Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Udipi Cafe is a good deal

The lunch buffet at Udipi Cafe includes options such as chana masala, cabbage poriyal and a “chef’s special” curry.


The lunch buffet at Udipi Cafe includes options such as chana masala, cabbage poriyal and a “chef’s special” curry.

What I Ate: When you're a vegetarian, you look for any place where you can eat more than one or two items on the menu.

Often I turn to Indian, Thai and Vietnamese restaurants — cuisines that center on vegetables, rice and sauces. So when I learned about Udipi Cafe, an all-vegetarian Indian restaurant, I sought it out.

Though the restaurant offers a full dinner menu, I opted for their lunch buffet, figuring I could sample a variety of their dishes while saving some money.

I chose a number of curries, including the chickpea-centric chana masala, cabbage poriyal and a "chef's special" curry with a heaping helping of coconut rice. Provided as a complimentary side dish was dosai, a crepe-like item filled with potatoes and onions.

What it cost: The lunch buffet cost me only $9.60, not including tip. Many of the items can also be ordered for dinner. A variety of dosai ranging from around $6-$9 are available, while a (presumably larger) chana masala meal goes for $9.45.

What I thought: Udipi Cafe is located in a N Dale Mabry strip mall next to Tampa Pitcher Show and Prime Time Sports Grill, which may not scream international flavor. But it is also near Benjarong Thai, which has long been one of my parents' favorite places to eat. And shortly after I sat down, a woman leaving declared it her favorite restaurant in Tampa.

If I can't quite back that pronouncement, I'm still happy to have found another solid Indian restaurant in the area. It's also a good addition to lists of local lunch specials, offering plentiful portions for under $10.

The cabbage poriyal was a winner, providing a striking, tangy taste. So was the chana masala, though it would be hard to mess up such an Indian staple. In fact, the chef's special probably stood out the least of the curries that I tried.

Tampa Bay vegetarians should check out Udipi Cafe. And even if you're a meat-eater more likely to tear into some butter chicken, chances are you'll find something to like here as well.

Jimmy Geurts, Times staff writer


Udipi Cafe

14422 N Dale Mabry Highway; (813) 962-7300

Cuisine: Curries, dosai, Indian specialties. Also soups, appetizers, desserts.

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5-9:30 p.m., Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5-10 p.m., Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Monday closed.

Payment: Cash, major credit cards.

Prices: Lunch buffet $9.60, dosai around $6-$9, most entrees under $10.

Udipi Cafe is a good deal 08/03/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 3, 2016 7:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Gov. Rick Scott could soon be the all-time king of line-item veto


    2016: $256,144,027

    2015: $461,387,164

    2014: $68,850,121

    2013: $367,950,394

    2012: $142,752,177

    2011: $615,347,550

    Only once has Scott used the line-item veto sparingly. That was in 2014, the year he ran for re-election, when he removed a paltry $69 million from the budget.

    Gov. Rick Scott waves a veto pen at The Villages in 2011.
  2. Rays morning after: An up-and down day for Jose De Leon


    Rays RHP Jose De Leon had a busy Monday - getting called up to join the Rays for the first time and making his way from Pawtucket, R.I., to Boston and the flying to Texas, working 2 2/3 eventful innings to get the W in the 10-8 victory over the Rangers, and then getting optioned back to Triple-A.

  3. White House communications director Dubke steps down


    WASHINGTON — Mike Dubke, White House communications director, has resigned in what could be the start of a series of changes to President Donald Trump's senior staff.

    President Donald Trump speaks at the Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Monday, May 29, 2017, during a Memorial Day ceremony. [Associated Press]
  4. Trump pays somber tribute to fallen troops on Memorial Day


    ARLINGTON, Va. — President Donald Trump expressed the nation's "boundless" gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice paid by Americans defending the United States, dedicating his first Memorial Day address as commander in chief to a top Cabinet secretary and two other families who lost loved ones.

    Brittany Jacobs, left, watches as her 6-year-old son Christian Jacobs meets President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, Monday, May 29, 2017, in Arlington, Va. Jacobs father, Marine Sgt. Christopher Jacobs, was killed in 2011. [Associated Press]
  5. Florida education news: Budgets, discipline, charter schools and more


    BUDGETING: Florida school district officials keep a close eye on their spending plans as they await word on the Legislature's budget. Gov. Rick Scott