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Raaga Restaurant for Northern Indian Cuisine

Raaga Restaurant in Falls Church, Virginia
Guest contributor ~ Samantha Lee

Raaga Restaurant, whose name means “sweet melody”, is an authentic Indian restaurant serving Northern Indian cuisine in Falls Church, Virginia. Its Chef/Owner, Paddy Rawal, who also owns Om Fine Indian Restaurant in Rockville, MD, once cooked in Bombay, India and more recently the Bombay Club in DC.


The restaurant’s décor feels like an exotic temple – yellow walls, white columns, an Indian Buddha, musical instruments, wooden elephant statues, Aladdin’s lamps and paintings of Indian musicians that grace the walls of this cozy outpost.  The menu has moderately priced items – breads, meat and seafood, as well as vegetarian offerings.  Dinner entrées typically range between $14 – $22.  And each dish is colorful, rich, and intricately flavored.


Try a Mango lassi, a refreshing blend of yogurt, water, sugar and mango pulp.  It is thick, rich, smooth and creamy – a cross between a fruit smoothie and a milkshake – a perfect complement to spicy dishes.


Rather than sharing appetizers, I’d recommend an assortment of breads.  The plain naan, onion kulcha, and garlic naan are made freshly here and are served piping hot from the tandoori oven.  I liked the herbaceous aroma, combination of flavors, and taste of this bubbly dough.  It is served with raita, a yogurt cucumber dipping sauce made with mint and cilantro that also goes well with the Chicken Tikka Masala.


Also known as butter chicken, Chicken Tikka Masala is the most popular dish at Raaga.  It consists of charbroiled chunks of tender chicken prepared in a sauce of tomato paste, yogurt, butter, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, and garam masala.  Garam masala can be made in as many ways as there are cooks, but typically consists of a blend of various spices – black and white peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, black and green cardamom pods, bay leaf, cumin, and fenugreek.  It is known to warm the body, mind, and soul of the diner.  Ask for a spicier version if you like.  Many Indian restaurants now ask you to choose your preferred heat from an index of one through five.


Shrimp Masala is made with butterflied shrimp prepared in a sauce of coconut milk, seafood stock, curry powder, garlic, stewed tomatoes and sugar.  The coconut milk is what renders the sauce thicker and sweeter.


Each entrée is served with spiced basmati rice topped with green peas.

Raaga Restaurant was named the “Best Indian restaurant in the DMV” the Washington Post.  So if you happen to be in the Bailey’s Crossroads area, be sure to drop in and give it a try.

Raaga Restaurant is located at 5872 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041.  For reservations and information visit

Photo credit ~ Samantha Lee

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