Mon-Sat, noon-3pm and 5pm-11pm; Sun, noon-3pm and 5pm-10:30pm
4, 5, 6 at 59th St.; N, R, W at Fifth Ave.-59th St.
American Express, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
42nd St. to 72nd St., First Ave. to Eighth Ave.
Since opening in 1998, Chola has maintained its spot in the top tier of upscale Indian restaurants. While the whitewashed dining room fails to evoke the kaleidoscopic colors of India, the blandness of the setting only heightens the aesthetic impact of the food, which is as rich and colorful as a Bollywood backlot. Start with the velvety, golden masala dosa, a paper-thin crepe filled with spiced potatoes and delightfully juicy peas. Then take your pick from the lengthy menu of entrees culled from nearly every region in India. Hits include the sweet, mango-tinged chicken chutneywala and the chingri malai, spiced shrimp in a fragrant, fennel-infused tomato-coconut sauce. One definite miss is the pallid-flavored chicken tandoori, but a finishing plate of sweet, marshmallowy doughnut balls called gulab jamun, more than sets things right.Recommended Dishes
Masala dosa, $11; chicken chutneywala, $18; chingri malai kabab, $23