Pena / 12 €
Malai Kofta, Shaslik
Bank card, Cash
This is one of those restaurants that you would find knowing beforehand that it’s there. And if I’m mentioning it, it’s because it’s worth it, right? With no indication that you’re in the right street, where not much seems to be going on, Maharaja, is a world of its own once you walk in.
In a kitch sort of environment, which makes you overlook the space’s need for some renovation, the place is pretty intimate but not intimidating given the staff’s warm welcome and concern for your well being. The longer you stay, the more you realize the West is a minority here, so it must be pretty special.
At Mahajara, where the light is low and the decoration is rich, there are several dishes you can choose from. For starters, there are the typical “nam” breads, of which I especially recommend the “peshawari nam”, with dried fruits and plenty of coconut, making it a sweet departure from salty main dishes. Of these, there are extensive options, spread out over sections such as fish and seafood, grilled foods - from which “shaslik”, chicken on a skewer, is a standout - chicken, lamb and vegetarian - I’m a sucker for “malai kofta”, the vegetable piramids. Furthermore, there are the biryanis - basmati rice dishes - and, for those searching for something less common, the goan dishes. For dessert, a little help from the staff will lead you to the right choice.
If you’re looking for a different experience, come on in to Mahajara and step into a whole new world, just minutes away from the fancy Avenida da Liberdade. On the way, if you’re thinking you’re lost, keep going, it’s really there and it’s worth it.