Cafe Luna Replaced by Malgudi Indian Restaurant at 17th and P Street, NW

1633 P Street, NW

The restaurant shuffle at 1633 P Street, NW continues. Back in Oct. 2012 Heritage India moved into the former Skewers space above the then Cafe Luna. Now Malgudi has moved into the Cafe Luna space (first spotted by @jsidman) in the bottom space. Malgudi is owned by Heritage India – check out their menu here. We first heard about Malgudi back in March when they opened their Glover Park location featuring “unique curries, dosas and uthappams of South India”. Word is that the food is really good.

Will anyone miss Cafe Luna here?


29 Comment

  • No. Bad Italian will not be missed.

  • Will not miss Luna at all. I appreciated the diversity of the menu and prices were reasonable, but the food really wasn’t good.

  • alphatango

    Yum! Horray for more Heritage establishments!

  • I really hope this restaurant succeeds! There is zero South Indian food in DC, and even the north Indian food is generally very mediocre. Kudos for the owners for branching out from palak paneer and tandoori chicken.

  • That Cafe Luna was one of the few restaurants where I would not eat unless forced. Plus it was confusing with two “Luna” places in dupont – the much better Luna Grille on Connecticut.

  • Super exciting. LOVE south indian food….

    Now I just need to go and get me some dosa…

    • I thought both of these were closed?

      • I just checked Yelp and you’re right, Amma’s is closed. Udupi didn’t really close, they just merged with Tiffin (their non-veg counterpart, IIRC) and they’re about 200ft down the street. There’s also an all-veg place in the shopping center right across the street from Udupi/Tiffin, but I forget the name of it.

  • I’m confused why they would open 2 Indian restaurants on top of one another. Why not just make one really good one in both spaces?

    Luna sucked for a long time, but I have to say I’m a little sad at the end of an era. I first went there many years ago for cheap pasta when I was broke.

    • South Indian food and North Indian food are practically two different cuisines. Even within northern and southern there is a huge amount of diversity. I wouldn’t be surprised if many chefs of one don’t cross over to another. It makes sense to me that they would be two different restaurants.

    • saf

      Yeah – I lived in that neighborhood when it was new. Late 80s. DJDC – you were there then too, weren’t you?

      Anyhow, Skewers and Luna, both newish then, one a bit nicer and more experience, one more affordable… it was a different time.

  • Hadn’t eaten there in years, but back before there was anything worth visiting east of 16th, it was one of my regular places. I recall the salads had raisins in them, but I could never decide if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Had a late 80s decor.

  • I hope this Malgudi is better than the one in Glover Park. By far the worst restaurant I’ve been to in Washington, D.C. Waited 20 minutes to get served and another 40 for my dosa. It’s a dosa. A crepe. It takes like 5 minutes to make.

    • @stcohi Reviews like this are what’s stopping me from trying Malgudi. The majority of Yelp reviews say the exact same thing. It’s a shame because I love dosas.

  • Luna was where all the gay boys ate in the early/mid 90’s.

  • I’ll be the lone support. I loved that place. Not fancy, but good food at reasonable prices for what it was. A little normalcy in an upscale neighborhood. I’ll miss it.

    • don’t be too sad — there are plenty of other bad restaurants still on that strip. Dupont Italian Kitchen, La Frontera Cantina, that crappy coffee shop at R & 17th, Cobalt, Pizza No 17, etc.

  • That makes me sad. Luna Cafe was the very first place I ever ate in DC when I was new here. I knew nothing about the city and was too scared to venture far lol. I thought it was such a big city that one could get lost in lol little did I know….

    I agree with another poster, that sound stupid to put two Indian restaurants in the same building.

  • I don’t undertand the love for Heritage. I think it’s beyond mediocre.

    We drive to Saravana Palace in Fairfax. It’s insanely good and worth the schlep. You can walk off your food coma at Wegmans afterwards

    • That is to say, I don’t hold out any hope for this place. Same owners, same mediocre food and terrible service. Get thee to saravana palace! It’s better than Woodlands.

  • Luna used to be THE place to for the gays to grab a nice dinner on a Sunday evening back in the early to mid-90s. The menu was tasty and affordable comfort food, and the portions were great for the price. As a Poor College Student, I appreciated the place a lot.

    After not having been there for over a decade, I tried it again in 2011…and yeah, the food had really gone downhill. But it’ll be nice to have a local place to get good dosais!

  • When I lived over by that area, I looooved Skewers. But this also looks yummy!

  • I have always been vaguely unhappy with all of my experiences in Heritage establishments (Heritage India, Heritage Thai Bistro, and Malgudi). I am unsure of how or why they are trying to spread the Malgudi brand to new locations when the concept doesn’t seem to be that successful in its current location Glover Park. Both Heritage India and Malgudi always seem empty, as Heritage Thai Bistro was before it was converted. Additionally the divided menu setup is really quite muddling to the brand. It is one location that is trying to be two restaurants and sort of failing.

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