Annapurna Chai House
2201 Silver Ave SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106
Fax: (505) 232-5595
Annapurna's World Vegetarian Cafe
Annapurna’s World Vegetarian Cafe
Parking: Lot, Private
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Cuisines: Asian, Indian, Healthy, Vegetarian, Middle Eastern, Vegan
Price Range : Below Average
11/19/2010Provided by Citysearch -
As for the food: What kind of vegetarian restaurant cannot even get broccoli right?? Congealed gravy? Overcooked rice, undercooked beans? Stale pita bread? Limp lettuce? Watery Chai?? The food failures alone were somewhat heartbreaking considering the shortage of vegetarian restaurants in ABQ.
As for the Gimmick: They promote themselves as an authentic place to buy yourself some Ayurvedic wisdom. But that is all superficial marketing: ask a staff member a question- even a basic one- about Ayurvedic principles and you get bewildered looks. To compensate for the staff's lack of education they hand out ""quizzes"" on grimy plastic eraser boards for you to ""check"" what your ailments are and what your constitution is. (Did you have a bowel movement today? Are you feeling sluggish? Are you TALL or SHORT?). This is to make you FEEL like you are engaging in some kind of ancient alchemy when in fact they only use 2 criteria when they ""analyze"" your needs. That is probably because the staff have no idea what they are doing , and so they have been told to act complicated but keep it simple. Those two criteria: Are you hot or cold (=hot or cold dish), and do you describe yourself as sensitive or hearty (=mild or spicy dish). I have this on good authority; the staff do have SOME honest answers if your probe a little. Unfortunately that same staff was also slow moving, allowed dirty dishes to pile up on the tables and neglected customers who clearly needed some attention. My table was greasy when I sat down (even though they weren't busy). It was so bad that I requested something to wipe it with and around came the counter girl with a filthy cloth. I won't go on about how dusty it was or the rickety tables. All in all I think this establishment is run by frauds with a bad chef and poor hiring skills.
The cuisine at Anna Purna and its adjoining Green Light Bistro vary drastically in quality and taste. One of the major attractions and issues with the kitchen is that they have a menu that offers gluten and gluten-free(GF) vegetarian and vegan food. However, they use the same fryer to fry both gluten and GF foods, which then negates the GF item. Another issue Anna Purna has is that the majority (over 95%) of the dishes use almost all the same five spices, so while texture varies, and color varies a little less, all the entrees have a very monotonous taste. A positive to this restaurant is that they use only the freshest all natural and organic ingredients on all their food. As a former cook there, I'd estimate that 98% of the ingredients in any dish are organic or all natural.
The cuisine at Green Light Bistro was a lot different however. Chefs with entirely different styles of cooking than the Indian and Ayurveda cuisine at Anna Purna built the menu from the ground up by popular Santa Fe chef. Its focus was not to try to design the food to fit the diets of Ayurveda followers, but instead to offer food made from only the finest quality organic and natural ingredients. The menu infused together these healthy ways of eating (gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan) with traditional delicious dishes of many ethnic backgrounds. Gluten-free vegan Stromboli that's better than any found in Albuquerque is just one example. They also offered a great salad and sandwich selection that was a high step above the ordinary, but upon first bite you realize the care that the cooks put into cooking. Each individual meal order is started from scratch ingredients and is cooked per plate, nothing is done in big batches to be individually reheated, in fact there isn't a single microwave in the restaurant.
Unfortunately, Green Light closed its doors and moved into Anna Purna, and because of this many aspects that made the Green Light food so delicious, unique, and popular have been scratched. No more specials are offered, and the regular items that had ingredients that had been specifically paired with the dish found ingredients changed or even removed, which completely destroyed what made those meals so enjoyable and popular.
I recommend that anyone who enjoys either Ayurveda or just healthy cuisine try out both sections of the restaurant. While Green Light used to be 100X better, it's still worth checking out
Both my husband and I like vegetarian food. We eat at Annapurna a few times a month. We have noticed that the service can be quite slow. We like to have our drinks before our meal, and every time we go my hubby orders a young coconut, they never bring it to him. He has had to ask more then once for them to bring it and a few times they still didn't bother. Some of the dishes are really spicy, so just avoid them if you don't like that sort of thing. I do like a lot of what they serve and they are a bit $$. I recommend this place if you're not in any hurry to get anywhere. I wish there were more restaurants like this but with more staff and less of a wait.
08/25/2008Provided by Citysearch -
I just moved to Albuquerque a few months ago, and found the amazing Annapurna Chai House and Indian Food restaurant. I love the atmosphere there.. its so welcoming and pleasing. Their iced teas & chai are the best ever!! The customer service could improve a little.
But the girl at the front was really nice helpful.
My experiance was really great overall and I will so be going there as often as I can!
WORST FOOD AND SERVICE EVER!!! My fiancé and I travel all around the country looking for the best veg places to eat. We were so excited when we first arrived – the atmosphere is fun and kitschy. However, DO NOT be deceived. We started with a mocha latte and hot chocolate. Both were very bland and mediocre at best. We got an order of Masala Fries because they sounded unique but really they are just a fancy word for potatoes soaked in grease mixed with a little Indian spice – Yuk! As any vegan knows – breakfast (especially pancakes) are a rare find and definitely a treat. We got 2 orders of them which were 2 too many. They were like a very dry mix of clay and dirt. The mango sauce tasted like orange flavored cough syrup. When we asked for some maple syrup they were very rude and said they would have to charge us an additional ridiculous amount, on top of the $40 we had already spent. We passed on the syrup knowing it would have never improved the awful pancakes anyway. Unfortunately we also made the mistake of ordering the Tofu Scramble. I didn’t even know it was possible to screw up tofu to this degree – even the broccoli was bad. We also tried a couple of their vegan deserts which were dry and not even worth mentioning. All in all this was by far the worst food either of us has ever eaten. We left with all of our barely touched food on the table because it was so terrible we weren’t able to choke any of it down – such a disappointment especially after all of our initial excitement. I have never written a bad review for any vegetarian restaurant but in this case there is absolutely nothing positive that can be said and anyone who is thinking of trying this place needs to be forewarned. Trust us when we say – don’t waste your time or money. It’s mystifying this place is still in business.
06/01/2008Provided by Citysearch -
My fiance and I travel all around the country looking for the best veg places to eat. We were so excited when we first arrived ? the atmosphere is fun and kitschy. However, DO NOT be deceived. We started with a mocha latte and hot chocolate. Both were very bland and mediocre at best. We got an order of Masala Fries because they sounded unique but really they are just a fancy word for potatoes soaked in grease mixed with a little Indian spice ? Yuk! As any vegan knows ? breakfast (especially pancakes) are a rare find and definitely a treat. We got 2 orders of them which were 2 too many. They were like a very dry mix of clay and dirt. The mango sauce tasted like orange flavored cough syrup. When we asked for some maple syrup they were very rude and said they would have to charge us an additional ridiculous amount, on top of the $40 we had already spent. We passed on the syrup knowing it would have never improved the awful pancakes anyway. Unfortunately we also made the mistake of ordering the Tofu Scramble. I didn?t even know it was possible to screw up tofu to this degree ? even the broccoli was bad. We also tried a couple of their vegan deserts which were dry and not even worth mentioning. All in all this was by far the worst food either of us has ever eaten. We left with all of our barely touched food on the table because it was so terrible we weren?t able to choke any of it down ? such a disappointment especially after all of our initial excitement. I have never written a bad review for any vegetarian restaurant but in this case there is absolutely nothing positive that can be said and anyone who is thinking of trying this place needs to be forewarned. Trust us when we say ? don?t waste your time or money. It?s mystifying this place is still in business.
Annapurna serves Ayurvedic/Indian cuisine. Food ifsvegetarian, good quality, a little spicey for this Pita type, but excellent nonetheless. Prices are high for what you are buying, but hopefully produce is organic and this accounts for the price on items.
Keb Mo, the bluesman, was in town recently and said that Annapurna is where he eats when he is in ABQ. He also said "It gives you a better s-x drive and we know you all want great s-x!" Now, this just reinforces what I said above - that , for a Pita (Fire) type , the food is too spicy - which results in increased "Heat" in the body and a high libido.
These results are not in keeping with the Ayurvedic goal,which would be to create a "sattvic" (calm, meditative) result in people.
For me, though, the biggest problem is attitude. The service is slow (even though it is counter service) and the staff have a sense of "noblesse oblige" (look it up - it means "holier than thou" from as class perspective). I have had many experiences there which , unfortunately, bear this out. As someone who is sometimes on a schedule, sometimes getting take-out, etc., I find that the attitude of "if you are in a hurry, we don't want you here" seems to apply. When I brought a coupon from a service that they participated in, they refused to take it, stating that it was not good on the day of the week I arrived. I checked back with the vendor and found out that this was not so.
Someone forgot that service is what makes restaurants successful..
So - buyer beware! Come with a good deal of time, patience, and don't take it personally when service is not great.
09/08/2006Provided by Citysearch -
I was passing through Albuquerque on my way to Oregon with my fiance (we are both vegetarian). We found the delightful Annapurna. I have eaten a lot of Indian food in my day all across the U.S. This was by far one of the best food experiences I've ever had. I complemented the chef at least three times before leaving. The chai (which is homemade) is absolutely amazing as well. I highly suggest eathing at this restaurant. It is only rivaled by Mayuri in Portland, OR and they are too different to compare so they equally stand as the best I've ever eaten.
08/28/2006Provided by Citysearch -
I so wanted to love Annapurna, and it does have nice chai and other teas, but the food is just not that good, nor is it true Ayurvedic cooking. The kichadi, for example, -- a classic, slow-cooked rice and lentil dish that's a cornerstone of Ayurvedic cuisine--, seems to be just their regular lentils heated up with some rice, and all of their vegetables are so overcooked they could hardly retain any nutritive value. Given that they advertise their foods as not only healthy but ""healing"", this is inexcusable. Most dishes are shockingly bland, too, for an Indian restaurant, or unhappily wierd like the dosa (fermented rice crepe) stuffed with bananas, jam and coconut (sounds promising but it's simply awful). When the principal chef, Prakash, is in, the savory, potato-filled masala dosa is quite OK, but no one else there seems to know how to make them and one can often taste raw and sometimes way over-fermented dosa dough in the middle. A lot of people, particularly new-agers, seem to like this place, but I suspect it's more for the idea of it, than for anything the restaurant actually offers. Very sad because Annapurna is one of maybe four vegetarian restaurants in the whole state.
05/29/2006Provided by Citysearch -
Adamant meat-lover that I am, I have to admit: for the average broke college student, Annapurna is like (vegan) manna from heaven. It has a limited menu of delicious vegan specialties (and that is not a contradiction in terms) like excellent spinach pastry and steaming saag paneer; the deserts, such as those yummy honey and raisin-ball things, are also great. Most of all, I love their vegan, gluten-free cookies-they're so excellent, one can hardly believe they contain no flour, milk, eggs, or any of the other things so commonly associated with good cookies. The chilled coconut milk is a novelty, but it's also refreshing and sweet, as is the mango lassi. Prices are low and ambience is pretentious but attractive.