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“The Indian that people keep going back to.”
Review of Archana

Archana
Ranked #98 of 1,096 Restaurants in Belfast
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Indian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Delivery, Reservations
Neighborhood: Golden Mile
Reviewed August 3, 2013

It's small, a little cramped, dated, certainly couldn't be descibed as swish, and none of that matters. It's simply the best Indian in Belfast. The atmosphere is relaxed, the staff friendly and the food's great.
One of our guest's tried something a little spicier than she normally gets and found it a little hot so asked for some yoghurt which was promptly delivered. The waiter asked if it was a bit too hot for her and offered to make her another dish. Now that's service. She didn't want another dish though, as it was delicious!

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1  Thank Richie R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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345 - 349 of 476 reviews

Reviewed August 3, 2013

This was one of the two best meals of our trip to Ireland, and hands down the best Indian food I’ve ever eaten. (And I’ve eaten a lot of Indian food.) We shared a sampler appetizer of fabulous kebab, pakora, and samosa; for our main course, my husband had chicken tikka masala (I dish that I had previously never preferred), which gave me a small food-gasm; my chicken bahar korma was unlike any other korma I’ve had—it had a perfectly subtle mango flavor, really divine. The garlic naan was soft and warm and buttery. We finished with kulfi for dessert—a heavenly homemade mango-coconut ice cream. Really a superb meal!

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Thank S_La_Mariposa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2013

After a bad experience a few years ago we decided to give this place another go last weekend, this was clearly a big mistake.

Upon arrival we were rudely pointed towards a table and once we seated ourselves the first thing the waiter said was 'Do you have a coupon?' Both my partner and myself were shocked by this abrupt question, as what is the need to know this before a customer orders their food, so they are sure to give them a smaller portion?

Not only was our table right beside a rotating fan that blew food onto my top at one point, but my knife was absolutely filthy. Not just needed polished filthy, it had clearly not been changed since the last group sat at the table as it was covered in food remnants, disgusting. Clearly I asked for a clean knife and did not receive any form of apology from the waiter. In hindsight I probably should have asked for the fan to be moved but since the restaurant is so small this would only have upset the other customers.

Anyway we didn't have a coupon, we ordered our food which promptly arrived. My vegetable pakora starter did not come with the mint yoghurt dip as stated on the menu and my partner's king prawn puri tasted primarily of Worcestershire sauce, not a good start.

Our plates were hastily taken away without any of the staff asking did we enjoy our starter. Our mains then arrived in some sort of wicker basket with the hot plate inside so it felt like I was eating out of a trough. My partner's chilli and garlic curry had no flavour aside from chilli, we both love hot curries but this one lacked the balance of flavours that Indian food is known and loved for.

My vegetable punjabi masala was fine but contained tinned/frozen vegetables which was a huge disappointment. Every other Indian we have eaten in in Belfast has used fresh vegetables and the difference is clear to a 22 year long vegetarian like myself. The garlic naan was the only redeeming feature of this disastrous experience.

I really cannot understand how this Indian has been ranked higher than the actual decent Indians in Belfast, such as The Jharna, Nu Delhi and Safa. No doubt I will receive an ignorant response from the restaurant's manager like the other unfavourable reviews have but frankly that does not bother me as long as this review helps other diners make a better choice for their dining experience.

Needless to say we shall not be back.

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4  Thank ems46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Max194, General Manager at Archana, responded to this reviewResponded August 4, 2013

We wish to thank you for your feed back, & apologise that your meal fell short of your expectations.

As ever we endeavour the have the highest standards of food & service, on this occasions it seems we failed to do that. It is unfortunate that we did not get the opportunity to address the issues that you had whilst you were dining in Archana, but I assure that they have been discussed with the staff.

Archana pioneered “Balti” style cooking in Belfast in1993, the beauty of this style of cooking is that the food is cooked by our highly skilled chef’s in a Balti “black cast iron bowl” & then served to the customer in the same bowl (paced in a wicker basket). This ensures every bit of flavour that our chef’s put into your dish is not lost. Whilst the majority of our customer’s insist on eating from their Balti, we can provide plates for those who do not wish to.

Another aspect of our restaurant in which we take immense pride in is our extensive vegetarian menu. Having received recommendations from the Vegetarian Society & with over 40 dishes suitable for Vegetarians, of which many are suitable also for vegans we would be delighted if you could contact us at bookings@archana.co.uk so that we may have the opportunity to invite you back to Archana to really get a feel of what we do here. Thanks again for your comments & hope to speak to you soon.

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Reviewed July 28, 2013

I worry when I write a tripadviser review that readers will think I am easily pleased as most of my reviews are on the high side. So its with some pleasure that I can record a two (and debated whether I should make this a one). The Archana is on the Dublin Road which is in the area of Belfast some refer to as the golden mile (which in itself is not worthy of a comment). It is one of those old small shop style restaurants which people like to “discover” (notwithstanding it is in the golden mile!).
Downstairs the restaurant seats about twenty people and the capacity is supplemented by a similar upstairs area. The restaurant itself could be described as intimate however with the close seating is not the best place for a (not so ) secret liaison or row with your partner.
The menu is the fairly standard list of Indian cuisine. The wine list has a decent selection of wine with the cheapest coming in at £13 which is fairly standard Belfast prices. I am of the view that good wine is neutralised by spicy food and normally go for the cheapest which is usually a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon. Beer includes the “traditional” cobra at £4.95 for a 660ml bottle.
I ordered a Chicken Rogan (which the waiter helpfully corrected as a Chicken Rogan Josh) and my partner ordered a traditional jalfrezi. For sides we had one pilau and one Peshwari naan.
The food took a little bit longer than normal to arrive which I took as a good sign as in my experience the longer Indian food is cooked, the better the dish. On arrival the waiter announced one jalfrezi and one Dopiaza. I have the British disease and am reluctant to complain. However I am not that fond of Dopiaza which translated means twice the onions. I have made it myself and when cooked for a long time the onions disappear and make a nice sauce. However in my experience, the onions are under-cooked in restaurants so I stay clear of it. Against the odds (and having resigned myself to eating alone) I advised that my dish was a Chicken Rogan (Josh) and the waiter returned my dish to the kitchen. Miraculously the waiter returned immediately, announced that he had a chicken rogan josh, and set the dish in front of me, and left. Unless the Archana make a chicken rogan full of onions – this was the same Dopiaza he had brought thirty seconds earlier. I had a change of mind and decided to eat this new Rogan rather than return it and wait for a meal.
Actually the meal was quite tasty albeit it was sprinkled with lightly cooked onions in addition to the onions that made up the sauce. I still would not order a Dopiaza again, however this was quite good. The pilau was fine although the peshwari naan was quite thin and bereft of coconut.
Because of this new onion style rogan josh I have awarded the Archana a two. I suggest the owners should go to the “Indian Ocean” in Carrickfergus if they want to see how a naan should be cooked (I appreciate that referring to the “Indian Ocean” will undermine this review in the eyes of Indian cuisine aficionados). On the plus side the Archana is long established, and the type of old restaurant common in many cities and no doubt the favorite of some. Another plus is that the chicken is cooked and not simply chicken tikka in every chicken dish as some restaurants make a large quantity of tikka for stock and then cook it in everything.

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2  Thank geoffreytro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Max194, General Manager at Archana, responded to this reviewResponded August 4, 2013

We wish to thank you for your feed back, & apologise that your meal fell short of your expectations.

After reading your review at length , we are glad you had many positive aspects to your dining experience at Archana, from the freshness of our food & decent selection of wine, & that you found both your dish & pilau rice to be in fact “quite tasty” & “quite good”.

There seems to have been a bit of confusion with your dish in particular, for which we again apologise, we are delighted our staff dealt with this in a prompt & efficient manner. As our food is cooked fresh to order & not “stock” as you have quite rightly stated, it seems to be a simple case of the wrong dish being brought to the wrong table, which was rectified immediately, unfortunately minor human error’s do occur.

From the day Archana opened in 1985 our highly skilled chef’s have always cooked fresh Nan bread to order with our in house clay oven. In fact the majority of all the food cooked in Archana is prepared in our clay oven. This ensures our food is fresh, flavoursome & most importantly healthy.

If you have any further comments, please feel free to contact me at bookings@archana.co.uk . And we hope to see back in Archana soon.

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Reviewed July 26, 2013

Once again , I tried this place far much better than any Indian in belfast , real curry house I must tried others but back to this place attentive and friendly service

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Thank Mark T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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