For about three years a little Indian restaurant has stayed tucked in a shopping center off Belt Line and Central Expressway in Richardson. But Udipi Cafe is not just another Indian buffet. Everything served at this restaurant is vegetarian. Not just vegetarian friendly, but 100% meat- and broth-free vegetarian food. How have we missed this for so long?

Whatever kept us away before, we’re definitely going back now. The wait staff is a mix of people from friendly and helpful to curmudgeonly yet somehow easy to like. The food, however, is absolutely wonderful. On our first visit, we were so overwhelmed by options that we had to ask for a recommendation. Yes, it was strange and wonderful to have an entire menu from which to choose; so strange that we couldn’t make a choice.

Udipi Cafe Soup AppetizerDuring dinner, an appetizer of soup came to the table. If this is a standard item, be aware that we dubbed it “Death Pepper and Cauliflower Soup.” We felt it in our tear ducts, yet we it was extremely flavorful and we kept putting our spoons back in the bowls. Definitely try it if you can take the heat.

Per our request, our waiter gave us a few options. He first recommended a dosa, which one of us ordered, then said the mutter panner or butter paneer masala would be good. We went for the second option and were delighted with the dish.

Udipi Cafe Huge Butter Masala DosaUdipi Cafe Butter Masala Dosa FillingWhen the food arrived we discovered that Udipi Cafe is very generous with portions. The Dosa was huge, possibly the biggest one we’ve had so far. The beautifully crispy crepe is monstrous, but the filling is centered over a plate so we were pleased to find that this is actually manageable. We still had enough to take home, though. The spicy yellow potato filling definitely builds the heat, but it takes a while. The sauces are not going to cool anything down, either. This is delicious, but bring tissues if you aren’t used to spicy foods.

Udipi Cafe Butter Paneer MasalaOnce we tasted the butter paneer masala we had to ask and discovered that the paneer is made in house. It is firm, yet doesn’t crumble, and has a nice flavor on its own. The sauce is not spicy at first, but give it a minute to build and you’ll fall in love as fast as we did. Creamy and tomato based, this had a slight anise seed flavor that made the thick sauce stand out.

Udipi Cafe Buffet PlateIf you are in the mood for a buffet, come in for lunch. At about the size of any other buffet, this one holds only vegetarian dishes, so you get twice the normal variety. Try all of your favorites, of course, but be aware that they will bring you a fresh, yet slightly smaller, dosa, so save some room.

The only negative we encountered was the dessert cart not holding gulab jamun. That’s not actually a negative so much as our being spoiled by most other buffets we encounter offering it. We were honestly too stuffed for much dessert, so it’s probably a good thing it wasn’t there.

Overall, we were delighted to find an Indian buffet where we didn’t have to deal with goat meat while reaching for the spinach and we were even more pleased when we discovered the food is delicious. We will definitely add Udipi Cafe to our must frequent list. Maybe we’ll see you there on our next visit.

Until next we meet, enjoy great food and keep a happy heart.

Come back next Sunday for another ride through cattle country.