India Sweets & Catering subscribes to the idea that many hands make light work. Since opening in 1992, it has tried to help make get-togethers easy by shouldering a portion, if not all, of the workload with its catering services. At its restaurant, the chefs take care of the cooking. They serve platefuls of halal Indian and Pakistani cuisine that are made with meats including lamb, goat, and tandoori chicken. India Sweets & Catering’s event managers take care of pretty much everything else. Their Flamingo banquet halls in Vallejo and Sacramento host events in large rooms with chandeliers and enough space for 500–600 people, or one breakdancing Paul Bunyan. For on-location events, customers can rent plates and silverware; the services of bartenders or tandoori chefs; or decorations such as backdrops, centerpieces, mandaps, and dulha or dulhan chairs.
The same year it launched its airy Telegraph Avenue outpost, Pasta Bene jumped onto the Bargain Bites 2010 list in the San Francisco Chronicle, which also praised its "friendly" service. Its family of owners, however, arrived with 20 years of experience behind the scenes of area Italian restaurants, meaning that its menu of stone-fired pizzas and hearty entrees leavened with California freshness came together naturally. In 13 pasta dishes, noodles entwine with slow-photosynthesized seasonal vegetables and rich tomato and cream sauces, while the dessert menu may suggest an easier choice with its house-made tiramisu, a customer favorite. Wooden rafters and iron chandeliers vault over the casual, sunlit dining room overlooking a street-side patio.
Sunrise Deli pleases palates with award-winning Middle Eastern cuisine, concocting falafels lauded by SF Weekly and San Francisco Chronicle. For more than a quarter century, chefs have grilled kebabs, stuffed pita envelopes with love letters, and loaded dishes with hummus, fresh yogurt, and olives. Sunrise Deli acquires its meat from local ranches and picks its vegetables from local farms to ensure fresh, earth-friendly sustenance. Every day, round loaves of sesame bread pop out of the oven alongside piping-hot armenian pizzas and spinach pies. Sunrise Deli also caters platters laden with baba ghanouj and meat kebabs to family gatherings or teddy-bear picnics.
When you take a look at Turkish Kitchen’s menu, you’ll find familiar offerings such as kebabs and falafel. But your eye might also linger on intriguing items ranging from Turkish-style calzones stuffed with spicy lamb to iskender, a dish made from bread cubes blanketed with shaved doner, tomato sauce, and butter. Chefs use traditional Turkish recipes for everything they prepare, including a rotating selection of daily specials. Be sure to save room for the baklava, which East Bay Express named the best in the area thanks to its “butter-soaked phyllo, thick chunks of roasted pistachio, and a plentitude of honey saturating every supple layer.”
The chefs at Mint Leaf follow family recipes to fashion Northern Indian dishes with seasonal, organic produce, free-range meats sourced from local farmers, and spices handpicked by family back home in India. Kebabs spear mahi-mahi, chicken, and other meats marinated in a house-made yogurt sauce before baking in a clay tandoor oven. A collection of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options eases the strain of dietary restrictions. Mint Leaf's selection of more than 50 wines and specialty cocktails helps temper the heat when guests get ambitious in selecting their meal's spice level. On select nights, local musicians entertain diners as they eat and inspire guests to break it down on the dance floor after finishing their meal or winning a game of I Spy.
Every day, San Francisco Soup Company’s chefs craft crunchy salads and approximately 12 soups from scratch, keeping an eye on sustainability and seasonality. Both salads and soups showcase organic and locally sourced ingredients such as cage-free eggs from Glaum Egg Ranch and organic milk from Clover Stornetta, and soups cast tendrils of steam from biodegradable containers. San Francisco Soup Company’s commitment to conscious dining extends to the nutritional realms: each recipe comes with nutrition stats, and the menu even designates which soups are gluten-, meat- and dairy-free, and which soup spoons best shield noses from affectionate pinches.