(505A Yonge, 924-5787)
This unassuming spot on the strip is easy to miss, but it's a true find -- non-greasy north Indian and Nepalese fare served as an all-you-can-eat buffet. Complete lunches for $10 per person ($25 at dinner), including all taxes and tip. Open daily for lunch 11:30 am to 3:30 pm and for dinner 5 to 11 pm. Fully licensed. Smoke-free. Access: short step at door, washrooms on same floor. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Easy to miss amid the clutter of sex shops and discount stereo stores that line Yonge, Kathmandu Kathmandu, a narrow, mirror-lined Nepalese restaurant, overturns my all-you-can-eat law. Unlike most, this seven-days-a-week $6.99 lunch buffet is not only remarkably fresh -- thanks to a loyal clientele of civil servants -- but generously spiced as well.
OK, the plates are Melmac and the plants hanging from the acoustic ceiling tiles overhead are plastic. But for a fast-food joint, it's practically elegant. There's linen on the crowded-together tables, and filtered water in glass goblets is constantly replenished by attentive staff.
Because of Kathmandu's high turnover, the north Indian spread never gets a chance to dry out. Cubes of lamb swim in a fiery gravy; carrots, zucchini, cauliflower and eggplant commingle in a mild turmeric-tinted curry; and potato-studded chickpea channa delivers subtle heat. Raita cools things down, saag paneer soothes, and straight-from-the-tandoor naan swabs plates clean.
Not everything's a winner, of course. Pakoras disappoint. Instead of chickpea-battered strands of spinach lightly deep-fried in oil, these prehistoric fossils are hard as rocks and best avoided.
Those in a hurry can fill a polystyrene container of the buffet's greatest hits for $5.99 or choose KK's takeout-only special of shredded tandoori chicken wrapped in naan and sided with a salty or sweet mango lassi ($3.99).