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Surati Farsan Mart (San Diego)

I know I see this place mentioned whenever anyone asks about Indian food, but I really don't think their praises are sung highly enough. About 2 months ago I had the extreme displeasure of having lunch at Royal India downtown. We ordered off the menu, and I was floored when the check came. $50 for two people, eating vegetarian food for lunch, with no alcohol involved - and the food was exceedingly average, adding much insult to injury.

Surati Farsan, on the other hand, is always good, always fresh, and incredibly cheap.

Today I stopped by on my way to Ker, and got two items that were relatively new to me: khandvi, and ragda samosa. Khandvi is only available on weekends, and is made from garam flour, steamed in flat sheets about 1/16" thick, rolled up, topped with mustard seed, sesame seed, fresh cilantro and coconut, and served with spicy cilantro chutney. Ragda samosa is two samosas (awesome), filled with spicy vegetable curry, and served in a bowl with curried peas, tamarind chutney, and fresh onions.

Both were great. The khandvi are really refreshing, served cool, but spicy from the seasoning. The ragda samosa was also quite spicy, but the sweet/sour of the tamarind chutney made it a lot more interesting.

Other items I've had here that were great were the masala dosa, mysore masala dosa, idli sambar (steamed lentil flour bread with spicy soup), and khaman.

Definitely don't miss sampling some of the sweets. In particular the penda are good (yellow discs made from solidified milk), and the koprapak (coconut, sugar, and cardamom seeds).

Prices here are crazy cheap, too - my dinner tonight was under $7. Two can eat very well for under $20.

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  1. Damn Josh those dishes sound amazing - invite me next time you go!

    The single time I was there i got the thali which was stupid of me but some things were good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kare_raisu

      My first visit there I got the thali and was pretty underwhelmed by it. That prevented me from going back for a while. I finally went a few months later and ordered regular menu items and was much happier.

    2. Huzzah for you championing Surati Farsan Mart. I don't know why it's so hard to get people to try this place, (location, menu style, or the "Mart" at the end of the name?). In any case, glad to hear it!

      1. I think I prefer the chole samosa to the ragda samosa there but both are fantastic. The mysore masala dosa might be one of my favorite things to eat in San Diego.

        I haven't been a couple weeks so I guess I should hit it up for lunch one day this week. Note that they are closed on Mondays though.

        1. The cool thing about Surati Farsan is you go in there and 90% of the costumers are south Asian. The food is very authentic.

          1. i can't agree more! this place is great, and completely unlike any most indian restaurants (ie. not just curries). can't wait to go on a weekend and try khandvi!

            my favourite dish is dehli chaat -- a cold dish of some fried cereal-type snack with yogurt and green chutney spooned over it. crunchy-sour-sweet combo is amazing.

            2 Replies
            1. re: kudru

              Surati Farsan is great.The Mysore Masala Dosa, Chole Samosa, Ragda Petish, Bhel Puri are all fabulous. The prices are super-cheap and the staff is patient and helpful. Sorry to reiterate the above, but there are not enough good things to say about this place.

              I don't know why I wasted so many years trying to find good Indian food downtown or in Hillcrest. That strip-mall off Black Mountain Rd. is a goldmine for the good stuff. It's too bad I live in Golden Hill and they're all the way up by Miramar.

              1. re: 5881EL34

                Having tried both the chole samosa and the ragda petish, I think I prefer the flavor of the garbanzo bean "soup" and the texture/spiciness of the samosa to the petish