Southern India is home to a wide variety of vegetarian cuisines. One major region that is noted for tasty vegetarian food is Udipi, the city that gives its name to as style of cooking as well as many restaurants in the United States, including Columbus' Udipi Cafe.
The food from Udipi is prepared in a strict Vedic tradition--vegetarian, but without onions and garlic. There are a great deal of spicy broths like rasam, a spicy tomato and pepper broth, and coconut curries. Many of the dishes are prepared with gourd vegetables, including pumpkins.
I sampled the $6.99 lunch buffet, which runs from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm five days per week. The lentil donuts and the samosas were well made. The rice dish was rather spicy, as was the ajethna, a vegetable dish prepared as a dry curry, and many of the other dishes. They also serve sambhar stew, a South Indian classic. Udipi Cafe makes their food a little hotter than most Indian restaurants, which are afraid of burning my delicate American palate. Some of the dishes on the buffet were spicy enough that you can take the menu at its word when it says, "spicy." My inner masochist thanks Udipi Cafe.
There is takeout available, and during dinner, you may dine in as well. The restaurant is at the corner of Dublin-Granville and Beechcroft in Columbus.
This is a solid vegetarian option. I had a slight preference for the food at Banana Leaf, although the interior of Udipi was probably a touch nicer than it is at Banana Leaf. Check out the pictures below.