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.
Every pizza at zpizza is freshly prepared, hand thrown, gently coaxed into the oven using soft birdcalls and pheromone trails, and fire-baked to crispy perfection. The dough is prepared fresh daily from 100% certified-organic wheat, and z is also happy to offer certified organic and gluten-free crusts, sating the pizza desire of the allergic, dieters, and wheat sympathizers. Toppings include award-winning Wisconsin skim mozzarella, MSG-free pepperoni, certified-organic tomato sauce, additive-free sausage, and fresh produce. Try a large ZBQ pizza (with barbecue sauce, mozzarella, barbecue chicken, roasted pepper, red onion, tomato, cilantro, and sweet corn ($16.95); or a chicken curry and yam rustica (with mozzarella, curry chicken, yam, mango chutney, raisin, and cilantro; $8.95). Vegans can delight in a small Berkeley, a vegan cheese veggie pizza (with marinara, vegan cheese, veggie burger crumbles, zucchini, tomato, mushroom, red onion, and bell pepper; $11.50), and traveling tongues can sate their wanderlust with a mouthwatering Moroccan rustica (with pesto, mozzarella, basil, roasted eggplant, feta cheese, caramelized onion, and pine nut ($8.95).
In World Curry's kitchen, cooks have spent the last 17 years working to perfect their curry dishes. Drawing from a store of ingredients gathered from distant nations, the team develops 13 varieties of curry, including brown curry from Japan and red Mussaman curry from northern Thailand. Patrons can also dip their utensils into the Bali beef brisket or fill water balloons with the Caribbean curry, a vegan treat that combines black beans, corn, tomatoes, and pineapple.
Gourmet India's cuisine sates bellies with fresh meats, ripe vegetables, and astounding sauces spiced flawlessly. The restaurant's friendly staff makes all diners feel at home and excited for the palpable stomach pampering ahead. The relaxed, intimate dining room shares the duty with outdoor seating that illuminates the kitchen's bright creations with all-natural sunlight.
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.
As the brother-sister team behind Monsoon Fine Cuisine of India, Rakesh and Ashley Popat seek to elevate regional Indian cuisine by serving time-honored dishes in a luxurious setting. The Popats rely on their family's closely guarded recipes when preparing a slew of traditional curries, which range from the spicy vindaloo with a hint of lemon and ginger to the creamy korma sauce peppered with saffron, nuts, and raisins.
Additionally, the chefs demonstrate their passion for the diversity of Indian cuisine by embracing culinary techniques from across the country. Their Northern-style tandoori chicken marinates in yogurt, roasted garlic, and ginger for hours before being roasted inside a clay oven. The menu's Southern influences, on the other hand, are apparent in the selection of dosas: rice-and-lentil crepes stuffed with potatoes, herbs, and spices.
With its elegant chandeliers, stone columns, throne-like seating, soothing waterfall, and antique-style lanterns, the restaurant creates a regal ambiance that heightens the dining experience. A collection of South Asian artwork—including several paintings of India—reinforces its deep cultural roots even further.