The chefs at Tandoor on Haight aren’t trying to reinvent Indian cuisine. Instead, the pair of brothers stick closely to tradition when making their North Indian dishes with a splash of Pakistani flavor, using recipes handed down in their family for three generations. Inside their tandoori oven, they cook up halal meats such as tiger prawns, lamb rubbed with house spices, and spring chicken marinated in yogurt, imparting all of the dishes with a subtle smoky flavor as if they’d been sitting next to a lit birthday cake all day. Guests can scoop up the spice-laden curries with the sesame naan, and even customize dishes to their desired level of spice tolerance. Meals can be served in individual portions or family style, for groups who want to get a chance to taste a variety of dishes. And to cool the spices even further, staff serve up chilled mango lassis, a variety of Indian beers, and local Californian wines.
Honoring the tradition of Pakistani and northern Indian cuisine, Rotee's chefs craft creatively spiced dishes from scratch amid décor inspired by Bollywood movie studios. Diners catch glimpses of chefs hard at work within an open-air kitchen as select cuts of halal beef, lamb, and chicken roast in a tandoor amid house-made chutneys and sauces. The menu brims with curries, meat-free fare, and traditional dishes such as chicken tikka masala and mutter paneer, as five varieties of naan emerge from the tandoor ready to soak up the flavorful sauces. Diners savor the exotic flavors and extinguish mouth fires with tableside yogurt hydrants as pendant lights illuminate the space's curry-red walls and pea-green seating.
Taking its name from the majestic river that snakes across the plains of northern India, New Ganges Restaurant escorts diners on a culinary tour of the subcontinent with a diverse, all-vegetarian menu. The elegant dishes of cheesy paneer, rice-based biryani, and crispy pakora combine powerful flavors and vibrant color, exciting eyes and taste buds with an aromatic tapestry of yellows, greens, and reds akin to Candyland's decadent stoplights. Chickpeas, lentils, tomatoes, and greens punctuate the menu's simmering stews and dals, and fluffy loaves of chapatti and fragrant basmati rice sop up each spice-laden sauce. Chefs cap off sumptuous feastings with spoonfuls of rich pudding or sips of sweet, creamy lassi.
Darbar Restaurant's spice-slinging chefs create flavorful Indian fare and serve it in an intimate dining room. Beef, lamb, goat, and chicken curries provoke pieces of naan to dramatic acts of dunking, and house-made cheese dumplings, lentils, and vegetables make starring appearances in more than 15 vegetarian options. Softly lit wall sconces illuminate a 10-course lunch buffet, which chefs pile high with papadum, pakora, meat and vegetarian options, and dessert.
Maharani, named for the Sanskrit word for "empress," brings authentic Indian cuisine to San Francisco with a menu of savory selections from the subcontinent. Begin your Bollywood banquet with a side of garlic naan ($2.50), a traditional Indian bread, topped with garlic and cilantro to get palates prepared for Maharani's most popular dish—chicken tikka masala ($14.75), which is first covered in a fire-safe blanket of spices and then fire-roasted. Spare poultry and spear sheep with the seekh kebab ($13.95), featuring skewered minced lamb bedecked in herbs and spices, or avoid carnivorous desires altogether with the saag paneer ($8.95), offering spinach cooked in a blend of herbs and spices that pleases the biceps of sailor men everywhere. Maharani diners can wash down their dinners with a selection of wine and beer as thirst quenching as the world's largest democracy.