Until further notice, my favorite Indian restaurant of all time is Royal Taj and I am here to tell you why! Royal Taj, which means a Royal Crown, is located at 8335 Benson Drive, Columbia, MD 21045. As the name suggest, you feel royal from the moment you enter the restaurant. Before relocating, the restaurant was located at the Columbia Corporate Park across from the Wegman’s grocery store in Columbia. Because it was just around the parking lot from my old office in Columbia, many of my coworkers and I would venture there to enjoy their lunch buffet and would rave about how amazing the food is. My exposure to Indian was a bit limited and from what I could remember, the food was extremely spicy so I was initially hesitant to visit. But once I did experience the Royal Taj lunch buffet, I was hooked! I have even gone on weekends with my friends and family and have always had an amazing meal. In an effort not to overwhelm the customers, all of the food served at the buffet are mild in spice level. The seated dinner menu allows you to adjust the heat level as needed.
The first location had a nice décor and was always clean but this new location on Benson Drive has taken the restaurant to another level. The décor is absolutely stunning with gold trim, chandeliers, beautiful chairs and upholstery, and multiple fireplaces. The restaurant has expanded from a moderately-sized dining room to now having three dining rooms with private dining options for events. The restaurant location is incredible. But beyond the décor, customer service has always been extraordinary.
The restaurant’s host, who is always present for my every visit, is the most welcoming person I’ve ever encountered. He is beyond friendly and has a way of making each customer feel special who enters. After you visit the first time, he remembers you and welcomes you back and often hugs customers as a sign of appreciation for their business. As you exit, he makes sure to thank you for visiting the restaurant and just does a wonderful job representing the restaurant daily. But the exemplary customer service does not end with the host. The waiters and service staff do an amazing job as well making sure that customers are happy, glasses are full, and even make suggestions for dishes to enhance your experience. For example, during one of my visit, my waiter suggested their
Gulab Jamun dessert which is deep fried cottage cheese balls dipped in honey and sugar syrup. I initially did not think that I would enjoy it but I ended up trying it and really liked the sweet dessert at the end of my meal. Now, if I have room, I make sure to include that in my dining experience. During another buffet visit, I asked when more chicken tikka masala would be brought out to the buffet and after giving me a three-minute timeframe, before I could even make it back to the buffet table, the waiter bought a nice bowl of it for me to enjoy without having to get up!
These are a few examples of the incredible service I have had at the restaurant. They cater to you and work together to make sure that you are beyond satisfied. Now let’s get on to the food!!
I had to break protocol and expose myself as a food blogger to give this restaurant its proper representation. While the restaurant is always clean, at no fault of its own, the buffet table can get a bit messy from others trying to serve themselves. So, I requested to come in before the restaurant opened to take pictures for my blog. The host was very accommodating and made sure that I had everything I needed. The buffet starts with an area to prepare a salad and the basmati rice with peas. The menu will include an array of Indian Specialties that include paneer (cheese), chicken, fish, and seafood. My favorites include:
-The Chicken Tikka Masala which are chicken breast tenders marinated in spices and yogurt, baked in a tandoor oven and cooked in a tomato based creamy sauce. This is the best version I’ve ever had.
-Saag is a leaf-based (spinach, mustard leaf, collard greens, etc.) dish eaten with bread or rice. For the lunch buffet, it is very mild but I decided to order it for takeout and did not know to request a milder seasoning. There are wonderful flavors in the dish and it is prepared wonderfully at the restaurant but does not look all that appetizing. There is nothing really to be done with that other than to try it and taste how wonderful it is.
-Alu Gobi includes cauliflower and potatoes cooked with spices and onions. I call it the curried vegetable but is a wonderful dish that is seasoned well and makes you feel great for eating your veggies!
-Tandoori Chicken is served on the bone, marinated overnight in yogurt and spices and barbecued in the tandoor. This chicken is amazing! I cannot stress to you how delicious this chicken is! I have ordered it to go and got a half chicken for $15.95 and enjoyed every bite! The pieces are cut small to reduce waste so I always keep going back for a little more.
-Alu Tikki is a mashed potato patty dipped in a spicy chick pea batter and fried golden brown. When I tell you that I love these little bites, I truly mean it. They are so delicious and stacked with other appetizers but these are a hit! Almost resembles a tater tot with better flavors.
-Tawa Chicken, which was recently added to the buffet, is an amazing dish of chicken that is cooked in a flat pan called a tawa that is usually boneless chicken breast. The chicken is cooked over high heat with fresh tomatoes, onions, chilies, and a range of spices. Goes well with bread or rice.
Here are additional pictures of dishes served at the restaurant as well as the dessert options:
Overall, have had an amazing meal every time I visit Royal Taj. The customer service, food, cleanliness, accessibility, and price value are perfect and provide an amazing dining experience and meal! The lunch buffet cost about $15 on the weekends and maybe around $12.50 during the week. This is a must visit in Columbia or call me and we can go there together! The following is my Seven Mac Score for the restaurant:
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Please look of my next post as I share more dining experiences in and around Baltimore and DC, and my trip to Los Angeles. Also, you can find me on Instagram @finediningdiva and twitter @moderndaybeauty. Also, if you would like to follow my blog to receive notification when a new blog is posted, please send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And remember: It’s a BIG world and we are going to eat our way through it!