Raja’s Tandoor

October 13, 2012

Raja's Tandoor


After a long and grueling week left me listlessly sprawled on the sofa, I nearly cancelled my dinner at restaurant #20. But curiosity and the company (and a little guilt too… I haven’t written a review in so long!) forced me to roll off of the couch. I pulled on my boots, reached for my car keys, and drove downtown.


My friend beat me to Raja’s Tandoor and snagged an outdoor table overlooking the pedestrians strolling down the sidewalk below. The owner himself stopped by to drop off menus and water glasses. Once we scanned the colorful pictures of each plate, he returned to take our order.  


But before I reveal our entrées, I want you to know… The owner was the best part of dinner. Yes, the dishes were delicious, but still… He laughed and joked with us, teased us about eating with our hands, and even asked to take pictures with us when he saw my camera. (He thoughts I was a professional photographer… I wish! But so sweet of him to ask.) I felt like family, or at least close friends, instead of complete strangers because of the care he showed every single customer.


Raja's Tandoor -- chicken kabob


Now for the food! I selected the chicken kabobs, a dish of moist chicken breast bites coated in a curry spice mix and served on a bed of fresh cilantro. Pots of dipping sauce sat on the corners of the plate: one an earthy but incredibly spicy cilantro spread, the other a cool and refreshing sauce with sweet plum undertones. I ate until I felt more stuffed than a Thanksgiving turkey, then took another five bites.


Raja's Tandoor -- garlic naan


I also ordered the garlic naan. Fresh minced garlic and cilantro dotted the top and permeated into the dough. While many Indian restaurants char the top, mine came out light and fluffy—just the way I like it!


Raja's Tandoor -- mushroom masala


My friend chose the mushroom masala and kindly described it to me since my stomach would violently revolt if I tried a taste. A rich tomato-based sauce surrounded the plump and tender mushrooms, and he tasted hints of cumin in every bite. He enjoyed the dish mixed with rice and happily packed up the leftovers to finish the following day.


Just steps away from the college campus, Raja’s Tandoor is a delightful downtown restaurant run by a sweet and friendly man. He serves traditional Indian dishes bursting with warm spices and complex flavors, including a variety of vegan options. Although some diners seemed disappointed with Raja’s lunchtime buffet or Farmer’s Market stand, their dinner service is definitely worth a try. You may even see me there—I’ll be the girl with a plate piled high with naan!


Raja's Tandoor -- owner Taranbir


website: click here

Davis wiki: click here

hours: Mon-Sat 11a-3p (lunch), 5-9p (dinner); Sun 5-9p


ordered: chicken kabob, mushroom masala, garlic naan

menu comments: big pictures for every dish so you see what you’re ordering

specific vegan section

slightly shorter than other Indian restaurants — but less expensive too!

etc: indoor and outdoor seating

lunch buffet as well as a stand at the Farmer’s Market

owner really friendly! very personable and truly cares about every customer





  1. This looks like a “must experience” restaurant. What other vegetarian dishes would you recommend?

    • Definitely! I’ve only eaten there the one time, so I can’t make any personal recommendations. But their aloo gobi and steamed somosas (like little dumplings) both look good!

  2. The food there looks totally Sikh, man! 🙂

    OK bad puns aside, it really does look amazing. I would set my eyebrows on fire for a piece of that naan right about now.

    • I’d offer you some but… We already ate all of the leftovers! They have a booth at the town’s biweekly Farmer’s Market; I’m really tempted to go tomorrow just to buy their naan… (And love the pun! :P)

  3. […] month, I invited a friend to dinner at a local Indian place, only to cancel on him two hours before the meal. My stomach had contracted an oh-so-lovely 24-hour […]

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