When the weather is chilly (and honestly, when is it not?) all we want to do is tuck into a big pile of puffy naan and a steaming bowl of curry.
Here are our eight favorite spots, each worth their weight in handpicked saffron, to slurp Indian and Pakistani curry in San Francisco.
You'll catch the warming scent of spice as soon as you pass through the door at Curry Leaf, where you can chow on a somewhat upscale menu, including Indian- and Pakistani-style curries, in a casual space at the base of Russian Hill. Their chicken tikka masala made with tomato sauce is a fan favorite, but the Bengan Bharta (roasted eggplant, sauteed onions, and tomatoes), served in traditional steel bowls table-side, is a lesser known but utterly seductive choice. // 943 Columbus Ave. (Russian Hill), curryleafinsf.com
Naan 'N' Curry
Geared toward the every-busy foodie, Naan 'N' Curry is the meeting point of authentic Indian-Pakistani street food and portability, serving all their curries to-go along with all the necessary accoutrements. Pick up a chicken Biryani and garlic naan to enjoy at your desk, or order for delivery via Caviar. // 642 Irving St. (Inner Sunset), wownaanncurry.com
When you're feeling a little bit fancy, Rooh offers modern, beautifully plated takes on your favorite curries and dosas in stylish SoMa digs. This newish restaurant also earns points for its legit cocktail program—grab your colleagues for after-work drinks and a shared homemade chutney sampler. // 333 Brannan St. #150 (SoMa), roohsf.com
A Marina staple for Indian takeout, Viva Goa sates savvy palates with a healthy selection of curries, naan, and tandoori. But as the name suggests, the focus here is primarily on Goan cuisine, so expect a more coastal take that highlights seafood. Opt for the prawn xacuti, made from a traditional Goan curry of roasted coconut, red chillies, poppy seeds and spices. // 2420 Lombard St. (Marina), vivagoaindiancuisine.com
When it comes to modern Indian cooking in the city, Dosa did it first, which may be why we'll always have a soft spot for the restaurant's original, totally funky little location in the Mission. (The fancy Fillmore spot is super nice, but swanky eateries abound.) The regional flavors of South India star here in the signature dosas, uttapam and, of course, unique curries including smoked Arctic char with persimmon; the Vellorean seafood curry with Dungeness crab; and a grass-fed lamb pepper fry with Brussels sprouts. With curry prices approaching $30 a plate, this is not your parent's Indian takeout, so go for date night. // 995 Valencia St. (Mission) and 1700 Fillmore St. (Fillmore), dosasf.com
Saffron GrillThis is a place where all your curry-spiced, yogurt-soaked, kebab-dreams come true. Go for the tandoori chicken char, marinated in yogurt, ginger, garlic and traditional Indian spices, and spooned atop saffron rice or aloo paratha (oven-baked bread, stuffed with potatoes and pea). // 1279 Fulton St. (Fillmore), saffrongrill.com