UPDATE: This restaurant has unfortunately closed since this article was published.
Before Maharaja Spice opened in late October 2013, there was no other Indian restaurant in Saijo City. One would have to drive well over 10 kilometers to find one. Even then, for any real fan of Indian food, the places were sub par at best. When Maharaja Spice came to town it was like receiving two gifts from the gods, one was finally having an Indian restaurant, and the other was that the restaurant would happen to be the best Indian food that can be found outside of the capital cities in Shikoku.
The food is a triumph. Much of the naan that one finds in restaurants in Japan is bought premade and is heated up on a buttered skillet before being served. Maharaja Spice does it proper, on a tandoor and fresh every couple of minutes. They have over 15 kinds of naan on their menu, and a customer can order whatever they like and it will be ready, hot and crispy, in minutes. Some of the selections for naan are: apple pie, pumpkin, spinach, garlic, coconut, black sesame, double chocolate, cheese and bacon, tomato cheese, and more, including seasonal recipes. If for nothing else the naan is worth coming to this restaurant for.
For dinner and on weekends, a customer will pay around 1000 yen and can choose from a list of over 50 curries. On weekdays there is an 850 yen lunch special, made from three daily selections of curry. Spice levels range from 1 to 6, although they will of course go as high as 50 if requested. A six is spicy enough, while a one is extremely mild.
When I asked if the vegetable curry had any animal stock or lard in it, one of the cooks responded in English saying "Strictly veg", which is a boon for any vegetarian or vegan in Japan looking for some good food.
After choosing a naan, the salad bar and buffet table are open to the customer. The salad bar doesn't have a lot of variety, but the produce and ingredients are good and its enough to make a good salad. Naan will usually already be out at the bar, but a customer can order whatever they want at any time. There is also a daily rice and a dry curry rice. Often there is tandoori chicken, herb chicken, vegetable mash, or crab as well, on a rotating basis. There is always a homestyle curry at the buffet, although this can sometimes be very spicy.
The restaurant also has a variety of drinks, including well priced Indian beer, coffee, chai tea, and lassi.