After a decade on Capitol Hill, Thali Travelers House moved to Beacon Hill three years ago, breaking the hearts of hipsters and middle-aged guys in tweed jackets with leather elbow patches.
But the devotees still come. Now located on Beacon Avenue South, this cozy spot has a hippie-commissary vibe, with a living room converted to dining space and a refrigerated case of desserts that, to the uninitiated, sound like Seussian names (Ango Burfi, Chum Chum, Ladoo).
The menu: It’s about the thali, a platter of small bowls of rice, soup, salad and various chutneys, curries and vegetarian courses. The combo varies depending on what produce is in season. Thalis range from $7.50 to $21. The current thali theme is the southern cuisine of Andhra Pradesh. Expect curry leaf, coconut, tamarind and mustard seeds and dishes such as tomato curry with chick peas (Kayagaria Igguru). The mainstream favorites — naan breads, chaat and samosas — can be ordered as appetizers or sides.
What to write home about: On a recent visit, the thali theme was Nepalese-inspired food, which resembles northern Indian cuisine. Asparagus tarkari was a standout. Most patrons ordered the popular street-food chaat as an additional side — such as the papari chaat with the potato and deep-fried dough smothered in tamarind and green chutneys. Even better — the mashed-up samosa (samosa chaat) covered in a chickpea curry with yogurt and chutneys.
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What to skip: The medley of cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, carrots and mushrooms was bland.
The setting: The house converted to restaurant has a mom-and-pop bookstore feel and attracts a quiet, well-behaved crowd and young couples from Capitol Hill.
Summing up: A deluxe thali ($21, includes dessert and chai), three appetizers ($5-$5.50) and a 26-ounce Indian beer ($8) totaled $48.73, a big meal for two.
Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @tanvinhseattle