Chai Pani, Decatur, GA

406 West Ponce de Leon Ave
Decatur, GA
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Chai Pani Decatur
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(404) 378 4030
Lunch: 11:30am - 3:00pm
Dinner:
Tues-Thurs: 5:30pm - 9:30pm
Fri & Sat: 5:30pm - 10:00pm
Sun: 5:30pm - 9:30pm
Closed Monday
Reviewed by Amanda Trevelino

Chai Pani Indian Street Food Lights Up Decatur, GA

by Amanda Trevelino

If your local farmer recommends a restaurant for vegetarian fare, there probably is no need to look further. Even if the Huffington Post tells you it’s one of the “Top 10 Cheap Eats in the US,” or if The Atlanta Journal Constitution calls the place “one of the hottest restaurants around.” A farmer knows best.

So when Farmer Joe took his team for a lunch break at Chai Pani near Atlanta’s eclectic Decatur Square, we knew we could believe it’s claims of sourcing seasonal, organic produce from nearby growers. Except, that is, for the special items that husband/wife, chef/owners Meherwan & Molly Irani import from India or the spice blends and chutneys they make in house. “There’s no artificial ingredients in anything – ever,” they claim on the menu.

So assured, we dove into the Vegetarian Thali plate ($8) featuring Vada Pav, also know as potato dumplings fried in curried chickpea batter and topped with green and tamarind chutneys. The “Mumbai favorite” came with a subtle spicy kick and was presented on a toasted bun with shoestring fries, sort of like an Indian veggie burger. The Masala Fries ($2.5) with tomato chutney were over the top, considering we also ordered irresistible summer Matchstick Okra Fries ($7); thin and crispy with a zesty splash of lime. Oh, and because we can’t get enough summertime lime, the Nimbu Pani ($3) refresher, a beverage of squeezed lime, simple syrup, soda water and a dash of salt, completely satisfied and cooled any trace of spice from the Vada Pav.

Chai Pani fries up the goods only in trans-fat free canola oil or ghee, but honors vegan as well as gluten free requests. Even their meats and dairy are natural and hormone/antibiotic free. That said, we couldn’t resist tasting the Grilled Paneer Salad. Paneer is cheese made by heating hot farmer’s milk with lemon juice or vinegar to separate the curds and whey. The curds are drained in cheesecloth, the water is pressed out, and the remaining paneer is chilled, then in this case fried.) Chai Pani’s paneer toppes a heaping bowl of vibrant pickled beets, spring greens, red onions, cucumbers, tomatoes and cumin-lime dressing ($9.5).

Like it’s celebrated sister restaurant in Asheville, NC, the food is adventurous and satisfying, but it may be the drinks that make many want to come back for tastes of exotic sodas, chai and house made concoctions with ingredients like mango pulp and cardamom. While they last.

Related links: Chai Pani –  Top 10 Cheap Eats in the US  –  Farmer Joe

Chai Pani Menu

 

Amanda Trevelino has been a featured blogger and worked as contributing editor for The Atlantan, Modern Luxury Publishing; feature writer for Veranda; contributor to Southern Living, Atlanta Magazine Home, Atlanta Business Chronicle, Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles. She’s been a PR consultant, public relations director for Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and public relations director for Atlanta Ballet. She studied at University of Georgia, and with eCornell. Amanda also has a teaching certification in yoga and has completed a raw foods immersion on an isolated Costa Rica camp.

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