For years in Shanghai, the Punjabi chain of restaurants was pretty much the benchmark for all-you-can-eat Indian food. Even in a city with limited options for Indian, it wasn't the best food out there but it was consistent and tasty enough, and that price tag couldn't be beat -- 99rmb for access to their sizeable buffet as well as all the flat beer you could ever want or need, served in a never-ending stream of pitchers.
So how does Rangoli stack up? Well, at first glance it's 19rmb cheaper! So far, so good...
On a recent Monday night, Rangoli was packed, with half the seats reserved and a continual flow of foreign students, families, and English teachers streaming in throughout the evening. On her way out, one woman who came in with her daughter and husband commented to the staff that the curry “was some of the best I’ve had in a long time.”
Three curries are available. A fish curry, a chicken curry, and a vegetable curry. Are they the best curries you’ll have in a long time? Probably not but they aren’t bad. The chicken curry in particular was pretty watery but, again, decent enough. Decent enough, in fact, that we could see ourselves ordering each of them as a standalone dish not part of a special deal.
Other items in the self-serve buffet include a very tender chicken kolhapuri, a salad bar, aloo tikki, rice, baked potatoes, green bean soup, tomato soup, tapioca pudding, and a choice of plain naan, garlic naan, and butter naan. It’s all that plus the free-flow Tsingtao beer that was kind of cold. A fair number of choices, and you can easily eat to your heart’s content.
Rangoli is reminiscent of family-owned Indian restaurants in the west. You can take your family here, stop by with a group of friends, or even come alone for a pleasant Indian feast and mesmerize yourself with the colorful Bollywood music videos playing out on their screen.
Fans of Punjabi will find much to like here. It's very, very familiar. It's just in a smaller setting. And slightly cheaper.
Shanghai has a lot of deals, but which ones are actually legit? In Deals Tested, we find out for you. For more of this column, check out the archive. If you're a venue with a deal, you can submit it to our listings for free. Deals do change frequently, so we recommend calling ahead to double check.