Few things in this life make my heart flutter and my tastebuds flare like Indian food. Warm spices, creamy curries, and tandoori flavor are the holy trinity in my worship of Indian cuisine. I have an eating strategy when I approach Indian food: I forego the naan bread to make more space in my stomach and I always ask for a bowl and spoon. Why? Because I can literally shovel more (curry, channa masala, biriyani) into my face than I can by eating with a fork off a plate. Work smarter, not harder, right?! Lucky for fans like me, Indian Bistro opened a new location in St. Pete Beach that I couldn’t wait to try.
Exploring India has always been on my culinary bucket list, if nothing more than an excuse to eat my way around the country, sampling regional specialties and absorbing the beautiful culture. So when this longtime, Clearwater favorite opened their second outpost just minutes from Gulfport, I was ecstatic.
I won’t sugar coat it: Indian Bistro is a bit of a splurge (financially and gastronomically) but it’s so worth it. With a menu mix of both vegan and non-vegan options, there’s something for everyone. Carnivorous cravings? Try the goat biryani ($19.99), tandoori chicken platter ($19.99), or the lamb korma ($20.99). Prefer meatless eats? Get the dal tadka ($16.99), yellow lentils cooked with garlic, cumin and coriander leaves; matar aloo ($16.99), cheese and green peas slow cooked in a light curry; or the aloo gobi ($16.99), cauliflower and potato in turmeric and traditional spices. Regardless of what you order, I guarantee it’ll be delicious.
Indian cuisine is littered with aromatics and warm spice profiles. Simple combinations of garam masala, fenugreek, cumin, and cardamom (and more) along with fresh herbs make for dynamic dishes. Paneer tikka masala is my all-time favorite Indian dish. It’s rooted in Northern India and consists of grilled paneer (Indian cheese) served in a tomato-based curry with ginger, garlic, onions and bell pepper. It’s creamy, squeaky, and Indian Bistro’s paneer tikka masala ($18.99) was dynamite.
Their veggie samosas, two for $6.99 and served with mint chutney and tamarind sauce were crispy and stuffed completely full. I also noshed on the Punjabi channa masala ($16.99), chickpeas simmered in onion and tomato sauce. But I have to give Indian Bistro a high five for their chicken tikka platter ($19.99). Massive chunks of boneless chicken breast are marinated in yogurt and spices, and grilled to perfection with onions, bell peppers, chilies, and lime. Superb.
Indian Bistro is located in the Dolphin Village shopping plaza, so there’s plenty of parking. However, there are only five tables inside, so dining space is limited — but their takeout is top notch. Everything I ordered was hot, fresh, and prepared as ordered. If you love full-bodied food and are up for a culinary adventure, Indian Bistro is waiting for you.