Chopaati has a bright, clean, nondescript interior and serves good-value, fast-food-style vegetarian Indian fare. Start your meal with Gujarati dal -- a tomato and lentil soup spicy enough to steam your glasses over. Then move on to chole bhature (curried chickpeas served with crusty fried bread), and paneer kaas, a thick cashew nut and cream gravy with chunks of seared paneer cheese. 1707 Church St., Decatur. 404-296-2965.
Madras Saravana Bhavan
Madras remains the highlight of Decatur's South Indian restaurants. Most every table orders a rolled, tire-sized dosai crepe as the meal's centerpiece, but there's much more to explore. Think creamy vegetable dishes, crispy salads, and savory pastries made for dunking. 2179 Lawrenceville Highway, Decatur. 404-636-4400. www.madrassaravanabhavan.net.
South Indian Cafe
This underappreciated spot serves specialties from the southwest state of Kerala. Hone in on dishes like thoren, a stir-fry of carrots and cabbage with dried coconut and spices, and aviyal, a tasty mush of vegetables stewed in coconut and tamarind. This one isn't strictly vegetarian, and carnivores should consider the fish curry served in a rich, burnt red sauce with a slightly sour, fruity edge to it. 751 DeKalb Industrial Way, Decatur. 404-297-8882. www.southindiancafe.com.
There is no menu at Vatica. For a truly modest price, the restaurant offers an all-you-can-eat meal on a thali, a round metal tray upon which five or six harmonious dishes are served. This isn't the usual assortment of flabby, overcooked vegetables in creamy curry sauces. This is home-style cookin' like your mama would have made, had she been from the Gujarat in western India. 1475 Terrell Mill Road, Suite 105, Marietta. 770-955-3740.