Best Indian Restaurants in San Francisco: Where to Find Great Indian Food

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Farmers market | Alanna hale

Farmers market | Alanna hale

When most of us who live in the United States think of Diwali – the festival of lights, celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and some Buddhists around the world – that usually doesn’t include a lot of restaurants. It’s a time when our moms and aunts get to work making all kinds of salty and sweet snacks, mostly vegetarian. Things like samosas, pani puri, dhokla, gulab jamun, etc. That being said, as a former Indian restaurateur, I have always secretly wished that non-Hindus would embrace Diwali the way (as obnoxious as some customers are) Mexican or Irish places to be inundated with business the Cinco de Mayo and on St. Patrick’s Day. We’re so lucky in SF to have so many places to choose from, from simple take out to elaborate menus with Diwali inspired cocktails. So if you are Hindu and looking for a place to taste all the traditional Diwali goodies or just want to celebrate with us and frequent a great Indian restaurant, this list is for you.

Dogpatch
Chef Heena Patel, Besharam, has a box of snacks that ships nationwide. The Besharam Holiday Box includes a mix of traditional salty and sweet Diwali snacks: Methi Namkeen, Chakris (my favorite!), Bhujia Peanuts, Kaju Katli, Cardamom Sugar Cookies and Coconut Cran Boondi. Plus, available for pickup or delivery in SF, they offer a complete Diwali Feast meal kit with Saag Paneer, Rotlis, Tadka palak dal, Dahi wada, pea basmati rice, Raita, mango chutney, and Gulab jams.
How to order: Takeout, delivery and shipping all available via Tock

Soma
The variety of savory and chaat snacks at Spice of America is so plentiful that you can create quite an impressive range for your Diwali spread. For vegetarians, “Kale Pakoda Bhel” is a mixture of crunch and earth topped with sweet and spicy chutneys. SoA offers a number of Indochinese influenced dishes including “Chili Chicken Pakoda”, “Paneer Tikka” and “Schezwan Tango Shrimps”. Another popular menu item that you don’t see often is a selection of grilled sandwiches like “Chicken Tikka” or “Crushed Samosa,” similar to those sold by the roadside in India. For starters, there are so many choices, but I recommend the “Baingan Bharta”, the “Egg Curry Tikka Masala” or the “Aleppy Prawn Curry”.
How to order: Take out click here or delivery via DoorDash

5 August
5 August

Civic center
Modern Indian Restaurant, August 1 Five offers a three-course Diwali Dhamaka menu with two cocktails included. The menu available for alfresco dining and take-out includes potato and fig kofta, paneer kebab, spinach and paneer lasagna, and a Diwali cocktail. For dessert, the selection is fig honey and cardamom with toasted walnut ice cream – a brilliant collaboration with Smitten. Ice cream is also available in quarts at Smitten’s Mission and San Jose branches and for shipping nationwide.
How to order: Make your reservation for alfresco dining on Open Table or order take out or delivery via ChowNow

DOSA
DOSA

SF and Oakland (multiple locations)
A South Indian staple on both sides of the bay, DOSA offers many of its exclusive take out and deliveries. Start with their coconut salad and Idli fries with tomato or coconut chutney. Follow it with a traditional Masala Dosa or mix it up with a Dosa Butter Chicken. For a classic homemade curry combo, you can order a number of different curries with a side of rice or naan.
How to order: Take out or delivery via Caviar, Doordash, Grubhub or UberEats

Richmond interior
As the days get colder, the Tomato Dhaniya Shorba starter would be the perfect spicy herbaceous antidote. With the crispy Palak Chaat and the Hara Bhara Kebab, a fried pancake made with spinach, cheese and potatoes. For starters, I recommend trying the Bhindi do Piazza, sautéed okra with onions and tomatoes or Indian Eggplant in Salan sauce, baby eggplants cooked in a spicy peanut sauce.
How to order: Delivery via DoorDash, Caviar, Postmates and Uber Eats or call them at 415-742-4010

ROOH
ROOH

south beach
At inventive ROOH, you can order quite a Diwali feast, whether you stick to a traditional vegetarian meal or also add meat and seafood to the mix. Highlights of their outdoor dining menu include a sample of chutney with goat cheese kulcha, the popular jackfruit taco, and a tandoori octopus with a squeezed apple. The dessert menu includes vanilla and rose flan, as well as a variety of homemade ice cream.
How to order: Outdoor meal reservations via Open Table and take out and delivery via DoorDash, Caviar or GrubHub

Curry Up now
Curry Up now

Miscellaneous SF Bay Area
In addition to the blend of Indian flavors at this casual restaurant, Curry Up Now also offers a ‘Choti Diwali’ dining menu that will feed up to 20 people if you’re planning a remote gathering to celebrate the holidays. The party menu includes samosas, curries, daal, naan, rice, and various chutneys. For smaller gatherings, their selection of snacks and dishes is available à la carte, such as the famous “Sexy Fries”.
How to order: Click here for take out or delivery

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Ritu Indian Soul Food

Mission
Available for take out or delivery, Ritu Indian Soul Food has plenty of options for your Diwali feast. Start your party with their crispy kale and dahi puri, puris topped with sprouts, yogurt and chutneys. The obvious choice for non-vegetarians is the ever popular Tandoori Fried Chicken with mustard and curry leaf barbecue sauce. Biryani is one of their main specialties, choose from jackfruit, chicken or lamb.
How to order: Take away with Tock or delivery with Caviar or DoorDash

Soma
Dumplings are one of the best foods for any celebration. Chef Binita Pradhan’s momos are available with various toppings: vegetarian, turkey and lamb, all served with its addictive roasted tomato and cilantro sauce. Combine the Nepalese dumplings with a number of Bini’s Kukara curries, dals, rotis and grilled chicken. Or if you want a dumpling party, Bini’s offers 50 piece frozen momo bags with instructions on how to thaw and steam to perfection.
How to order: Click here for take out or delivery

Milk and Cardamom
Milk and Cardamom | Hetal Vasavada

SF (shipped nationally)
Cookbook author, blogger and former “Master Chef” Season 6 contestant Hetal Vasavada has been brewing a sweet and spicy storm since opening her online store this year. His now famous “Gulab Jamun Bundt Cakes” sold out within hours earlier this month. But you will have the opportunity to pick one up in his ‘Diwali Online Pop Up Shop’ this Saturday 11/14 from 9am.
How to order: Online shop

Berkeley
Viks Chaat in Berkeley is an institution for all your favorite Indian snacks, both savory and sweet. My favorites in the savory department are their Dahi Bateta Puri, Samosa Chaat, and Aloo Tiki, all served with generous amounts of chutneys. Their southern Indian dosas and uttapams are all fantastic, as is the baida roti lamb (weekends only). For candy, there’s the classic gulab jamun, but Viks also has a beautiful case filled with all the colorful all-weather that Mithai Diwali is known for. Weather permitting, Viks will host a remote Diwali family event with a sidewalk chalk rangoli drawing for the kids this Saturday 11/14 from 10 a.m. in their huge parking lot.
How to order: Take away or delivery with Caviar

Fremont, Dublin and Sunnyvale
For a splash of Diwali snacks and chaat, and with three locations in the South Bay, Chaat Bhavan has an expansive menu that includes so many snacks, thalis, kebabs, breads and desserts that you don’t want to miss out on. ‘ll be spoiled for choice. The standout snack menu includes Dabeli, Vada Pav, Pani Poori, Sabudana Vada, and Mixed Vegetable Pakoras. A homemade thali is accompanied by a Kheer for dessert and a drink of your choice. The other stars of the menu are all the vegetable and bread dishes, my favorites are Chili Paneer and Jaipur Masala Bhindi for the vegetables and Methi or Aloo Paratha in the bread section. Besides being vegetarian, almost every item on the menu also has a Jain option.
How to order: Take out or delivery


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