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In Dining Reviews

The portion sizes here are on the large side and if you order a round of naan, you are guaranteed to be stuffed, or going home with leftovers. (PHOTO: Whitney Teska )

In Dining Reviews

The vegetable pakora appetizer is one of the best you'll find anywhere in Milwaukee. (PHOTO: Whitney Teska )

In Dining Reviews

The restaurant isn't much to look at from the outside, but don't judge this book by its cover. (PHOTO: Whitney Teska )

Anmol's Pakistani cuisine appeals to the senses


Anmol Restaurant, 711 W. Mitchell St., might not be much to look at from the outside -- there are no bright lights or neon signs announcing its existence, and even the front door is deeply recessed a good 10 feet from the sidewalk.

Once you're through the door, the Pakistani and Indian restaurant isn't much to look at from the inside, either. The lights are bright and the small dining room is relatively sparse and quiet.

But the smells -- the rich scents of curry and fresh cilantro wafting from the kitchen in the back -- are enough to make you sit down and pick up a menu.

Some Indian restaurants in Milwaukee, like Bombay Sweets, put a special emphasis on vegetarian fare, as Hindus value the cow as a sacred animal.

But Anmol is more a Pakistani place, which is why you'll find beef, mutton, goat, chicken, fish and even brain on the menu in various forms, but you won't find pork, which is a no-no in Muslim countries. The front of the menu clearly states the restaurant's strict use of Zabiha Halal meat, which has been hand-slaughtered by Muslims according to Islamic Shariah. The chickens it uses are organic and hand-fed by Amish.

Nevertheless, the menu begins with five meat-free entrees ($7.95-$9.95) -- a curry, two masalas, the palak paneer and a daal -- each of which is served with a platter of lettuce, tomato, cucumber and onion (though we weren't quite sure how to incorporate these vegetables into the meal).

The saalan, or curries, make up the bulk of the menu and none of the 24 options ($9.95-$12.95) is meat-free. Next up are the "from the grill" offerings, including beef kababs, grilled fish and even a catfish fry battered in special spices.

In accordance with Muslim tradition, there is no alcohol served at Anmol, so don't expect that fish fry to be beer-battered.

A real Anmol highlight is its biryani selections, which come with either chicken, mutton, shrimp, fish or vegetables. The dish is based in basmati rice and mixes meats or vegetables and spices and is made even better with the addition of the complimentary green yogurt chutney.

The portion sizes here are on the large side and if you order a round of naan, you are guaranteed to be stuffed, or going home with leftovers. Still, if its variety you crave, the vegetable pakora appetizer is one of the best you'll find anywhere in Milwaukee. For $4.50, you receive a full plate of battered and fried vegetables and spices that are soft rather than crunchy and perfectly coated in cilantro.

The samosas, on the other hand, are slightly less impressive. Available stuffed with vegetables or meat, the small crispy triangles are not what you might expect from a traditional restaurant. They've got a bit of a spicy kick, which is nice, but are small and seem unworthy of the $2.50 price.

Anmol has been in business for several years now and seems to be doing well. It's always a good sign when other Pakistanis frequent the restaurant and order in abundance via Anmol's catering service. And if you become inspired by the foods you eat and want to dabble in your own kitchen, Sasta Bazaar, a Pakistani grocery store and butcher, is right next door.


Talkbacks

speakthetruth | Jan. 25, 2010 at 7:29 p.m. (report)

So what you all are saying if that the food here is better than Babu's Pakistani restaurant from "Seinfeld" lore?

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boozehound | Jan. 24, 2010 at 1:27 a.m. (report)

glad this place got a write-up. the food here is incredible and very cheap. the interior is very plain and boring but that doesn't matter. if you want atmosphere, go somewhere else. if you want great pakistani food, goto anmol's.

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abdullha_11 | Jan. 23, 2010 at 8:31 p.m. (report)

well in pakistani culture we just eat salad for the hell of it just salad or usually what i do is throw some of that chatnee on my salad salt and pepper and just eat it all up anmol may look like a small place but their food is big ive never had food better than this and its almost as good as the food back in pakistan

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sijan_heights | Jan. 23, 2010 at 3:44 p.m. (report)

I am so there!

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Z_boy | Jan. 23, 2010 at 3:40 p.m. (report)

I have to agree: The food here is out of this world good. I will go back to this place, without a doubt. I wish the reviewer would have inquired about the platter of plain lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers. I didn't know what to do with them either. I ended up nibbling on the tomatoes and cucumbers, as one might do at a party, but I left the lettuce. Plain Iceberg lettuce? Yuck! The ambience does leave something to be desired, though. When I was there, I was sitting at a table to the side. And during my meal, deliveries were being brought in through the front door, some with hand carts being pushed through the dining area. This was all going on while I was eating. The other thing I encountered was a slight language barrier. An older guy brought me my water, and when I asked him something, he just looked at me with an unknowing smile, as he didn't speak a word of English. That, however, is not a problem for me; I look at that as part of a restaurant's charm. But the food really is good here -- and fairly inexpensive, too.

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