This Central Avenue address, just a few blocks south of the intersection with I-694, has a reputation for offering the Twin Cities' best south Indian food. In recent years the building has suffered the loss of its two previous tenants, Udupi and Nala Pak, but Amu's Madras Café has brought the dream of delicious eating back. The digs are as dark and shabby as ever, but prices are ultra-low—the lunch buffet costs just $8.49. Udupi's former chef is back in the kitchen, cooking up all our old favorites: remarkably crisp, megaphone-shaped dosai; deep-fried cauliflower fritters in a spicy tomato-garlic sauce; fresh paneer; pillowy naan; addictive butter masala; and rich, creamy curries. When the tandoori chicken and rogan josh of North Indian cuisine start to feel all too familiar, the south Indian spice palette offers a fresh alternative. Amu's Madras serves some of the best vegetarian meals in the metro, but the flavors are so beguiling that even a die-hard carnivore will never miss the meat.