Mela Tandoori Kitchen

4.4
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445 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Indian

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Pre/post Theatre
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!
What 445 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.2
service
4.1
ambience
4.5
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
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MS
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on February 29, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Excellent casual Indian food. One of our go to's near the Symphony and Ballet.

OT
Orlando
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Friendly staff, very busy. Great food and experiance. Will go again

OT
Denver
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall4food5service2ambience4

The food was great, and reasonably priced. The only problem was really pretty terrible service. Also, their wine list was small to begin with, and then they were out of half of the options. To their credit, it was Valentine’s day, and I imagine they were a lot busier than usual. I think I’d have to try this place again to know for sure if it was just a one time thing with the service, because otherwise everything was pretty good.

B
Philadelphia
63 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Nice location near the orchestra and ballet. A wide range of choices on the menu - all well prepared. Lamb dishes are particularly recommended. Table service can be difficult when it gets busy - and it seems to get very busy after 6pm.

s
Philadelphia
18 reviews
Dined on February 13, 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Nice place to have a quiet meal, for me alone while on a business trip.

y
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience5

I almost don't want to write this review because I am afraid that my new pre-Symphony, Ballet and Opera dining establishment will become ridiculously crowded and impossible to get a reservation. But, I think I really should share so that the restaurant will be there every time I go! The food was well prepared, very tasty (I eat a LOT of Indian and Pakistani food). We (Japanese and Aussie) love to eat out so we happily award this place our first place award for pre-event dinners. The service is LOVELY, attentive and not too little or too much. The plates were warm (So nice). And the food was plentiful but not too much (no leftovers). We ordered 2 dishes and naan. Usually, we order more and have leftovers but this time, we wanted no leftovers. (I was kind of sad the next day). We will be back. If you are looking for the deal of a lifetime with a huge volume, maybe this isn't the place for you. But if you want a nice meal (good enough for a foodie friend), and perfect service, and don't mind paying just a tiny bit more, you will be happy. There are plenty of cheaper places, but they won't taste this good AND be a pretty enough place to take a date.

J
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on February 7, 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience4

Food is okay. Nice ambience though. A nice touch that they warm up your plate.

G
San Francisco
30 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

I've been a fan of Mela Tandoori since its previous location in the Tenderloin. My friends and I enjoy the wide variety of choices, the quantity and quality of the food, and the great service. Its location within walking distance of Civic Center performance venues is also a plus. Parking along Golden Gate Avenue east of Van Ness Avenue has never been an issue for me. Mela is a great choice for delicious and healthy Indian cuisine!

m
San Francisco
50 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We are locals. We are Punjabi. We came here Friday and Saturday. Dinner. Two nights in a row. That speaks for itself.

NT
Atlanta
6 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Great meal. I wish the korma options were more comprehensive. They had a good vegetarian korma tonight as a special, but just a little spicy to me. The appetizers are good, but a little small for the money. Service was and always is excellent. They're very good about dealing with large crowded nights when they happen.

OT
Central Coast
2 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This is my favorite restaurant in the whole universe. Every thing prepared here is AMAZING!

AN
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 23, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Mela is our to go place for Indian/Pakistani food when we visit SF. It never disappoints with their tasty dishes. However, I noticed that prices have gone up significantly for some of their speciality dishes. I will still continue to visit them when ever in SF and if possible.

D
New England
33 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

This is a great location for symphony or ballet and the service is great and the food a little saucy but we enjoyed it very much. Reservations very flexible and honored.
Will return!

YH
Central Coast
1 review
Dined on November 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was very good! I’ll visit this place again! We order curry with rice and nan. The combination was perfect!!

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Very good, recommended

s
San Francisco
94 reviews
Dined on November 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Loved the food we had before the opera. Terrific tandoori fish (salmon) with dipping sauce, creamy eggplant with incredible nuanced flavors, spicy chicken curry. The Indian lager goes well with the food. The decoration is pleasant and we (3) enjoyed sharing our food. There were even leftovers. There is no actual bar--only beer and Indian wine. Don't overlook this great place before the theater.

j
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 1, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Pre-opera birthday celebration

D
1 review
Dined on October 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Relaxed atmosphere with great decor, very good food (from travelers to India).

J
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall3food4service4ambience3

Tables were crowded together and it became very noisy as more customers arrived. Could have done without the fairly loud music.

G
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 7, 2019
Overall2food1service4ambience3

I’ve been eating Indian food for long time , Paris , nyc , miami , LA...
I ordered the same dishes , all the time and for some reason at this restaurant wasn’t tasting the same at all , they told me that’s the way they make it here , which i believe but i was very disappointed.
Also the cheese nan was dried , nothing moist...
I brought my family for them to try indian’s food but wasn’t the best idea , unfortunately.

S
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I had a great meal at Mela but I did not get any "Open Table" credit and there was no explanation. What gives?

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great service and delicious Indian food! Highly recommend!

AN
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Brought new friends to try out the restaurant and they loved the place the food was excellent again and they loved they ambiance of the place.

h
San Francisco
30 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great! I was sorry we were in a hurry to see the show

b
1 review
Dined on August 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and service at a good price. Eat often and always good. Great location.

C
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent service and delicious food. Will definitely be back!

JS
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall3food5service2ambience4

Great food but crazy slow service even when not crowded. Beware if you have a show at the opera house

p
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Nice restaurant. Clean restroom. Excellent food and service. I will definitely go back..

OT
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Such an amazing restaurant! The service was impeccable, the food was delicious and the prices were so affordable. We will definitely be back!

MR
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on May 25, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience4

I would recommend Mela based on my several visits, but not as a result of the last one.

We have had some lovely meals here in the past, but this time was not a complete success. We ordered three curries and a mixed tandoori grill, plus some breads.

The breads were good, although the garlic naan was quite different from any that I have had elsewhere in that it seemed more like a pizza crust with a bit of garlic than a traditional naan covered in garlic.

The three curries were decent, although very close to one another in seasoning and taste despite one being a vindaloo; I will take the blame for this, however, as I should have thought longer about the combination of things that we ordered. Next time, we'll vary the order with some vegetables or other preparations,

The major disappointments and the reasons for my rating were the tandoori plate. For a place with "Tandoori" in its name, Mela struck out. The plate was generous enough, to be sure, and not badly priced for the amount of food served. It consisted of a large amount of chicken, served both as pieces taken off a skewer and as a large mass of boneless chicken to which a wing was attached, a small lamb chop, a length of seekh kebab, and slices of beef. The chicken was okay, not great, but the other items were strikeouts, to the point of inedibility. The lamb chop was too dry to be enjoyable, the kebab was as dry as sawdust and the beef slices literally were like jerky. Their lack of moisture and dark, dark coloration suggested they may have been reheated from a prior time.

The service gets low marks, as well, because no one asked us how the food was until we were done eating. When I said to one server that we found the tandoori to be overcooked, the first server said "sorry" and walked away. The server who had taken our order then came by to ask if we wanted dessert. I told her the same thing and her response was "sorry for the inconvenience," and she too walked away. And that was that.

HS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 24, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

The food at Mela is consistently very good to excellent

j
San Francisco
37 reviews
Dined on May 16, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Nothing was bad about our experience. Nothing was memorable

f
San Francisco
39 reviews
Dined on May 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This is our first time dining in after years of take out (we live 1 block away), and I don't know why we haven't come in earlier (actually, I think it's because they're often quite busy and we don't like waiting for tables). The food was even better in-restaurant than it is out of take out containers. We brought my parents, who loved everything. The restaurant decor is lots of fun, with plenty of design inspiration!

Great experience!

SS
San Francisco
27 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall3food5service4ambience1

Noise level has now reached the threshold of pain, due, in no small part, to separate tables having little separation!

MA
San Francisco
28 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

We have lots of fine Indian restaurants in the East Bay, but we were happy to find this one near Davies. The Tabdoori lamp chops were sensational. Dont miss the chicken Samosas.

OT
1 review
Dined on April 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I always order the mixed grill and garlic cheese naan and they never disappoint. Absolutely delicious.

IB
Miami
6 reviews
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

The flavors are amazing

EG
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

We love Mela! The staff is warm and inviting and the food is FANTASTIC!

RM
San Joaquin
1 review
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We loved this place! They handled our party of ten no problems. It was delicious and fun!

IM
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall2food4service1ambience3

The food was not bad, but the service was excruciatingly slow - when we ordered at ~6:45 we were told that the mixed grill would take 25 minutes, which was fine since we had tickets to an 8:00 show. When it hadn't arrived by 7:25 we started to get nervous, and were told it would be "right out". At ~7:30 they brought out the side dishes and said again that the main dish would be right out. They finally served it at ~7:40 - we had time to scarf down a few bites and then take the rest of the meal in a doggie bag. We won't be back.