MGR Palace is one of a number of restaurants in a mall near Wall Mart on Rock Bridge Road that include Cici’s Pizza. The eatery is roughly across the street from the Metro Diner. I’ve been here a couple times, and in general I’ve liked the food. It is, however, the kind of cuisine that leaves me fighting for words to describe it. What doesn’t help is that just down 78 in Decatur is the Udipi Cafe, also vegetarian and Indian, and though similar, they have very different cuisines. I’ve been to both, and entrees at one I like I can’t find at the other.

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If a rule of thumb at Udipi might be “it’s hard to go wrong with chickpeas”, then a rule of thumb at MGR Palace is “it’s hard to go wrong with potatoes”.  It’s very hard, however, to remember the names of the dishes. Thankfully, MGR Palace has the equivalent of a combination plate called a thali. So this day I ordered a thali and that’s what I’ll be describing. It’s a good looking plate of food, with or without the naan (flatbread).

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Along the bottom of the plate are three vegetable curries. The left side has a chutney (pickles), a yellow fruity dessert and above it, yogurt with some vegetables. Along the top are two different kinds of rice. The right side has two soups, a soup called a sambar being the upper of the two. The sambar is a little spicy.

What can I say? I liked and ate pretty much all of it. I thought the curries were excellent, the dessert was a pleasant suprise. The rice I mixed in with other foods or ate plain, and I like the sambar a little better as a soup because of the spice. The food is not especially hot but it is nicely spiced. The naan was about as close to butterless perfection as can be. I tore it into pieces, dipped it into the yogurt and the soups, or used it as a wrap for chutneys or curries.

The clientele here is largely Indian, with the occasional collection of curious Americans. Staff, in my experience, is friendly and helpful.

Before leaving, I ordered samosas to go. A samosa is roughly akin to an empanada, a stuffed pastry, and MGR Palace’s samosas are really good. I’ve also had MGR Palace’s dosai, a kind of crepe, and they are quite good as well. Finally, MGR Palace is inexpensive. The thali is one of the most expensive dishes on the menu, and it cost 12 dollars. Most entrees are under 10 dollars.

Verdict: Surprisingly good Indian food outside 285. Very affordable, and very highly recommended.

Madras Sri Ganesh Ram Palace
1825 Rockbridge Rd
Stone Mountain, GA 30087
(770) 413-1415

MGR Palace on Urbanspoon

Notes: Meredith Ford Goldman has an excellent review of this restaurant.

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