Photo credit: Jeanine Botta
Photo credit: Jeanine Botta
By Jeanine Botta
I discovered Annam Brahma years ago while walking through Queens, searching for a cold drink on a hot day. I’ve returned dozens of times since, alone, with family, and with friends, and I’ve ordered food for large and small parties from the catering menu. Others find the restaurant through reviews or word of mouth or in vegetarian restaurant guides. One of four restaurants in Queens run by students of the late Sri Chinmoy, an artist, poet, and spiritual teacher who encouraged vegetarian diet, meditation, and fitness, Annam Brahma attracts diners from all over the world.
On a recent visit, I placed an order of soup, salad, and appetizers for a party of eight from the catering menu and also ordered a small meal. My meal began with a cup of ginger and honey tea selected from a drink menu, followed by a cup of dal, a savory lentil soup that is very popular. I also ordered a samosa, a potato filled pastry, and bhajiia, a lightly spiced fritter, both served with chutney.
Annam Brahma serves vegetarian and vegan Indian cuisine, but it also features vegetarian Chinese, Italian, and American options on certain days. The restaurant has long featured an international smorgasbord on Sundays, but at the time of this writing the website states that the Sunday smorgasbord is not available. The menu includes Indian breads, desserts, coffees and teas, as well as omelettes, sandwiches, and a delicious selection of vegetarian burgers.
Annam Brahma is quiet enough to lose oneself in a book in a cozy corner or to chat with companions easily without straining to hear or be heard. There is subtle instrumental music playing in the background, but it is never loud or distracting. The dining room is decorated with Sri Chinmoy’s paintings and other artwork (greeting cards featuring Chinmoy’s art, displayed along one wall, are available for purchase). The space is soothing and visually appealing, open and airy with a distinct rustic charm.
To reach Annam Brahma by subway, take the Jamaica-bound F train to Parsons Boulevard, walk up the hill along the two-lane boulevard, turn right on 85th Avenue, and walk five blocks to 164th Street. Alternatively, you can take the 65 bus from the Parsons Boulevard F train station, but it might be worth skipping the wait for a bus and walking. If traveling by car, Annam Brahma is four blocks east of the Grand Central Parkway, and street parking is available. The surrounding Jamaica Hills neighborhood is safe, friendly, and walkable.
Annam Brahma is cash only.
Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday through Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Sunday: 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
84-43 164th Street (near 85th Avenue), Jamaica, Queens, NY 11432