Melody Lounge's meals start with fresh ingredients and daily-baked bread. The menu at the Mission Street café stretches like a bungee cord attached to a falling anvil—from American breakfasts and European coffee to Mediterranean standbys such as the chef's specialties, curry melody, tri-cheeses sandwich, and melody french toast.
Anyone who finds chicken tikka masala or lamb vindaloo old hat has not been to Aslam's Rasoi. Chef Mohammed Aslam's Indian-Pakistani restaurant on Valencia Street has been breathing new life into the classics for almost ten years, and comes in several notches above the standard Indian buffet. This earth-toned darling of intrepid Bay Area eaters everywhere is noted for its dim, candle-lit yet boisterous atmosphere and a host of flavor profiles that stand out even among already heavily-seasoned South Asian cuisine. And unlike nearby Udupi Palace, which is certainly a treasure in its own right, it's not strictly vegetarian. Anyone on the hunt for some of the city’s best roast chicken, be advised: the slightly smoky tandoor in Aslam's kitchen has magic powers.
While excellent Indian food is never hard to come by, Udupi Palace is both so consistently terrific, and differs so strongly from what’s expected, that it almost feels like another cuisine altogether. Perhaps that’s because Udupi leans towards the vegetarian South Indian side of things, emphasizing dosas, uthapams and idli, instead of the butter chicken and goat curries that might be found elsewhere. There’s not much to look at inside this bare-bones eatery, and don’t expect to pay with a credit card (they only accept cash), but Udupi does just fine with folks who don’t need ambiance to enjoy a meal. The hefty two-foot dosas, served on a metal tray, have earned a friendly rivalry with other Indian restaurants nearby, though many of Udupi’s other harder-to-find South Indian dishes are unparalleled. Never have lowly rice and lentils merited such a cult following.
Kasa Indian Eatery recreates the dishes you might find at a typical dinner gathering in India. The kitchen’s made-from-scratch dishes adhere to centuries-old traditions and shun boxed and artificial ingredients. One obvious highlight is the buttery roti, which wraps around chicken tikka or lamb curry.