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Restaurants & Bars

La Jolla - Ashoka Indian Restaurant- stay away

Indiandiva | Sep 11, 200512:48 AM     12

I recently moved to La Jolla from the Bay Area and wanted to have some Indian food. I live near La Jolla downtown and after reading the not-so-hot reviews on Chowhound of most Indian restaurants in SD, I gave up and decided to try Ashoka as I didn't see anything posted about it. While the staff is friendly (and boastful about their food), the food is terrible. We ordered saag paneer and shrimp vindaloo. The waiter promised that the vindaloo would be the tastiest vindaloo we ever tasted. We also ordered a naan as the meal came with rice (freshly microwaved - we asked). We also asked for our food to be very spicy when the waiter asked how spicy we wanted our dishes.

We were first served a complimentary bland soup that looked like a mix between rasam and daal. Then our dishes arrived. Sometimes with Indian food, you can't tell until you taste it if it is good or bad. In this case, the food LOOKED terrible. The paneer or maybe it was cottage cheese was ground up into the saag and you could barely taste anything other than cream. The vindaloo (the item that the waiter had bragged about) was terrible - totally tasteless and watery. The naan tasted like it was made from pizza dough that I make at home.

Anyway, the short of this review is to stay away from Ashoka.

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  1. d
    daantaat Let us know if you find better, or ideally, SF/LA/NYC quality Indian places in SD. So far, we wait to head north to Colton or LA...

    Let us know if you find better, or ideally, SF/LA/NYC quality Indian places in SD. So far, we wait to head north to Colton or LA for good Indian food, as most places we've been to just don't measure up.

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    1. b
      Brian Saunders re: daantaat I'm curious what you have tried and/or what you haven't tried, daantaat (in particular, in the Black Mountain area). I'm not disagreeing;...

      I'm curious what you have tried and/or what you haven't tried, daantaat (in particular, in the Black Mountain area). I'm not disagreeing; I just wanted a baseline for discussion/recommendation.

      1. d
        daantaat re: Brian Saunders The only place we've been to on Black Mountain Road is Ashoka. Was very disappointed by the lack of complexity of flavors and spices...

        The only place we've been to on Black Mountain Road is Ashoka. Was very disappointed by the lack of complexity of flavors and spices. Granted, we did the lunch buffet, but even for "mildly hot," it was lacking depth of flavor. I've had "mild" Indian food before that wasn't lacking flavor. Or another way of putting it--I can cook better Indian out of my Madhur Jaffrey cookbooks! We haven't made it to Madras Cafe or Coconut Grove yet, so maybe they're better and stand up to LA and other places.

        We have gone to Sitar off Sorrento Valley Road and thought they were pretty good. Certainly better than Ashoka. The downside is that it's not really a sit-down place--eating means in the food court or doing take-out.

    2. b
      Beth - The Zen Foodist I don't know about the Ashoka in LJ, but my husband (and many other people I know) rave about the Ashoka off of Miramar Road. After...

      I don't know about the Ashoka in LJ, but my husband (and many other people I know) rave about the Ashoka off of Miramar Road. After hearing about it for months, I finally accompanied him there for lunch a couple weeks ago. They do a lunch buffet for the corporate crowd in the area. I really liked it, but I am not an expert in Indian food.

      Maybe there's a difference between the quality of the LJ and Miramar locations? Anyone know?

      Link: http://www.zenfoodism.com/

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      1. j
        Jay Porter re: Beth - The Zen Foodist I believe that "Ashoka the Great" in Miramar is completely unrelated to the restaurant "Ashoka" in La Jolla. I recall that many...

        I believe that "Ashoka the Great" in Miramar is completely unrelated to the restaurant "Ashoka" in La Jolla. I recall that many years ago the Reader reviewed "Ashoka the Great" (positively) and said the two restaurants were not affiliated. I've eaten at "Ashoka the Great" and enjoyed it.

        [Full disclosure: I own a (non-Ashoka) restaurant in San Diego.]

        1. j
          JS re: Jay Porter Yes Jay, that is correct. Ashoka the Great is definitely not the same animal, and is better than La Jolla's Ashoka. And one of...

          Yes Jay, that is correct. Ashoka the Great is definitely not the same animal, and is better than La Jolla's Ashoka.

          And one of these days, I will make it back down to the Linkery. Promise.

      2. g
        Gayla You'll probably have better luck trying the restaurants on Black Mountain Rd. in the Miramar area than in La Jolla. Luckily, they...

        You'll probably have better luck trying the restaurants on Black Mountain Rd. in the Miramar area than in La Jolla. Luckily, they aren't too far from you, mabye about 15 minutes away. Coconut Grove serves South Indian food, which tends to be spicier and hotter. I have not been there, nor do I recall seeing it reviewed here on this board, tho' the trade reviews of it have indicated it's decent.

        A woman I work with e-mailed me earlier this summer about a small Indian restaurant that she swears by. Unfortunately, the name of it escapes me at the moment. I'll see if I can find that e-mail tomorrow when I get to work and post the info for you. I also have 2 Indian women (vegetarians, BTW) that work for me, I'll ask them where they go for good Indian food.

        5 Replies
        1. j
          JS re: Gayla Coconut Grove is indeed good, though if you're not used to South Indian food it may not be what you're expecting. Indian Princess...

          Coconut Grove is indeed good, though if you're not used to South Indian food it may not be what you're expecting. Indian Princess in Hillcrest is also good. Galoka in La Jolla is good, but strictly vegetarian and the service is kind of slow.

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            Angie re: JS Galoka in La Jolla is closed.

            Galoka in La Jolla is closed.

            1. j
              JS re: Angie Damn, sorry to hear that. Obviously, I haven't been there in a while. :P

              Damn, sorry to hear that.

              Obviously, I haven't been there in a while. :P

              1. a
                Angie re: JS Yeah, the two years of construction along La Jolla Blvd. has really hurt a lot of the businesses in the Birdrock area. Both Cuvee...

                Yeah, the two years of construction along La Jolla Blvd. has really hurt a lot of the businesses in the Birdrock area. Both Cuvee and Galoka closed in the past year.

                Beaumont's has taken over the space formerly occupied by Galoka. Owner Megan Heine also owns the Brockton Villa in La Jolla Cove. I drove by today but they are closed on Mondays (open Tues-Sat 11-10).

          2. g
            Gayla re: Gayla I found the e-mail to which I referred in the previous post. The place my co-worker likes is India Sweets & Spices. It is...

            I found the e-mail to which I referred in the previous post. The place my co-worker likes is India Sweets & Spices. It is, indeed, in the small strip mall just north of the intersection of Miramar Rd. and Black Mountain Rd. She also said she thought it had just undergone a change of ownership.

            She also mentioned a great little mom & pop Indian place on Rosecrans as being her all time fav in SD. Unfortunately, Rosecrans is a v-e-r-y long street and there are l-o-t-s of mom & pop restos along it.

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