Tabla is a type of Indian drum that dates back to the 13th century. Rather than being played with sticks, the musician uses their hands and the instrument allows for more complicated rhythm structures than with typical drums. In Atlanta, Tabla should be synonymous with modern Indian served in a fancy dining atmosphere.
I love that the folks have taken great care in the decor at Tabla. The modern decor features tones of gray, black and cream. It’s perfect as it allows the food to take center stage with it’s bright, verdant colors.
Another thing I love about Tabla? Their signature cocktails and mocktails. For cocktails (priced at $9), they offer items like a Guava Mojito, a Chai Old Fashioned made with Chai infused Whiskey, and their signature Tabla Margarita, made with tamarind paste.
Surprisingly, their mocktails ($4), are just as impressive, if not more than the cocktails. Specifically, I was pretty mesmerized by the Kokum Spritzer (pictured below). The syrup has a unique flavor of Indian spice similar to a Garam Masasla.
The menu at Tabla is divided into four sections: Small Plates, Thali, Kebab Corner, and Signature plates. We sampled from each section. You’ll notice as you peruse the menu, they take from many regions of India, with items like the Goan Curry, Hyderabad rice and Kerala Mahi Mahi to name a few.
For small plates, a Coconut Crab Masala (pictured at the top) was our least favorite, lacking the spice I was expecting, albeit a generous portion of crab. However, they more than made up for it with the crispy and flavorful Samosas and Kurkuri Bhindi (okra fries). OMG, I’d take these over regular potato fries any day!
The Tandoori Shrimp (pictured above middle), is part of the Kebab Corner section of the Tabla’s menu, but we only had two (large as they were) since we were sampling several menu items. I could’ve eaten more than double that as the lime, coriander and roasted garlic blended excellently in this seafood dish. This would make for a terrific lunch as the normal portion comes with naan, rice or grilled veggies.
Another standout dish at Tabla was the duck appetizer. Served with a mango mustard sauce, it compliments the duck so well. If you are thinking of a meat-centric app, this is a good option. Pair it with an order of samosas or okra fries for a balanced start to dinner.
For entree selection, I was torn between a Mint Halibut or a Lamb Shank, but my fondness for lamb plus a little prodding from owner, Sandeep helped me make up my mind. The huge shank was served with a fragrant and colorful rice, but who can resist adding an order of naan as well? The Roomali Roti is made with half wheat and half flour and totally delicious. The spice level of the entree was just enough to leave a tingle on tongue but not set your mouth on fire. For good measure, we also tried Tabla’s Chicken Tikka Masala, another solid choice.
For the price, portions and quality of the food, Tabla is the perfect diversion for midtown office workers looking for a break from the typical sandwich lunch. A Thali lunch, served with curry, veggie, naan, rice and dessert is only around twelve bucks. And, if you’re gun shy about giving an Indian restaurant a try due to streotypical slow service, rest assured, you’ll be in and out.
The upscale decor is perfect for a date night spot as well or a special occasion restaurant as well. Unique drinks, beautiful design and approachable dishes – a relatively new concept for Indian restaurants in the south. Tabla definitely marches to the beat of their own drum.
77 12th St
Atlanta, GA 30309
Disclosure: My meal was complimentary but the opinions expressed are my own.