photo credit: Mikah Danae

Pondicheri image



Upper Kirby

$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastLunchVegetarians
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Pondicheri, the original all-day modern Indian restaurant in Upper Kirby, opened in 2011, and the breakfast and baked goods were so popular that a few years later, the owners opened Pondi Bake Lab right upstairs. But they’re not all that different: Pondicheri and Pondi Bake Lab have nearly identical breakfast and lunch menus, full of creative, colorful Indian street food and pastries that we’re very big fans of. Pondicheri also has a generally enjoyable but not exciting dinner service, which you should probably skip.

A lot of the dishes at dinner at Pondicheri—like chicken and black bean samosas with cilantro chutney, carrot parathas filled with spiced cauliflower, and spicy lamb keema—are tasty, and sometimes excellent, but it’s not enough to overcome the somber evening atmosphere. By day the space is sunny and bright, but at dinner, unnatural, harsh light floods the cavernous dining room. You might as well be dining in a storage unit. 

So even though the breakfast and lunch at Pondicheri and Pondi Bake Lab are undeniably delicious, the Bake Lab is just a better experience. You’re missing the fun of brightly-colored baked goods suddenly filling the pastry case, folks swinging in and out for chai and egg-filled rotis, and the fact that you can lounge in athleisure with the rest of the River Oaks lunch crowd. 

Pondicheri image

photo credit: Mikah Danae

Food Rundown

Pondicheri image

photo credit: Mikah Danae

Breakfast Frankie

Frankies are one of the most popular street foods in Mumbai, and here they’re stuffed with soft scrambled eggs and a ribbon of tangy cilantro chutney. You can get this at Pondicheri and upstairs at Pondi Bake Lab, which we prefer.


Sold per samosa, each crispy fried pocket is available filled with vegetarian-friendly mashed pumpkin and hazelnut or chicken and black bean. Both arrive with a pool of mustardy tomato kasundi or cilantro chutney—both of which you should save to snack on.
Pondicheri image

photo credit: Mikah Danae

Lamb Keema

Minced lamb dressed in a litany of spices, stewed down with onions and garlic, served next to tart yogurt, and a warm, soft paratha. A simple, yet effective dish.
Pondicheri image

photo credit: Mikah Danae


Only served in the downstairs restaurant, thalis are round, stainless steel platters filled with smaller, round cups. Which is great if you want to try a bunch of different things all at the same time. Each thali is themed—the rancher has more meat, the earth is vegetarian—so you can find one to match your personality.


Suggested Reading

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Pondi Bake Lab

Pondi Bake Lab is a bakery and cafe above Pondicheri serving Indian street food and pastries.

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Himalaya is a classic Pakistani and Indian restaurant in the Mahatma Gandhi District, and a Houston rite of passage. 

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