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“Faithful Improvisations on the South Indian Idiom”
Review of DOSA on Valencia

DOSA on Valencia
Ranked #611 of 5,711 Restaurants in San Francisco
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$21 - US$60
Cuisines: Indian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighbourhood: Mission District
Cross street: 21st Street
Transit: BART Stop at 24th & Mission BUSES - Accessible via 26 on Valencia, the 14 (& 14L), 49, 33 running down Mission Street and 67 which turns on 24th Street (3 blocks from the restaurant).
Description: Dosa is one of the world’s great culinary delicacies made from rice & lentils (no wheat) & served with a variety of fillings that will offer you the most authentic & tantalizing flavors of Southern India. Of course, DOSA is not just about dosas but about offering the broad selection of South Indian fare to San Francisco diners using fresh ingredients that are primarily local, organic, natural & sustainable. Here are a few reviews and awards... 2011, 2010, '09, '08, '07 & '06 Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants SF Chronicle 2011, 2010, 2009 & 2007 Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand & Recommended 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 Best Indian, Bay Readers Poll - SF Bay Guardian 2011, 2009 Best Indian Readers Poll Winner - SF Weekly 2010, 2008 Best Eats in San Francisco, SF Examiner 2009, 2008 & 2007 Best Indian, The Eat + Drink Awards - 7x7 Magazine The Top 10 (New) Restaurants of 2006 -Michael Bauer, SF Chronicle
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level 6 Contributor
402 reviews
252 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 202 helpful votes
“Faithful Improvisations on the South Indian Idiom”
Reviewed 11 May 2014

Here is another place in the Mission that I have passed many times on previous visits to the city and always wondered about. Our attendance here was occasioned by a split-second change of heart on our way to somewhere else and the road not previously chosen "has made all the difference."

Around the world South Indian menus are quite standardized and the main differences have to do with the quality of ingredients or subtleties in the layering and marrying of spice flavors. In fact almost all of the chefs in these places worldwide come from a single village, Udupi in Karnataka State in India. This place offered improvisations on the idiom of South Indian cuisine that I have not seen anywhere else. Unlike the rather gimmicky inventiveness of some San Francisco eateries, the improvisations here are, for the most part, from within the genre, marrying a traditional form to a local ingredient. A case in point is the uttapam made with stinging nettles and other vegetables. Delicious! There are several fillings for dosas that I have never seen before. The most tantalizing one, which we did not sample, was the spicy mung bean filling.

We started dinner with a beautifully pureed beet soup with roasted cumin garnished with little hearts of creme fraiche and sort of vegie burger slider that was all Indian (except for the bun). Next came a standard masala dosa as my dinner partner had never tried one and wanted to start with the usual fare. It was beautifully made. The sambar accompanying it was pleasingly thick which helped more of it to adhere to the dosa when dipped. The next marvel was a complex and very toothsome kofta, a sort of minced vegetable "meatball" in a wonderful savory gravy that is usually a North Indian offering, with mushrooms, apricots, cashews and many other ingredients. This was accompanied by coconut rice and was outstanding. (I notice that South Indian places often do North Indian dishes better than you find them in the North!) Our dessert was a mango-saffron halwa that came warm and sweet but with a little bite of acidity from the mango and the subtlety of saffron. It was a memorable Indian meal and I will go back for more!

We came to dinner early (5:30 PM) and did not need a reservation, but clearly for a more conventional dinner time arrival, a reservation would be a good idea, even on a week night. Service was friendly and knowledgeable, which is important for restaurants that are often introducing a new cuisine to patrons. The array of desserts was generous; of 6 or 7 only two were Indian. Given the lovely treatment of the halwa one would hope that the chefs would put more effort into improvising Indian.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank Stephen P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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212 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level 4 Contributor
43 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“great food”
Reviewed 14 April 2014 via mobile

the food and location is very good and the stuff very friendly.
also the prices are very acceptable compared to the good quality.

Thank Gyula H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level 5 Contributor
66 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“Fun place with Great Food”
Reviewed 8 April 2014

I've never had Dosas before, so this was fun-- and delicious. I also loved the atmosphere--nice place with excellent service. The flavors were vibrant and the variety of Dosas on the menu was interesting. The service was fast and we found parking nearby. We didn't even plan to go here...just saw it while walking around Valencia Street on a Sunday afternoon. What a great find!

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank nalu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Concord, California
Level 6 Contributor
298 reviews
202 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
“Attentive service and relaxing atmosphere”
Reviewed 21 February 2014

We stumbled in here after a day of (what else) apartment hunting in San Francisco. It was quiet, with lots of empty tables, which was fine with us. We started with Dahi Vada, which was interesting, but probably not something I'd order again. I had the Paneer and Peas Uttapam which is a favorite of mine and was delicious. The apartment hunter had the Egg Dosa and reported it to be excellent.
Throughout the meal, the service was excellent. By the time we were finishing up, the restaurant had begun to fill, and people were waiting on the sidewalk for tables.

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank N_skier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Philadelphia, PA usa
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
42 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Poplar for a reason!”
Reviewed 13 January 2014

Cozy place with interesting combinations of flavors. Had delicious, memorable meal here. Looking forward to my next visit. Service was good as well.

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank mimerscreamer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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