Nearby points of interest
Nearby points of interest
About Mela Tandoori Kitchen
The word "mela" means carnival or fair. When the mela comes to your village, it means an explosion of color, fun and good times (not to mention good eats)! Mela Tandoori Kitchen evokes the mela spirit with colorful striped walls, glittering candles and fragrant Indian dishes. This place is all about family: Mela's North Indian and Pakistani recipes come from three generations of Indian restauranteurs. Brothers Sohel, Zoaib and Moiz run the show now, but it was their father who opened Mela's original location as one of the cities first Indian restaurant in the early 80s.
Mela's food is family-oriented too. It can be ordered family-style to take in the full range of deliciousness on the menu, like the prawn biryani, creamy chicken tikka masala, and house specialty tandoori mixed grill. Save some room for the faluda dessert (an Indian-style ice cream sundae). Sounds like the carnival is in town, and it’s headed to your mouth!
San Francisco, CA 94102
Indian, Pakistani, Halal
Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Thursday - Friday: 11:30am - 2:30pm
Dinner: Monday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 10:00pm
Van Ness Avenue
$30 and under
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Please consult the Management Team for details.
Plenty of street parking is available as well as reasonably priced parking garages nearby
Private Party Facilities:
A Perfect Space for groups between 20-40 people, located in our upstairs Mezzanine, this "traditional" setting is popular with the masses for birthdays, graduations, work events, etc.
Private Party Contact:
Sohel: (888) 925-8840
Banquet, Beer, Delivery, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
Mela Tandoori Kitchen Ratings and Reviews
I visit Mela about once a month. Its Civic Center location makes it attractive on nights I visit the symphony or the ballet. It has good, homey, unpretentious Indian food. I like their curries and their lamb dishes. Their rice is is nicely spiced and scented. Its staff are professional, young and fun. They are quick but do not rush their diners. Its prices are of great value particularly when I usually go out with a "doggie bag" filled with one or two more dinners. It used to be that I would just "drop in," but recently a reservation seems the way to go. Good for them!
Really great Indian food. We ate here while on vaccation and was Not disapointed after reading so many good reviews.
To start we had chicken samosas and vegetable pakoras which were very tasty and perfectly spiced. Mains were chicken jalfrezi and Korma with peshwari nann and rice. Portions were huge and the service was on fast and attentive, topped up our water glasses before they were empty and brough warm water to freshen up at the end, 5 star service for a great price. Fabulous find in the heart of San Francisco, so good we are returning here before we head back to the UK.
We loved the naans and paneer. The lamb tikka masala rocked! We told the waiter that we had to be at the symphony at certain time and he was able to take our order, serve us, and get us out in plenty of time. My only complaints: the by-the-glass wine was pretty bad and the door to the women's bathroom would not lock. Otherwise, when we have an event in the Civic Center area, we'll go to Mela.
Despite its proximity to the Opera House, I had not eaten at Mela since fall 2014 when food and service were so poor I swore I would never return. With the opening of August (1) 5 just around the corner, I assumed Mela would go out of business if they weren't already. But then I happened to drive by, noticed they were indeed still open, so checked them out on Yelp. To my amazement, they were receiving excellent reviews. I am delighted to report that they were busier than I had ever seen them; the restaurant was almost full, and both food and service were great. Congratulations, Mela, for the complete turnaround! We will definitely be back.
Though we had a reservation, we had to wait 20 minutes to be seated, and then another 15 minutes to see a menu. After that, things were great. Excellent food. The wait staff was quick and efficient. It was noisy, which is not my preference, but I'll definitely go again for the food.
We enjoyed a delicious meal, just steps away from the Orpheum Theatre. We were there on the early side and noticed the restaurant get pretty smokey as the meal went on - so my best advice is to enjoy the cuisine earlier if you can, to avoid kitchen smoke. Service was super attentive and nice.
Mela is a high value unpretentious Indian restaurant. The staff are friendly, efficient and professional. The food always is well prepared, and there is almost always enough to "take home." It's close to the Opera House and other Civic Center performance spaces. I drop by frequently.
Terrible service, but good food. They might benefit from more staff because it just seemed impossible to get anything done from ordering to retrieving a check. That said, once you do get an order in, food comes fast and it's delicious. Hats off to the kitchen!
The service is always somewhat hit or miss at Mela. Once you get a server's attention, they are very friendly and accommodating. The food is tasty and portions are good. The Samosa "bites" are little strange in that the small size causes the casing to be almost crunchy but the flavor is pleasing.
We waited at the entrance as there was a sign to wait to be seated. We've made several eye contacts with the staff but, we kept being ignored until after more than 5 mins we decided to approach the manager and ask if they want us to leave. We've been finally seated. Food was very good and authentic. Service is the main reason why I would not go back to this restaurant. Food was great so if you have plenty of time to make your dinner a 2 hr evening event or more then you should go try it. As they knew we were not happy with the service they acknowledged it and apologized with free desert.
Dinner here pretheatre group of 8. Not crowded at 6. Lots of great choices on menu. We had a number of dishes and all very very good! Staff was very attentive and aware of time constraints, got us fed in time. Nice settings, liked the lively colors.
Indeed a place to return too becsause of nice atmosphere, staff and the food! Thanks
Food was fantastic from appetizers to drinks to the meal. Everything tasted great and was a good portion size.
In terms of authenticity, the appetizers, drinks, and desserts were super authentic. The food was as well, but more on the creamy side than would be in a home-cooked meal. That being said, it was still delicious.
The usher and servers were great! Once you get your food, they don't come back as often though so you need to flag them down.
I recently have moved from UK to Bay Area USA. I can say that out of all the restaurants I visited around here, Mela Tandoori Kitchen has no parallel having Pakistani/Indian cuisines, especially perfect grill food (highly recommend mixed grill). Do visit it if you ever visit SF/Bay Area.
The fresh fish of the day (you have to search the entrees to find it) was excellent: fresh sea bass in a delicious red coconut curry sauce. Paneer tiki masala (fresh cheese with spinach) was overly spicy and not very flavorful. Other items (first rice item, naan) were fine.
I love Indian food, but I was very disappointed in Mela. I ordered the "tiger prawn" tandoori. In no way were they tiger prawns, they weren't even large shrimp. Then they were artificially red, which as I watched other tandoori items be delivered to other tables seemed to be that way for all.
Also, the waiter was not knowledgeable about the menu items. He insisted that the Indian syrah was very good--I found that it had no flavor when matched with the spicy cuisine.
All, in all, a disappointing dinner. I won't be returning.
The service is inexcusable. I made a reservation for a large group (which they shouldn't allow if they can't keep up). We waited 30 minutes for a table to be put together, waited again for 10+ minutes for someone to actually take our order, and then waited another 2 hours for our entrees to actually arrive.
The staff ignored us during these 2 hours, and we had to ask for the manager before anyone so much as apologized. We completely missed a show, which was scheduled 2 hours after the initial reservation here.
No money was taken off the final bill.
Mela is a neighborhood restaurant that always seems to have a crowd. It draws people of every age. Families are welcome. It is comfort food Indian style. The portions are generous. The staff are quick without seeming to rush anyone. I always take enough home for a second meal. Needless to say, I think of it as of high value. It is a short walk to the Opera House and Davies.
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