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NYC Metro Area Vegan Restaurant Graveyard

Madras Café

Food: 4.54.5
Atmosphere: 3.813.81
Service: 3.943.94

(16 shared memories. Leave your own!)

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79 2nd Avenue
New York   NY 10003

This restaurant is closed. Share your memories of other restaurants past at SuperVegan's NYC Metro Area Vegan Restaurant Graveyard.

Veg level:

Vegetarian (mostly vegan)

Menu indicated vegan items

Price Range:

$$$$$ (Average entree cost: $5-$10)

Accepted Payments:

  • Visa
  • ·
  • Mastercard
  • ·
  • American Express
  • ·
  • Discover

Hours:

Variable. Call ahead.

Delivery notes:

Madras Café delivered.

$10 minimum.

Notes:

The Vegan Thali may not be on the menu, but you can order it anyway.

In October, 2009 Madras started keeping unreliable hours, running out of ingredients, and telling people they were closing, citing different dates in response to different queries.

Exactly when they will close for good is unknown, and any information about the date(s) provided by the management (or repeated in the reviews below) should be considered unreliable.

Bookmark and Share The information on this page was last updated on May 19, 2010.

Shared Memories of Madras Café

Averaged user ratings:

(1 star = lousy; 5 stars = great)
Food: 4.54.5
Atmosphere: 3.813.81
Service: 3.943.94
  • Review by evelinemater on October 22, 2009:

  • It closed and will reopen in Long Island at some point. They sold their lease to a non-vegetarian Bangladeshi Indian joint. The owner lives in Queens and wanted to have a better commute. This is a sobering event for me and my family and friends. Manny, we will miss your food!
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 33
    Service: 44
  • Review by IainG on July 28, 2009:

  • We enjoyed a very good meal at the Madras Cafe during our honeymoon and thought it was good value too, even with the awful exchange rate at the time. The food was all tasty and it is excellent to have vegan dishes marked so clearly. (We're from the UK and most "indian" restaurants here offer oily, meat-centred menus; there are a few better south indian places and a few veggie ones but mainly in London.) The waitress seemed a little shocked that we ordered a _whole_ bottle of wine (between 2) but hey we were living it up ;-)
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 44
    Service: 44
  • Review by JamesR on February 20, 2009:

  • After reading all the fuss for sometime, I decided to visit madras. I wouldn't say it was a total mistake, but pretty close.

    Regarding the service, I was completely blown away that someone could care so little about giving suggestions, answering questions, etc. I'm not a very demanding patron, and I know times are tough, but service is service and it should never be this bad.

    The food was okay, I wouldn't say it's the best in the city as some seem to claim. I don't think it's close. Better quality? Perhaps stacked against something you can get at the various Punjabi joints around town, but realistically it wasn't that great. The curry I had came with soy chunks (even though I requested they be left out), and was allegedly the hottest one on the menu, but was mild for my tastes. It was flavorful and fresh, but did not live up to my expectations. The pakora were pretty awful and expensive. They were bland and seemed to be reheated. That might be okay for pakora that costs $1, but for $7, make some fresh ones!! The best thing was probably to soy lassi, although it could probably be made at home in 2 min. I am pleased that they offer those as an option. I think if I end up going back, the thali would be a better choice here. It seemed like the way to go.

    Overall I feel that Madras is overpriced and has some of the worst service I've experienced, so it is unlikely that I will return. The food was decent enough, but I really think you can do better elsewhere.
  • Food: 33
    Atmosphere: 33
    Service: 11
  • Review by alf-redo on February 5, 2009:

  • Went for dinner and shared a few dishes with friends. The spicy veggie curry is actually spicy! I do like that they mention what is vegan and have vegan options like chai, but I don't like that it for whatever reason needs to cost more than the 'regular' chai. I thought the biryani was very disappointing and everything that was supposed to come with almonds and rasins on top lacked rasins. I thought the tea was far too expensive (2.45) and it turns out it is standard bigelow or other brand put in a small mug.
  • Food: 44
    Atmosphere: 33
    Service: 44
  • Review by sriram on February 3, 2009:

  • I was there last week and had the protein dosai. It was a dosai with some soy chunks(like nutrela) thrown in but the price of $12 is a lil high. The name is also misleading - the waiter is from Bangladesh so he doesnt speak any Tamil & couldnt explain the menu well.The music they were playing was either Hindi or Telegu so the ambience is farthest from what one would expect for a place called Madras cafe.the funny thing tho - the patrons seemed to have a better grip on pronouncing the items off the menu than even the waiter!
  • Food: 44
    Atmosphere: 33
    Service: 44
  • Review by Melissa Bastian on January 25, 2009:

  • Madras Cafe is my favorite Indian place in NYC, and possibly anywhere - and I've been around. I've eaten here many times, both with other vegans as well as with omnis, and every time it has proven to be a crowd pleaser. A rarity in Manhattan, it's big enough to seat a large group without everyone feeling super cramped and awkward, but it's also a great spot for lunch for two.

    Madras is the only place where I've had vadai, these delectable little savory doughnuts made of lentils and served several different ways. And of course their dosas, also made of lentils, are to die for - as well as enormous! It's rare that I can finish one, but luckily they're great for leftovers.

    A small side of sambar broth is served with many dishes, and it's fantastic; the waitstaff tends to chuckle at me as I eat it by the spoonful instead of using it for dipping as it's intended. Once they brought me an extra dish of it because I was enjoying it so much! As for the waitstaff, during slow times (my favorite time to go to any restaurant) they seem maybe to be a little short staffed. But they are always friendly and as prompt as possible, and they've never gotten an order wrong in my presence.

    The decor is nothing outstanding, but the seating and table arrangements are comfortable - more than I can say for may restaurants in the same area. And really, two flavors of vegan lassies? Pure heaven!
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 44
    Service: 44
  • Review by ladysith13 on January 21, 2009:

  • I went here once and LOVED IT! The staff was curious, the food amazing and so many vegan choices! And i feel better that there is no lamb in the kitchen at all :) I have been meaning to go back here, and look forward to the day when i can.

    The garlic naan was so fricken good!
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 44
    Service: 55
  • Review by food! on January 18, 2009:

  • I have been eating at Madras Cafe for more years than I can remember and the food is consistently superb. The owner, Manny and his staff work hard to make sure they serve top quality food at really reasonable prices.

    Favorites of mine are the Masala Dosa, the Vegetable Curry Dosa and if you're down for the spicy, the Vegetable Jalfrazi, which I lovingly call the "Vegetable Jal-crazy" due to its heat.

    No worries though if you're not a spice hound like me, the staff will cook anything to taste.

    They also have great Iddlis and Samosas.

    If you've never been there and want to try it out, the Vegan Thali is a great way to start.

    I love Indian Food - could eat it every day - and Madras Cafe is my definite favorite.
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 55
    Service: 55
  • Review by NotBuyingIt! on January 17, 2009:

  • I've only eaten here once. The food was good and the service was great.
  • Food: 44
    Atmosphere: 44
    Service: 55
  • Review by Minion of Seitan on January 17, 2009:

  • The food is more "competent" than "spectacular" but I've never had anything I wasn't happy to eat :-). I often get the vegan thali (they use a TVP type substance for protein-type texture) and it is very filling. The prices are a bit much. But there are not too many places you can get vegan lassi!

    Note: leave plenty of time to pay at the end if you have plans to be somewhere else--it can take a long time to get the waiter's attention when you leave (maybe not always, but this has happened to me several times).
  • Food: 44
    Atmosphere: 44
    Service: 33
  • Review by ariela on January 16, 2009:

  • here you go Jason :) I forgot about this place but I just ordered delivery the other day from them.
    I love Madras Cafe! The samosas are amazing! I usually get the vegetable biyriani(which is a rice dish with tvp, carrots, string beans, raisins,almonds & more) & it is sooo good and the portion of this dish is HUGE, I always have leftovers for lunch the next day. They give you papadam for free before your meal (& give it to you free even when you order delivery!) The puri bread is always perfectly crispy & so good. Everyone's always been nice here and the strawberry lassi is amazing!
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 55
    Service: 55
  • Review by SLamb85 on July 17, 2008:

  • Average Entree is actually $10-$15. The menu is very confusing and poorly written but the staff was very helpful. Many vegan options, even korma!

    I ordered the Mysore Masala Dosa, it was superb. My companion ordered a coconut korma dish that had mock meat, she was happy with it.

    My only complaint (contributing to atmosphere) was the prices. Given the condition of the restaurant the range should be $5-$10. The drinks are overpriced as well, I recommend the tap water.
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 33
    Service: 55
  • Review by Roseann Marulli Rodriguez on July 11, 2008:

  • Everything I had at this place was delicious, and the prices were pretty reasonable. The decor isn't much, but the company I was with was great, so I didn't care. The one thing that bummed me out was that our waiter seemed pretty cranky. There were only six of us at our table, and we weren't super fussy, but he seemed a little put out by having to do his job, especially when some of us asked to take home our leftovers. Otherwise, I'd totally recommend Madras--maybe takeout is better???
  • Food: 44
    Atmosphere: 33
    Service: 11
  • Review by Laura Leslie on March 5, 2008:

  • I've been going here for eight years and I love this place. They're so vegan friendly. Madras Cafe goes above and beyond any other vegetarian Indian restaurant in the city:

    * The menu tells you everything that's NOT vegan.
    * They've got vegan yogurt, so you can have a vegan lassi!
    * They offer a vegan dessert.
    * They've got a vegan Thali (giant plate with a bit of everything)

    The food is also very good, and the service is generally friendly and quick. Some things tend to be greasy, but well, it is Indian food.

    My favorites:

    * The vegetable coconut korma is to die for.
    * The mulligatawny soup is delicious, and they usually have a spinach soup that's also great.
    * The garlic paratha and potato paratha are both awesome.
    * If you're eating there, the dosas are yummy, especially the onion rava masala dosa. (Don't order them for delivery though, as they get soggy.)

    They're well-priced and their portions are huge. The lunch specials come with enough to last three days (just ask to make sure they're vegan--I don't think the menu labels those).

    The atmosphere isn't trendy; it's just your basic Indian restaurant decor. But the bonus is that service is quick and it's usually not very crowded.

    Most of all, this place deserves MAJOR MAJOR kudos for being so accommodating to their vegan customers.
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 55
    Service: 55
  • Review by frank language on June 5, 2006:

  • The Madras Cafe is the only vegan-friendly Indian restaurant in the city; some, like Vatan in Kips Bay, are "more vegan-friendly than most," but Madras notes specifically on the menu which dishes are vegan and which contain dairy. Although it's possible to eat comfortably at almost any Indian restaurant, I love going to Madras because you can be sure they're not going to mistakenly serve you the paneer (cheese) or ghee (rancid butter.)

    I took my ex there once and he remarked that it was the best Indian food he'd ever eaten; I feel lucky that it's so close to where I live.
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 44
    Service: 44
  • Review by Olivia Lane on May 21, 2006:

  • The lunch specials are super tasty and of mythic proportions. The food seems to be of higher quality than at other Indian spots in the city too.
  • Food: 44
    Atmosphere: 44
    Service: 44

Restaurant reviews are temporarily closed. We look forward to accepting your reviews again soon!

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