In search of the best thali in Joburg

It’s no secret that I love Indian food. My collection of masalas at home is growing. While I spend a lot of time at home making dhal and vegetarian curries there is always something missing from the finished meal.

I admire Indian cooking and the time it takes to prepare dishes. Every so often the craving for a thali takes over and I drag my significant other off to a restaurant for a tray of Indian deliciousness.

A thali is usually served in a metal tray with a variety of curries, rice, pickle and Indian bread (chapati, roti).

Wikipedia says the word thali means a round platter used to serve food and that a thali should offer six different flavours of sweet, salt, bitter, sour and spicy on one plate.

I first discovered thalis when I moved to Joburg in 2010 and started eating in Mayfair at Shayona – a vegetarian restaurant at the bottom of Church Street. Their deluxe lunch special includes three vegetarian curries, chapati, samosas and a sweet – it’s great for sharing.

Vegetarian lunch at #Shayonas #DeluxLunch special and #MasalaDosa #Mayfair #Johannesburg

A post shared by Bianca Ackroyd (@bianca_ackroyd_sa) on

When my dear friend Kate and I traveled to India in March 2017 most of our meals were made up of vegetarian thalis. There was always enough for both of us, plus we loved the variety and being able to also have dhal with our meal.

delhithali
A thali from a small restaurant in Paharganj in New Delhi. This was our first meal in India. At the time we thought it was delicious but we were yet to try better thalis on our trip
sarnaththali
A thali from a small restaurant outside a tall standing Buddha in Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh
varanasithali
A vegetarian thali from Keshari restaurant in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Anyone who visits Varanasi should definitely eat at Keshari, delicious food and great service

While there are several Indian restaurants in Joburg, not all of them serve thalis. I suppose one could recreate the thali by ordering several different dishes but it’s not quite the same experience as a tray being set in front of you, with a chapati covering the rice.

I have since discovered two more places in Joburg that serve great thalis. Besides making excellent South Indian food, The Dosa Hut in Fordsburg also serves thalis, vegetarian and non-vegetarian.

SMALL
Vegetarian thali from the Dosa hut

In Greenside, Spiceburg also serves thalis – their vegetarian one includes paneer curry which I love!

A Google search shows that there are two restaurants in South Africa called Thali, one in Centurion and another in Cape Town.

Do you have any tips on which restaurants in Joburg serve great thalis? Let me know, I will try them out and add them to this blog.

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