Essence of India
The food was phenomenal. We had a couple of the speciality cocktails as well which were great. Our service was spot on. We will most certainly return!
Always great food
Dined there at 6:30 p.m. on a Saturday eve. Overall, Excellent Indian food, with an extensive menu of "all the things you want." The samosas were slightly disappointing because, instead of the sort-of flaky crust we're used to, these seemed to be dipped in a batter and deep-fried. The result was "OK," but not great. Our main courses were well-seasoned and tasty, with a choice of three levels of spiciness, although the Lamb Vindaloo , requested spicy, was "spicy" but not "Indian spicy." Good Taj Mahal beer (still brewed in India, unlike Kingfisher, which is now brewed by Ambev in Saratoga Springs, NY, and, accordingly, tastes like Bud). The "salty" lassi is VERY salty -- get the regular instead. Service was "earnest" but the restaurant was a bit overwhelmed by a full house -- you should probably allow 90 minutes for a dinner at peak hours. Anyhow, we really enjoyed our dinner and we're going back!
We were seated by the door. It was cold, and every time someone entered, we got a blast of cold air. The restaurant was full, so I could not request to be moved. I ordered hot black tea; but, when it arrived, the water was cold. I asked for a new pot, but waited 10 minutes, and when it arrived, there was no tea bag, and no cup. I had to wait again. We ordered vegetable samosas, but with the last bite, I found a rubber band in the food. I showed it to the waiter, and he feigned concern, said he would tell the chef; but, we never heard again, and we were not offered any concession or an apology. The saffron rice was very bland. It was supposed to have cardamom and cloves, but it tasted like plain rice with orange coloring. The Achari Murgh was swimming in a clumpy/jelly like sauce. The chicken was all dark meat with gristle and skin. Within a couple of minutes of eating the food, both my wife and I got severe abdominal cramping. The murg Tikka was OK, but very dry. It was supposed to have been marinated in yogurt, but that was hard to believe because of the dryness. We ordered the Raita plain yogurt sauce. It was supposed to have cucumbers, but all we tasted was onions. It was very watery and tasted awful. Because the restaurant was full, the noise level was excessive. In summary, this was one of the worst dining experiences we have ever had. The service was not attentive. There was a rubber band in our food. One of the meals gave us stomach upset, and the rice was bland and the sauces had poor textures and bad tastes. We are experienced in dining at Indian restaurants, so we were expecting a much better experience. We will never be dining there again and will not recommend this to any of our friends.
We love Essence of India. We ordered both lamb and vegetarian dishes plus the shrimp appetizer. They were all delicious. And the service was unobtrusive and prompt. We’ll keep coming back!
Food not as tasty as remembered from earlier visit, but very good martini.
Awesome! Delicious food, friendly staff, cute place. Could be casual or special occasion.
Great food, will go back soon!
The owner is friendly, our waiter was great. We came back and brought two friends the second time we went. Butterchicken is a must try.
An amazingly wonderful neighborhood gem! Best butter chicken in the city. Everything was layered with flavor and the service was equally great.
Having come here many, many times; I thought I knew everything I liked on the menu. I found a new favorite. Chicken Shahi Korma was a sweet surprise. I was warned by the server that it would be sweet. It was sweet and good, good, good. I thought everything was balanced just right. There was just the right amount of the wonderfully smooth and creamy curry sauce. The only spice I added was black pepper to give it a little kick. If you're afraid of sweet in the description, order it and let everyone at the table have a bit. You'll say it's a sweet surprise, too.
So good! We will be back soon!
Essence of India is always a treat. The new wine list is worth checking out and the portions are great. Enough to bring home for meal #2!
The staff was really accomodating to our group of 7. The manager even opened the patio area for us earlier than usual. Great food and great service! Appreciate the patience and kindness for our group!
Four friends dining at Essence of India for the first time. The food was delicious, service was paced well, helpful, and friendly, nice ambiance. We will return!
The food was amazing, loved all the different flavors and spices. The service was great, friendly and helpful. We will definitely go back and highly recommend.
Very tasty and clearly consistent, given that the restaurant appeared filled with neighborhood regulars. Great location, good service and excellent food at a reasonable price.
Great tastes, very reasonable. I'm pretty stuck on something Tandoori. I've had the chicken and the lamb chops, both excellent. My spouse loves the stews. Nothing terribly fancy but excellent tastes. Great spot to go to in Lincoln Square, a few steps from the Davis.
I've been to or ordering from Essence of India over 20 times in past three years. Love their authentic Indian Vegetarian food, easy parking and just opposite of my favorite theater, DAVIS.
Food was good, service was good, everything was great!
Essence of India never disappoints. My wife and I have been enjoying coming here for years. The food is always very tasty and staff is friendly. We would highly recommend.
I love Indian Food and I though the food was alright (about 2.5 out of 5 stars). The Coconut Curry Shrimp had a gray color and the shrimp was over cooked (not good, had a very vinegar taste). Found the prices to be high for the amount of food received also. The one positive was that the Chicken Tikka Masala was tasteful but sweet. I would not revisit this location.
Good food and service. Portions were not massive.
My favorite place. The best bryani in all of Chicago.
Good food , and good evening over shadowed by the fact that you have to pay extra for rice ...common , really ?
Appetizers were mediocre but main dishes were very good.
Essence of India is a lovely place for delicious food and good conversation.
Essence of India has long been one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants. I've now had every vegetarian dish they make and I have enjoyed every one. This is my go-to weekend restaurant when I don't feel like cooking. I used to drive up to Devon street for Indian, but I found that I enjoyed this just as much, if not more, so I just stay in Lincoln Square and go to Essence of India.
OK so we loved the place, loved the food. But the sodium content had both of us in pain the next day. My feet which never have swollen before were 3 times normal size for 24 hours.
So, we will not be going back. Sadly.
Great location near Lincoln Square.
Good options for drinks including some interesting Indian-infused cocktails.
Excellent choices and quality for appetizers but the lamb options of the main menu were disappointing: chewy and not cooked properly.
Not sure if I will go back.
Essense of India continues to be my favorite Indian restaurant in Chicago. The quality of the food is consistently very good. Their tandoori shrimp is outstanding. The service is always attentive and friendly. Its street parking in Lincoln Square area but still easier than in Devon area.
This is our favorite restaurant now. We usually bring our own wine at $10 corkage and we always order 2 jasmine rice with our 3 dishes and we take home enough for lunch the next day. We love this spot!:)
My wife and I enjoy Indian food and after living down the street from Essence of India for several years decided it was time to try it. We are very glad that we did. The food had such flavor, great spiciness if you ask for it, and it's a charming corner spot for date night!
My husband and I went to celebrate his birthday before taking in a show at The Old Town School of Folk music. We had a great experience. It was an early Sunday evening so not too crowded. The service was friendly and attentive. The restaurant is very comfortable and attractive. Most importantly the food was excellent. We are vegetarians. There were many selections for us. The Samosas came to us hot and delicious. The 2 vegetable dishes were delicious. The Garlic Naan was the best we've ever had. They have a nice wine and beer selection and the prices are very reasonable. We will defiantly be back.
Delicious food, beautiful space.
We ordered the non - veg sampler and bhuna chicken. The non - veg sampler tasted a bit sweet, which is unusual. It was probably stale as well. The bhuna chicken was simply amazing and perfectly made and quality of chicken too was good. Bhuna is quite spicy.
I've been coming here for years. Essence is the best Indian food in Chicago.
Essence of India makes a great spot to get dinner before heading over to the Old Town School of Folk Music. The food was great, full of flavor and spices, while being very reasonable. The four of us ate very well and each had a hard beverage for under $120. Plus, I had enough leftovers for two more meals! The lamb was cooked very nicely, and the fried paneer we had as an appetizer was really solid. The ambiance is nice and simple. The waiter was really patient, as we took a bit of time to order because we hadn't seen each other in a long time. He cracked some fairly funny jokes and put up with my stupidly dry sense of humor. They sell 750ml bottles of Kingfisher, so I guess I'd've been happy no matter what.
I look forward to going back there and trying out some other dishes.
Great Indian food with great staff. The service was prompt and efficient and the waitstaff was very knowledgeable.