Restaurant Reivew

Chai Pani

22 Battery Park Ave
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 254-4003
Five Stars
Main Photo

Chai Pani is an award-winning Indian restaurant serving authentic Indian street fare. Chai Pani in Indian slang actually translates into "going out for a snack." Although Chai Pani offers some really tasty appetizers, the highlight here is their delicious lunch thalis. Available in both a veg and non veg version, this satisfying lunch plate will allow you to sample a variety of tasty Indian dishes.

  • Chai Pani Restaurant Preview
  • Chai Pani Restaurant Preview


Chai Pani is one of the best restaurants in downtown Asheville. If you are seeking something totally delicious, authentic, and innovative, then Chai Pani should be tops on your bucket list. Chef Meherwan Irani has been featured in Food and Wine Magazine, as well as nominated 3 times for a prestigious James Beard award.

For an appetizer, start with the Aloo Tikki Chaat which consists of crispy Indian potatoes served on a garbanzo bean stew, topped with green chutney and tamarind, yogurt, and chickpea noodles.

For a main meal, you will definitely want to treat yourself to a Thali, either Butter Chicken or Saag Paneer (vegetarian). The Saag is a bit on the spicy side, but a delicious choice for anyone who can take a bit of heat. Use the raita if you need to cool down the dish a bit.

Each thali comes with basmati rice, daal, masala slaw, pappadum, and raita. Delicious Naan bread can be added for a few extra bucks. The Kheer (rice pudding) is the highlight of the meal. Also, be sure to try a Mango Lassi - a wonderfully refreshing drink (great for beating the summer heat) which is supposedly good for digestion.

The food here is really delicious, a bit pricey for the thali but you do get a ton of food, so it's a great bang-for-your-buck meal. Everything is so flavorful and artfully presented. The food offerings are a bit different than those found at your typical Indian buffet. Nevertheless, Chai Pani is an interesting culinary experience for anyone up for something new.


Service is attentive and professional. The food arrived rather quickly despite the busy setting.


Although quite busy, you can usually get in here without a really long wait if you arrive right at opening. The ambiance is very nice, although it can get a bit too noisy on busy weekends. The decor is simple, yet attractive. Overall, Chai Pani is a great place for a weekend date.

Final Remarks

Chai Pani is one of downtown Asheville's best restaurants. In a self proclaimed foodie city, Chai Pani stands out as one of the best-of-the-best. If you love Indian food, you will definitely want to give this unique establishment a try. While Chai Pani is unlikely to be the best Indian food you will ever taste, it is the best Indian cuisine you will find in Asheville.