I was a bit nervous about trying Indian food, as I don't like things too spicy. However, one of my co-workers told me they had the best Indian flood in town and he loved going their for lunch. I was presently surprised. The food was amazing and my dish wasn't too spicy. (The waiter helped me pick one out .) I went there for lunch and they was quite quick, so you can easily get in and out in under an hour. Our service was top-notch as well as the food. The prices were a little higher than I like to typically pay at lunch, but it was definitely a special treat.
I use to think that Clay Pit serves an Americanized version of Indian food, in which case it would likely taste bad. But I decided to give this place a try and boy was I glad I did. The food tastes amazing! I especially love their palak paneer with rice. The setting is very formal- like, though it's not required that you dress up. It's a very clean place and everything on the menu is just amazing. They're a bit pricey but I think it's worth it!
This is a dependably great restaurant...interesting food, attentive and knowledgeable service, good wine list, and charming ambiance. Pay no attention to those droids who were probably drunk and abusive to the staff...those aren't the people you want in the restaurant with you anyway!
The atmosphere is great and the service was good however the food was overpriced. I would go back but it's not going be a new favorite.
My boyfriend and I went here on a whim because Phara's was closed.
We were really surprised about how wonderful the food was! Our waiter was very sweet, he was attentive, and completely not what some of the reviewers below me said.
The food was just awesome. I love eating Indian food and I know this is "fusion" take on the dishes, however I really enjoyed it. We had the samosas, bfriend had the chicken khorma and I had the lamb tikka masala. Everything was fresh and had a wonderful aroma!
Food came promptly..waiter was great... cute place...food was delish. We'll go back for sure! :)
Pros: food selection, waiter, location
Cons: nothing i saw
I went in for take out and repeated my order several times to the apathetic hostess that took my order (so, I didn't want them to get it wrong). My mistake for not checking it and when I returned home the order was wrong. I was very irritated but I didn't return. I mean what's the point? I already lost... time, gas, miles. I just sucked it up and ate what they gave me (wasn't that good).
Pros: Nice atmosphere.
Cons: Expensive small portions.
I have been there a few times with different co-workers and classmates. I have great food and service everytime. Friendly staff and good food, what more can you ask for?
Pros: Desserts, appetizers
This is the worst I have ever seen. I dined here earlier and I can reassure you that I will NEVER go back! The owner/top manager needs to get off his high horse! Isn't the customer always supposed to be right? This man treated us very rude and I will never recommend this restaurant to anyone! I was treated like a dog here. It is possibly the worst ''Indian'' food I have ever ate. Hardly any of the staff is Indian so how can they know anything about Indian food? The service is horrendous. The management doesn't care at all. I would rather go to McDonalds than eat at Clay Pit. I was excited to go here but after my experience, I don't see what the hype is all about? The owner or manager, whatever he is ... get over yourself. Get a personality if you want people to return to your restaurant.
Cons: Service, management, parking, not quality Indian food
The Clay Pit used to be one of my favorite restaurants in Austin; until I decided to host my wedding reception there. It was the biggest mistake of my life! I planned my event with the owner months and months in advance and was told repeatedly not to worry at all, "we'll make sure everything is smooth" he said. The Big Day arrived and my reception was a TOTAL mess! It was a complete embarassment for me and my family. None of my planning came into fruition--i felt like it was someone else's wedding. I was almost in tears. In addition, the owner was EXTREMELY rude to my family and friends who were attempting to clean up the mess. The staff was SO unprofessional and just disappeared while my guests were there. I could list a million things here...but it will only upset me more. Months have passed since my Wedding but till this day I get so upset thinking about how things went wrong for me. WIth this experience--I will NEVER recommend this restaurant to anyone.
bland food. think ci-ci's pizza of indian food. i swear the naan is just a regular old tortilla and veggie pakoras were pretty lame too. to be totally fair the veggie somasas werent all that bad then again they werent all that good. the rice was boring.... im not gonna to bother going on because it was all the same....bland. not going back.
oh yeah and they wrap the food in TONS of trash (if you get it to go). ie: wrapped in foil Pros: good dining environment Cons: bland
Pros: good dining environment
So here's the deal. I am Indian, a great chef myself, come from a long line of chefs. The food here is quite nice. We got there at 8pm on a saturday, we waited an hour to eat.
The reason I am giving 4 stars is because this place doesn't do justice to the basics. We had baigan Bharta, and it was pretty average, even just a little below average. We also had the chicken tikka apps, the sauce was not correct.
But we ate biryani, goan curry, spicy lamb kabobs, all were on the money. So what I think is that the chef knows how to make the fancy suff, just trys to hard with the basics.
Overally a great place to eat, atmosphere is nice, and a good looking crowd overall.
Pros: TASTY FOOD OVERALL
Cons: SERVICE CAN BE A LITTLE MORE PROMPT BUT STILL DECENT
If your in the mood for chicken tikka masala, DO NOT GO HERE EVER!!! I order Chicken Tikka Masala And got about 4 little pieces of chicken drowning in watered down masala sauce. I also ordered an extra side of Tikka Masala sause and it was even worse. It tasted like watered down marinara, and it looked totally different from the sause on the chicken. The Naan is horrable its like eatting charcol with garlic on top. If you ever want real INDIAN FOOD go to STAR OF INDIA
Cons: Food, Prices
I have not found a restaurant anywhere that I love as much as the Clay Pit! Their food is always ridiculously amazing, the drinks are different and fun, and the staff is attentive and welcoming. I would eat here every day if I could. Try the Bombay Breeze (or a mango lassi if it's too early to drink) and the Kabuli Chicken. If you've never experienced a food coma before, you will after eating here!
Cons: Typical Downtown parking troubles
I love Indian spinach dishes of all kinds - try the spinach curry - really sumptuous! This review won';t let me spell the dishes so use your imagination - it's all great....and the curried mussels. The breads are great too....especially the one with potato. Always fun at lunch or dinner....
Pros: delicious and light Indian food
Great chicken korma and great drinks. Love the atomsphere esp. downstairs! A must atleast once a month!
Pros: service, style
Cons: parking can get tricky at times
I ordered the tandoori chicken and grilled veggies. It was very good, pretty healthy. The veggies had some yellow orange sauce/paste on it which i dont know, it was a little sour but really surprisingly good. My mother got the brunch buffet which seemed pretty good, but is a bit small. The smell of naan fills the air and is delectable. Love the look and ambiance, very good service.
I am not an expert in Indian food, nor am I Indian, but I do love Indian food, and have eaten at several places in Austin and a few in other major Texas cities as well as in Europe. Clay Pit's food remains my favorite, and their ambiance and service have also proven to be the best. The food is extremely fresh and well made, with generous proportions. I have not found a Chicken Tikka Masala that I like better, nor a better cheese cake than their Mango. If you decide to come for prime dinner-time on the weekend, you must make reservations, and even then, be prepared to wait well beyond your reserved time. I think it is still worth coming, just stop by their bar and be prepared. The experience is well worth the wait
Pros: Food is incredible, ambience is lovely, service consistently good
Cons: Can get loud and crowded on weekends, parking can be rough
This restaurant has never been about 'authentic' Indian food. I mean, no respectable Indian restaurant would ask you if you wanted a korma "hot, medium or mild" the way they do at the Clay Pit. But at least the food used to be edible. My chicken korma (mild, as all kormas should be!) must have had at least a cup of sugar in it. Nauseatingly sweet. And my vegetarian friend poked at her vegetable tandoori, particularly the slab of bright orange tofu, until it was too cold to eat. We brought home the remains of my husband's mixed grill in hopes that I can take the meat and turn it into a curry of some sort. ( And by the way, he couldn't eat anything else on the menu safely as they use local (jalapeno, serrano) chilies in eveything rather than Indian chilies, and he's allergic to all green chilies.) -- On top of this, there is no Handicapped parking ... yes, I asked the hostess who confirmed this ... and the toilets were in worse condition than any restaurant toilets I've ever seen. Again I told the hostess and asked if there were others available; she said Yes, upstairs, but we've already closed down up there so you can't use them. Nice!! She didn't offer to get someone to clean up, nothing. Just 'Too bad'. -- Service was just about ok. Disinterested is the adjective to describe it, I think. And my overall feeling was that we just weren't 'cool enough' to be in their establishment. If the food was worth it, I'd persist. But it's not.
Pros: Able to seat large parties; inoffensive lighting
Cons: food, parking, toilets, service, noise
We dined here early evening with out toddler. Service was good. Food was excellent - excellent combination of spices, good quality of meat. My wife wanted a dish a little hotter than I did (we were sharing some dishes) and the staff brought her a stronger sauce on the side to mix in. Staff were very tolerant of my somewhat manic 2 year old, and the bill was a pleasant surprise - for excellent food and an medium-upscale environment the meal was very reasonable. Recommended, particularly given the generally poor quality of Indian food in Austin.
Pros: Good food at a reasonable price
Cons: not close enough to my house!
I will have to say this place has changed for the worse. Once again we go on a Thursday night to a semi-busy establishment. Our first encounter is a manager which in turn is the owner and has attitude like you could not imagine. We were told a few minutes and we waited on some couches they provide. My partner went to order drinks at a empty bar, waited while the dread-locked bartender finished telling some story to someone. I think about 10-15 minutes we finally got our drinks, what is that ! . Finally being sat we were told by our waiter to get the curried mussels and garlic basil naan. The mussels were good but we had to wait for out naan to arrive later than the appetizer, another ???. The entrees we ordered, Masala and Vindaloo, looked like slop in a bowl. I could honestly not tell what dish was what and had to ask the waiter. One more note, the bathroom was absolutely disgusting and fowl smelling. Please post this, It is important to have people read this and pass the word. I will not be going back.
Pros: Curied Mussels
Cons: Waiting for a drink, Attitude from manager/owner
The staff at the Clay Pit was friendly and the decor was comforting.
The parking lot is only available after 6pm, so don't expect free parking for an early dinner or lunch. But after 6pm parking is sufficient.
The bar has several liquors infused with ginger and other spices. They are quite tasty.
The food was tasty. The portions were about right, we were full at the end. The Nan bread was excellent, with a nice variety of flavors being available. Overall though, the food left something to be desired.
First, the sauces are a bit thin and light on meat, which was so-so at best. The lamb was tough, like a cheap steak and not particularly sweet.
Second, they don't tend to bring enough rice to effectively soak up the sauce (although this may be a reaction to customers who don't eat grains).
Third, the price was a bit high. We got out of there at around $25/person for appetizers, food, and desert (drinks extra). Although this is about what I expect to pay for an Indian restaraunt, the food was more like cafeteria fare. The food was good, but it wasn't up to what I would expect from a restaraunt.
Overall, it was a pleasant dining experience, but expect to pay a little bit more than you normally would for tasty, but otherwise average food.
Pros: Excellent service
Cons: A bit costly for the product
I don't understand why there has been so many bad reviews on here.
Every time I've been to The Clay Pit, I've had a great experience.
The atmosphere is lovely, the service is good, and the food is amazing.
Prior to dining here I did not like Indian food and now I love it and go back as often as possible.
To anyone going, I'd recommend the chicken samosas, coriander calamari, and the kashmiri kofta korma.
Pros: Ambience, Service, Food
I had never eaten Indian food before but I thought it was quite interesting. Luckily my date knew a little about Indian food otherwise I would have had no idea what to do. The service was about a 2.5 out of 5. We had to wait 20 or so minutes for a table so we went to the bar for a drink. The bartender took 15 minutes to even recognize we were there and another 2 or 3 to take our order. Our waitress was helpful and gave us enough time decide on what we wanted.
I think I would go back but in a few months. It's not the type of food (at least for me) I can eat all the time, but it was interesting!
Pros: Great atmosphere, fun to eat
Cons: Average service
I hate to say it, but we had a really lousy dining experience at the Clay Pit on July 28, 2007. Having heard so many positive things, I was looking forward to the dining experience. However, reality set in quickly.
First, the "expanded" Saturday buffet was unbelievably small. Second, the dishes had absolutely no flavor. Were they completely out of curry and spices? The daal tasted like split pea soup - which it never should. The "cream of veggie" soup was very good, if it were served in a FRENCH restaurant. The other curries likewise had no spice and virtually no flavor and the "aloo matar paneer" contained not a single piece of paneer or any paneer flavoring. The other paneer dish was completely bland and dull. The whole thing was a mockery of Indian cuisine. About the only thing they got right was the naan bread (which was probably made elsewhere). We should have gotten our first hint when we didn't see any Indian people eating there; they obviously know better.
How hard is it to cook authentic Indian food? There's a plethora of delicious, free Indian recipes all over the internet. So long as you have the ingredients, it's not that difficult even if a non-native is cooking it. The Clay Pit's cook has apparently never tasted real Indian food before.
Be forewarned: if you're looking for excellent Indian cuisine, run away from Clay Pit at full speed. Something in their kitchen needs to drastically change. I have never tasted such lousy Indian food before; this was a first.
Pros: I now know what awful Indian food tastes like
Cons: food, flavor, buffet
Oh, Baby! It was yummy! The staff was also friendly and let us come in before they opened. The gin based drinks are spectacular! Awesome decor and the food was tasty!
Pros: Service, Food, Gin Drinks
The food isn't good enough for Clay Pit to survive in most cities, but Austin has so few Indian options that it rates average. The food is dramatically overrated, terribly inconsistent, and shrouded in pretense that I don't mind when food is truly great, but the Clay Pit doesn't deserve. The servers typically reflect their own newness to Indian food if not all things non-Texan by treating you like a yahoo. Unfortunately, the management at the Pit also seem completely uninterested in suggestions for improving their food and service, probably because the lack of better options in Central Austin means that even I will be back.
Pros: Only Indian food in Central Austin
Cons: Food and service are below average and could improve but management isn't interested.
Its all about the Bombay Aloo.
I am a HUGE potato fan and their Bombay Aloo potato dish hits the spot just right. Their pappadaums are amazing also, a great throw back to my childhood and the many pappadaums i ate after school. Their veggie samosa's taste like miniature curried shephards pie without the beef...mmmn! A++ for ambience, attention to detail, decor, waitstaff and food!
I love food. I was recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease and had to cut gluten out of my diet. The constrictions have made my life a little more difficult but my taste in food has become more specific. The last time I dined at "The Pit" they supplied me with a gluten free menu. I was amazed at the wait staff's knowledge of the gluten free menu and why they should have gluten free choices. Most restaurants just say, "what's that?", or, "I don't know what you are talking about." The people at The Clay Pit get it. Kudos to them. And did I forget to mention that the food is spectacular. Everything is recommended, including the Mirch Masala. Delicious.
Pros: Gluten free menu, the food is yummy
Cons: Sometimes there is a wait
Having tried a few other indian food places; some buffet, some regular dining, some "fast food"-ish, I ALWAYS come back to Clay Pit. While a bit more expensive than other places, the taste is truly worth it. SO much that I've never gone there for buffet, I've always gone for traditional dining. It's a great date spot, IF you can find someone open enough to try the tastes of India.
All of that said, try some Garlic & Basil Naan with a cup of the Curried Mussel Sauce to start with. The traditional Chicken Tikka Masala is flavorful and available in a few "hotness" levels; try "Desi-hot" if you truly like spice. The same "desi" applies for the Saag Paneer or any other dish for that matter. Just kinda something not most people know.
Now, the place fills up very quickly and reservations ARE recommended on the typical busy nights. You can order apps and have a drink or two at the bar while you wait. If you do, it'll probably either be Dreads or Jannah; ask for the special infused vodka Dreads makes. Awesome.
Definitely the best and most flavorful indian food around.
Pros: Very unique taste, almost unforgetable once you have it.
Cons: Parking is limited to small side lot and on the street.
I have been to this restaurant a number of times over the past years. The food is consistently good, nicely spiced, and creative. The service has always been gracious.
The main factor that keeps me from going there more often is that the noise level is truly deafening. It is nearly impossible to have a nice conversation over dinner, and you have to practically scream to the server. On top of the general din and clatter, they pipe in some hectic-sounding music.
The food is generally rich, and I would like to see some healthier, leaner options on their menu.
Very good Indian food for American palates. Good variety, good portions (not the Cheescake Factory-obesity portions here).
The sitting/waiting is problem. On several visits we had to wait 5-10 mins while most of the tables were empty. Get people seated and a drink order started!
Pros: Excellent Indian for American Palates
Cons: Loud and Slow
I am a huge fan of the Clay Pit. The food here is spicy if you like, or creamy and rich if you prefer. I was sat in the converted cellar downstairs and loved it! It is very romantic and the service is actually pretty attentive. Specialty drinks here are also recommended and you gotta love thr bread. In a city that truly lacks decent cuisine, Clay Pit is unusually metropolitan.
Pros: food, service, price
Wow!, What can I say. Went on a Friday night, busy which I took as a good sign. We started at the bar area with the Mango infused martinis and apps (Samosa's and the Curried Mussels) Oh my gosh they're fresh!!!. We had to wait only because they are hopping but you could tell everyone was working hard. There were several large parties that were there that night and they all looked like they were very happy. We were sat downstairs in the Cellar, Highly recommend if on a date...Romantic!!! Our server was very attentive and knowledgeable about the menu even giving us suggestions on what to try and what to mix and match. Having said that we tried the Desi-Cucumber salad and Palak Naan, Yummy. Then we moved onto the Channa Masala and Malai Kofta as sides to our Lamb grill and Kabuli chicken, chicken in a Korma curry sauce with raisin & cherries, very tasty. Also to mention was the wine list that the server suggeted to a tee on what would go best with our dishes. We had dessert, Kheer and Gulab Jaman with our port wine, so delicious. The only thing we regret is not having enough room for all the food but We have been to many Indian restaurants and this one tops all. If you have a party or just a diiner out I highly suggest Clay Pit for a delightful dining experience. Thanks to the service staff for all the suggestions, it really worked for us.
Pros: Knowlegeable Staff
Cons: It's haunted, Did you know?
I've been eating at The Clay Pit for years, and in recent months I have gone at least once a week. There are some select people there that are genuinely nice toward the patrons, but they are the exception. There are way to many other Indian restaurants in Austin now that at least show a modicum of accommodation toward their customers. The Clay Pit does not.
my fiance & i went there on a friday night, with reservations, and it was wonderful! we did not have to wait, were seated promptly, had a very nice server and the food was amazing!! my fiance is from India so he knows authentic indian food...and he loved it! we're even considering having the Clay Pit cater our wedding next year!
To those who complain about the "long wait"......isn't that to be expected at an awesome austin restaurant on the weekend?? it is an elegant restaurant, not fast food people. great food takes time to prepare, especially indian food. i say enjoy the ambience, have some drinks and samosas and don't rush through a wonderful meal!
i look forward to eating at the Clay Pit again real soon!
Both my husband and myself were very disappointed in this restaurant. After waiting an hour, the food that brought to use was very disappointing. This was probably the worst lamb korma and sag paneer i have ever eaten. If you like authentic indian food, DON'T eat here.
Pros: Pretty place
Cons: the food
The Clay Pit serves Americanized Indian food and is a good stepping stone for beginners. In my opinion, the best dishes are located under "Specialties of the House." Khuroos-E-Tursh combines chicken breast stuffed with seasoned spinach, mushrooms, onions & cheese, simmered in a rich cashew-almond sauce with a hint of sweetness, and served with basmati rice. Kabuli Chicken is comprised of boneless chicken cooked in korma sauce (a paste made from raisins & cherries). Kothmir Salmon is a healthy dish of fresh salmon rubbed with garlic & ginger, pan-seared in a marinade of mint chutney, paprika, lemon juice & olive oil. Wash any of these dishes down with Mango or Sweet Lassi (a yogurt drink mixed with fruit). If there is any room for dessert, an authentic treat is Kheer (Indian rice pudding with raisins, enriched by cinnamon and cardoman).
Pros: Great for those new to Indian cuisine.
Cons: Too Americanized for those used to authentic Indian food.
This is only the 3rd time I visit The Clay Pit--but I will probably not return. The food we ordered was tasty but the way we were treated was sour. Being in the hospitality business myself I have been well trained in the importance of making your guests feel welcomed--this was not the case at the Pit. We made sure and made reservations (9:30) and were informed that they were openned until 10:00pm. Being in the restaurant business we wanted to make our visit enjoyable but prompt--upon being greeted by our server the speedy process to "get us out of there" was evident. Even the manager did not try to even try to recover the situation.
We have been regular diners at clay pit for over 4 years now. I have noticed a trend of decline in quality of both food and service. For example, in the past the sea food grill consisted of the mahi-mahi which used to absorb the taste of Indian spices very well. Now the grill consists of Salmon which has a very strong flavor of its own and does not blend very well with Indian spices. Of course salmon is a cheaper fish than the mahi mahi. The service is slow. The wait times are high. The ambience is good ... but not great. We also dined once with a large group ... and our waiter really messed the order. Never again with a large group.
Cons: Average taste, Average service, Long wait times
Beautiful restaurant, great service...terrible, terrible food. Tried every item in buffet - worst Indian food I've had in my life. Previous reviewer was correct in saying that the naan is delicious. I wish there was some food to go with it.
First, I am a vegetarian and hence I make no comments on the non-veg dishes.
Bad: long wait (even when there are some empty tables) and slow service. The place is expensive but not more than 10% compared with other north Indian places in town.
Good: This place has one of the best Naan (bread) anywhere -- yes, including India itself. Their vegetarian concoctions are smooth and creamy (no place for diet gurus). Various spices are obvious but not overwhelming. We also tried their lunch buffet a few times. If you are for quality and not for a large array of inedible items this is good place for lunch.
Great FOOD and good service. Please keep it up, the work you are doing management.
You guys are serving fine INDIAN cuisine with awsome service ( service can beIMPROVED). love the feeling of non corporate staff. I had RACK OF LAMB it was amazing the way it was prepared and love to know that your food is not all that greasy like every other Indian restaurant in town, which is a plus health wise. I recooment guys make reservation and if u still have to wait it's worth it......... One thing food is little different then before may there is a staff change still pritty good. great experience.
Pros: beautiful staff, respectful, great food
Cons: wait, loud
My wife and I are avid Indian food lovers and were very excited to find the Clay Pit. We've gone there several times and the food has always been good . . . but not great. No problem, there are many good but not great Indian restaurants in Austin (in fact, there are no great ones). Unfortunately, the Clay Pit charges great Indian food prices. Some dishes are better than others. Many are non-traditional. The ambiance is fantastic! Service has always been pretty good. But the bottom line is you pay above average prices for average Indian food.
At best, you have a 50/50 shot at getting service approaching reasonable. We've heard the place is haunted but after a recent dining experience we believe the only bad spirit present was the management who was anxious to get our party out to make room for a larger party behind us.
Food really IS dry and bland. Good reviews must be either from Indian newbies or those so impressed with the decor and environment that they forget the shoe they're chewing on is actually costing them a small fortune.
Prepare to wait LONG for your table, even with a reservation and even when the restaurant seems (to the naked eye) to be virtually empty. (Those spirits again!)
Overcooked food, underwhelming experience.
Looking for good Indian food in Austin? Try a number of the Indian restaurants in North Austin.
Pros: Decor, Atmosphere, Hauntings
Cons: Food, Management, Service
The ambience is very inviting, service is charming, and the food is a darling, but the prices are simply and plainly TOO HIGH.
A must visit, BUT maybe ONCE a year.
Pros: Ambience, Service, Food
This is a good place to go if you want to get Indian American food. I love Indian food for its bold, intense flavors but the food at Clay Pit did not give it its justice. The food is bland, dry, and over priced. Obviously, if you think this is good Indian food, then you do not know what good Indian food really is.
We went here dinner and the food was excellent. It was really crowded on a Saturday night and the wait was about 20 minutes. However, the food made up for the wait. The bad part is that the portions are very small and it's a bit pricey. Our server was polite and friendly and the atmosphere was warm and inviting.
We would go again and recommend this if you dont mind the price and small portions
Pros: food, ambience, service
Cons: crowded, small portions, expensive
We went a few weeks ago with some friends, it was my 3rd time there. It gets better every time I go. We ordered an assortment of dishes to pass, and everyone was happy with what they had. For Indian Cuisine, I would highly recommend this restaurant. They also had a lunch buffet going - I'm not sure if this is still true, but a lot to choose from there.
Pros: Service, Great Food, Ambience