Maxs World Cafe: Chef brings Indian past to a worldwide menu

The tiny dining room and bright round sign outside Max’s World Cafe might mislead passersby into thinking it’s just another lunch spot on Front Street in Issaquah. Unbeknownst to them, they’re missing out on a gem that has local foodies lining up. They might also overlook Chef Edna Noronha, who graduated top of her class from the nation’s most prestigious culinary school, Culinary Institute of America.

Chef Edna Noronha opened Max's World Kitchen a year ago on Front Street. Graduating from the top of her class

Chef Edna Noronha opened Max's World Kitchen a year ago on Front Street. Graduating from the top of her class

The tiny dining room and bright round sign outside Max’s World Cafe might mislead passersby into thinking it’s just another lunch spot on Front Street in Issaquah.

Unbeknownst to them, they’re missing out on a gem that has local foodies lining up.

They might also overlook Chef Edna Noronha, who graduated top of her class from the nation’s most prestigious culinary school, Culinary Institute of America.

She celebrated Max’s first year this June.

Raised in Goa, India, Noronha’s cooking sticks true to her Portuguese and Indian roots. Her mom still makes her curry powder, a collection of 26 spices.

She’s a perfectionist about the taste of her food, but so low key she uses her silver valedictorian prize bowl for jellybeans.

In addition to a couple curries, she offers a take on British Colonialism – fish and chips with a thin batter that offers crispness without hiding the fresh Alaskan cod.

“I want to feel the fish,” Noronha said.

She couldn’t help but add some heat, a pinch of cayenne in the tartar sauce.

The fish tacos are built in layers. The dry cabbage is topped with a creamy white dressing slightly sweetened with honey. She uses just enough of her house-made hot to warm the mouth and bring balance to sweet and sour.

The menu is filled with signature dishes, some she’s carried from her childhood.

For dinner, try the African chicken with piri sauce. She leaves the skin on the boneless chicken breasts, keeping it moist. It’s blackened on a grill and finished boneless chicken breasts, keeping it moist. It’s blackened on a grill and finished off in the oven.

Watch out for the “hot” piri sauce, unless you need something to clean out your sinuses.

All of the puff pastry is made in house, making her pastries fluffy and flakey. Try the one stuffed with chicken curry, it’s like a hot pocket made in heaven.

The menu also has some Asian dishes.

It’s surprising that she can have such a diverse menu, and execute everything so well, said Norma Rosenthal, a regular at Max’s. “We haven’t found a single dish there that we didn’t love.”

Issaquah has a lot of chain food options, but it doesn’t have many chef-owned restaurants, she said. “It’s one of those hidden treasures that people just don’t know about.”

Most customers take their orders to go, but there are three small tables and a bar facing the street.

She also has a selection of local beers and Portuguese wine.

Noronha’s Portuguese influence comes from Goa, which was once colonized by Portugal.

Growing up watching American film, she decided as a girl she was going to America. One of 11 children, her siblings laughed at the thought.

She was working in Dubai, when she earned a student visa to study business in California.

Noronha married soon after graduating, and stayed in the country.

Still swearing that her mother is a better cook, she says her pallet was first developed when her mom continually asked her to taste food.

She chose a career in business and got a job working in credit collections, when she began bringing in food for her coworkers. It was so tasty, they asked her to cater an event.

She then realized her greatest pleasure is making people full and satisfied, she said. “It’s like a mother cooking for her kids.”

She was in her mid-40s, when she decided to go to culinary school.

“I told my mom, I have to do it. I only have one lifetime,” she said. “I’m in the greatest country in the world, you go after your dreams.”

She worked at a couple nice restaurants after graduating, before asking her husband to buy her a place. They purchased Remmy’s Catering three years ago.

She opened Max’s in the storefront of Remmy’s a year ago, but kept the large kitchen for catering.

The cafe is named affectionately for her German Shepherd, she said. “He taste’s all my food.”

Max’s World Cafe

Where: 212 Front Street North, Issaquah

Phone: 425-391-8002

Open: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-8 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday

African chicken from Max’s World Cafe is marinated in house made piri sauce, which gives it a little kick of heat.

Chef Edna Noronha coats fish with a thin batter for fish and chips. Max’s World Cafe offers foods from around the globe.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@issaquahreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.issaquahreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

file photo
Department of Health announces QR code verification program to prove vaccination status

WA Verify is intended to make vaccine verification simpler and more efficient.

Mid-afternoon traffic on northbound Interstate 5 on Nov. 22 near Everett. Dan Bates/The Herald
Thanksgiving traffic forecast is heavier than pre-pandemic

Drivers and ferry riders could be in for long waits, depending on when they go.

(L-R): Hyunwoo Chong, Chase Hamdan, Arnav Rajashekara, Christopher Tebben, Grace Hopkins, Henry Cobb, Ellie Sampson, Vincent Chung, Ruoya Huang, Christopher Hamdan (courtesy of Eastside Catholic)
Ten Eastside Catholic students earn National Merit Scholarship commendation

The honored students share their aspirations and advice for younger students.

Patti Cole-Trindall
King County Executive appoints Patti Cole-Tindall as interim sheriff

Cole-Tindall has a background in the sheriff’s office and county government.

file photo
Downtown Issaquah to host art-centric event Sunday, Nov. 28

Artists Sunday will feature artists from around the region.

Comparison map between current district map and proposed draft. (Screenshot from King County’s website)
King County proposes redistricting map, asks for feedback from public

Public invited to comment at November 30 public hearing.

King County Councilmember-elect Sarah Perry and a celebration photo, courtesy of her campaign manager Robby Paige.
Sarah Perry pushes 20-year incumbent out of King County Council District 3 position

By Hannah Saunders, For Sound Publishing Following her first campaign for a… Continue reading

left: Russell Joe, right: Rose Zibrat (screenshot from King County website)
Russell Joe leads Rose Zibrat in city council race

Election results will be certified on Nov. 23.

courtesy of Derek Bauer
Issaquah native writes and directs new movie with Universal Pictures, titled “Two Yellow Lines”

The Northwest roadtrip movie centers around PTSD, forgiveness and the importance of connection.

Most Read