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Review: The Maharaja

With careful attention to detail in both food and décor, this Harvard Square Indian spot lives up to its regal name. The Maharaja is ornate and opulent—think rich browns, reds and golds—with jeweled lamps, carved wooden chairs and glass-topped tables set with golden chargers. Situated in a choice corner spot on the second floor, the space affords stellar views of the square bustling below.

The menu is what the proprietors call “Royal Indian Cuisine”: family recipes and dishes passed down through time and travels. You can choose from an massive menu that includes standards like tandoori , masala and korma. The aloo samosa ($5.95), potato and pea turnovers, won us over with perfect texture and a spicy, floral flavor.
If you like a little more adventure, try specials like Murgh Wajid Ali ($17.95), chicken breasts stuffed with paneer and nuts and simmered in a creamy saffron sauce, or Khatta Dhuandar Gosht ($18.95), smoked lamb cooked with pomegranate.

Indian food in Boston and Cambridge isn’t hard to come by; but upscale cuisine in a bona fide luxurious setting like the Maharaja will make you feel like a maharaja yourself.

Cheat sheet

Drink this: Try a thick, sweet lassi—a yogurt-based drink especially useful for cooling the burn of the traditional spices. We went for the mango variety ($3.95), which had a pleasantly tangy quality that kept the sugariness to a very palatable minimum.

Eat this: Try the Kakori Seekh Kebab ($9.95), a pile of tender, juicy lamb meatballs served with sweet red onions on a sizzling metal platter in a golden chafing dish. The seared crust on each mouthful of lamb gives way to a heavenly, exotic flavor.

Sit here: Try to score a seat right by the windows if you can so you can peep out onto busy JFK and Winthrop streets.

Conversation piece: Inspired by extravagant palaces in Jaipur and Jodhpur, Executive Chef Rohit Talwar, Sajal Latka, and Aman Thakur traveled extensively before designing the space. They even brought back unique, hand-made pieces to give the spot an even more genuine vibe.

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