I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, Chennai Masala is the BEST place in the Portland metro area for Indian food. Yes, better than Swagat. I’m not sure why most people think Swagat is the only place to get Indian food but it seems to be the only place people know of. That only means there isn’t enough Indian food restaurants in this fine city. Granted I’ve eaten at Swagat (well not since their “Dirty Dining” spotlight on the local news) and the food is ok but I’ve had better in Canada during my trips to Vancouver. Chennai is a bit of a drive but it is well worth it if you are really wanting something delicious and satisfying. It is tucked away in a strip mall and I was even hesitant the first time I went there. But I’ve learned that some of the best food is created in random holes in the wall. The restaurant itself isn’t anything spectacular to look at. It could use a paint job and there is little to no ambiance other than hungry people waiting for their food. The staff is efficient, attentive and seemingly all men. There is one lady that I’ve seen there (presumably one of the owners) and she will make her rounds to all the tables and ask if you were happy with the food and you’ll undoubtedly say yes.
The dishes come out in little silver bowls and the portions are not monster size but fills me up just fine. My favorite dish that I order without fail is aloo gobi, a potato and cauliflower dish in a fragrant spicy sauce. It seems simple enough but I’ve tried to make it at home and I’ve come close but it’s never quite the same. The only thing that bothers me about this place is they charge you extra for the rice or naan that you will want to eat your meal with. Kind of lame but the naan is amazing too (mmm garlic!) so I can’t blame them because you are going to buy it no matter what right? Try their dosas as a starter if you have the room in your belly. Great flavor in their dipping sauces and if you are really super hungry, try the family size dosa pictured below which is the size of a small child.
This place has a remarkable take out business as well. They definitely make it easy, order online and someone will call you within a couple of minutes to confirm your order and tell you when it will be ready. And get this, it will really be ready when they tell you. Yay! I’ve tried it and yeah I ordered aloo gobi. No surprise there.
***update: would you believe they renovated the space? It’s now super modern and fresh. (The grand opening launch was a couple days a go). Woo hoo**
Location: 2088 NW Stucki Avenue Hillsboro, OR 97124 Phone: 503-531-9500
Cost: $10.95 for Aloo Gobi/ $2.95 Garlic Naan/ Dosas around $9 on average for normal size ones