Aashiana Restaurant

Aashiana is located on 31 Central Ave. You know the area. It’s bookended by Ghandi and Shalimar. The last business that held up for a few months that I remember was Frenchie and Aroo’s, which died pretty quickly.

Aashiana took its place. I think it used to be located in Schenectady.

They have a lunch buffet until 3 pm every day they are open (closed Sundays). It’s $6.95 on the week days, but when we went on Saturday, we were charged $7.50. I think that’s the norm – most places charge more on Saturdays for the lunch buffet, if they even have it.

Their lunch buffet features 4-5 vegetarian dishes (which looked passably vegan as well, but don’t quote me on it), 2-3 meat dishes, sides, and naan.

It’s set up on 2 tables, but the owner has said he’s been spending his Sundays working on a buffet table. Woah! He is one busy guy, and it’s obvious he takes a lot of pride in his restaurant.

Here’s plate number 1 – going clockwise – I got some chicken (bottom left), tabbouli, salad, chicken meatballs in cream sauce over yellow rice, and spinach and chickpeas. Yum. Everything was so well spiced and fresh. The chicken meat balls were my favorite – they were packed with spices and seasoning.

Everything also seemed very fresh, and it was much lighter than the Indian food in the area. Aashiana is listed as a Mediterranean restaurant, but they are also heavily influenced with Indian food as well.

Like the fresh naan here. Yum. The owner brought some freshly made naan for us. We actually exercised control and only ate one naan apiece, but he offered more. And for that, much love.

The naan was excellent too – it tasted buttery, and was so incredibly light. Much lighter than other places around here. It was like a soft, soft, pillow. Not overly chewy, and just perfect.

I couldn’t resist a second go at the tasty Mediterranean and Indian buffet, so I got basically more of the same, but I also tried out some raita and a cauliflower/green bean dish. Seriously, get the meatballs, though. SO GOOD. I don’t know how anything in a cream sauce could taste bad.

I finished up with some kheer. Again, it was very light, maybe runny to some in comparison to the kheer at Indian places around here. I really enjoyed it – the cardamom actually tasted good (normally I can’t stomach cardamom), and the fresh pistachios were very nice.

Actually, after I snapped this one, the owner wanted to see the pictures I took too. He’s so sweet – he’s really welcoming and was all up for me telling all my friends (this means you!) about the place. There was no one else in the place eating when we were there, so definitely go check it out. Also, he’s usually the one waiting on you and in the general eating area (haven’t seen any other staff before), and he doesn’t really rely on tips since he’s the owner. So yea, tip or not, I don’t think it really matters here.

You guys know what a sucker I am for good service, and people who enjoy being there, but that aside, Aashiana is a great place for affordable, flavorful food. Their falafel wraps are also really good, and none of their dishes go above $8.99. If you really want a bargain, go check out the buffet. So freakin’ good! I’d go again this Saturday, but I have stupid wedding crap to do, and after that it’s the Justice/MGMT free concert in Altamont, NY sponsored by SoCo (which is absolutely gross as a booze, but hey, if someone throws a free party, I’m game).

Unrelated to food, but I really like the decor: simple tapestries (they’ve got little mirrors in them so they sparkle), and sparkly fake flowers on the sides. I’m also a sucker for sparkles.

12 thoughts on “Aashiana Restaurant”

  1. the hummus was absolutely my favorite- also the salad has little pieces of dolma in it!They also cook a very tasty chickpea and spinach dish- which might be pictured but not mentioned. ajohn

  2. mr. dave – oh yea they had hummus. I really liked it – silky smooth and nice and salty. anon ajohn – it’s noted in the first plate. Ha ha! And I know you lurved the dolma bits in salad. Also a nice touch.

  3. I’m so glad you went here. It’s seemed like my unintentionally hidden secret for awhile and I’ve been wanting others to catch on. The owner’s so nice and the food is good and cheap.

  4. Hi,my name is Imran, and the owner of Aashiana, Saleem, just hired me as a manager, as it was tough for him to do all the job himself, so if you come in the evening, you will see me. I am currently working on his new menu which includes Indian/Pakistani dishes along with the current Middle Eastern dishes.. we currently Chicken Tikka Masala, Lamb Curry and other indian dishes, so dont hesitate to ask! stay tuned for more!

  5. This place is terrific. My wife, daughter and I eat here at least once a week. The food couldn’t be better, flavorful without being over spiced and the owner is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet.Tom and family

  6. I couldn’t agree more with all the comments. The food is wonderful and inexpensive. And the owner is one of the nicest, hard working people you’ll ever meet. It’s a shame more people don’t frequent the restaurants on this stretch of Central Avenue; such good, locally owned restaurants serving delicious, inexpensive meals.

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