For me, the atmosphere of a restaurant is almost as important as the food — but in an ideal world, both categories would be filled to a T.
Panna II – “Where Chili Pepper Lights Meets Christmas Tree Lights” is one of those unique dining experiences that hits both those factors easily, not only because there’s a contained chaos of holiday string lights dangling near inches above your head whilst you eat, but their food is also pretty darn good.
Scattered between the lights are some interesting tchotchkes like a family of plastic dinosaurs, rhinos, elephants and a Hello Kitty ornament. Bonus points if you can find the flag of your country in there somewhere (trust me, it’s there).
Service-wise, the waiters are pretty straightforward in demeanor, which for me is the status quo in Indian joints: no fuss, no delicate pleasantries, all results. And no complaints here!
Vegetable Samosa –
As far as samosas go, Panna II’s samosa is pretty default, if a bit on the small side. The shell was crispy and pleasant to eat, and piping hot when served. Granted, there was really no one else in the restaurant at the time, so it better be fresh!
The filling was seasoned just right, with a bit of heat to the yummy potatoes and peas mash inside. Like most traditional Indian places, it came with a trio of red and green hot sauce and hot onions.
Aloo Mottor Gobi – “potatoes, peas and cauliflower cooked in delicate spices”
Usually, I really don’t like cauliflower, but this time around, I just felt like eating it. Luckily, this dish was super spiced and the cauliflower-ness of the dish didn’t overpower my taste buds. It also had an ample amount of potato, which I really appreciated. The description doesn’t really fit the flavor palate of the dish, as the spices are quite strong, but I didn’t mind.
Overall, I enjoyed dining at Panna II, mostly because of the lights, yes, but the food was decent and fairly priced. A great place to relax under artificial lights!
All photos by Ronald Chavez.