photo credit: Carly Hackbarth

Aaha Indian Cuisine image

Aaha Indian Cuisine



$$$$Perfect For:Walk-InsCasual Weeknight Dinner
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Dining out in SF could be an Olympic sport. You have to coordinate group reservations around the schedules of multiple friends and the play dates of their two-month-old puppies. And setting multiple reminders to land reservations at hyped restaurants is like trying to score tickets to a Warriors game, courtside, during playoffs. Aaha Indian Cuisine is relief from this chaos. It’s always easy to walk in and grab a table. Your reward for doing so? Dishes that leave a lasting impression from the first bite to the last.

The dishes that arrive in front of you at this Mission spot will compel you to jump out of your seat and declare them the best things you’ve eaten since the last leap year. The mostly South Indian menu is impressive. Appetizers like the deep-fried chicken 65 and fiery andhra chili chicken are so flavorful you’ll forgo all manners and throw yourself across the table to snag the final piece. Dosas and tangy uthappams are attention-grabbing centerpieces, supported by a cast of chutneys and sambar. And the charred skin on the tandoor pomfret is so shiny you can pretty much see your reflection. 

Aaha Indian Cuisine image

photo credit: Carly Hackbarth

This is a basic set-up with an abundance of orange paint and swirly tassels hanging above. But it doesn’t matter. The point of a meal at this spot isn’t to pose with a glass of champagne or dine by candlelight. You’re here to walk up with friends and have a fantastic meal that takes as much effort as hitting the snooze button on a Monday.

The only complication you’ll have at Aaha is shuffling around baskets of flaky parota and bowls overflowing with biryani to make more table space. So next time you’re looking for a restaurant for an impromptu group dinner and would rather walk barefoot across a pit full of wood chips than scroll through another reservation app, make life easy. Get to Aaha. 

Food Rundown

Aaha Indian Cuisine image

photo credit: Carly Hackbarth

Tandoor Pomfret

Ordering this fish will transform you into the Friend With Really Good Judgment for the night. The fish is perfectly cooked, charred and smoky. Spiciness will sneak up on you. A trip isn’t complete without this.
Aaha Indian Cuisine image

photo credit: Carly Hackbarth

Andhra Chili Chicken

Say hello to our favorite appetizer. The bite-sized fried chicken pieces are fiery in both taste and color. You’ll finish off the entire dish, served with herby green chutney, in two minutes flat.
Aaha Indian Cuisine image

photo credit: Carly Hackbarth

Onion & Tomato Uthappam

The fermented dough has the ideal amount of tang, balanced by bits of tomato and onion. Getting this, along with the tandoor pomfret, is the best decision you’ll make all day.
Aaha Indian Cuisine image

photo credit: Carly Hackbarth

Cheese Dosa

You really can’t go wrong with any of the dosas on the menu, but we like the one with cheese filling (the ghee roast dosa is also fantastic).
Aaha Indian Cuisine image

photo credit: Carly Hackbarth

Malabar Fish Curry

This is a nice lighter curry option. The fish falls apart with a nudge of your fork.

Goat Biryani

There are over a dozen biryanis on the menu, but stick with the goat. It'll turn heads like a presidential motorcade making its way through the dining room.

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Suggested Reading

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The Best Indian Restaurants In San Francisco

Our 11 favorite places for Indian food in the city.

Mission Curry House image

Mission Curry House is our go-to for excellent curries and other Indian dishes.

The Best Restaurants In The Mission image

A guide to the most restaurant-filled neighborhood in San Francisco.

Viva Goa image

Viva Goa in the Marina is home to excellent Indian food, from sizzling tandoori fish to rich seafood curries.

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