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“Excellent spices” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Cholanad

Cholanad
308 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516
(800) 246-5262
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Ranked #21 of 254 Restaurants in Chapel Hill
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $30 - $30
Cuisines: Indian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Mallette St
Sunapee, New Hampshire
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Excellent spices”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 14, 2012

Enjoyed authentic Indian food in Chapel Hill. When three quarters of the patrons are Indian, you know you are in the right place. We had a couple of exotic drinks, reasonably priced. Started with the crazy crab papal and the vegetable Dosa, both excellent dishes. Then my wife had shrimp in a crepe (tasty but sparce on the shrimp) and I had the special Thali Cholonad, A Tamil feast contains yellow dhal, Vegetable Khulna fish masala and various sauces and naan bread. Excellent tastes and spices but sparce on the meat and fish. All in all a pleasant experience. Server was attentive and friendly,

  • Visited May 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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99 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    49
    37
    8
    2
    3
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Awesome TWIST to South Indian Food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2012

Folks that enjoy a dash of exotic spicy food are in for a treat. Cholanad, located across from the Franklin Hotel is a nice contemporary twist to traditional South Indian food. Note, this not your run-of-the-mill Indian restaurant serving Samosas and Chicken Tikka Masala. This is something special. The waiters take orders on wireless tablets and the dinner atmosphere was surprisingly electric. The chef artfully fuses Indian spices into his Goan and South Indian cuisine that is served with a modern American flair. My Chicken Biryani (Indian Paella) served with yoghurt and curry on the side was a lunch worth coming back for. On a second trip for dinner we tried the Spring Dosa and Lamb Chops - both good choices. I would recommend checking out Cholanad.

    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durham, NC
Top Contributor
94 reviews 94 reviews
73 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“Elegant and different from area Indian restaurants”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2012

My husband has gone here for lunch a couple of times (enough for the waiter to remember him) and finally had the opportunity to take me there as well. I love Indian food but discovered a different facet to the cuisine that I hadn't known before. My favorites like tikka masala and korma were there, but in combinations I hadn't seen before.

On my husband's suggestion I tried the chicken biryani. I got a very generous bowl of chicken in a very spicy basmati rice, accompanied by two sauces.a curry sauce and a yogurt-based sauce. I was flummoxed at first as to whether I was to try and dip bites into the cups, mix them, or what. One of the staff was kind enough to explain pouring the sauce onto bites.

The service was attentive and helpful. The ambiance is upscale and elegant, although the tables were uncomfortably close together - if the restaurant had been fuller it would have been claustrophobic. It seems a bit of a roll of the dice whether what you get is worth what you paid: my meal was a very generous portion and I took half home, but my husband's chicken tikka masala was one little bowl and a giant portion of naan.

I would be interested in going again and trying other dishes, such as the wide selection of dosa when I felt like splurging on a meal.

  • Visited April 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“Outstanding South Indian Cuisine”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2012

A new restaurant in Chapel Hill's Franklin Street, this is possibly the finest South Indian restaurant around. Great dosas and a very hospitable chef. The appetizers are awesome too. The food is very authentic.

  • Visited February 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durham, North Carolina
Top Contributor
138 reviews 138 reviews
98 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
“Above average food and ambience for an Indian restaurant”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2012

Cholanad is a restaurant specializing in south Indian cuisine with a good range of purely vegetarian dishes. Southern Indian cuisine is generally quite spicy and uses different flavors than the north and east of India. Cholanad is no exception. The food is adequately spiced and many uninitiated eaters might feel the zing!

Being used to spicy food, I had to ask for additional spice for my lunch. I had the 'Beachside Lentils' for my appetizer. This is a lightly spiced mix of chickpeas, lentils, slivers of green mango and coconut flakes. It is typically sold as a snack at popular beaches in south and west of India. The mix is filled inside rolled up paper cones so one can eat it while strolling along the beach.

My main course was green chilli and onion 'Uthapam' which is a cross between an open faced crepe and a thin crust pizza. The batter is a mix of lentils and rice and is topped with a variety of vegetables. Mine was crispy, spicy and delicious. It came with three different chutneys (tomato, coriander-chilli, and coconut) which are traditional and only add to the variety of the dish.

Unfortunately, after my two dishes I was so stuffed I barely had room for aromatic masala chai (the real deal, not the sweet calorie bomb serve by fancy baristas). That was fine with me as I had to get back to work anyway!

Service is swift and attentive with real linen tablecloths and napkins. There are modern touches like orders being taken on an iPhone and the waitress getting buzzed on her phone when the food was ready to be served.

The restaurant also has a fully stocked bar but, of course, being at lunch I did not sample it. There is always another time.

  • Visited February 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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