Mysore Woodlands Chicago

(by Naveen)

Mysore Woodlands
2548 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659

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Mysore Woodlands Devon Avenue Chicago

Mysore Woodlands Chicago Review: O La La La

If you claim to be a South Indian in Chicago and have not heard of Mysore Woodlands then you are a bloody impostor!

Mysore Woodlands is a landmark vegetarian restaurant on the all too famous Devon Avenue in Chicago.

The mere mention of the restaurant’s name is enough to send South Indians into a drooling tsunami of nostalgia.

Since it had been some time since we’d made Mysore Woodlands our port of call, we’d started developing withdrawal symptoms and quickly dropped anchor there on Sunday.

Ambiance & Cleanliness

As you step into Mysore Woodlands, the enticing aroma of Sambar greets you even before the courteous hosts.

The restaurant is spacious, clean, well furnished and brightly lit.

The decor is simple and the atmosphere filled with non-stop chatter and pleasant smell of food. A visit to this place will never fail to take you back to South India even if only for a moment.

We firmly believe that he who does not keep a clean toilet can never have a clean kitchen. Mysore Woodlands did not fail on this account.

Good Quality Service

Service was fine.

The waiters and waitresses were neat, uniformed, polite, and prompt. They did not get annoyed when we accidentally spilled a glass of water spoiling all the sugar sachets. They quickly brought us tissues to help clean the mess. While this is expected behavior, this unfortunately is rare for Indian restaurants

Menu & Food

Drinks - Spicy buttermilk
It being a warm Sunday afternoon, we started our lunch with Spicy Buttermilk and it turned out to be the perfect start.

The nice blend of ginger, asafoetida, coriander and cold buttermilk served as a coolant for our system.
Mysore Woodlands Devon Avenue - ButtermilkSpicy Buttermilk

Appetizers - Idly-Vadai Combo

With the drink out of the way, we launched headlong into the Idly-Medhu Vadai combo.

The Idly was just ok but it had none of the fermented yeasty feel associated with a good Idly. However, the delicious Sambar made us forget our Idly woes and we gobbled through them in no time.
Mysore Woodlands Devon Avenue - Idly Vada ComboIdly, Vada with Sambar & Chutneys
Vadai was the real deal. Well fried with an even sprinkle of ginger and green chilli, the crispy Vadai was a reminder of how fortunate we are to hail from the land with arguably the world's best cuisine.

Main Course - Channa Bhatura!

Mysore Woodlands probably serves the healthiest Channa Bhatura in Chicago.

The Bhatura was large, fluffy and, surprisingly, low on oil.
Mysore Woodlands Devon Avenue - Channa BathuraChanna Bathura
This Channa Masala is not the typical one that y'all are acquainted with. Mysore Woodland's preparation and choice of spices seems to differ.

Unlike the more famous North Indian version, this one has well cooked Channa over a thick paste of gravy made by mashing all the spices, tomato, onion etc. It renders a different feel and taste.

We loved it.

Main Course - Full Meals!

What do Tamils do on a lazy Sunday afternoon?

Well, they eat full meals!

After scanning through the three choices of meals, we ordered the Mysore Special Thali that offered a sampling of a variety of their fine dishes.

We began the Thali with a juicy serving of Tomato Soup with bread crumbs and a fine concoction indeed!

Unlike the run of the mill Tomato Soups served in most Indian restaurants, this one was thin and tangy. Best of all, it didn't seem to originate from a can of Tomato puree.
Samosa, Cutlet, Tomato Soup
The Thali brings its own set of appetizers.

Pretending as if we hadn't already polished off some appetizers, we set out to work on the Cutlet, Samosa and another piece of Medhu Vadai.

Samosa was ok but the Cutlet was a misnomer. It would easily assume the identity of Aloo Bonda. After a couple of slices, we set it aside to save room for some of the better items yet to come.

The grand Thali arrived and we were instantly transported to the golden days in Chennai where we would dip our fingers into cups of various shapes and sizes and ferociously dig into our food.
Mysore Woodlands Devon Avenue - Mysore Special ThaliMysore Special Thali
The Roti was typical of Chennai, which North Indians dread and Chennaiites drool over. It went pretty well with the Channa Masala.

By now the Appalam that was comfortably resting over the warm white rice was soft, and that is how we like it.

The Mor-Kuzhambu (or Kadi) was an impostor. It was thick and unsavory.

Tamarind Rice was fine, Keerai (Spinach) was tasty but way too oily for our liking. The traditional Karamani (Black eyed Beans) Kootu pretty much made up for Keerai.

Poriyal made of Broccoli, Carrot and Potato! Who gave these nitwits the right to mess up with a Tamizhan's Sapadu with Broccoli? While the poriyal wasn't bad, we take a grim view of the corruption of a traditional South India meal.

We rounded off our fine meal with the nice Curd Rice (we mixed it ourselves), a must in a South Indian diet.

It was a fine meal by any standards.

Our only grouse was that the Thali did not come with Nei (Ghee) or Sambar.

The quantity of rice was sufficient for us. But since our men come in various shapes and sizes and those with bigger appetites may be disappointed with the quantity of Rice.

Dessert - Rasmalai and South Indian Filter Coffee

To our disappointment, the Rasmalai was on the colder side.

We could not help but think that it was one of those frozen ones. It tasted ok but didn't give us a good feel.
Rasmalai & South Indian Filter Coffee
Thankfully the Filter Coffee erased the effect of Rasmalai and provided a flavorful and aromatic finale to a wonderful lunch.

Mysore Woodlands - Food Rating

Mysore Woodlands Devon Avenue - Food Rating


For the quantity of food and the number of items we tasted, the bill was ok.

At $15.99, the Mysore Special Thali provides a wide range of nice choices, which is good value for money.

Mysore Woodlands - Verdict

Go for it, fellas!

We recommend you visit this fine establishment if you are in the Chicagoland area.

Mysore Woodlands offers reasonably priced good food which you may have with a tinge of nostalgia. ©

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