Cafe Taj was right across from our hotel, but Indian restaurants can be great or very mediocre. It was raining so we tried it. It was excellent! Nice variety. Great flavors! Nice martini too!😄
We have enjoyed Cafe Taj in McLean for almost 15 years, eating there a few times a year. It has consistent and reliable cooking, represents several different cuisines of India, and is a good value. But, like most restaurants after a while, some things might need a second look -- it's all about meeting expectations, after all. In our most recent visit, the "Tandori Lamb Chops" were delicious as usual, but the menu says "served with the fresh vegetable of the day." Nope .. the meat was served with nothing other than a few pieces of lettuce and a thin slice of tomato. That doesn't count as 'fresh vegetable of the day.' Our second entre was an up-priced vegetarian dish (not on the online menu, but "talli" -- a combination of several vegetarian dishes). It is priced about 50% more than the other vegetarian dishes, but was four tiny, tiny portions of vegetable dishes -- not much more than a spoonful each. Of course, we were served mounds of rice. There is no need to bring enormous portions, but the sum of these four barely bite-sized tastes were much less than an ordinary vegetarian dish. When we came home, I had more vegetables from my fridge.
We enjoy Taj -- the service is always wonderful, the food is tasty, the ambiance is quiet so that conversation is enjoyable. But they could do better -- I hope things improve for our next visit.
Great tasting food. Very very good
Disappointing. Cold food and two different dishes ordered that tasted exactly the same. Will not be returning.
Had a memorable meal with friends dining outside for the first time at Cafe Taj. A little slow to get our table setup, but once we started it was very pleasant. Our out-of-town visitors wanted Indian food, and Cafe Taj was the first place we considered for McLean. Great food, great time. Thanks.
Great to find a good restaurant in McLean. We enjoyed the meal - nice flavors, although the dishes that the waiter said were spicy, really weren't. The Naan with the fruit and nuts was very good. Service was attentive and accommodating. Café Taj will definitely be on my McLean rotation when meeting friends.
Great food. Clearly fresh ingredient daily. The traditional dishes you'd expect but prepared with care and presented nice. Great value. Great service. Great food.
The waiting staff were awesome and very attentive. The food was solid and the Resturant staff gave us several things to try at no cost!
Great food and service. Will definitely go back again.
Tasty yummy Indian food. Enjoy spicy dish. Mild dishes are particularly flavorful.
It was a week night 8:30pm & my friends wanted Indian food. I was introduced to Cafe Taj by an Indian friend & I enjoyed it, so I suggested it - it's in my McLean neighborhood & open till 10:00. Ordered butter chix, a shrimp dish & an eggplant dish & usual nan. Chix was okay, but disappointing - didn't taste smooth & a bit sour. Shrimp & eggplant dishes were tastier - all served w/Basmati rice. Just after 9:00 we decided to split the mixed grill. They weren't thrilled & even tried to dissuade us from ordering cause it would take "at least 30 min," but we did & it wasn't 30 min & was the best dish. Overall, about average incl. wait staff - nothing special. Nice menu selections, but I felt a bit too expensive. Portions were mostly sufficient.
We ordered the two entrees...but the sauces, tasted much the same. One was ginger chicken, one was curried shrimp.
Both also looked like the same sauces. We had to pay $4 extra for the shrimp...not worth it, as portion was not small. We ordered Naan and expected a charge for that, but the raita sauce is also an extra charge.
Restaurant was very empty, which is a shame. Could have been so much better. I'd like to return, but I suggest they do some menu choices that reflect different sauces.
This is one of the best Indian food that I ate.
A good Indian restaurant with no pressure wait staff. Perfect for a relaxing night after a long day/week of work.
I wanted to take my wife someplace different for Mother's Day. I had spent far too much money on 2 dinner's for her birthday 3 weeks prior. The Goal? No place generic and the meal has to be under $100.00 - Cafe Taj fit the bill nicely. Very, very good food, the place was fairly quiet and filled with couples at 7:30 on a Sunday evening, which I thought was awesome! The staff is friendly and they make sure you have enough of everything. I will add... In their market area, they would fair better and gather another grouping of customers, by simply updating their decor. Switching from plastic flowers, to live flowers or plants adds a special flare. Overall, a good experience and I'd be willing to return.
I ate here for the first time. I am pretty knowledgeable about Indian food. I ate at dozens of other Indian restaurants. I don't remember too many of them being better than Cafe Taj. In addition to delicious food, service was wonderful.
Personally I loved the Chicken Tikka Masala and the Paneer dish that we tried for the first time(I think it was the Shahi Paneer). We also ordered Bread Basket, which was awesome.
Overall a great experience. I would love to go back sooner than later.
I absolutely loved this place. I really enjoyed my meal, it was a great mixture of delicious food, great service, generous portions and good prices. We would definitely be returning soon!!
What a disappointment! This place used to be fabulous, but something changed. Every single morsel, from appetizer to bread to entree to dessert, was grossly overcooked. Fried appetizers were dark brown and even black on edges. Naan was charred to crispness on the bottom. Butter chicken, their longtime star, lost all of its subtle spices and was nothing but dry chunks of chicken in what tasted like canned tomato sauce. Waiter was sloppy and inattentive, even though we were the only ones in this usually lively neighborhood restaurant. Didn't wipe crumbs from table between courses, didn't offer to replace dishes that were left untouched they were so bad. This was a regular haunt for us, but won't be going back.
Nice to have a good local Indian restaurant, but the food is not as good as it was in the early days (over 15 years ago!)
Lamb was so tough I could not chew it. Some pieces were only mildly tough. The management shrugged its shoulders at this. Not the reaction one might hope for from a responsible restaurant. In the future, if we return, it will be chicken tika masala. That's pretty good at Taj.
We had a large party of 7. I had made a reservation through Open Table for 5 and that was confirmed. During the week, we added 2 to our party, so I called the restaurant to add those 2 to the reservation. That was confirmed by the restaurant. But when we got there, they did not have my reservation and had to scramble to accommodate us. I am not sure what happened to my reservation.
The food is always great here, but they are a bit short staffed for a Saturday night, so the service was a bit slow. It was okay for us because it gave us time to visit. I am sure that the unexpected group of 7 added to that. But this is truly a neighborhood gem-delicious food and friendly atmosphere.
When my daughter and I went into the restaurant I told the waiter that I had a reservation, it seemed like he did not know about opentable. He just seated us. The waitress never introduced herself nor did she say welcome. She tossed our napkins onto the table each time she filled the water glasses. From that point we could not stay. We were hoping to have indian food that evening, but I guess it was not going to happen.
The Food is always wonderful here. But this time, though I had booked through Open Table and had requested a window table, we walked in and a lady working as a waitress told us that we could not have the larger window table. This seemed odd insofar as the restaurant was pretty empty when we arrived. I find it difficult to eat at the small tables when you order several dishes as the space is very limited. But right away, when we uttered our dismay, another waiter came over and offered us the table we wanted. So the situation was quickly corrected. After that, all was well, the food was wonderful and the service was good. I had never seen that woman there before, so perhaps she was new and did not know the ropes yet. Perennially good here.
Food excellent, service good, but food preparation very slow.
Maitre'd not very accomplished, I am not sure he had been one before; the service wasn't all that great; food was good.
Poor food...everything tasted like brown gravy. I won't return.
Food and Service were both very good. Appetizers were really good and we tried several dishes. Bread was not as good as other places I have had which was a bit disapointing. Salmon was a huge portion actually and was good but not as spicy as I would have hoped.
Some food was cold, but flavors were good. For a relaxed casual night out it was good. Ambience is more fit for lunch or a cafe atmosphere.
We were a little disappointed this time. Have had better meals here. Tried fish for the first time and ordered the salmon masala. The sauce was good, but the fish was dry and overcooked.
Cafe Taj is a nice place for the McLean, VA neighborhood. The food was good, the ambiance quaint and the waiters friendly. However, this place is better served for lunch and not dinner.
I had last been to this place in 2006 and was pleasantly surprised that it was as good as it still is. I really enjoyed the butter chicken and the chicken tikka. The rice was delicious as was the Naan (bread).
Also, the service was very good.
I'll be back.
PS: My Wife is Indian and she liked it very much.
I like Cafe Taj but they are short-sighted, especially for a restaurant that needs to build it clientele. With the onion culcha a small container of riata was served. (Riata is that yoghurt dip for the bread.) I wanted a little more and they brought a small container of it. They then charged me $2.99 for that! I questioned the charge and got a runaround, which is a skill at that place given there were only 3 people working there -- none the boss! This little charge makes me NOT recommend Cafe Taj. Trivial? Yes! Annoying? Yes, enough to consider competitors.
The food at Cafe Taj was very good and was prepared in a timely manner. We were happy to sit outside and that proved to be a good experience. The ambience was quiet. The service at Cafe Taj is excellent. Never intrusive, but, always available to meet our needs.
Very good food at a reasonable price. I had the lamb vindaloo and it truly had a quick, when they say spicy they mean spicy
great Indian food. Outdoor patio is nice and quiet
This was my first taste of India. The food was delicious, the staff were so helpful explaining dishes , and they had both northern and southern dishes.
Good location, easy parking. Attentive staff. However, food was only so-so. Butter chicken was dry.
Food was so-so. Service was horrible. We had to wait an hour to get what we had ordered. I think that they had forgotten us and put in the order after I asked where our food was. The couple next to us were arguing most of the time, so that added to our frustration. Probably should have just left when did not get served promptly. Don't plan to go back. Sadly, the last time we went to Cafe Taj, about a year ago, both service and food were good.
Our trip to Cafe Taj started out on a sour note when we were greeted at the door. Although we had a reservation and the restaurant had many unoccupied tables, we were directed to a table just a few feet from the entrance. On a cold rainy night, this was unacceptable and I requested another table. The staff person who greeted us did not make us feel welcome. The food was tasty so I gave them 2 stars instead of 1. There was a smoky atmosphere in the dining room that probably came from the Tandoori oven in the kitchen. My husband who has asthma said that it gave him a choking feeling.
Basic Indian food is good. Menu should be more creative and diverse, including desserts.