Kirbie's Cravings

Ashoka the Great lunch buffet

Ashoka the Great
9474 Black Mountain Rd
San Diego, CA 92126
(858) 695-9749

Thanks to a tip by clayfu, I got to try an Indian buffet place this weekend that I have not yet tried.  After researching the place, I was excited.  I love Royal India, but Ashoka is closer to where I live and I don't have to deal with downtown parking.  Another great thing is that their lunch buffet is open until 4pm!  Because of other weekend commitments, I am not available for lunch on weekends until after 1.  Royal India's buffet ends at 2:30, so it's always a bit of a rush to get there and enjoy the food.

Ashoka is located in the Little India area on Miramar, which I have to confess, I have never been to until now. Parking was a bit hard to find because there are not many spaces and there are a lot of restaurants and stores crammed into the plaza. Boyfriend and I circled the lot for a while, and followed people exiting until we found a spot.

Since Royal India is the only Indian buffet I have really enjoyed in San Diego, this review is going to do a lot of comparing with Royal India.

The lunch buffet is $10.95 and opened daily until 4pm.  Slightly pricier than Royal India if you use the coupon ($9.99 with coupon, $12.99 regular price.)

The selection was much bigger than Royal India and most other Indian buffet places I have been to.  There were a lot more meat curries and other dishes I have not tried before.

For example, there was this soup I've never had before (I don't remember the name):

Here are some pictures from the lunch buffet display:

Here are some pictures of the food we ate:

For most of the dishes at Ashoka, if they are offered at Royal India, I
found the Royal India versions to be more flavorful.  Most of the curries at
Ashoka were a bit bland/watered down.  Not too bad; just not the best either.  Some of the
other Indian buffets I've been to have no flavor at all.  I did find
the tandoori chicken here to be more flavorful here.  Also the vegetable somosa.  Very big, spicy and flavorful! Delicious! 

Our meal came with garlic nan, which was pretty cool, instead of just regular nan.

The nan was interesting to me.  On one edge it is super, super thick.  Thicker than any other nan I've eaten.  One the other edge of each piece it is very thin and crispy.  The nan at Royal India is thick, but not as thick as Ashoka's nan.  However the nan at Royal India is more uniform in its thickness.  I enjoy the nan at Royal India best, but the Ashoka one was pretty good.

For dessert, they offer some fruits, salad, a coconut kheer, mango kheer and gulab jamun.

Both the mango and coconut kheer had little bits of almonds in it.  I enjoyed them both.  I still enjoy the coconut kheer at Royal India the best though.  There is some secret ingredient that was in the one at Royal India which I have not found anywhere else.  Ashoka had this really cool serving spoon to scoop out the kheer without it spilling and making a mess.  

We also ordered the mango lassi.

It tasted good, but the consistency was a bit too liquidy.  I prefer the one at Royal India.

Overall:  My favorite Indian buffet is still Royal India.  I think in general, the dishes they serve are a bit more flavorful.  However, Ashoka is pretty good compared to other Indian buffets I've tried, offers more dishes, and is open later and in a more convenient location.  I will definitely be back.

Ashoka the Great Cuisine-India on Urbanspoon

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4 comments on “Ashoka the Great lunch buffet”

  1. I remember there being one of these in Downtown La Jolla for a while. They seem to have a nice variety northern Indian/Pakistani stuff.
    Now, if you are interested in something a little different in the Indian line, look across the parking lot from Ashoka.
    See a little place called Madras Cafe? Have you tried it? If not, you might like to. Kirk blogged about it here:
    It specializes in Southern Indian food. I’ve been here once and really enjoyed it. It is all vegetarian as it is more Tamil style cooking (Tamils are largely Hindu). They specialize in idlis and dosas, etc. Very good. Very interesting. Very hot too if you get things made traditional strength.
    Most interesting to me was that that you were fed on Thalis or the traditional metal dish sets where you could sample a whole bunch of chutneys and curries from separate dishes using your dosa breads and pakoras as your ‘cutlery’.
    Just an idea 😉

  2. Thanks for the rec. You’re the second person to suggest Madras to me after reading my review of Ashoka. I’ll definitely have to give it a try, though it’ll be hard to convince Boyfriend to come along. Vegetarian and him don’t get along.

  3. I’d try Royal Indian, but it’s far from where I am. The good thing about Ashoka is they’ve been consistent for the last 8 years. I’ve never had a bad meal at the buffet, so if it’s good one trip it’s comparable the next. They also make some good vegetable dishes to order (non-buffet).

  4. That’s good to know that they are so consistent. It’s definitely closer to me than Royal Indian is also and I don’t have to deal with paying for parking.

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