wholly for the food, for the experience. The menu is prix fixe — $15 for a huge amount of all-vegetarian food served in three courses on the thali plates that give the restaurant its name (right photo).

It's the look of the place and the affable young staff and owner — American-raised Indian guys — that make the place particularly appealing. Their fluency means you get a very thorough explanation of every single morsel you devour.

Thali, inside the Patel Plaza, glows with murals painted on the large windows. The restaurant is otherwise spare, although the dining area by the door is contained inside a boxy, bunting-trimmed space that sort-of gives the impression (at least to me) of people eating on a train. It's all great fun.

Luqma is an Indo-Pakistani restaurant across the street where nobody spoke much English when we visited, so it was hard to get guidance on the food. I'm advised it is more Pakistani than Indian, featuring 100-percent halal meat. In fact, there was a special Ramadan menu available.