Woodlands Vegetarian South Indian Kitchen in Chandler, Arizona (NE corner of Ray Rd. and S. Rural Rd.) strikes me as a counter-service version of our other favorite 100% vegetarian/vegan Indian restaurant in town, Udupi. Both restaurants feature the less common Southern Indian cuisine, and I believe the previous owner of Udupi now runs Woodlands. They have similar menus, however Woodlands doesn’t have a lunch buffet (but they do have lunch specials). They also do a great job of marking which items are vegan on the menu. The dining experience is much more casual than most other Indian restaurants in town. For instance, your meal is served on Styrofoam plates. However, what Woodlands lacks in pleasantries, it more than makes up for in flavor.
I have a serious weakness for vegetable samosas, and Woodlands serves some of the best in town.
They are perfectly fried and, like everything else at Woodlands, very spicy. The filling isn’t unique, it’s just really good.
Woodlands’ specialty is the flavorful and interesting South Indian-style dosa (crepes full of a variety of great stuff). My favorite of the ones I’ve tried so far is the Pav Baji Dosai.
The filling is a similar to what’s in a standard Masala Dosai, but taken up a notch with spice and, for lack of a better description, “good goo.” I think the goo is essentially a tomato and potato-based gravy, with garlic and chillies added in for good measure.
My other favorite is the Chole Dosai, which is filled with a standard spicy chick pea curry and a heavy dose of onions.
One time when I had it at Woodlands it was awfully greasy, but on our last visit it was just fine – maybe even a little on the dry side.
The dosa are served with a standard rasam soup as well, which, like everything else, is very intense.
If for some reason the food you ordered isn’t flavorful enough for you, Woodlands also offers a full chutney bar.
They don’t have a sign indicating if their mint chutney is vegan or not, but it doesn’t seem like it has yogurt in it to me and it’s so good I’m just not asking (bad vegan of me).
Other items I’ve tried include their vegetable curry and dal curry, which were both excellent.
I don’t make it to Woodlands very often – mostly because we live too far away, but if you’re in the neighborhood and up for a quick and spicy meal, give them a try! They’re open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. You can also “fan” them on Facebook but they don’t seem to be very active posters.