There are only a few vegan-friendly restaurants in downtown San Diego and Gourmet India is one of them. Gourmet India takes it one step further by labeling some items as vegan so you can be assured they actually know what that means. I had a great experience when I dined there a few years ago so when I had the opportunity to meet an old friend downtown, I jumped at the chance to go to this restaurant with him.
Gourmet India opened its doors in May of 2006. Inside, there is a warm feeling projected by the red walls and deep red draperies. You can choose to sit on traditional Indian floor level seating on cushions or at more American-style tables in the dining room. We chose a regular table.
They immediately handed me a gift of jeweled stickers for fun so I placed one in-between my eyebrows. At that moment, I became Indian.
We were served a papadum with a spicy red sauce to start as we perused the menu. I ordered a glass of California wine while my friend ordered an Indian beer. I was told that Indian wine selections are only available on Tuesday. Bummer.
For an appetizer, we ordered the vegetarian pakora, which was spinach, cauliflower, and potato fritters served with tomato chutney. So bad for you, yet tastes so good! Bad me.
For dinner, my friend and I ordered two plates to share off the Vegetarian and Vegan menu. Yep, it is actually labeled as such. The first dish to arrive was the Aloo Gobi -- cauliflower and potatoes sauteed with fresh tomatoes, ginger, green chili, and ground coriander. Despite our waitresses warnings, we ordered the highest spice level and boy, was it spicy!
The other dish was the Tofu Jahlfrezi -- tofu and mixed vegetables simmered in a red curry sauce, again super spicy.
I am so thankful that Gourmet India is still here because I had just as good an experience as I did the last time I was in this city. The food is great, traditional Indian food priced at $13 to $14 per entree. The service was great and we really liked the ambiance. Maybe next time I'll be more adventurous and dine on the floor. We'll see.
810 4th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101