What’s going on at Dale’s Indian?

While Dale’s was never the best Indian food available in the Triangle, it was good enough to service my rather frequent take-out cravings. However, it really seems to have gone downhill over the past couple of months. My past three experiences have included some combination of the following: forgetting to include rice; mixing up which order was spicy vs mild; drastically overcooked chicken; and burnt or rubbery naan. Did they get a new chef or something?

Come back Dale’s — I miss you.

Published in: on March 10, 2008 at 6:11 pm  Comments (20)  


  1. Dale’s has always been mediocre at best. At least they didn’t hit you upside the head with the tray! It’s too bad the nearest good Indian restaurant is in RTP. Thanks for the update, now I don’t have to check to see if Dale’s had improved.

  2. Indeed. I really enjoy Azitra in Brier Creek, but it is way too far.

  3. Azitra is decent but too pricey for the quantity of food and too limited in it’s menu in my opinion. If you’re already on 70 just keep going to Royal India Express which is a bit farther down (not as far as 440) their butter chicken is so good I’ve had dreams about it.

  4. I will definitely give it a try. Thanks!

  5. Hey, I (different mysterious carpedurham blogger) agree that there’s nothing to miss about Dale’s, except maybe that it’s not even worth the free brunch mimosas anymore. I’m resigned to going at least to RTP for Indian (Spice & Curry). But I’m always happy to go to Cary for South Indian (Udupi and especially Tower, one of my fave places in the triangle) and even Raleigh for Royal India. Is there anything I’m missing in Durham?

  6. What’s the deal on Saffron in Morrisville? I have been hearing decent things about it.

  7. Saffron is good, they have some fusion dishes ala Azitra on the main menu, but usually I go for lunch and get the buffet which has more dishes on rotation than average. It’s better than Spice and Curry. My Indian coworkers (who are from just about every part of India) tend to dislike Spice and Curry, argue vociferously about Saffron and love Kandas (new non-veg place in Morrisville next door to Neomonde, owned by the same folks who own Tower). The south Indian guys all like Tower of course, where else near RTP can you get a Dosa?

    I really like Kandas, it is my current RTP favorite, they have some of the best Daal I have ever had, and the buffet varies and is larger than average.

    But like I said, Butter Chicken at Royal India is the best tasting thing I think I have ever eaten.

    Don’t go near Tandoor, Bombay Grill, or India Palace II, they’re definitly no better than Dale’s.

    As for Durham, it seems that Indian cuisine and Thai cuisine have switched places. It used to be you had to go elsewhere for Thai, now you have to go elsewhere for Indian. Sitar over by south square has been around forever, but the food was hit or miss like their service so I just stopped going years ago.

    There is one Indian option in Durham that I’d like to try. There is an Indian grocer next door to Twisted Noodles that sells homemade Chicken Biryani on Thursdays, and I’d like to try that some time.

  8. Cool, I will check out Kandas for sure. And thanks for the tip on the biryani — I suspect you will see a post from one of us about it on Thursday night 🙂

  9. just found your blog…iz lovely. 🙂

    for my part, the last 4 years that i’ve lived in Durham, Dale’s has only served one purpose for me–Sunday Brunch with unlimited mimosas. Hell, family and friends eyes simply light up in a mix of delight and fear when we announce that we’re going out for Indian Brunch…lol they feel better after hearing abou the mimosa part…

    A couple things of note…if going there at dinner and ordering from the bar-order the Dale’s Special. But dont try to reproduce at home, lest you break up every one of your existing relationships with drunk calls and honesty

    also, i believe i’ve been told that the owners of Dale’s are not Hindu, but Muslim? thus the mysterious presence of Beef…

  10. This is why I’m glad I’m too lazy to leave the house most of the time. My memories of Dale’s will remain entirely pleasant…with the sole exception of when they played the collected works of Billy Idol in muzak form.

  11. On the general topic of “What’s going on” when will someone revive Bread ‘n Kabob so that you can review it and more importantly I can eat there again? That place was the best.

  12. I never liked Dale’s, or Sitar for that matter. Too greasy and just a bit crap. I love food from all over India, but really, you can’t get any decent stuff in Durham.

    As for Bread and Kabob: I never got the fuss. They were mediocre at best and pretty damn greasy too.

  13. Well I’ll step up for Bread & Kabob! I loved that place, one they were absolutely reliable, it was ALWAYS good their consistency was one of the reasons I liked it. I loved the Kabobs, I don’t really know of any place that does kabobs similarly. Neomonde and BabaGanouj are similar, but not quite the same. The rice that came with the kabobs was flavored with sumac, which is not done anywhere else. (I did have sumac on hummus at Serena in RTP recenently) And the lentils/dal was a bit greasy it was the perfect match for the rest of the dishes.

    Alas it won’t be coming back…

  14. I’ll agree with you on the sumac front. The stuff rocks.

  15. […] India Biryani Thanks to one of our very special readers (Britt) we were tipped off to the fact that Little India, an Indian grocery store behind Target, sells […]

  16. if going there at dinner and ordering from the bar-order the Dale’s Special. But dont try to reproduce at home, lest you break up every one of your existing relationships with drunk calls and honesty

    i submit that would be better than trying to reproduce in the car, or even worse, at the bar itself.

  17. I live in Carrboro/Chapel Hill and most of the people I talk to like Sitar and Tandoor okay. I’m not one to agree or disagree as I don’t think I have anything to compare it too (see real made by an Indian family not a restaurant). It seems to me that a lot of Indian places in general have the same items. Maybe some make better Naan or Daal. Maybe one is all vegetarian like Tower. Speaking of Tower, Kandas is run by the same people. Aside from that, maybe someone’s tikka masala has more pieces of meat in it than someone else’s or has more spice like Saffrons.

    Now after all that, I’ll break it down like this as to the ones I like.

    Azitra is to Indian food what Olive Garden is to Italian food. I don’t mean that they dumb it down but while the atmosphere is nice.. I think the food could be better and more for your money. Considering the other places I mention are buffets (at least thats what I chose). I do like the fact that they preface your choice with how spicy you want it. I’m pretty sure more other places will do the same. This was my first Indian food experience and it happened early last year. I was hooked on Indian food or at least trying it as it intended to be moreso from that experience.

    Tower – went there because it is close to work and was vegetarian and figured it was one way I know I’d eat my veggies. I enjoyed it because they offered something other than just the rice, chutneys, curries, Naan and chicken tikka masala (which is an american/uk invention btw). They even presented some bread with a chutney (I think), but I didn’t quite here what was said by our waiter. The food was spicier than at any Indian buffet I had been to before. I wasn’t quite sure of what I was eating nor how to utilize the little bowls for curries… I still don’t. That doesn’t mean the food was bad or spiced wrong. I’m just stating my ignorance in not knowing any better. Needless to say, I enjoyed the food.

    I also enjoyed Kandas but the layout of the buffet right behind the cashier was a bit annoying. Also, had a few different items. The location for this restaurant is great being right next to Neo Monde. I’ll have to start remembering what is there when I go.

    Saffron – I finally go to after all the hoopla I had heard. The first time I had tried to go there for a lunch buffet it was backed up to the door. I think the decor changes at night, but for the day there are no frills. The buffet was good and I saw some familiar and not so familiar items. I was just glad they tried to summarize what the dishes were so you knew what you were eating IF for instance you didn’t know what Saag was (which I do). Though I wonder what is the difference in Saag and Palak (as in Palak Paneer). Especially interesting to me, was something that almost resembled an Indian burrito. I like that their dessert was something OTHER than kulfi or some flavored rice/yogurt dish.

    The Biryani mentioned earlier somewhere else (by Target) is what I want to try.

    Now can someone inform me as to proper Indian food etiquette. An Indian friend mentioned that you break of Naan and use it to eat food much like you would with some African cultures. Aside from that how you should or should not mix curries or certain food items is what I’m wondering about.

    In general and I’m sorry for writing so much, enjoy what you eat. I need to be more picky and knowledgeable in what things should taste like.

  18. Meant to mention that Kandas and Tower are owned by the same people. Has anyone tried Udupi Cafe’s offering of Indian Pizzas? I don’t think they are in the same place as the actual Udupi, but seeing as I’ve never been I could be wrong. I’ll send a link from N&O if anyone is wondering what I’m talking about.

  19. […] of India An alternative to (increasingly disappointing) Dale’s in Durham? Yes. Taste of India (4215 University Dr.) is not the best Indian in the […]

  20. […] We had the Masala Dosa ($4.95), the Chicken Vindaloo ($7.95), and the Lamb Curry ($8.95).  We wouldn’t recommend the dosa, but the vindaloo was good and the curry was even better.  I am thrilled, because this place is on my way home and significantly better than Dale’s.  […]

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