Review of '29 States'

Meeting up with some distant relations in York we were looking for somewhere decent to eat that was not a big chain and would allow us to talk. As it turns out our relations had to cancel so we visited alone. “29 States” is billed as the best Indian restaurant in York and it is reasonable to see why. Located to the south-west of the city centre opposite Clifford's Tower (literally), this small restaurant got busier and busier as the night went on.

Interior - Front Seating Area

The interior it a bit uninspiring though there is an attempt to make it a bit more contemporary with chrome and base colours on the wall though the New Years decorations were still present despite it being almost February. Entering the establishment, there is a small dining area to the left, a bar immediately in front of the entrance and a larger dining area to the right leading to another area at the back. We were seated near the front window which would have afforded wonderful views of the tower except that (a) it was night and (b) the windows were all steamed up on the cold night we visited.


The menu is thankfully quite small, divided into “Small Plates”: “Starters”, “Chaat Chatori” (!), and “Naughty Monkeys” (kids); “Main Course”: “Vegetarian”, “Non-Veg”, and “Rice & Breads” (there was a modestly sized drinks menu and I am sure they had a dessert menu but we never saw it). It features some familiar dishes but a number of others that are not so much. We decided to pick some items we had never tried before but started with the standard “Poppadums” (£0.95 each, we had 6). The poppadums were very crisp with four dips (mango chutney, lime pickle, yoghurt and an unusual tomato-y dip) that were quite nice indeed.

Mix Platter - Meat (Starter)

We started with the “Mix Platter - Meat” (£6.95; veggie is £5.95) which consisted of an assortment of starters cooked in a tandoor including “Meat Samosa”, (I believe) “Punjab Chicken Tikka” and kebab along with a yoghurt dip. Quite tasty though a small-ish portion that was gone in a flash.

Gol Gappa

Our second starter was “Gol Gappa” (£5.95; “Semolina balls, potato & spice filling, flavoured”) which were small “panipuri” filled with a cold potato mixture which was unusual but an interesting contrast to the mixed platter.

Chicken Lababdar

Our main shortly followed with “Chick Lababdar” (£9.95; “chicken cooked in a rich Mughlai gravy with tomato, butter”) billed as “medium spicy” but, to be honest, I did not really notice any spiciness at all. Very tasty and much like butter chicken but not as sweat as a korma.

Aloo Ghobi Masala

The “Aloo Ghobi Masala” (£8.95; “Potato, cauliflower cooked with tomato, fresh corrainder, chillies, selected spices and herbs”) was wonderfully hearty and different than typical “ghobi” dishes in that it featured cauliflower.

Garlic and Coriander Naan

On the side we took the recommendation of our server and had a “Garlic and Coriander Naan” (£2.50) which was piping hot and mild in flavour.


Our mains were of course accompanied by an order of simple boiled rice (£3.50) though with a nice sprinkling of garnish. This was typical of every dish we had here with extra care being given to presentation and the spicing delicate without knocking you over the head.

Interior - Bar

With this we were pretty full and unable to even contemplate the dessert menu. At £52.95 (without tip) for the two of us including a couple of beers and soft drinks it was reasonably priced and the staff were helpful if not overly friendly though as we were paying our bill the waitress did say the biryani (£12.50) is excellent - as good as made by her family at home, so a tip for future diners…

Good food with great promise that ultimately failed to really “wow” us. Presented nicely and in clean, pleasant surroundings it is a reasonable place to visit if you are in the area but I can't say I would go out of my way to visit again.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2023-01-21

Cuisine: Indian

Address: Opposite Clifford's Tower,, 12-13 Tower St, York YO1 9SA ENGLAND

Location: North Yorkshire (England) - York



Show in Google Maps  Get Directions

Telephone: +44 (0) 1904 636481