About Passage to India - Bethesda

Passage to India serves a great selection of Indian food in an elegant decor, reminiscent of the dining rooms of the Maharajahs. Chef Sudhir Seth introduced the concept of Regional Cuisines of the Indian subcontinent and showcases food from all over India with local ingredients and home blended spices. The restaurant is located Bethesda's restaurant row, just 3 blocks from the Bethesda metro (Red Line).

4931 Cordell Ave.
Bethesda, MD 20814
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Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Indian, Vegan

Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Daily: 11:30am - 2:30pm;
Dinner: 5:30pm - 9.30pm (Sunday through Thursday)
5:30pm - 10.30pm (Friday & Saturday)

Cross Street:
Old Georgetown Road (Route 187)

Dress Code:
Smart Casual

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(301) 656-3373

Website:
http://passagetoindia.info/

Passage to India - Bethesda Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.5

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.4

service

4.3

ambience

4.4

value

4.2

Noise

Quiet

94% would recommend it to a friend

Authentic (25)
Good Vegetarian Options (23)
Neighborhood Gem (22)
See All
Quiet Conversation (18)
Fit for Foodies (13)
Creative Cuisine (12)
Spicy (12)
Special Occasion (11)
Good for Anniversaries (10)
Good for a Date (9)
Great for Lunch (9)
Vegan (9)
Casual (9)
Business Meals (8)
Comfort Food (7)
Good for Groups (7)
Worth the Drive (7)
Romantic (6)
Good for Birthdays (5)
Cozy (4)
Healthy (4)
Kid-friendly (2)
Fun (2)
Pre/post Theatre (2)
Sunday Lunch (2)
Great for Brunch (1)
Disabled Access (1)
Gluten Free Options (1)
Organic (1)
Seasonal (1)
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436 reviews
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vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined 5 days ago

Food is brought too fast. You feel like you are being hurried through the meal even though no one was waiting for a table. We had not finished our appetizers and the main entrees were there. The servers whisked our appetizer plates away and instructed us to use the "big plates to finish the appetizer".
The food is hit or miss. Overall its decent food but not the best.

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food2
ambience3
service1
value3

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined 5 days ago

Great Indian food. Everything very good! I would go again for sure

Tags: Authentic
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food4
ambience3
service3
value3

vip
 (Baltimore)·Dined on December 5, 2017

Always wonderful service and great food
I love the fact that’s it’s good for conversation and get together for any occasion .. but mostly for quietly spending time w friends or business lunch ..
always esthetics of white glove service w white table cloth...& great food wins me and keeps me coming back !

Tags: Great for Lunch, Vegan, Great for Brunch, Worth the Drive, Creative Cuisine, Authentic, Cozy
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Baltimore)·Dined on December 2, 2017

My favorite Indian restaurant in Montgomery County - superb on all levels

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food5
ambience5
service5

 
·Dined on December 1, 2017

Food was better last time. Not so much this time. There were four of us- we ordered four dishes, and two appetizers- plenty of food but most of it was just mediocre. We had been there before and had an excellent meal but not this time. There are so many good Indian restaurants and this was such a disappointment this time.

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food2
ambience4
service4
value2

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 1, 2017

Really enjoyed it. Went twice in one week and tried four different meals.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (New England)·Dined on November 24, 2017

I had family travel here for Thanksgiving and needed a good place to eat. For some of my family, they were eating Indian food for the second time. For others, they were long-time Indian food lovers.

Our headcount kept changing, which is painful for us and for any restaurant we were dealing with. Passage to India's waiters did a great job of organizing, re-organizing and eventually moving us to accommodate surprise new guests. We started out with a table for 8 and eventually wound up with a table for 12. The waiters accommodated us with grace.

The food was pleasing, and managed to span a range of mild to spicy. Many Indian restaurants have great difficulty creating dishes mild enough for my wife's palate. And yet, for the first time in living memory, she praised a navratan korma as being truly mild and great-tasting.

In the future, we will both return to Passage to India to dine in as well as order take-out.

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Great for Lunch, Good for Groups
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on November 22, 2017

Enjoyed a quiet lunch the day before Thanksgiving. Food very good, waiter attentive. Would go back if I'm in the area again.

Tags: Casual, Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience3
service4
value4

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on November 19, 2017

The maitre d' / waiter was surprised that we had a reservation - he said that he couldn’t find it. He seated us and then again came back to check if I really had the reservation. I showed him the open table confirmation and then he went back to check on it. We were made to wait at our table until he could satisfy himself that we indeed had a reservation. He confirmed that we did have a reservation when he came to serve us water.

Food was way too Americanized and not authentically Indian.

Ambience is reasonable but gets cancelled out due to the extremely close seating and loud conversations from the larger parties.

Our waitress was friendly and efficient, but the waiters were grumpy and had an air of indifference about them.

1 person found this review helpful.
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food3
ambience4
service2
value2

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on November 17, 2017

Always such a pleasure to eat at this delicious restaurant.

Tags: Good Vegetarian Options, Neighborhood Gem, Quiet Conversation
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on November 12, 2017

The menu is standard Indian fare, but everything we tasted was really delicious. The service was smooth and unobtrusive; the décor interesting but unpretentious.

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Good Vegetarian Options, Casual, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on November 9, 2017

In my opinion, there is no Bethesda restaurant that has better ambiance than Passage to India. One notices the calming music as soon as one enters. The tables are covered with white table cloths, the chairs are upholstered, the carpeting is plush, the walls are covered with framed prints of Indian figures, and the windows are partial covered with decorative Indian screens. There is no buffet table so there is not a constant movement of people. The servers move quietly and efficiently and don't strike up a conversation unless one initiates one. This atmosphere is conducive to lowered voices. The food is varied and consistently very good. I particularly like the vegetarian dishes and the Sali Boti, a lamb dish that is accompanied by a crisp green salad and a small bowl of lentils. The flavors are more complex than those in most other Indian restaurants. The list of wines by the glass is small, but well chosen and reasonably priced at $8.95. I avoid the coffee here, but the herbal tea is a wonderful end to a meal.

Tags: Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience5
service4
value4

 
·Dined on November 5, 2017

Food seemed a little on the pretentious side ... taste wise was fine . Definitely not authentic Indian - ( despite the geographic referrences to the items on the menu ) But yes , it sits well on your pallete .
Definitely needs to improve on service - impatient and brusque waiters .

Tags: Good for a Date, Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion, Good Vegetarian Options
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food4
ambience4
service2
value3

vip
 (Baltimore)·Dined on October 24, 2017

I like Indian food and feel this restaurant really captures the authenticity of Indain food. I ordered the Scallops, but unfortunately, they were VERY SALTY. The service is always pleasant and quick. I'll try another entree next time. Will be back. I'm sure it was just an off day.

Tags: Authentic
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food3
ambience4
service5
value3

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on October 8, 2017

This is one of our favorite Indian restaurants, both for the extensive and varied vegan choices and the high quality of every dish we have ever had there.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Authentic, Kid-friendly, Good for Groups, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service3
value5

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on October 8, 2017

It was a wonderful eating experience! The food was excellent! The service was excellent!

Tags: Sunday Lunch, Worth the Drive, Authentic, Special Occasion, Great for Lunch, Casual, Good for a Date, Good for Groups, Good Vegetarian Options, Fit for Foodies, Comfort Food, Good for Anniversaries, Fun, Quiet Conversation
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on October 3, 2017

Great food and service! I'll for sure visit again. My date was vegan, so they had tons of options for her.

Tags: Good Vegetarian Options, Vegan
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on October 1, 2017

Using a Groupon, I revisited this restaurant, but the ambience was poor. LOUD inside, waitstaff placed couples NEXT to each other, when there were open available seats farther apart. Noise level too high and food is only so -so. Had to flag waiter down a few times to refill water, wanted to order a lentil side but was told it comes on the table - it did not.
We were also NOT told that there was an 'upcharge' for white meat chicken.
We left disappointed and probably won't be back.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Good Vegetarian Options, Spicy, Vegan
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food3
ambience3
service2
value3

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on September 30, 2017

I love this restaurant. The taste of the dishes was amazing from the starters to the main courses. What I like about Passage of India is that the spice in the dishes is layered and fragrant so you don’t just get a hit of heat as in other Indian restaurants. The food is far superior and more authentic than Rasika which is more about style over substance. As ever the staff were very courteous and service was excellent.

Tags: Comfort Food
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (Richmond)·Dined on September 30, 2017

Awesome butter chicken! Great service....great Bethesda downtown location...

Tags: Healthy, Casual, Business Meals, Organic, Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (San Antonio)·Dined on September 26, 2017

Amazing food selection. We had two different chef's specials and shared. There was nothing that I didn't like and the portions are generous. Will definitely go back.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
·Dined on September 23, 2017

We love Indian food and have eaten it in the U.S. and abroad. This was one of the best -- tandoori dishes were cooked perfectly, veggie dishes were seasoned and spiced just right. We dined on a Saturday night and once a table turned over, it didn't stay empty for long. Highly recommend.

Tags: Comfort Food, Neighborhood Gem, Worth the Drive, Authentic, Good for Anniversaries, Casual, Good Vegetarian Options, Special Occasion, Vegan
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on September 22, 2017

The food is overrated by Bethesda Magazine, The Washingtonian and others. I've traveled throughout India and eat it often here and while some items (Tandoori Crab) were great, some basic Indian dishes like Cauliflower and potatoes with a turmeric seasoning were very disappointing - but expensive for a vegetarian entree. Worst or all, the butter chicken had a $1 surcharge for white meat - even though the total price for dinner for 2 with 1 beer was ~$100!

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food3
ambience5
service4
value2

 
 (New England)·Dined on September 21, 2017

Great food and service. Only a few people when I was there at 6:15 on a week day. Tons of items on the menu that were great for sharing

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on September 21, 2017

For me, the refined decor is one of the draws. It is not only visually appealing, it encourages speaking in low voices. The food is the quality of that one finds in very good restaurants in the major cities of India. The salli boti, a lamb stew that I had on this occasion, was very good bot in terms of the quality of the ingredients and the preparation. Each entree is accompanied by a fresh salad, a dish of flavorful lentils, and white rice. While the list of wines by the glass is short, it is well chosen and reasonably priced. The service is attentive, but not intrusive.

Tags: Great for Lunch, Authentic, Sunday Lunch, Good Vegetarian Options
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food4
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on September 17, 2017

As usual, the food and service were excellent. Best Indian restaurant in Bethesda.

Tags: Spicy, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Birthdays, Business Meals, Good for a Date, Authentic, Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem, Good Vegetarian Options
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food5
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on September 16, 2017

The food really is fantastic! Often with Indian restaurants the flavors of the different curries are often very similar, at Passage to India, each dish has a unique flavor and you can taste the various ingreadients! Recommend the Tandoori Scallops!

Tags: Authentic, Spicy, Business Meals, Good for Anniversaries, Comfort Food, Romantic, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience3
service3
value4

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on September 16, 2017

A nice blend of regional specialties, in a pleasant atmosphere. Attentive service, but not at all overbearing. A lovely place---much nicer than some of the pricier (and pretentious) DC popular Indian spots, especially for the atmosphere and diversity of regional cuisines.

Tags: Good Vegetarian Options, Good for Groups, Kid-friendly, Neighborhood Gem, Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on September 15, 2017

The food was delicious and staff were attentive. The decor of the place had a nice old world vibe, but the decor screens along the windows were dirty and needed to be updated. Some of the menus also needed to be replaced as they were worn down and torn in some areas.

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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on September 13, 2017

Good, not great, but good. They staff was extremely friendly and helpful. The food was quite variable in taste and quality - we found the butter chicken fantastic, the paneer a bit bland and the vindaloo too hot (although, I should have asked to have it toned down a bit for my taste) - even though the lamb was quite tender. The pakoras were quite tasty, the lentil soup fantastic and the nan kind of tasteless. The price was typical Bethesda pricing (read into that as you will).
As an aside, they were very accomodating of a messy toddler! I think we will go back again, and take into account the above when selecting dishes.

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food3
ambience5
service5
value3

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on September 10, 2017

Always delicious, pan-India selections, attractive decor, good service, good choice for vegetarians.

Tags: Comfort Food, Good Vegetarian Options, Good for a Date, Authentic, Casual
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on September 9, 2017

It's not our first time. We've been here a couple of times and have always loved their food, ambiance and service. Nice restaurant and can recommend it to anyone looking for a great Indian Food.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion, Disabled Access, Romantic, Spicy, Creative Cuisine
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on September 2, 2017

Best Indian cuisine in the area. Staff was very accommodating of our need for a high chair. Smooth service, great food.

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food5
ambience5
service5

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on August 26, 2017

We have dined here for years and keep coming back. Excellent food and service.

Tags: Spicy, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Birthdays, Good Vegetarian Options, Quiet Conversation, Business Meals, Good for Anniversaries
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on August 25, 2017

It's always a pleasure to dine at Passage. Friendly and familiar staff greet you nicely, and take excellent care. Chef Negi is awesome!

Tags: Vegan, Fun, Creative Cuisine, Seasonal, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on August 25, 2017

great vegetarian options, the servers treat you like family and want you to enjoy your evening.
the food is so delicious, the kitchen takes pride in the food they cook

Tags: Good for a Date, Healthy, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Birthdays, Vegan, Special Occasion, Fit for Foodies, Romantic, Creative Cuisine, Good Vegetarian Options, Quiet Conversation, Spicy, Authentic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on August 21, 2017

Reliably delicious.
A neighborhood standard that always offers well seasoned food with excellent ingredients.
Enjoy!

Tags: Spicy, Healthy, Quiet Conversation, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience4
service4
value5

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on August 11, 2017

This is a very good Indian restaurant in Bethesda. The decor is very pretty; I love the ambiance there. The menu is divided by geographical regions in India, which is very unique. There are lots of vegetarian options, as well as a variety of meat options (chicken, lamb, goat, seafood). The prices are reasonable, and even better if you buy a Groupon first. And the servings are large enough for leftovers (although they don't give you extra rice like other places). One of my favorite local spots!

Tags: Good for a Date, Authentic, Romantic, Good for Groups, Good Vegetarian Options
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on August 10, 2017

This is not like most Indian restaurants; most of the typical dishes aren't found here. Menu divided between north, south, east, west areas of India, the same number of dishes from each area, and half the choices from each area are vegan/vegetarian. Flavors more subtle than typical Indian restaurant, which, to me, means they use much less salt. I had Kumbalanga payar olan (south, vegetarian) which was good but the beans are quite, ahem, filling. Also had fish konkan curry (west) which comes in a creamy, fairly mild orange sauce and was good, too. Entrees come with a small serving of cabbage salad with a vinegary dressing and rice, of course. The fritter platter appetizer is good to share between 2-3 persons. Servers were friendly and food came out in just the right time. I noticed several Indian families dining there, too. The dining room is comfortable and quiet enough to hold a conversation without shouting or going deaf (as with some newer restaurants).

Tags: Vegan, Special Occasion, Good Vegetarian Options, Authentic, Creative Cuisine
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined on August 7, 2017

We love dining at Passage to India. The staff couldn't be nicer and the setting is relaxing. The star is the food. It pays to be adventurous and try anything on the menu. The kitchen can adjust the spices to your desires and the flavors are amazing.

Tags: Vegan, Romantic, Fit for Foodies, Healthy, Good for Anniversaries
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

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