• Masala

  • (10)
  • White Veg-options

Serves meat, vegan options available. Was vegetarian but added meat in addition to a vegetarian menu. Open Mon-Thu 11:00am-2:30pm, Mon-Sun 5:00pm-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 11:00am-3:00pm.

Venue map for Masala
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10 Reviews

First Review by nainabarnett


Points +36

30 Nov 2021


There was really only 1 vegan option and it was okay. The prices were a bit high for the amount and quality of food.



Points +182

06 Oct 2018

Keeps going downhill

An update to my last review from 2012: Masala just keeps going downhill. The food/service is lacking. And six years later, the restaurant seriously needs a good cleaning and coat of paint.

Old review: Before Masala added meat to their menu, we visited the restaurant pretty regularly. With fair prices and portions, it was an easy place to go for dinner without spending a lot. Plus, with every other Indian restaurant in town serving meat, it was relaxing to have somewhere to go that was vegetarian. Since they added meat a few months back, I definitely feel less inclined to go. Nothing puts a damper on my appetite quite like seeing lambs listed on a menu.

As for the food, I recommend the samosas, pakora, chana masala, coconut curry vegetables, and masala dosa. They aren't afraid to make things spicy, which I like. (The only exception to that is at the afternoon buffet, where they keep everything quite mild.)

The service isn't especially warm or friendly, and the restaurant itself is kind of grubby around the edges. The light switches and wall paint could use replacement, repainting, and/or a deep cleaning. When you use the bathroom, you can look into the haphazard and cluttered kitchen area. They've made some updates recently to their seating area, but there's still room for improvement.

Updated from previous review on 2018-10-06

Pros: Inexpensive, Good flavors, Not afraid to add spice

Cons: Grubby, Cold service, Added meat to their menu


Points +28

16 Apr 2017

Great food and service!

Masala offers many vegan options -- all marked on the menu. The food is delicious, especially the vegan appetizers! Staff is friendly and accommodating. Masala also offers a great variety of vegan food on the lunch buffet.

Pros: Lots of vegan options, friendly staff, great atmos


Points +222

13 Nov 2016

Good Indian with vegan options

Pretty good Indian place with typical menu. Vegan options are marked on the menu and on the buffet.

Pros: Vegan options marked on menu and buffet

Cons: No longer all vegetarian


Points +179

24 Jun 2013

Mediocre Indian food

Went through here on a cross-country road trip. Standard indian options were quite greasy and definitely not as good as many other indian places.

Cons: Greasy


Points +38

24 Jul 2012

No longer vegetarian

As the description says, Masala made the unfortunate decision to add meat options to their formerly 100% vegetarian menu.


Points +44

07 Jun 2011

Average food

I was traveling through the city and was so excited to read the reviews of this restaurant. I must have visited them on an "off day" as I wasn't too impressed with them.

As other posters mentioned - everything is clearly labelled on the menu. It was VERY easy to find vegan options (everything is at least vegetarian), which was really nice. The server looked very grumpy - not friendly at all. We were one table out of 4 the whole time we were there and he didn't look much nicer to any of the other tables.

We ordered our food medium and found it was way too hot for our tastes. Be sure to ask for mild (or no spice!) if you don't like your food too spicey!

The food itself was average - I've had much better elsewhere. Though the naan was really tasty, everything else was just average. If we were to pass through town again, I would definitely go somewhere else.

Pros: Clearly marked vegan items on menu

Cons: Unfriendly wait staff


Points +41

09 Nov 2008

Take a look at their menu!

Vegan menu options


Samosa 2.95
Two savory triangular pastries filled with potatoes and peas, served with mint and tamarind chutneys

Pakora 2.95
Spicy fritters of potato, spinach, onion and cauliflower, served with chutneys

Aloo Pakora 2.95
Slices of fresh potatoes dipped in gram flour and fried. Served with chutneys

Gobhi Pakora 2.95
Cauliflower dipped in gram flour and fried; served with chutneys

Eggplant Pakora 2.95
Slices of fresh eggplant dipped in gram flour and fried; served with chutneys

Aloo Tikki 2.95
Fresh grated potatoes formed into pancakes, dipped in gram flour and fried; served with chutneys

Assorted Platter 7.95
cobination of samosa, pakora, aloo Pakora, eggplant, aloo tikki and poppadum

Bengan Bhartha 8.95
Fresh roasted eggplant cooked with tomatoes, onions, herbs and spices (vegan or nonvegan)

Aloo Bengan 8.95
Eggplant and potatoes spiced to perfection

Aloo Gobhi 8.95
Potatoes and cauliflower complement each other in this traditional Indian favorite

Aloo Palak 8.95
Spinach cooked delicately with potatoes

Aloo Gajar Matter 8.95
Potatoes, carrots, peas cooked delicately with spices

Aloo Matter 8.95
Peas cooked with spices, tomatoes and potatoes

Zeera Aloo 8.95
Potatoes cooked with cumin seed and spices

Saag Channa 8.95
Spinach cooked delicately with chickpeas

Saag Tofu 8.95
Spinach cooked with soy cheese

Vegetable Jalfrazie 8.95
Sauted seasonal fresh vegetables in spices, ginger and garlic

Coconut curry 8.95
Fresh vegetables cooked with coconut milk


Masala Dal 8.95
A massoor dal flavored with garlic, ginger and onion

Channa Masala 8.95
A chickpea dal simmered in a tomato and onion gravy with a delicate blend of spices

Plain Parantha 2.50
multi-layered whole wheat bread (mention vegan or it's topped with butter

Tandoori Roti 1.95
Round whole wheat bread baked in our tandoor oven

Poori 1.95
deep-fried puffy bread made of whole wheat

Basmati rice 1.95

Vegetable Biryani 8.95
An elaborate pullao flavored with a unique blend of spices, nuts and vegetables; served with raita

Masala Dosa 9.95
light rice flour and lentil crepe is stuffed with potato filling and served with cocnut chutney and sambar, a spicy vegetable stew

Uttapum 9.95
Tomatoes, onions, and green chilies folded into a rice and lentil pancake; served with sambar stew and coconut chutney

Idli 5.95
rice and lentil cakes served with sambar stew and side of coconut chutney

Pros: huge variety/totally delicious, friendly, knowledgable staff, great value


Points +140

01 Sep 2007

Always delicious

Masala is hands down my favorite restaurant in Iowa City. The wait staff is friendly and knowledgeable. The menu very clearly shows what is vegan. Choice of spice level is much appreciated. Our favorites include their pakoras, zeera aloo, dal makhani and saag channa. If you want a quick place to eat, go for their lunch buffet. Inexpensive, great food for a very reasonable price. Ordering off the menu takes longer and is a bit more expensive, but is totally worth it.

Pros: excellent food, courteous staff


Points +56

21 Sep 2006

my favourite indian restaurant in iowa city

Masala has really nice menu that clearly labels what is vegan and what isn't. I find the food to be delicious, and it's a very good value. It's also a great place to bring friends who aren't vegan/vegetarian, because although everything on the menu is vegan/vegetarian, everybody always finds something they love.

Pros: very vegan friendly, friendly staff, authentic indian flavour

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