Top Indian Restaurants in San Francisco

Indian Restaurants in San Francisco
Delicious butter chicken, basmati rice garnished with almonds, and tasty naan bread are a popular with Indian restaurants in San Francisco.
Image credits: blandinejoannic via Pixabay

You may be planning on visiting San Francisco to marvel at landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, explore Chinatown, or take a leisurely stroll along The Embarcadero. Yet, that’s not all this vibrant city has to offer. They also have gems like some of the best Indian restaurants in the country. If you’re a foodie in San Francisco looking to please your palate for Indian cuisine, have a look at these top Indian restaurants in the city. 

Indian Restaurants in San Francisco
Indian cuisine is synonymous with its vast array of herbs used to garnish meals.
Image credits: tortugadatacorp via Pixabay

Guide to the Best Indian Restaurants in San Francisco

The following is a list of the top 5 Indian restaurants in San Francisco. 

Curryleaf

This fine dining established first opened in 2014, and is located on Columbus Avenue, San Francisco. They serve a range of mouthwatering appetizers like papadum, which is a wafer made of lentils. Vegetable samosa also forms part of the appetizer menu. These are filled with distinctively Indian spices, peas and potatoes. You can also chose daal chana, or aloo palak. Aloo palak is essentially a pureed spinach dish melded with an array of spics and potatoes. You may also order saag chana, a dish comprising chickpeas. 

Curryleaf has a vast array of chicken dishes on the entrée menu. Order chicken saag with a lovely creamy spinach sauce. Curries are high on the favorite Indian cuisine list. It’s also a meal synonymous with India throughout the globe. Their curry here is deboned and immersed in a decadent creamy sauce. You could also opt for chicken choley, which is basically tender chicken served with garbanzo beans. Other chicken meals here are the ever popular chicken tikka masala, and Karachi chicken made with a tasty onion sauce. 

This Indian restaurant in San Francisco provides patrons with a delectable tandoor menu too. You can select tandoori fish that’s been prepared in a tandoor. Or enjoy some succulent lamb chops, or beef seekh kebabs. Also, a section of the menu is dedicated to lamb-based meals too. Choose a succulent lamb curry, some nihari or saag gosht, which is basically lamb, spices, and vegetables. Choose from a range of naan bread at this best Indian restaurant in San Francisco. Some naan variations include keema, masala, and garlic naan. If you prefer roti, order the tandoori roti, or some paratha. 

Curryleaf offers patrons a range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian rice dishes. Order their veggie biryani, or a lovely chicken variation. If you want something lighter than an entrée, you can always order a paneer roll made with masala. If you love donuts, you’ve come to the right place. Try their gulab jamun, which are basically small donuts dipped in a delicious syrup with a rose aroma. They also serve mouthwatering rice pudding here. Treat your palate to a further treat when you round off your meal with a delicious beverage. They are big on Indian tea here and serve a great masala chai tea. If you are not tea lover, or if you already drink tea at home and want something different with restaurant dining, you may select beverages like a traditional Indian favorite, lassi made with mangoes. 

Indian Restaurants in San Francisco
Korma marinated with cream or yoghurt, is served at Indian restaurants here.
Image credits: ArtificialOG via Pixabay

Udupi Palace

This restaurant is situated on St. Valencia Street, San Francisco. They serve mainly South Indian cuisine here. Some of their hot favorites, literally, is the thali. This is a vegetable dish that include chickpeas, bell peppers and lentils. They also add potatoes to their thali. Other favorites here include their mango and samosa lassi, as well as their idly. If you prefer to choose a soup as a starter, chose the mouthwatering rasam soup. This is made with tamarind. Other appetizers here include scrumptious sambar vada, which are lentil donuts. 

The restaurant has a dosa meu as well. You may choose from a selection of sada dosa, paper dosa, or onion masala dosa. For the non-Indian patrons who don’t know what a dosa is; it’s simply a crepe like food stuffed with various delicious Indian ingredients. Curries are a hot commodity on the menu here, with avail curry been on top of this menu. This curry comprises a creamy coconut sauce, a range of veggies, and yogurt to complete the dish. They also sell chana curry here in a mouthwatering gravy rich in onion. 

If you’ve just come for a bite to eat and are not exactly famished, you could also just order a side dish. These include raita, batura, chapiti, as well as aloo paratha. These are essentially small side plate size dishes. For those who prefer a light vegan meal, why not opt for the bisi bele bhath. This is a rice dish melded with a range of veggies and healthy ingredients like cooked lentils. If you love lemons, you should definitely try their lemon rice. This is mixed with a range of traditional Indian spice and lemons, which add a tangy finish. 

For those with a sweet tooth and discerning South Asian palate, you’d be impressed with this eatery’s delicious carrot halwa. They also serve some marvelous gulab jamun. If you’re not too familiar with this dish, know that it’s a decadent cottage cheese ball dipped in syrup. Round off all these scrumptious choice with a mango juice or soda from their beverages menu. 

Gulab Jamun
Gulab Jamun, a sweet dish made with cardamom, rosewater, and saffron is a favorite at Indian restaurants in San Francisco.
Image credits: ikon via Pixabay

Aslam’s Rasoi

Another one of the great Indian restaurants in SF, this establishment specializes in fine contemporary cuisines. Aslam’s Rasoi is a family restaurant that spans two generations. They are located Valencia Street, San Francisco. The chef owner is Mohammed Aslam and has been voted “Best of the Bay” for several consecutive years. The objective of this restaurant is to take North Indian cuisine to an elevated level by adding decadent Pakistani flavors to it. 

If you’re a bread lover, go for their oven-baked breads like their plan naan and kabuli naan with nuts and fruit. You can also savor their naan filled with goat cheese, peppers and onions. They also sell delcicious poori here. This is essentially wheat puffs.

If you don’t want a bread to begin with, why not start with something like their pakoras. Or make a flavorful selection with their scrumptious chicken salad or samosas chaat. If you love your pilafs, you’ve come to the right place. You can enjoy some decadent prawn curry, complete with a range of Aslam’s spices and some tasty basmati rice. Their biryani selection is vast, and you get to choose chicken, seafood, veggie, chicken tikka masala biryani and Kashmiri biryani. 

They have a wealth of tandoori dishes too. You can enjoy their tandoori fish all immersed in a selection of herbs. Or select delicious tandoori lamb chops with a dollop of super creamy yoghurt. They also offer patron’s tandoori prawns if you prefer a snack of the sea. Speaking of the sea, don’t forget to peruse their sea foods like the prawn vindaloo. This comprises potato and prawns as the name suggests, bathed in a tangy sauce. 

This fine dining establishment also sells curry made with mixed varieties of seafood including prawns and crispy calamari. You can also buy some machli masala here. This includes some fish in a tasty sauce. Or if you love seafood mixed with almonds and creamy gravy, simply spoil yourself with a mouthwatering prawn korma. You can also order from their lamb and chicken menu. Expect to find cuisine like rogan josh on their lamb menu, and chicken saagwala and chicken bartha here. They also offer a range of vegan cuisines. To finish off this kind of decadence without a beverage would simply be wrong, so don’t forget to spoil yourself further with a cup of their chai tea, flavored with cardamom and some fennel. You may also drink their tea with milk, for added creaminess. 

Rooh 

Rooh is located on Brannan Street, San Francisco, Rooh offers its patrons an artsy aesthetic. This artistry spills over with concoctions like their artisanal cocktails. Their menu comprises a starter section of small plates including potato tikki, masala jackfruit tacos, as well as dahi puri which consists of yoghurt flavored mousse, avocados, as well as tamarind. 

If you’re looking to fill up on carbs, this eatery if for you with its tandoori roti, garlic-infused naan bread, and saffron-infused rice. Their entrees here include paneer pinwheel. This comprises mainly makhani. The also sell a tandoori artichoke with ingredients like keema made of soy and onion. You can also enjoy a plate of paneer kofta or a lovely butter chicken, complete with cilantro, fenugreek, and cashews. Or order a few fava dumplings. Monkish is also prepared in their tandoor here. They also serve a succulent lamb stir fry, as well as nihari. 

Their dessert menu is phenomenal Order mango sorbet made with tamarind. Or if you’re craving something sweet, opt for a delicious praline and cashew cake. They also sell an Indian bouquet type of tea here. This is a lovely blend of lemongrass, roses, lavender, and chamomile. Coffee is served too, as well as a wine list. On the wine list, select from their list of sparkling rose, white and red wines, and champagne.  

Masala chai tea
Masala chai tea is one of the most popular beverages at Indian restaurants.
Image credits: farwestteatraders via Pixabay

Pakwan 

You’ll find this culinary gem on 16th Street, San Francisco. For a starter, try something like some fritters or pakora. Then there is their yoghurt or raita. If you’re a vegetarian, you’ve come to the ideal place, as Pakwan has an array of veggie curries, and other lip smacking meatless cuisine. You can order their eggplant, also referred to as bengan bhartha. Or get some daal. If cheese is your preference, their scrumptious paneer makhani. Then prepare to take your taste buds on an astronomical voyage with these yummy cheese balls dipped in tasty tikka masala dressing. 

This eatery also has a menu for tandoori meat. If you prefer your chicken cubed, you most certainly have to try their tandoor baked chicken tikka boti. Perhaps you need a bit of iron in your diet. If so, order their succulent kebabs made with iron-rich ground beef. If you prefer white meat kebabs, get you some ground chicken kebabs or chicken seekh kebabs. They also sell tandoori wraps like a ground beef kebab with naan bread. 

This establishment also sells a traditional beef curry. Note that this dish is boneless. If you’re not that hungry, you may order a side dish of basmati rice. This rice is fine to eat as is, as it already has its own distinct flavor. If meetha or desserts is what you’re looking for, have a seat and order some decadent firnee; a delicious nut infused pudding rice pudding. No fine dining Indian restaurant is complete without a menu that boasts traditional Indian desserts like gulab jamun. These golden hued balls look a lot like little donuts. Just like donuts, it too is drench in syrup. This delicacy however, is infused with cardamom and rose water. 

Whether you’re visiting for that full dining experience, just grabbing one or more of their flavorful desserts (yes, it’s that good), or are looking to quench your thirst, Pakwan has a list of tasty beverages too. If you want to follow Indian tradition, you can order a lovely masala chai tea or a mango lassi. Other than that, there are a range of soft drinks guaranteed to quench that thirst. If you’re on the more organic route when it comes to drinks, simply order some mineral water, packed with wonderful nutrients. 

Indian Restaurants in San Francisco
Lasssi. made with yoghurt, an array of Indian spices, and water is a popular Indian beverage.
Image credits: Kirtip via Pixabay

FAQs

Which is the #1 Indian restaurant in San Francisco?

The #1 Indian restaurant would have to be Curryleaf on Columbus Avenue.

Which is the top 5 Indian restaurants in San Francisco?

These would have to be Curryleaf, Udupi Palace, Aslam’s Rasoi, Rooh, and Pakwan Indian restaurant.

What is the most famous dish in Indian restaurants in San Francisco?

Some of the most popular foods served at Indian restaurants here include naan or leavened bread. It looks a lot like pita bread, yet it’s much fluffier. Masala dosa, aka stuffed pancakes are renowned in Indian restaurants too. These establishment are also renowned for their huge variety of curried dishes. Then there’s of course raita, which I essentially yoghurt melded with herbs. You can also eat this with your naan. Vindaloo and saag paneer are too on the most-popular list.