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The Best Indian Food in San Francisco is on Polk Street

Updated on February 6, 2010

Shalimar Restaurant

When you finally get inside Shalimar after waiting for a while (sometimes a long while) in line on the sidewalk in front of the place, you might not be all that impressed. After all, there are less than ten tiny tables all pushed together on the left side in a row. There are no hostesses waiting to show you to your seats. There are no fawning waiters and there is no fancy silverware.

What there is though is the mouth watering aroma emanating from the various covered cast iron pots and skillets in the tiny kitchen, which also houses the tandoori oven. The tandoori is a small round clay oven which is common in India and which produces a high heat level. This allows for meats to cook faster and juicier, as if roasted on a spit but without any of the drying of normal barbecuing techniques.

The tandoor or tandoori is also used to bake the unleavened flat bread called Nan. They have several different varieties available, including garlic nan, my favorite.

Once it is finally your turn, you walk through the front door and order your food at the front counter right next to the open kitchen, (don't take too long as the patrons waiting behind you may riot), then find an empty table if possible. Prices are reasonable if not downright CHEAP. Two people can easily eat here for $20 if they don't order fancy beer. We prefer the FREE Chai Tea that you serve yourself. Four of us recently went there and we ordered a lot of food and the bill came out to slightly over $45.

The menu includes lots of braised chicken and lamb dishes and skewered meat dishes such as Chicken Tikka and Chicken Tandoori. I am not going to get into the full menu here. To see the full menu please go to their website at

Make sure to try the Chicken Masala over the fantastic basmati rice dishes they offer. Fabulous!

Shalimar Indian and Pakistani Restaurant

1409 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
Tel: 415.776.4642
12 NOON - 3:00 PM
5:30 PM - 11:30 PM

Enjoy and please tell them you heard about if from bludstream on hubpages!


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    • bludstream profile image

      bludstream 8 years ago

      One thing about writing restaurant reviews....they make you hungry! I am heading to Shalimar immediately!

    • yenajeon profile image

      yenajeon 8 years ago from California

      OMGG this looks awesome!!! Plus I am also starving =)