24995 Riding Plaza
In Indian culture, Rangoli is a colorful decorative art form. Rangoli is also the name of this popular Loudoun Indian restaurant, which uses the art form as a theme. Opened in 2006, the restaurant quickly rose to critical acclaim from being Zagat Rated to finding itself on various favorite lists. For good reason—it has really great food.
Owner Kumar Iyer, and his carefully selected staff just know how to do it right. From the moment you are greeted at the door until you leave, you are always pampered and never rushed. Your water glass is never empty and if you are a returning customer they seem to remember what you enjoyed the last time you were there. But it will be the food that keeps you coming back.
My family loves Indian food and we’ve been to most of Northern Virginia Indian eateries and typically have the same dishes at each location. My children always ordered Chicken Tikaa (grilled chicken marinated in spicy yogurt based sauce). I’m a vegetarian and ordered Paneer Makhani (rich tomato-based sauce with cheese) and my husband is comfortable with anything hot and spicy, preferably shrimp grilled in a tandoor clay oven.
Well, you can get them at Rangoli as well, and they are done to perfection. But here, we’ve taken the plunge and explored other dishes, as well. Chicken Makhani (also known as Butter Chicken), was described by one of my sons as “mom, this is the best chicken I’ve ever had. (Hmmm….. Thanks, son.)” My oldest has become a huge fan of Tandoori chicken (spiced with red chilies and grilled on the bone). I’ve moved on to Channa Masala (tasty combination of chickpeas with shallots, tomato, and spices). My husband, no longer orders the same thing, sampling other dishes, but declaring each one as delicious.
We’ve also encountered some items that we’ve never had before. Try their Bhel Puri appetizer, a mix of chopped onions, tomatoes, spices, and rice crispies (yep, the same rice crispies). The breads are unbelievable and you can make a meal just ordering a couple of different varieties (if you never had an Onion Kulcha, order one next time) and the Mulligatwany Soup (yellow lentils) is always a wonderful precursor for a good meal.
One of the best things you can do to experience this restaurant is to go there during lunch where a wonderful buffet will allow you to do your own taste test. If you’re close by, Rangoli should quickly become one of your favorites. If you’re not, it’s worth the trip.