Whether you’re looking for high-end tasting menus, traditional, homemade recipes, or more contemporary takes on Indian cuisine in the Bay Area, we’ve got you covered.
Here are eight Michelin-recommended restaurants to head to when you’re looking for a delicious and satisfying Indian meal:
What It Is: Srijith Gopinathan’s California-meets-Indian restaurant inside the luxurious Taj Hotel.
What Our Inspectors Say: “Diners have a choice of vegetarian or omnivorous dishes from the six-course tasting—with an extravagant add-on of white truffle naan for the high rollers in the room. Either way, you’ll be sent on a riotous journey through different textures, flavors and temperatures, along with some truly whimsical plating.”
What It Is: Chef Sujan Sarkar calls his restaurant a “labor of love,” allowing him to “celebrate the vibrancy, color and culture” of his homeland, as well as his decade spent in London.
What Our Inspectors Say: “Amidst a slew of upscale Indian restaurants descending upon San Francisco, Rooh rises to the top, thanks to an innovative menu that fuses the subcontinent’s myriad flavors with modern restaurant staples (oysters, pork belly, burrata). The bold India-goes-industrial décor is a bit paint-by-numbers, with vivid jewel tones and an oversized mural depicting a traditionally dressed woman. But the vibe is engaging and the cocktails quite unique. Rooh's approach is casual, but tabs can grow stratospheric in this pricey tech corridor.”
What It Is: Hindi for "seasons," this hip Indian eatery's menu is chockfull of seasonal California produce.
What Our Inspectors Say: "CIA-trained chef/owner Rupam Bhagat remains at the helm, and longtime fans will recognize some of the kitchen's faves, including a light and frothy mango lassi that pairs delightfully with a reimagined version of the fried tandoori chicken featuring mustard- and curry-leaves. Veterans of this cuisine shouldn't sleep on such seasonal gems either, like asparagus chaat with pickled carrots and spiced yogurt; or crisp artichoke pakoras. Even bog-standard butter chicken takes on new life here, with a tomato-rich gravy. Arrive on the later side to enjoy flaky naan and fluffy biryani along with the cool Mission crowds."
What It Is: Husband-and-wife duo Anjan and Emily Mitra’s Mission eatery centered around South Indian cuisine.
What Our Inspectors Say: “Glamour infuses every inch of this stylish restaurant, whose soaring ceilings, colorful walls and swanky demeanor augment the bold and fragrantly spiced food. As the name suggests, dosas are indeed a highlight here. Warm servers will explain Cali-inspired takes on other South Indian dishes like almond ambur curry, which replaces traditional cashews with local almonds; or shake things up with idli fries, tailed by a Bengali gimlet with gin, curried nectar and lime. Desserts are every bit as exotic as the rest of the menu, and may reveal rasmalai—patties of fresh cheese in sweet cream flavored with cardamom and rosewater. A second, smaller location on Valencia Street draws fans, while those in a hurry opt for fast casual at the East Bay sib, dosa by DOSA.”
What It Is: Ajay Walia’s contemporary Indian restaurant that focuses on India’s coast.
What Our Inspectors Say: “In a bustling tech corridor that's also home to Indian expats with high culinary standards, Rasa has managed to find the perfect middle ground. No-joke dishes that aren't toned down for Western palates cater to both software execs and date-night couples, and though the bi-level space boasts a sleek, minimalist-mod décor with bright splashes of orange, stylish pendant lights, and dark wood fittings, the focus here is on food.”
What It Is: Proudly serving chaat for over 25 years, this family-run business is a restaurant-market hybrid.
What Our Inspectors Say: "Family-friendly and casual, this Indo canteen seems to attract everyone with its excellent chaat, authentic flavors and breads—especially the fried and puffy bhature ideal for sopping up spicy chole. A glass case filled with colorful sweets reminds everyone to save room for dessert. The kitchen closes early at dinner, so unless you're an early bird, go for lunch."
What It Is: Chef/owner Zareen Khan brings Pakistani and Indian cuisine via her cozy spot tucked away in a shopping plaza.
What Our Inspectors Say: “Taking up residence just steps from the Googleplex, it’s no surprise that this wholesome little South Asian restaurant is absolutely packed with tech employees seeking a taste of their homelands. But local families love Zareen’s as well, perusing books from the lending library or doodling their heartfelt thanks on the wall.”
Hero image courtesy of Aubrie Pick/Dosa.