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.
At Sadaf, variety is the main attraction. Kebabs arrive at tables skewered with juicy bits of chicken, seafood, beef, or lamb and share plate space with saffron-seasoned basmati rice. Exposed-brick walls show off bas-relief carvings of ancient symbols such as the Faravahar, which represents the Iranian nation. A ceiling painted to look like a clear sky with a thin veil of clouds and in-flight birds looks down on diners as they dig into lamb shank, boneless-chicken kebabs, and other delicacies. Weather permitting, guests can snag a seat on the front patio and scan the skies for majestic, soaring ostriches.
A passion for fresh and organic plant-based ingredients led Mitch Wallis and Rich Robinson to open Evolution Fast Food several years ago. Dedicated meat eaters will be surprised by the vegan menu, which includes “chicken” burgers and even faux buffalo, along with sandwich wraps, and smoothies. The compact site includes a small inside seating area, a drive through, about a dozen parking spaces and shaded patio spaces for relaxed dining. The ever-popular desserts include cheesecakes, lots of cookie choices and even soft serve non-dairy ice cream that will even please the little ones. The casual atmosphere makes trying the unique and flavorful offerings at Evolution Fast Food an easy and fun dining choice.
Adorned with a Gold Medallion Award from the California Restaurant Association, Taste of Thai walks culinary tight ropes of authentic, bold flavors within its minimally designed dining rooms. A meal inside the bamboo-bathed Hillcrest dining room begins with the Shrimp Sarong, an unwearable plate of bulbous shrimp, marinated and nestled in egg noodles, deep fried, and accessorized with palm sauce ($7.95). Hunger-havers can salivate over a cornucopia of thai rice and noodle dishes ($8.95–$12.95), each accented by a choice of tofu, meat, or seafood. Three's Company, a house specialty, tosses shrimp, squid, and chicken in a house curry paste with green pepper, peas, and an unbearably catchy theme song ($11.95). Sweeten meal endings with a bowl of milky, coconut ice cream ($3.95) to cool flames from a fiery dinner rush.
Bayu's chefs sauté and simmer ingredients according to authentic Ethiopian recipes, filling a menu with traditional communal dishes to be scooped up with injera bread. Diners dig into table-filling platters such as misir wot, a dish of split lentils stewed with onions, garlic, and herbs ($9), or gomen—chopped steamed collard greens seasoned with chilies and ginger ($9.50). Meat eaters hunt prime selections in sega alecha, consisting of hunks of unsuspecting beef simmered in curry-seasoned stew ($11.50). Doro wot's chicken legs and thighs simmer with onions, garlic, and boiled eggs ($11.50), and yebeg tibs marinates in black peppers and rosemary for a savory herbal delicacy dressed up with lamb ($12.95).
Pita Jungle stands out as a healthy dining option for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Locations throughout Arizona and Southern California feature a menu of roasted chicken shawarmas, steak pitas, and other Mediterranean-inspired dishes. Pita Jungle, a full-service sit-in restaurant, also has its share of surprises. Take, for example, the wood-fired pizzas topped with honey-mustard glazed chicken and roasted garlic, or the healthy black-bean and portobello burgers, all washed down with a variety of wines and beers.