Another glittering facet of the Monsoon Group helmed by brother-and-sister team Rakesh and Ashley Popat, Bombay delivers the same opulent, glowing atmosphere and authentic cuisine that have dazzled diners at sister restaurants Monsoon and Masala. Glistening chandeliers illuminate the 7,500-square-foot space, which provides an avenue for parties of up to 300 guests, and has hosted a number of corporate clients including Wells Fargo and Johnson & Johnson. Inside the dining room, a tranquil waterfall serves as an ethereal room divider and squirt-gun refilling station, as romantic amber light softly rains down from the ceiling to settle upon crisp white tablecloths.
Helmed by brothers Sandeep and Jagdeep Kambo, Royal India represents the best of two worlds—fine dining and homecooked cuisine. Made-to-order naan, mint chutney, and a decadent tomato tikka masala sauce—which Fodor's summed up in one word: "smoky"—all come from mother Kambo, as do the rest of the menu's authentic Indian specialties and the kitchen's heirloom spoon. Paired with the Market Street location's 125-seat dining room and dazzling indoor waterfall, and it's no wonder Royal India's cuisine has nabbed a top-five ranking in the Best Indian category of San Diego A-List for five years running. What’s more, the spot features an ornate, hand-carved bar, where mixologists craft refreshing Indian mojitos and mango martinis—drinks that rival the kitchen's decadent desserts of mango mousse and spiced rice pudding.
Good Indian food can be hard to come by in San Diego, but thankfully there’s the Delhi Kitchen. While the restaurant’s strip mall location may not be as glamorous as a bustling downtown hotspot, this family-owned restaurant still manages to serve up affordable, authentic Indian cuisine. Vegetarians will delight in the delicious saag paneer – creamy spinach with nuggets of cheese, or the Aloo Gobi, a potato and cauliflower medley cooked with tomato and spices. Look past the spare, small space and the lack of formal dinner plates for a heartier meal, complete with friendly service that really seems to care. And if all you know of Indian food is the common lunchtime buffet, Delhi Kitchen offers that as well – but on Saturdays and Sundays, with an all-you-can-eat price tag under $10.
Cuisine Type: Indian, Nepalese, Tibetan
Most popular offering: Chicken tikka masala, tandoori
In Indian culture, it is quite common to forgo utensils altogether and eat with your hands. Many people rely on various styles of flatbreads to scoop up hearty curries and gravies. Cafe India provides nine types of bread for patrons to do just that?everything from mint naan and roti to stuffed breads such as onion kulcha.
They use the breads to spoon up vegetarian tikka masala, boneless chicken cooked with mango pastes or with housemade mixed pickles, and goat curry. Though for those who prefer utensils, those who order dishes such as mango ice cream or soup, or those who are possessed by the spirit of Emily Post, forks and spoons are available.
The name Annapurna, which means to be filled completely with food in Sanskrit, hints at a sprawling buffet and busy kitchen. Jumbo shrimp and boneless chicken marinated in a spicy yogurt cook inside a traditional Indian clay oven, and bite-sized bits of lamb simmer in a curry infused with Andhra spices and herbs. Chefs simmer milk, crafting it into thick paneer cheese, which pairs with a spiced gravy to fill out the range of vegetarian items. The scents of cardamom, cumin, chili, and pickled mangos fill the air. At the lunch buffet, heated pans hold mounds of rice, creamy sauces, and frozen popsicles that won’t give up information.
The flavors of South Asia sing at Indian Express, where Moghlai meals incorporate flavors from all over the region. In addition to kebabs and curries, chefs transform ingredients?spices, fresh produce, and organic halal meat?into satisfying, internationally-informed meals. Freshness is a common theme among lunches and dinners, which include authentic Indian dishes, vegetarian and meat curries, and biryani. Tandoori kebabs combine the flavors of a traditional clay oven along with the easy-to-throw, aerodynamics nature of a kebab.