If you are a stranger to Indian food, please take my advice and immerse yourself, at least one time, in this amazing cuisine. It can be intimidating at first because the dishes are unrecognizable by most Americans. The first time a vindaloo dish graced my lips, I was hooked and have been a huge fan ever since. When you list your favorite smell in the world as curry, you know you are an Indian food lover.
When I visit Charleston, West Virginia, I always have lunch at the Sitar of India with two longtime friends, as they are accepting of my Indian dish addiction. Sitar of India has the best Indian offerings that I have ever had in the United States. It is that good! The Sitar of India is located in downtown Charleston, since 1994. Their food is consistently good and the prices are affordable.
Sitar of India features a buffet style lunch or you can order from menu options. Though I can barely recognize or name any of the dishes available, I try to have an open mind and taste my way through it; I have not yet met anything that I have not liked. The lunch buffet offers several main entrees, a dozen or more side items, salad style bar, and desserts. Vegetarians will delight at the choices they have here. It is expected that you will go back for several plates of food at the Indian buffet so do not try to cram everything you want to try into one single serving. Use the flatbread to dip into your veggies and curry dishes.
I have found that it is best to know little or none about what I am eating so that I can enjoy the bold combination of flavors and pair things as I see fit. Items listed as Raita, Punjabi Aloo, Gulab Jamon, Paratha, and Chana Masala are foreign as far as I am concerned, but I love to eat them. There are four regions of India that produce totally different style of dishes and the Sitar of India of has mostly Northern menu items. For those who think that Indian food is “hot”, that is a misnomer. Indian cooking combines an exotic mix of spices and herbs to create tantalizing flavors that you will not find in any other style of cooking.
My favorite dish at Sitar of India is their Chicken Tikka Masala. It is not only their best seller, but the most awesome food in Charleston. Going to lunch allows you to have as much of this bright and tangy cream sauce as you want. You are going to love this! Their buffet changes often, but some of my other favorites are Lamb Korma, Shrimp Vindaloo,Vegetable Prantha with Raiki and Mint or Onion Chutney, and Chicken Chili. Save room for a small glass of Mango Lassi. Be sure to pick up extra naan (rhymes with yawn), unleavened flatbread, which tastes delicious with everything, especially the chutneys. Naan is baked in a tandoor (clay) oven, making it thicker and fluffier than the other flatbreads.
Note: The red chutney condiment on the table should be eaten with caution as it is extremely hot. Sitar offers a full beer and wine menu. Orders can be made to go. Parking is available at meters around the corner or a parking lot directly across the street.
Bonus Note: Raita, the white yogurt-based condiment, acts as a cooling agent spicy foods. You can eat it with the foods or mix it into them to take away a bit of the spicy heat.
My Rating Scale 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest)= 8 1/2
Sitar of India
702 Lee Street E
Charleston, WV 25301
Lunch Hours: M-F 11:30AM-2:30 PM
Dinner Hours: M-Sat 5-9:30PM
Check out our other Charleston restaurant reviews:
Paterno’s on the Park First Watch Fat Patty’s