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Inside the India Garden Restaurant Mishawaka, Indiana

Many of you might not know this but I love Indian food because I used to live with someone from India. In university I studied Japanese for one of my two degrees so I was given the amazing chance to live in the international dormitory. Not everyone gets this opportunity but seeing as I was studying a foreign language and was helping the International Student and Scholars department acclimate incoming international students this opportunity was given to me. My roommate came from India and grew very homesick for the authentic food from her home country. So in response her parents contacted a local friend of a friend and this lovely elderly couple used to deliver homemade meals almost daily. So we ended up sharing meals in our tiny dorm room. Thankfully we were in the international dormitory otherwise our neighbors might have grown tired of the smell of Indian and Japanese foods mish mashed together. Hence, I grew to love authentic spicy Indian food. (hmm… now that I think of it maybe this is where I get my spice loving taste buds.)

Whew! That was a bit of a babble but back to the topic; Genki Husband and I have found a tasty Indian restaurant right in our little area of Indiana. One of our worries of moving to a new area not located in a large city is the lack of international food options. Thankfully we have found a Middle Eastern eatery and this Indian restaurant. Hooray! As a vegan entering a restaurant for the first time is always nail biting since it is hard to sit down to find out they do not serve anything vegan. About 90% of the time there is something that can be substituted and omitted to make a dish vegan but there is still that worry. Actually Genki Husband ordered a vegan sub from Jimmy Johns the other day for a business meeting luncheon and instead received a full meat with nothing else on it sandwich. So one never knows what to expect… I guess that means we are adventurous every time we enter a restaurant. Sounds much more fancy that way doesn’t it? Ha-ha

India Garden Restaurant in Mishawaka, Indiana

For some reason I did not get the outside of the restaurant portion but attached to it is this grocery store. Actually one can walk through the restaurant to get to the store. It has a lot of options and there is even some fresh produce, not much though.

This Indian restaurant does oversell their buffet but this lady here does not appreciate a buffet. There is just something about food sitting out with tens of hundreds of people walking through spreading germs all over the food. So if you are like me, just go ahead and ask for a menu. Note: You might have to ask a few times since they really do push their buffet. Vegetarian items are clearly marked so you will need to inform them that you do not eat dairy either and they will assist you. Most Indian people will understand veganism as it is common in India at certain times of the year to go vegan. So fear not you will be understood – you might have to explain no meat, no dairy, etc but they will understand after a short explanation. No worries.

India Garden Restaurant Mishawaka, Indiana Vegan options Puri

We were a bit sad to find out that the naan is not vegan at this restaurant. The waitress told us the whole wheat puri is vegan though. We were starving so we ordered it this one time even though we don’t really care for it as much since it is empty calories due to be deep-fried. It was good for puri but you really have to be a lover of it to enjoy it. We ended up not eating it.

We found we really enjoyed our meals – they were again a bit blander than normal Indian meals but I think the waitress thought we were not up to the bold flavors of India as we asked many questions about ingredients to assure it was all vegan. Next time we go (yes, there will be a next time) we will mention to have it extra spicy and I’m sure it will come out as normal. Need to feed those taste buds right? Ha-ha

India Garden Restaurant Mishawaka, Indiana Vegan options Pakora

Another appetizer that is vegan but deep-fried (why are they all deep-fried?) is called pakora. Basically it’s a battered vegetable that is dipped in hot oil. The green sauce cuts down the oily texture a bit.

India Garden Restaurant Mishawaka, Indiana Vegan options

This is one of the two meals we ordered. See below photos for description. Very good but if we order again we will tell the staff to go fully on the spices.

India Garden Restaurant Mishawaka, Indiana Vegan options

The other dish was made from potatoes and this is mainly cauliflower.

India Garden Restaurant Mishawaka, Indiana Vegan options

We really wanted naan but unfortunately none of them were vegan. So we got the puri, which we were told is the only one that is vegan.

India Garden Restaurant Mishawaka, Indiana Vegan options

The stars indicate the options for vegans. Again, you will still need to mention the waitstaff you are vegan to assure they do not use butter.

India Garden Restaurant Mishawaka, Indiana Vegan options

As for the entrees, there are a lot of options for vegetarians but not a lot of vegans. That’s okay though, you can work around it. Talk to the staff and let them know you can not have dairy or ghee. They will know what you mean most of the time. The star options are the ones that are vegan or you can make vegan easily.

India Garden Restaurant
615 West Edison Road, Mishawaka, IN 46545
(574) 255-5600

 Anyone dine here?  Or have any other suggestions for the South Bend area?