I do not know how to get the words out without feeling like I am criticizing my parents in this. But…growing up we ate a very standard American diet. A diet thats main seasoning was Lawry’s Seasoning Salt. Or as we called it in our house Red Salt. There is nothing wrong with eating this way, and I honestly was a picky eater, so it worked for me then.
But in the past few years I definitely have challenged myself to try new foods and flavors and oh it has been wonderful. This is one of the best parts of being gluten-free for me. I am so much more open to new food experiences nowadays then I ever was before.
The first time I tried Indian food I was a freshman in college. Some of my lack of trying these new cuisines can be attributed to lack of access. But I would say if you have access to different cuisines try them as much as possible. And try to visit less Americanized versions of these restaurants if that makes sense.
But back to what you are really here for. The restaurant. In my attempts to try new foods along with my desire to not have to pay for my own food I have found Tarka.
Tarka is an Indian Restaurant that resides in multiple cities in Texas. But like many great restaurants, it did start in Austin, Texas. This city is such a foodie place and it is amazing!
Both times I have enjoyed Tarka I went into the restaurant. The first time just to do a pickup order, but the second to sit and eat. Either option is great, and they also offer online ordering if that appeals to you. During both of my visits I did not feel like I waited too long for our food.
Both of the times I visited I was at the Sunset Valley restaurant. At that location. You walk in and see their huge menu boards. Then you order at the counter. Behind the counter you can see the heads of the kitchen employees which is kind of fun. I wish it were an open kitchen concept so you could actually see them cooking. I really enjoy that. The employees at the register are nice and knowledgeable and willing to answer questions.
In the restaurant it is open seating. They have a patio outside for cooler times of the year. Inside they have multiple different styles of tables. From booth seats to high tops you are sure to find something that will work for you.
The interior is nice because it is relatively neutral. Being in Austin I have become accustomed to off the wall wacky interior design at restaurants. This restaurant definitely does not have that vibe. They have some art on the wall, but it feels like a calming place to just enjoy some food and hopefully the company you came with.
Yay! Food! My favorite part! The food here is fantastic. And a majority of their menu is gluten-free. The gluten-free options are well labeled on the menu as well as other restrictions such as vegan and vegetarian. I personally do not know much about Indian cuisine to begin with, but the fact that most of their menu is gluten-free amazes me. But like I said, I do not know much about the cuisine so this could just be the norm. The cuisine may culturally be primarily gluten-free. I will have to look into that. Or if you know more drop a comment down below.
This last time I went we ate in the restaurant which was nice because everything was still so hot and fresh. I went with a family member and we ordered a starter to share. It was the Chicken Pakoras. It is labeled as gluten-free on the menu and after the fact I thought about the fact that it is fried. But after looking over the menu again I realized nothing that had gluten is fried in their restaurant. I went ahead and ate them and had no problems at all. But next time I will confirm that they are Celiac-safe with the staff. But oh my goodness my friends… they were good. They looked so delicious when they came out I burnt my mouth a couple of times while trying to eat.
For my entree I ordered the Channa Masala. The dishes main protein source is garbanzo beans, so not only is it gluten-free but also vegan as well. I was impressed with this dish as well. It was so flavorful and fun. And at least for me, a big enough serving for two meals. Large meals save my budget, because eating out is nice but pricey. I definitely will be ordering this dish again as well as trying many of their other gluten-free options.
Tarka is a fantastic option for anyone on a gluten-free diet. They have flavorful and fun Indian Fare. The experience eating in the restaurant as well as ordering take out was great. The employees working the registers were helpful and answered questions with ease. I highly suggest this as an option for anyone wanting to add some new flavors to their diet!
The company itself is also pretty awesome. Not only do they want to bring authentic style Indian food to our city, they also use environmentally friendly practices. Due to their environmental actions the city of Austin recognized them as a ‘Green-Restaurant’.
So for many many reasons I will continue to be a customer at this restaurant as long as I am in Austin. And I hope when you go you enjoy it just as much as I do!