Taj Express in Boca Raton curries favor with seekers of Indian food to go

Taj Express is tucked into a 7 Eleven strip center

This tiny takeout kitchen, an offshoot of a well-established, full-service Deerfield Beach restaurant, offers a broad menu of flavorful Indian cuisine.


As is often the case in these plague-stricken days, outdoor dining or takeout are a priority for many diners, including me. But as best as I’ve been able to tell, outdoor dining choices for ethnic cuisines are limited.

So, as we ran errands in Boca Raton early on a recent evening, the prospect of dining on Indian food at an outside table was appealing. We read on Yelp that Taj Express, which. Is in a somewhat out-of-the-way strip Center in Boca Raton—about a mile west of Federal Highway off Glades Road – had outdoor seating. But as we pulled up after following our GPS to Taj Express, we learned, as often is the case with Yelp, there were no outside tables at this mostly takeout eatery, which shares a strip center with 7 Eleven, Domino’s Pizza and the Cuban Café, among other businesses.

We made the best of the situation, opting for takeout. In the end, we were happy that we did. The flavorful food at Taj Express is cooked to order, but that unfortunately meant we had to kill about 20 minutes while our curries and naans were prepared.

Inside Taj Express, a half dozen Formica-topped tables were pushed into a corner of the eatery, just below a triptych of flat-screen TVs on a bare wall that were doing double duty as menu board. A granite-covered brown stone counter topped with Plexiglass, a wood-carved room divider surrounding a Coca-Cola refrigerator, and a sort of black tapestry of Indian dancers hung on another wall. That’s the extent of the décor here. No bronze elephants or statuary of Buddha or Hindu gods, no strumming sitar or thumping table or bouncy Bollywood tunes echoing from a sound system that one might encounter in a fancier Indian establishment. No Taj Express, which opened unpropitiously early in March 2020, lacks them. What it doesn’t lack, however, is a kitchen capable of turning out well-prepared, flavorful food.

That shouldn’t be a surprise. Taj Express is an offshoot of Taj, a full-service Indian restaurant in Deerfield Beach that’s been serving up tandoor dishes and curries since it was opened in 2004 by Anoop Chopra, a native of India’s northern province of Punjab. Chopra also operates eateries in Tampa and Ottawa.

The hallmark of Punjab cuisine is tandoori dishes and rich, buttery stews. All of Chopra’s restaurants serve Halal food, meaning it adheres to the laws of Islam, India’s second-largest religion.

The menu, despite Taj Express’s diminutive size, is extensive with both meat and vegetable dishes. And there are lunch-time combo plates and service until 10 p.m. 

Despite Taj Express’ roots in northern India, we mostly opted for food from India’s south.

Mixed vegetable appetizer

Naan bread

We started with a mixed vegetable appetizer ($6.99), which include a samosa, four deeply caramelized onion pakoras (only two were listed on the menu) and two paneer (cheese) pakoras.

The vegetable samosa was a crispy thin pastry pocket filled with a flavorful blend of potatoes and peas. The onion pakoras, fritters made with onions, spices and flour, were deeply caramelized.  Paneer pakora, or cheese fritters, were deep-fried Indian cottage cheese coated with a light chickpea batter — sort of an Indian spin on fried mozzarella.

Lamb Madras

Chicken korma

For a main, I went hot, ordering lamb madras ($14.99), one of the hottest dishes in the Indian kitchen repertoire. Tender stewed boneless lamb — lots of it — were bathed in a thick, rich russet-hued curry sauce with just enough heat to slightly singe my lips. Basmati rice (included at no extra charge), long-grained rice flecked with the tiniest slivers of carrots, helped to cool my palate as did a glass of lassi $2.50), a creamy, yogurt-based beverage flavored with a touch of rose water.

Chicken korma ($13.99) was more than enough for my wife and daughter to share. The dish of tender chicken chunks cooked in a mild, almond and raisin sweet cream sauce, suited their delicate palates, but was flavorful all the same.

We also ordered two types of Indian breads, plain naan ($1. 50) and Kashmiri naan ($4.50).  The latter, stuffed with dried fruits and typically a breakfast or tea bread, is perfect for those with a bit of a sweet tooth. Unfortunately, our breads were cooked well ahead of the rest of our food and sat cooling on the counter awaiting the rest of our order to be completed and were less than ideal after our 20-minute drive home.

Nevertheless, Taj Express is a welcome addition to the ethnic dining scene for those sensitive to dining indoors — or those who just want flavorful Indian takeout. Just remember to order online or call ahead.

Taj Express

1320 NW 2nd Ave., Boca Raton FL 33441



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