// Location200 Gorham Road
South Portland, ME 04106
// Hours 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
// Price Range$$
// Cuisine Type Indian, Indo-Chinese,
// AT A GLANCE
You may already know South Portland’s Taj restaurant as a place to go for an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet. But the restaurant, open since 2012, offers a full range of a la carte options for dinner, seven nights a week. When you walk in, it’s easy to be seduced by the smell of mustard seeds, cumin and garlic popping in oil in chef/owner Latha Guntaka’s kitchen. Among her best dishes are an indulgent cholle batura – puffy fried bread served with mild, stewed chickpeas – and both gobi 65 and gobi Manchuria, two takes on deep-fried, fiery-hot cauliflower florets. Unfortunately, Taj has problems with consistent execution in service and food. Sometimes, shifts between competence and carelessness occur within a single meal, where you might eat a terrific, blistered garlic naan alongside a tough, overcooked half-chicken ($11.99), marinated in yogurt and powdered with tandoori masala as red as a country barn. Both dishes are prepared in the same, kiln-hot tandoor oven, but they’re miles apart in quality. When in doubt, stick to vegetarian dishes and be sure to ask for an order of the springy, starchy idli with lentil sambhar and chutneys.