Boca Indian Grill Is Open

Update: We went back for dinner. See bottom of article.
We’ve been whining for about five years for an Indian restaurant to open in West Boca. Our dream came true yesterday with the opening of Boca Indian Grill in Mission Bay Plaza. It’s in the courtyard between Padrino’s, Rotelli’s (which is moving very soon) and Panera.
It feels a little small inside but it’s comfortable with attractive design. We went today for the $10.99 lunch buffet.
We chose a table, ordered drinks, and went to the buffet. The selection is somewhat limited but there was enough to choose from and we liked what we had.

Our shot cut off the right side, which had the dessert.
Our shot cut off the right side, which had the dessert.

If you like Indian food, you will find something to enjoy and you may well like all of it. I did.
The chutneys were pungent and the sauces were flavorful. Tandoori Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala are their most popular dishes and they will be on the lunch buffet every day. Other dishes will change somewhat from day to day. I particularly liked the Saag Paneer. The Tandoori chicken was cooked and seasoned well.
After we sat down the waiter brought out Naan (bread) which had great texture and was brushed with a hint of butter.
After a couple rounds of the entrees we got a little dessert. Both Kheer (rice pudding) and Halwa (carrot pudding) were on the buffet line.
We talked with Vik, the owner. He said the restaurant is connected with Chutney & Pickle in Coral Springs, one of our favorite Indian places in the area. He also said there will be a Sunday buffet which will have more dishes. And they’re thinking about how to create more space around the buffet – it’s a little tight at the moment.
For dinner or if you don’t want buffet, there are plenty of choices on the regular menu:
It’s hard to judge a place on one visit to their buffet lunch, but we liked it and are very happy they’re here. We wish them luck and hope our readers will give it a try.
Update – April 24
After writing the above, we were invited back for a free dinner by the restaurant. It was a good meal. They have revised the interior a little so the buffet should be easier to get to when that’s open.
We started with “Papadum” (large crackers) which came with onion chutney and a couple dips.
We also ordered a few dishes and dessert. Indian dishes can be ordered here at varying levels of spice and we chose mild.
Mattar Paneer on the left, Lamb Korma on top, Naan bread on the right, and Chicken Tikka Masala at bottom, plus rice in the middle.
Mattar Paneer on the left, Lamb Korma on top, Naan bread on the right, and Chicken Tikka Masala at bottom, plus rice in the middle.

Chicken Tikka Masala is one of the most popular Indian dishes and is particularly popular in our family. Chunks of chicken in a creamy sauce with Indian flavors. India is a very big country and there are regional variations, but with that in mind this is the best Tikka Masala we’ve had in Boca.
Lamb Korma is another creamy dish, and they did a particularly good job with it. You can get this with chicken instead of lamb if you prefer.
Paneer Mattar (or Mattar Paneer) is a vegetarian dish combining peas and goat cheese, in a tomato-onion sauce. I’m used to a version that’s more creamy and with less tomato and onion, but their recipe is more traditional and it’s tasty.
The entrees come with a white rice that has a few peas in it. We also ordered Naan which is a little like pita bread but lighter and tastier. Kids love it.
For dessert we had Gulab Jamun. They’re balls of bread (maybe a bit smaller than a golf ball) soaked in a hot and sweet syrup. They were very hot when they first got to the table so be careful when you eat them. They’re also delicious and hard to stop eating when you’re already full from the rest of the meal.
Price-wise they’re competitive with Punjab and Sapphire. If anything it seems like they’re slightly less expensive.

Mission Bay Update: LA Fitness, Dick's Sporting Goods, Rotelli's, etc.

We previously reported that Toys R Us in Mission Bay would close, to be replaced by Dick’s Sporting Goods.
The Toys R Us demolition is well under way, as can be seen in a video we shot recently:

It’s a popular plaza. We generally see a high volume of people and cars. At the north end Fresh Market pulls in a substantial flow. Toys R Us was something of a draw in the middle, but the store seemed dated. Dick’s will probably bring in even more. On the south side the fountain area seems to pull a lot of people in, especially the LA Fitness gym and Panera Bread.
We’ve heard several reports from readers that the plaza is raising rents. Considering the volume this plaza pulls in, that probably makes sense. This has led to some changes.

The spot we think Rotelli's is heading in West Boca Square.
The spot we think Rotelli’s is heading in West Boca Square.

Yesterday we learned that Rotelli’s will be leaving in early May, moving to the West Boca Square plaza near Hobby Lobby. That’s a tough move. We’ve seen at least three pizza places fail in that location and we’re told it was a Rotelli’s before that. Rotelli’s management tells us they expect to close in Mission Bay at the beginning of May and reopen in West Boca Square within a few days.
In that same fountain area we saw a sign for an Indian restaurant coming in, Boca Indian Grill. We have been whining about the need for an Indian restaurant in West Boca for a few years now and we are hoping it will be good.
We mentioned back in November that a new Asian grill is also coming to Mission Bay. We looked in a couple days ago and it looks like they aren’t close to opening yet.
Several readers have mentioned talk that LA Fitness would open a new entrance facing the parking lot (between Panera and Toys R Us). We think that’s true. We were looking on the property owner’s website and found an updated site plan that expands LA Fitness to take over a few storefronts:
That plan is dated January 11, 2016, before Toys R Us had closed. We will keep watching for an update. We notice that a few storefronts in front of Toys R Us show as “vacant” which suggests that space will be added to the new Dick’s Sporting Goods. If Dick’s does set up a store there then they will sell the usual sports equipment and clothing which will get you ready for anything from Tennis Lessons to football practice.

Sapphire Indian in Royal Palm Place: Review

Open for a few months now, Sapphire Indian Cuisine has replaced Maxie’s in Royal Palm Place. I stopped by today for lunch but forgot to take a picture of the front, so I used an old shot of Maxie’s just so readers would have a sense of where it is. Here’s a map also, showing it on the east side of Federal Highway south of Palmetto Park Road:

It has both indoor and outdoor seating. The colors are bright and go together well. My phone camera has been delivering poor results and will soon be replaced, but here’s the bar area, then the main interior and finally the outside dining area:
The staff were very pleasant, and most important, the food was good. I ordered the lunch “thali” which was $15 and came with three small entrees and several other items.
It was a lot of food and I was unable to finish. The entrees included (clockwise from lower left) a chicken dish, one with lamb, and the third with shrimp. I didn’t recognize the names of any of them but all were very good. The first two were meaty and the third had only two shrimp but they were large. Continuing clockwise there was a bean based soup (dal), white rice, a yogurt dip, and pickled chutney. During ordering the waiter asked for my spice preference. I chose “American hot” but the dishes didn’t seem spicy.
The naan (bread – center of the picture) was just okay. Another picture I failed to take was the mango lassi (an Indian yogurt drink), but I caught it in the corner of the food shot:
This was the best mango lassi I’ve had in South Florida. It was richer and the mango was palpable rather than just a color and flavor.
The other lunch option is $14 and includes an entree, dessert and another item. The popular Chicken Tikka Masala is one of the options. There are many entrees on the regular menu mostly starting at $15, with some reaching up to the high twenty-dollar range.
Judging on quality, Sapphire is among the best Indian restaurants in the area. With nothing that style in West Boca, our closest options are in East Boca and Coral Springs. Punjab on Federal Highway north of Glades is in the same class as Sapphire. Bombay Cafe, south of Glades near Boca Regional Hospital, is more of a take-out place with lower prices but lacks the same feel and taste. We haven’t tried Kasi on Yamato near Congress and the Tri-Rail station but it appears to be less expensive with a more limited menu.
In Coral Springs there are a few Indian places on Sample going west from 441. The closest is the recently opened Taste Buds of India which we just tried and liked. Further west are Chutney & Pickle (excellent but spicy, with a reasonably priced lunch buffet) and Khana Kh’Zana (best vegetarian options).
Getting an Indian restaurant in West Boca is at the top of our wish list for 2015. We have more people than either East Boca or Coral Springs. It’s hard to believe we don’t have one yet, but we’re hoping.