Ajanta (Berkeley)

Review by: Ken
January 06 2010, No comments
Tags: , ,

1888 Solano Avenue
(Between The Alameda and Fresno Ave)
Berkeley, CA 94707
(510) 526-4373


Ajanta is my all time favorite Indian Restaurant, and one of my favorite places to eat in Berkeley. It’s beautifully decorated, the service is warm and solicitous, and the food is seriously amazing, with plenty of vegetarian options.

Ajanta has a wonderful, ever-changing menu, with rotating regional dishes, and a other favorites that we always see. But if you’re expecting chana masala (garbanzo beans), baingan bartha (eggplant), and aloo saag (spinach and potatoes), like (almost) every other Indian restaurant in the USA, think again.

My absolute favorite dish is Bheh, Khumbi Aur Matar, a vegan dish from Sindh (western India, now Pakistan) with lotus root, shiitake mushrooms, and peas cooked with caramelized onions, ginger, garlic and spices including mango powder and coriander. Oh my.

You may also find entrées like Lobhia Aur Khumbi, a vegan Punjabi dish made with black eyed peas and organic shiitake mushrooms cooked in a sauce made with onions, garlic, tomatoes, and spices including coriander, turmeric, and paprika. Yum!

But whatever you order, do not miss the Tandoori Portobello Mushroom appetizer. It will forever change the way you think about mushrooms. It comes served with a spectacular mustard sauce.

If you’re vegan, let them know, so they can steer you clear of the dishes made with yogurt or butter (ghee). Whenever I have asked, they have always been completely accommodating.

Ajanta rates high on the date-worthy scale, and it’s a great place to bring anyone you want to impress. Even the wine list is broad and well considered. Given the quality of the food and the elegance of the place, the prices seem very reasonable to me.

Ajanta is across the street from the Oaks Theater.

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