I have been waiting to arrive at Al-Amin with some excitement, as I hadn’t dined at a halal restaurant before (until our recent trip to Purnima, of course). And finally Adam, Ashley, Stephen and myself got to go. We went on a Saturday evening at dusk. The place was empty when we arrived, though a group of four or so arrived shortly afterward, and later on another small group came as well.
The inside of Al-Amin is cheerful and clean. It is connected to the grocery store of the same name that is closer to the street. There’s an order counter and a case with some ready-made items.
Adam got Vimto, and I grabbed a yogurt drink thinking that it would be perfect for pairing with spicy food, but neglecting to notice that it was mint flavored. It was fine enough, but mint is not one of my preferred flavors.
We all started off with some standard, tasty samosas – both vegetable and chicken.
Adam and I both ordered biryani – Adam got lamb biryani and I got goat biryani. I thought I was ordering goat curry, but oh well. I’m sure it was my mistake, and the biryani was delicious besides.
Ashley got the paneer tikka masala with roti. Here are her thoughts:
“I got the paneer tikka masala. It was delicious, no doubt. I enjoyed what I tasted of Adam’s dish, but Emily’s and Stephen’s were too hot for me, as I am a wimp.
“The prices were ok. I was surprised to find out that the meal did not come with rice or nan, but those were additional charges, which made it even less appealing in the price arena. The service was nice, though not exactly the friendliest for those who don’t already know what they’re ordering. I still don’t know if the salad given to me and Stephen was mine or his. I used it anyway. Overall, I’d give Al Amin a 3.”
Stephen got the fish curry. Dang, it was spicy! Here are Stephen’s thoughts on his experience at Al-Amin:
“It was very tasty, but the curry is very spicy. Be sure you want that before you order it. The prices are good, but not amazing. The atmosphere is fairly sparse. Overall, I’d give it a 3.5, a little bit above average.”
Overall, I thought Al-Amin was nice. The only things I am sad about are A) I did not ask what country/countries the cuisine is intended to be representative of and B) I am not confident enough in my knowledge yet to try to make a definitive call. Certainly the curries, paneer, and samosas make one think of India but know there are other south asian countries that also serve these dishes, and other items such as biryani, roti, puri, chotpoti, etc. (If anyone has input on this, please feel free to jump in.
The menu wasn’t huge, but it was certainly not americanized either. Nor did they temper the spiciness upon seeing white folks ordering, which I also appreciated. The prices were good, and the service was friendly. While we were definitely the only white people in the restaurant, but I think that is a good thing and the atmosphere certainly was not uncomfortable. Additionally, the grocery store was certainly interesting, and there are a few things Adam and I would like to go back and buy to try at home.
Al-Amin is a great place to drop in and get some culture and good, affordable food. 3.5 stars.
Al-Amin Halal Restaurant and Grocery Store
5466 Buford Highway NE
Doraville, GA 30340