Three bites: Pakwan, Ozzy's, La Xalapena

Lamb Vindaloo from Pakwan Indian Restaurant.

Pakwan Indian Restaurant

This authentic Indian cuisine eatery finally knocked some of the old Johnny Rockets theme away, repainted, rearranged -- and still delivers what I consider the best Indian food in the city. The Lamb Vindaloo pictured here was my most recent dish. I ordered it medium spicy -- and it still delivered plenty of fire! Tender and generously sized cubes of lamb and potatoes are cooked perfectly -- and order plenty of extra bread for mopping up the wonderfully flavorful sauce! For newbies or more adventurous diners, try Tandoori Thali. This neatly compartmentalized serving dish offers a selection of several dishes. It includes chicken, lamb and shrimp, as well as generous helpings of Basmati rice and chutneys - and a delicious lamb-filled samosa, a deep-fried dumpling-like treat. A thick rice pudding fills the bill for dessert. Service is incredibly attentive, the Bollywood movies offer a nice distraction.

7804 Abercorn St. (At Oglethorpe Mall, outside near the entrance to the food court)/ 353-5799

Ozzy's Grill

Have a hankering for Philly cheese steak, a big burger or any one of the old-school malt shop treats? This 50's themed eatery, now with a second location in Pooler, aims to please. The Philly cheese steak has good flavor, but the beef is shredded way too thin to satisfy purists. Still, in its big, soft bun it was a comforting bite with a side order of hot French fries. The burger is hot, freshly made and comes dressed to your liking. It's a winner with a side of Ozzy's house-made potato chips. For a novel appetizer, try the addicting little Fried Sweet Corn Nuggets -- hush puppy-like treats made with balls of creamed corn.

7403 Skidaway Road/ 354-0006

La Xalapena

Finally, a Mexican restaurant that steps outside of the comfort zone! I've dined here more than a half-dozen times -- and each trip is more satisfying than the last. So, you can get a ubiquitous red sauce with a puddle of refried beans somewhere else, or you can explore this menu that features house-made corn tortillas, handmade hard taco shells and dishes that step away from typical fare of burritos and tacos. The salsa is also homemade and a "special" version is fiery! Black beans are an option. Why, this is crazy! You can order popular items, or you can get three spicy meatballs served in a flavorful broth, a whole fried fish and even tongue as a filling. La Xalapena still hasn't caught fire with Savannah diners. Give it a try, explore and ask questions -- the results are surprising.

2308 Skidaway Road/234-0876




Lamb Vindaloo from Pakwan Indian Restaurant.


Tim Rutherford

Tim Rutherford grew up in rural Kentucky – then left home to pursue more than three decades as a photojournalist and newsman. A ground-breaking meal in New Orleans in 1979 set him on a path exploring food and wine. Six years ago he changed career paths – now spending his time writing about the people and places...
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