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Mar 24, 2012 02:56 AM

Gajalee - the real deal for Goan food [SF Bay Area board]

Decided to check this place out tonight with some friends, one of whom has eaten extensively throughout India.

This is a project from the Udupi Palace team, taking over the former Maharaja restaurant on Valencia and 16th, a place that always looked dark and uninviting.

Given that Goan food focuses on seafood, I ordered the mussels thali and my friend ordered the "fish" thali - we couldn't understand the waiter when we asked repeatedly what type of fish it was, but we figured we would trust them.

The curries were spot on - my friend concluded that this is indeed what Goan food is supposed to taste like - tasting mussels in an Indian dish was a completely new and unique experience for me - not to mention the sides the thali came with were all excellent (the kheer was a little runny, but still tasted great). Was surprised at how tame "spicy" was, but it still had a nice kick.

I have yet to go to Viva Goa, and one stark difference in menus I've already noted is that Viva Goa has a wide selection of pork, of which Gajalee has none.

Regardless, it's great to have another delicious Indian option in the Mission besides the usual South Indian or North Indian fare

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  1. upon further research, it seems like they acutally technically specialize in konkani food rather than goan food, hence the lack of pork

    1 Reply
    1. My husband and I also had a very enjoyable meal at Gajalee. We both got thali, which was easily up to Udupi Palace quality (if not better). The paratha was excellent, flaky, light, tender and buttery. We will no longer be trekking across town for the paratha at Lime Tree. Really interesting, varied menu with a lot of dishes I haven't seen before. So excited to have a good Indian place closer to our end of the Mission.

      1. >we couldn't understand the waiter when we asked repeatedly what type of fish it was
        I was there last weekend with Urmi and South Indian non-CH person. I believe Urmi asked "what fish" and it was Basa. Although we didnt get thalis.

        I recommend trying the SOL KADI drink. New item to me, and it goes well with the food.

        Kheer can cover a lot of ground, so I wouldnt necessarily say "running is wrong" ... esp if it "tasted great". We were in a hurry so didnt get a dessert. Although I like gulub jam, I feel physical pain to pay >$1 for one. Kheer might be a future option there but I was hoping they would have some exotic/regional dessert option.

        I didnt think the shrimp appetizer was great, but liked all the other items we had.


        10 Replies
        1. re: psb

          i only had the kheer because it came with teh thali.

          and yes, i forgot to mention the sol kadi drink. very different from anything i've had - definitely takes some getting used to. the rose lassi was initially good, but a bit too syrupy. was also disappointed they can't make a salted lassi (this is an off-the-menu item at nearly every indian restaurant i've been to).

          also on a technical note - what they serve with the thalis is not paratha, but rather komdivade

          1. re: vulber

            If that comment is meant to address my comment about the paratha, we actually ordered a separate side of paratha, which we preferred to the bread that came with the thali.

            1. re: possumspice

              Inspired by this thread, I met a friend for lunch there today. We both got the thali plate, me with mussels, he with fish, and we were in total agreement. Everything but the mussels and fish was excellent--worth a return trip. But the seafood was days old.

              You can't open a seafood restaurant in San Francisco and expect to get by serving seafood that isn't fresh. I can understand how hard it would be to throw away food that you already bought, but seafood is totally unforgiving. I just love the concept behind the restaurant. Hope they get their act together before they go out of business.

              1. re: TopoTail

                It will be interesting to see the negative/positive breakdown on this place with respect to the day of the week people visit it. Why do I have a feeling they get their big seafood deliveries on Thursday or Friday mornings?

                1. re: bigwheel042

                  There is a Gajalee in Mumbai specializing in coastal seafood.Anyone know if this restaurant has a connection to the Bombay location?

                    1. re: casalbore spirit

                      That was the exact thing I was thinking about. The one in Mumbai used to be super good.

                      1. re: nk123

                        I have not been to the one in SF.Was wonderingi if this was an offshoot of the Gajelee in Mumbai known for it's coastal seafood.My favorites for coastal seafood are Melting Pot in Juhu and Trishna in Fort!

                        1. re: casalbore spirit

                          I asked them when I went with PSB et al., and they said (though not with too much conviction) that the chef used to cook at the original Vile Parle Gajalee. Note that they did not claim any official link.

                          1. re: jhinky

                            i know that this is owned by the udupi palace team, so i'd be surprised

          2. This post was featured in this week's SF Bay Area Digest. Thanks to everyone who contributed!


              1. re: jason carey

                could you be a bit more specific?