Site Seen: Punjabi Tandoor

Surrounded by cold corporate culture, Punjabi Tandoor is a gem of good ol’ fashioned Indian home-cooking disguised by its hole-in-the-wall appearance. It’s small, but this place can attract a large crowd. Outside, there are some tables with umbrellas advertising a beer company, and inside there are a few more tables stuck together, giving the place a casual atmosphere where you may have to share your table with fellow restaurant-goers.

Hillary Elder/Guardian

The menu sits above a large mirror, displaying a wide array of food that can confuse patrons unfamiliar with Indian cuisine. Luckily, they have descriptions and the cashiers behind the counter are helpful with recommendations. For those who prefer their food extra spicy (or can’t handle anything hotter than mayonnaise), orders can be easily specialized.

The kitchen, which is open for customers to observe, features a couple of Indian chefs cooking with large pots that have probably fed hundreds of mouths. Sitting down at the tables for the 15-some-odd-minutes it takes for the food to be delivered, the smell of pungent Indian spices wafts through the air, taunting those still waiting for their meal.

If in a hurry, it is highly recommended to phone in an order ahead of time.

Nan – Indian bread – and rice come on the side, allowing for further meal customization. The curries are rich and flavorful, and come in large portions at affordable prices. While the chicken tikka masala is the most popular dish, regulars also recommend the chicken makhni and lamb curry. Punjabi Tandoor provides many vegetarian dishes as well, with 12 curries displayed on their menu.

Punjabi Tandoor

9235 Activity Road Suite 111

San Diego, CA 92126