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A table of food at Besharam Besharam

11 Richly Spiced Indian Restaurants in San Francisco

From curries, tandoori, and naan to regional revelations and jewel-toned cocktails

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The best chaat shops in the Bay Area might be in the South Bay, but there are some longstanding favorite Indian and Pakistani restaurants in San Francisco, with an influx of modern and upscale options over the past few years. There's now an abundance of street food, tasting menus, gonzo mash-ups like tikka masala burritos, and of course those familiar curry houses to fall back on. This map will point you to the sauciest and smokiest. Read on for the 11 spiciest Indian restaurants in San Francisco.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Curry Leaf

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943 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 440-4293
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Curry Leaf is the neighborhood favorite of Russian Hill. It’s an Indian and Pakistani restaurant firing a big tandoori grill and serving halal meats. That means beef, lamb, and chicken kebabs, as well as lamb chops and chicken legs. But the chef’s favorite is the bengan bharta, or mashed eggplant, that’s simmered down in a garlicky tomato sauce.

Halal meat at Curry Leaf Curry Leaf

2. Viva Goa Indian Cuisine

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2420 Lombard St
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 440-2600
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Viva Goa is the Marina's go-to Indian takeout spot, serving the locals all the curries, tandoori, and naan it could desire. The restaurant specializes in Goan cuisine, which features a lot of seafood, coconut, and kokum, and is heavily influenced by Portugal, which ruled the area for 450 years. The region's most popular dish is vindaloo (spicy red curry), and that's the order, alongside prawn curry.

3. Pakwan Indian Restaurant

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501 Ofarrell St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 776-0160
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Pakwan is usually an excellent no-frills destination for anyone seeking a night out in the Tenderloin, but these days it’s just as satisfying delivered to the comfort of your couch. The generous portions leave ample room for leftover biryani lunches.

4. Keeva Indian Restaurant

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908 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 742-4010
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Husband-and-wife team Ajeet and Rita Mehta opened this neighborhood gem on Clement Street and offer American favorites like butter chicken and saag paneer — though insiders love the goat dishes, stir-fried okra, and bang bang egg curry, with a crispy boiled-then-fried egg sunk into a tomato and onion sauce.

Stir-fried okra from Keeva Keeva Indian Kitchen

5. ROOH

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333 Brannan St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 525-4174
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Rooh serves modern Indian cuisine in a polished setting, an environment one might expect from India’s Good Times Restaurants hospitality group. This location in SoMa was the company's first outpost in the U.S., and they have a second location in Palo Alto as well, keeping the inventive cocktails and rich curries coming for the tech elite. Prepare for dazzling dishes, from buttery and golden saffron brioche to ultra glossy short ribs enriched with bone marrow.

6. Spice of America

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1655 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 872-7187
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This quiet spot on Market was dubbed the “most interesting Indian restaurant in San Francisco” and serves a broad menu of Indian fare with a few Nepali specialities mixed in. Explore non-traditional entrees including grilled shrimp in Indo-Chinese Schezwan sauce and Northwest Salmon cooked in a coconut and green mango curry.

Dum biryani with butte Spice of America

7. Curry Up Now

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659 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(800) 536-0000
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Popular food truck Curry Up Now set up shop on Valencia, serving Instagram-friendly updates on standbys, such as tikka masala burritos; "sexy fries" made from sweet potato and topped with tikka masala; and "naughty naan" flatbread topped with cheese, caramelized onions, shaved jalapeños, and tikka masala.

8. Udupi Palace

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1007 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 970-8000
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This South Indian vegetarian institution in the Mission hits all the right spots. There are giant masala dosas, spicy curries, and sweet chutneys a plenty, all sans meat. The best part: they’ll fill you up without breaking the bank.

9. Besharam

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3407, 1275 Minnesota St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 580-7662
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Heena Patel, a graduate of SF’s food incubator La Cocina, channels flavors from her native Gujarat at this cheeky restaurant in the Dogpatch’s Minnesota Street Project gallery space. Her regional, vegetarian, and deeply personal dishes won her the Eater Award for Restaurant of the Year in 2019. Since reopening in summer 2021, Patel has dropped meat from the menu, which takes diners through four cities in western Indian.

10. Ritu

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3111 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 874-9045
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What started as popular food truck DUM (whose chicken biryani is the stuff of legend) later landed a permanent location on 24th Street and established a new name and identity as Ritu (Hindi for seasons). Chef Rupam Bhagat channels his upbringing in Mumbai, and biryani remains a highlight, but don’t miss California twists like kale chaat (with yogurt, tamarind, and “Mumbai trail mix”), great kebabs, or a family-style four-course menu for $45 per person. 

Kristen Loken

11. Tilak

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3501 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 647-4037
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Tilak Gurung managed to reverse the usual trajectory for Bay Area chefs. After cooking for big tech cafeterias like Apple and Dropbox (where he says he served Justin Timberlake and the prime minister of Singapore, in that order), he opened his own restaurant at the top of Mission. He’s serving satisfying curries and tandoori to Bernal Heights, but also dahi puri chaat, those crispy street snacks, fully loaded with yogurt, tamarind, mint, and sprouts.

Chaat from Tilak Tilak

1. Curry Leaf

943 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
Halal meat at Curry Leaf Curry Leaf

Curry Leaf is the neighborhood favorite of Russian Hill. It’s an Indian and Pakistani restaurant firing a big tandoori grill and serving halal meats. That means beef, lamb, and chicken kebabs, as well as lamb chops and chicken legs. But the chef’s favorite is the bengan bharta, or mashed eggplant, that’s simmered down in a garlicky tomato sauce.

943 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133

2. Viva Goa Indian Cuisine

2420 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA 94123

Viva Goa is the Marina's go-to Indian takeout spot, serving the locals all the curries, tandoori, and naan it could desire. The restaurant specializes in Goan cuisine, which features a lot of seafood, coconut, and kokum, and is heavily influenced by Portugal, which ruled the area for 450 years. The region's most popular dish is vindaloo (spicy red curry), and that's the order, alongside prawn curry.

2420 Lombard St
San Francisco, CA 94123

3. Pakwan Indian Restaurant

501 Ofarrell St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Pakwan is usually an excellent no-frills destination for anyone seeking a night out in the Tenderloin, but these days it’s just as satisfying delivered to the comfort of your couch. The generous portions leave ample room for leftover biryani lunches.

501 Ofarrell St
San Francisco, CA 94102

4. Keeva Indian Restaurant

908 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118
Stir-fried okra from Keeva Keeva Indian Kitchen

Husband-and-wife team Ajeet and Rita Mehta opened this neighborhood gem on Clement Street and offer American favorites like butter chicken and saag paneer — though insiders love the goat dishes, stir-fried okra, and bang bang egg curry, with a crispy boiled-then-fried egg sunk into a tomato and onion sauce.

908 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94118

5. ROOH

333 Brannan St, San Francisco, CA 94107

Rooh serves modern Indian cuisine in a polished setting, an environment one might expect from India’s Good Times Restaurants hospitality group. This location in SoMa was the company's first outpost in the U.S., and they have a second location in Palo Alto as well, keeping the inventive cocktails and rich curries coming for the tech elite. Prepare for dazzling dishes, from buttery and golden saffron brioche to ultra glossy short ribs enriched with bone marrow.

333 Brannan St
San Francisco, CA 94107

6. Spice of America

1655 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Dum biryani with butte Spice of America

This quiet spot on Market was dubbed the “most interesting Indian restaurant in San Francisco” and serves a broad menu of Indian fare with a few Nepali specialities mixed in. Explore non-traditional entrees including grilled shrimp in Indo-Chinese Schezwan sauce and Northwest Salmon cooked in a coconut and green mango curry.

1655 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94103

7. Curry Up Now

659 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Popular food truck Curry Up Now set up shop on Valencia, serving Instagram-friendly updates on standbys, such as tikka masala burritos; "sexy fries" made from sweet potato and topped with tikka masala; and "naughty naan" flatbread topped with cheese, caramelized onions, shaved jalapeños, and tikka masala.

659 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

8. Udupi Palace

1007 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

This South Indian vegetarian institution in the Mission hits all the right spots. There are giant masala dosas, spicy curries, and sweet chutneys a plenty, all sans meat. The best part: they’ll fill you up without breaking the bank.

1007 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

9. Besharam

3407, 1275 Minnesota St, San Francisco, CA 94107

Heena Patel, a graduate of SF’s food incubator La Cocina, channels flavors from her native Gujarat at this cheeky restaurant in the Dogpatch’s Minnesota Street Project gallery space. Her regional, vegetarian, and deeply personal dishes won her the Eater Award for Restaurant of the Year in 2019. Since reopening in summer 2021, Patel has dropped meat from the menu, which takes diners through four cities in western Indian.

3407, 1275 Minnesota St
San Francisco, CA 94107

10. Ritu

3111 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Kristen Loken

What started as popular food truck DUM (whose chicken biryani is the stuff of legend) later landed a permanent location on 24th Street and established a new name and identity as Ritu (Hindi for seasons). Chef Rupam Bhagat channels his upbringing in Mumbai, and biryani remains a highlight, but don’t miss California twists like kale chaat (with yogurt, tamarind, and “Mumbai trail mix”), great kebabs, or a family-style four-course menu for $45 per person. 

3111 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

11. Tilak

3501 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Chaat from Tilak Tilak

Tilak Gurung managed to reverse the usual trajectory for Bay Area chefs. After cooking for big tech cafeterias like Apple and Dropbox (where he says he served Justin Timberlake and the prime minister of Singapore, in that order), he opened his own restaurant at the top of Mission. He’s serving satisfying curries and tandoori to Bernal Heights, but also dahi puri chaat, those crispy street snacks, fully loaded with yogurt, tamarind, mint, and sprouts.

3501 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

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