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best Indian?

Hi we are looking for some Indian restaurants.. close to la Jolla,Del mar .Mission valley ,Hillcrest all good. thanks..

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  1. Surati Farsan, Punjabi Tandoor, Indian Tandoor - all are located in (different parts) of Mira Mesa

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    Punjabi Tandoor
    9235 Activity Rd, San Diego, CA

    Indian Tandoor
    6755 Mira Mesa Blvd Ste 110, San Diego, CA 92121

    1 Reply
    1. re: honkman

      All good recommendations. Indian Tandoor on Mira Mesa is close to where I work so I go there more often. I would add Madras Cafe which is in the same parking lot as Surati Farsan. Its southern Indian so the food is not the same as most Indian places.
      I saw Annapurna the other day but have not been there yet, anybody?

    2. I highly recommend Punjab on Midway.

      http://www.punjabsd.com/

      1. Dont bother with the Indian food in La Jolla, Del Mar or Mission Valley. HIllcrest doesn't have anything outstanding either. If you must eat there, try India Palace - better than the other choices in the area, which are overpriced, poor quality food, but worst of all, the majority of dishes quite simply aren't very good - and definitely nowhere close to authentic.

        As for where to go, the area of choice is Miramar/Mira Mesa. As honkman said, Surati Farsan Mart and Punjabi Tandoor are solid choices. At Surati Farsan, avoid the south Indian dishes (dosas, uthappams) and focus on the Gujarati dishes or chaat. Any of their specials is a good choice, though I did not like the eggplant very much. At Punjabi Tandoor, almost anything works - and they are a better bet for dinner than lunch - I am not a big fan of their buffet (or Indian buffets in general).

        In addition, the current CH favorite for Indian - specifically for South Indian, Hyderabadi or Indian-Chinese is the Copper Chimney truck (friday evenings and sat/sun afternoons and evenings only).

        I haven't been to Punjab - phee, what stood out there?

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        Surati Farsan Mart
        9494 Black Mountain Rd, San Diego, CA 92126

        Punjabi Tandoor
        9235 Activity Rd, San Diego, CA

        India Palace
        696 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

        22 Replies
        1. re: ipsit

          ipsit - what is your thought on Indian Tandoor and Annapurna (both in Mira mesa)

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          Indian Tandoor
          6755 Mira Mesa Blvd Ste 110, San Diego, CA 92121

          1. re: honkman

            I'm not ipsit, but Indian Tandoor isn't bad. It's a bit more expensive (a relative term) than Punjabi Tandoor, but it's very close to where I live so I tend to eat dinner take-out food from there rather than make a special trip to PT.

            The young woman who's usually in front cracks me up. She looks a lot like the mother of one of my son's friends, so I always brighten up and smile when I see her ... but she NEVER smiles back and usually seems slightly annoyed to be there.

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            Punjabi Tandoor
            9235 Activity Rd, San Diego, CA

            Indian Tandoor
            6755 Mira Mesa Blvd Ste 110, San Diego, CA 92121

          2. re: ipsit

            Annapurna is interesting. They serve items from a greater range of Indian cuisines than any place I know in San Diego. As expected, this means wild inconsistency, since each of these cuisines is highly specialized, and no restaurant kitchen can be reasonably expected to master it all. The good news: the only place in town to serve Andhra cuisine, and they do it well. This is spicy and focuses more on meat than most South Indian places. They also serve a few Chettinaad dishes - cuisine from the region of Tamil Nadu of the same name. The presence of these two cuisines makes it clear that food from the South is the forte here. The rest of the South Indian menu is ok - I prefer the Copper Chimney truck for my idli, dosa fix. They have a couple of Hyderabadi curries and biryani also - I havent tried that yet. In addition, the menu has regular Punjabi/Mughlai fare and an Indo-Chinese section. I havent bothered with it, because they are probably cooking out of their comfort zone there, and I expect the food will reflect this. I would loved to be proved wrong on that assumption, but doubt it. Annapurna doesnt draw much buzz on CH, and I think it deserves to be at least discussed more. It is certainly unique. I am not a big fan of Madras Cafe. They have the right menu, but the execution is poor.

            I haven't tried Indian Tandoor - from what Ive heard, it is a solid lunch option, but not really a dining destination. How did you find it in comparison to Punjabi Tandoor honkman?

            On an aside, an unexpected recent surprise was Curry and More Indian Bistro, which I did not mention since it was way outside the OP's range - this is in San Marcos, and unlike the other favorites, this is a good sit-down, pleasant-ambience, white-tablecloth Indian restaurant. Ive been here twice. Nothing has been bad, though some folks I was with found the tandoori meats to be underspiced - a major flaw for a tandoori dish! I enjoyed everything Ive tried - my favorite was the jeera aloo, which they serve as a side. Good dal, respectable Navratan Korma - and they serve shikanjvi to drink, which is like a tangy, slightly spiced Indian Lemonade. Its far away in central North County, but it may be the only Indian place around where you can go on a date AND eat good Indian food.

            http://www.curryandmore.com/Home_Page...

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            Punjabi Tandoor
            9235 Activity Rd, San Diego, CA

            Indian Tandoor
            6755 Mira Mesa Blvd Ste 110, San Diego, CA 92121

            1. re: ipsit

              You should organize an Indian chowdown. If you join this Yahoo group you can email it and a lot of posters here will get the messages:
              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SDChow/

              I'd love to get some first-hand critiques of Indian food from someone who knows it so well and can explain it over a meal.

              1. re: Josh

                Good idea. I will send an email out soon.

                1. re: Josh

                  "Your membership is awaiting approval by the group owner"

                  been that for 4 days now - is that usual?

                  1. re: ipsit

                    Huh, no idea. I know the group hasn't been that active as of late, but I'd say just be patient.

                    1. re: ipsit

                      Your membership has been approved. You're good to go now.

                  2. re: ipsit

                    I'm not familiar enough with the different cuisines to know what dishes you are referring to when you discuss Annapurna's menu - can you list (by dish) the things you think they do well?

                    Also, re: Madras Cafe, is that based on a recent visit? My advisor goes there regularly and said that it was mediocre for a long time but has gotten better recently (i.e. within the last year). I've never been there, but I'm wondering if it's worth a try.

                    1. re: hye

                      My last Madras Cafe visit was over a year ago - perhaps it may be time to give it another try, though Ive never had a really enjoyable meal there

                      As for Annapurna, under the 'menu' section in the website below, the Andhra and Hyderabadi dishes are in the 'Only At Annapurna' section. I especially like Dhondakaya Vepudu. It is made of ivy gourd (known variously as dhondakaya tendli, tinda or tindora depending on which Indian language you prefer). It is a rare dish, and the vegetable itself is uncommon, though most Indian stores stock it.
                      Their dosas, medu vadas and uthappams are all good, but the sambar hasnt always been good. Ditto for the rasam. The biryani was passable. The chicken and shrimp Chettinaad-style curries are known simply as Chicken Chettinaad and Shrimp Chettinaad respectively, so thats easy to pick out
                      My usual meal there will include a starter - usually a vada or the dhondakaya, one of the rice dishes (the lemon and yogurt rice is good, bisibele less so) and sometimes, a soup. Im vegetarian and haven't tried the veg curries. Only the last 2 in the vegetarian specials list interest me - the rest are menu-filler dishes in this restaurant IMO and I have little expectation from them.

                      http://www.myannapurna.com/menu.htm

                      1. re: ipsit

                        Thanks a million - I'll join the yahoo group Josh mentioned and hopefully get to learn from you in person.

                        1. re: hye

                          I just went to Annapurna and asked about the Dhondakaya Vepudu. The waiter told me that they had recently changed their menu. I suspected this was the case when I couldn't find the "Only at Annapurna" section that I recall from my previous visit. I did get the Goat Chettinaad, which I thought was good, but was bummed about the rare dish you mentioned.

                          1. re: hye

                            I haven't been there in a while. Thanks for the heads up. Did anything stand out in the new menu?

                            1. re: ipsit

                              Not that I noticed. They still had most of the "standard" fare. (e.g. dosa, uthappam, biryani, etc.)

                      2. re: hye

                        I went to madras recently, and can also confirm it has improved. chutneys still bad though, and the south indian truck nearby is superior.

                      3. re: ipsit

                        I have only gotten the lunch buffet at Madras Cafe and heard that ordering from the menu is sketchy. I find the buffet to a have a nice variety of items and being southern Indian its quite different. No meat, a lot of rice and vegetable dishes and some soups and I find it all to be very good. Its much lighter than typical Indian food like Tika Masala.

                        I have been to Indian Tandoor many times and Punjabi Tandoor a few times. Punjabi Tandoor piles on more food and the sauces are heavier (approaching gloppy) and spicier. While the food is good I usually leave there with somewhat of an upset stomach because of the quantity, heaviness and spice level. Its strangly located in an industrial park but that is no reason to avoid it.

                      4. re: ipsit

                        I've had the vegetable biryani, shahi paneer, mixed vegetable entree, and sampled the lamb vindaloo (a friend ordered this). This in addition to their wonderful selection of naan, and I thought all of them were very tasty - even though I'm not a fan of lamb! I'm no expert on Indian cuisine, by any means, but was directed to this restaurant by our team from Bangalore as being "delicious, fresh, and very authentic." I put my fate in the hands of our servers and the restaurant owner, and we've been very pleased with the dishes we've had thus far.

                        1. re: ipsit

                          I love chili and onion uthappams but Madras' Cafe's was underwhelming and Punjab on Midway told us they were not making the South Indian portion of the menu. Since you recommend skipping the So. Indian at Surati Farsan (which was my next choice) is there a place you recommend for this dish or for a good uthappam regardless of the toppings?

                          1. re: JRSD

                            The key question here: which is more important? The Uthappam itself, or the sambar and chutney(s) that go with it? Preparing a good uthappam requires some skill - fermenting the batter to the right degree, getting the thickness right, having a perfectly cooked center with a char on the onions/tomatoes/chilli on the surface. However, I believe this is easier to get right than the sambar and chutney, which involve balancing spices and cooking for the right amount of time, etc. etc.

                            I tend to judge South Indian cooking by the sambar and chutneys, but thats just me. At Surati Farsan, they dont do these very well. If your preference is for a well made uthappam, Surati might work. I would suggest giving Annapurna a try first.

                            Copper Chimney truck is not doing uthappams at this time - justifiable, since these take a while to cook, and the crowds there are growing by the week. You could however, buy the dosa batter from there, and make uthappam at home. Treat it like pancake batter, cook on medium heat on a grill or pan, sprinkle any topping you like on the top and flip it for the char. The batter is pre-fermented. Get sambar and his coconut chutney to-go with it. That will probably be the best uthappam you will eat in town. Theres frozen uthappams available in most Indian grocery stores, but Im not a big fan.

                            On an aside, if you happen to be in the LA area, you could give Tirupati Bhimas in Artesia or Annapurna (no relation to the SD one) in Culver City a try. Dont recall the uthappams specifically, but they do good South Indian overall.

                            1. re: ipsit

                              That was a super-detailed response. I will give Surati and Annapurna a try. Thanks

                          2. re: ipsit

                            Yeah, with all the Indian engineers getting hired at Qualcomm over the years Mira Mesa has become the center of South Asian food and stores in the San Diego area.

                            1. re: oerdin

                              may all of our palates benefit from their presence!