The popular Royal India recently opened a second restaurant location in Carmel Valley. We’ve enjoyed the downtown location but are often too lazy to deal with the parking. We were excited by the new opening, especially since we enjoy the lunch buffet.
Unfortunately, the lunch buffet is only served during the weekdays at this new location. We learned this the hard way when we showed up one Saturday to find it closed. On weekends, they are only open for dinner. However, we were fortunate to be invited to come check out dinner.
The menu is the same as the downtown one. It’s in a nice plaza with plenty of parking. The interior has a nice shiny new feel to it, complete with their signature waterfall.
Mixed Tandoori Grill
We’ve tried a lot of the curry dishes here, so I thought I’d mix things up and try some of the tandoori grill items. Since I couldn’t decide on one, I opted for the mixed grill, which gives you a little of everything.
My favorite was the chicken. Chicken usually gets so dry when grilled, but their marinated yogurt chicken was incredibly moist. I found the minced meat to be a little dry though.
Masala with chicken
Spicy curry sauce of onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes and spices
Not to be mistaken with the Chicken Tikka Masala which has a sweeter tomato cream base, this is a savory curry, heavy on the onions, garlic and ginger.
I adore nan bread and no meal is complete without it for me. Royal India makes some of the best nan I’ve had in San Diego. It has just the right amount of fluffiness and is never burnt. I usually opt for the garlic nan.
About halfway into our meal, the manager came over to bring out some samples of their signature dishes. We actually ended up enjoying these much more than what we ordered, so we definitely know what we want next time.
I loved how colorful this bread was. The nan bread is stuffed with onions. The onions added a slight sweet crunch to the bread.
Chicken Lemon Chili Kabab
We were a big fan of this one as well. The chicken was very moist and packed a little bit of heat.
lowfat cuts of lamb cooked in cream curry, cashew and almond paste, nuts, raisins and spices
I had never tried this lamb curry. At a glance, the ingredient list made me think it would be too sweet. But I thoroughly enjoyed this and it might be my favorite curry here yet that I’ve tried. It’s a cream based curry with just a subtle hint of sweetness.
We finished our meal with a kheer pudding, which is a rice pudding with nuts and raisins. I wasn’t really fond of the red syrup on top which was a little artificial and distracted from the rice flavor, but I guess it’s there for aesthetic purposes.
We had a good time here. The quality of food and service was on par with all our previous visits to the downtown location. The new space is a good option for those who don’t want to deal with downtown parking. I’m hoping they will eventually offer their lunch buffet on weekends too.
Please note, this particular meal was complimentary. We’ve dined at Royal India in the Gaslamp numerous times and felt the food for this media dinner was on par with the food and service we’ve always received. As always, even though the meal was complimentary, my opinions remain my own.
3860 Valley Ctr Dr
San Diego, CA 92130