Tabla's flavorful and colorful food includes (clockwise) paneer tikka kebabs, masala grilled fish and chicken 65.


Casual Indian restaurant appeals to lunch and larger crowds

By Amy Rogers | Photos by Jessica Gaddy, Shrimp & Grisettes

When Manjesh Gorajala wanted to open an Indian restaurant in the Charlotte region, his colleagues and friends insisted there was a particular part of town where it would flourish: near the Ballantyne development. “There’s a very modern outlook, and they won’t shy away from different cuisines,” they told him. “There’s a good mix of all kinds of people and demographics.”

That was back in 2014. Today, Tabla is a citywide favorite with an enthusiastic clientele that keeps growing. The restaurant is in Olde Lancaster Town Center off Providence Road West and Lancaster Highway and has a casual, inviting interior.

It's fun to start the meal with samosas, triangular pockets of dough with meats or vegetables tucked inside and fried.

The cuisines of India are incredibly varied, and Tabla offers dishes from multiple regions. “India is such a multicultural country; every 100 miles, the cuisine keeps changing,” explains Gorajala, who was born in Bangalore. India is roughly one-third the size of the U.S., but it’s the second-most populous country in the world.

At Tabla, it’s fun to start a meal with samosas, triangular pockets of dough with meats or vegetables tucked inside and fried. From there, a pleasing assortment of menu options awaits. Biryani is an iconic dish with layers of fragrant rice combined with meats, seafood or vegetables. It’s been known to make diners instant fans on their first foray into trying Indian food.

Masala grilled fish features a ground, aromatic blend of coriander, cinnamon, cumin and other spices. Paneer is a fresh, mild cottage cheese that beautifully absorbs sauces. When marinated and threaded on skewers, paneer tikka kebabs are the delicious result. Chicken 65 doesn’t actually contain 65 spices, but no one knows exactly how the name came to be for these famed, crispy-fried nuggets.