Himalayan Tandoori and Curry House is feeding Sebastopol right

Spend a thoughtful afternoon eating daal, saag paneer, momo, tikka masala and naan at Himalayan Tandoori and Curry House

Himalayan Tandoori & Curry House courtesy photo Yelp
Himalayan Tandoori & Curry House courtesy photo Yelp

Hidden in a Sebastopol strip mall, Himalayan Tandoori and Curry House Indian restaurant has flown way below the radar of most foodies. Relying mostly on word-of-mouth advertising, Tibetan owner Rajehh Moktan promptly won over local vegans with his brown rice, veggie tandoori, daal bhat (lentil soup) and meatless curries. No small feat in Sebastopol. But that’s only a small part of the equation.
Omnivores can sink their teeth into lamb or seafood tandoori; a rich, creamy chicken tikka masala (which is naked without a dab of mango chutney) or the ultra-rich saag paneer curry with homemade cubes of cheese, fresh spinach, onions, spices and tomato sauce. To sop up every last dribble of sauce—and believe me, you’ll want to—head straight for the garlic cilantro naan bread. Pace yourself as you dive into the half-moons with crisp edges and a soft middle studded with butter, herbs and garlic.

Himalayan Tandoori & Curry House courtesy photo Yelp
Himalayan Tandoori & Curry House courtesy photo Yelp

Manning the kitchen is Rajehh’s cousin (also from Tibet) who cut his teeth at Sonoma’s Taste of Himalaya and Rohnert Park’s Shangri-La after having owned his own restaurant back home. Having never trekked through the Himalayas, the food’s authenticity is better left to experts. I have however, watched Anthony Bourdain choke down yak meat in Nepal, and will venture to guess that Rajehh’s take is probably more suited to American tastes. Note: If you’re planning to be a hero, be warned that “spicy” can mean some serious heat. Mild or medium is a safe bet, though Raj says they strive to make chicken taste like, well, chicken no matter how hot you want it.
If you’re keeping to mostly Tibetan-influenced dishes, steer toward the meat (or veggie) momo—filled dumplings that have much in common with potstickers. The restaurant serves them up with a tomato and cumin sauce that packs a punch. Fill up on daal bhat curry with rice and vegetables and mixed pickle chutney.
The rest of the menu borrows heavily from the cuisine of Nepal’s Indian neighbors—not too surprising for a nation that survives mainly on lentil soup, rice, pickles and yak, uh, products (including butter and cheese). In Tibet, sustenance beats out complicated preparations and exotic spices. In India, not so much. Hindi influences show in kabobs, curries, masalas and vindaloos, as well as the desserts of gulab jamun (sweet, fried dough balls) and Kulfi (a sort of Indian ice cream). Call it food inclusionism and make your own stand. Power to the Paneer.
Himalayan Tandoori and Curry House, 969 Gravenstein Hwy So, Sebastopol, 707.824.1800. Open for lunch from 11am to 2:30pm Monday through Saturday, Dinner from 5pm to 9pm Monday through Saturday. Closed on Sunday.

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One thought on “Himalayan Tandoori and Curry House is feeding Sebastopol right

  1. TRACEY (10/04/2008 2:52:45 PM)
    Comment: I have been there a few times, best SAAG I’ve had in a long time. The prices and service I found to be right on target. Between Taj in Windsor and this place in Sebastopol all I can say is…So much curry, so little time!!!
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: sandy (10/04/2008 11:59:45 PM)
    Comment: This place rocks. The food is top notch and the service is always great. Sometimes the medium is a little too spicy, especially in the non-cream based curries. The masala sauce is wonderful, mild and delicious. Try the mango lassi!
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Oenophilus (11/04/2008 10:09:13 AM)
    Comment: Heather, Great new Biteclub masthead! Congrats.
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Oenophilus (11/04/2008 10:11:50 AM)
    Comment: Can your designer make it into a badge so we can link you on our blogs and sites?
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Holly Hansen (11/04/2008 10:39:32 AM)
    Comment: This place is a gem. I am a Saag Paneer fanatic and I’ve never tasted one better than here. Not in San Francisco or New York or anywhere else I’ve tried. Tiny, bright little whole baby spinach leaves, perfectly cooked in a light sauce with tender paneer. In fact everything I’ve had at Himalayan Tandoori House is fresh and flavorful. And I appreciate that they actually have tasty brown rice. The owner couldn’t be more charming or welcoming. He makes a point to say hello to everyone in the restaurant and make them feel at home. My only complaint is that now it is going to be a lot harder to get a table there!
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: clb (11/04/2008 10:42:00 AM)
    Comment: must have wrong phone on this rest. What is it near?
    Response: SOrry CLB, my dyslexia kicking in. I’ve changed the phone number. It’s 824.1800. Best.
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Kathei Brix (11/04/2008 11:34:35 AM)
    Comment: I have been here several times and it is great! Having spent time in Nepal many years ago it has all the smells and tastes that are found there. We especially like the samosa chat. Having been to several Himalayan places around Sonoma County and beyond, this is one of the best. Pass the word and let this place prosper…
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: dave (23/04/2008 12:01:34 AM)
    Comment: this place is heaven… they have the best chicken tika masala… best thing i love their vegeterian dish..all organic …owner is very friendly…i reccomeend everyone..
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: erik (23/04/2008 12:04:36 AM)
    Comment: this place beats out any resturant in sonoma county because their food quality is fresh and all the dish are organic…i have tried Annapurna but thier dish were not healthy because they used lot unhealthy ingredients..when i started coming to himalayan tandoori curry house, their food was very fresh and taste was delicious… what can i say!!!!
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: trent (23/04/2008 12:06:56 AM)
    Comment: food is excellent better than any Indian resturant in sonoma county… service is excellent.. their lentil soup is excellent… best of all their price are very cheaper…
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: ric (08/06/2008 8:02:51 AM)
    Comment: My comment is about a new restaurant in Cotati called Masala Jack’s. I believe the food is Punjabi and with $5.95 entrees and a $6.95 lunch it is a great deal and the food was superb. For the record, I enjoy Karma restaurant too, neither of which are quite as good (or expensive) as Pamposh in Santa Rosa, but Masala Jacks apparently is much like home cooking/street style Indian food. I have eaten at Himalayan only once, but it was excellent, so, it seems we don’t have to go to the east or south bay anymore to get really good Indian food!
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: jack (24/08/2008 6:00:42 PM)
    Comment: Great food, Great service! I took a friend here for dinner in the middle of the week. We had A great meal. I enjoyed the Dahl soup, Lamb Tikka masala and Garlic and Cilantro Naan. To drink I had the iced Chai tea. My wife ordered the Chana Masala. I have to say it was all very delicious. They have made a great atmosphere for dining on fresh tasting cuisine. I think that even though the menu isn’t over crowded with all the cuisine in the world. They are experts at what they do offer. The staff were very fast to serve and on the spot for the whole experience.
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: sam (24/08/2008 6:04:09 PM)
    Comment: himalayan curry house much good stuff to write about it. I’ve traveled in India and Nepal, and I always use the tikki masala as the bench mark for an Indian/Nepalese establishment’s excellence. himakayan curry house La scores very high on that index. I would say that their location is a mixed blessing–they have plenty of parking and are very accessible, but isolation from fellow-businesses on that lot would up the premium of the location. Nevertheless, the murals and the music absolutely charmed me. It is a cozy little family establishment where even the day’s specials get a funky little board of sketches. I started with the momos. Anyone who traveled in Nepal is bound to love the taste of himalyan curry house meat dumplings: it has the authentic taste of street snack in Nepal. To my mind, it is the perfect marriage of Tibetan style momos from Darjeeling and mouth-watering Kathmandu flavors. I asked the guy who owns the place for her tikka masala recipe. he demurred, which makes sense, because the flavors in it were of the kind I’ve rarely encountered in other establishments. Most Indian/Nepalese restaurants rely upon either color or heavy cream, or a combination thereof, to make the curry seem appealing. That’s the reason why you’re left feeling like you’ve feasted on a tub of lard after wards. But the curry sauce at himalayan was very different. No wonder other reviewers here seem to love to return there. The garlic basil naan was excellent–the warm spice of garlic was nicely tempered by the basil and it came perfectly cooked–neither doughy, not still burning when it arrived at the table. I was drinking Flying Horse, which I wouldn’t drink at a bar, but makes perfect sense with curry. It seems the place relies upon college kids for service, which makes sense, since it is situated so close to one. In my opinion, this should make it difficult for the restaurant to tailor its services to between the student crowd and a more mature clientele. Nevertheless, it seems to have done a good job so far of keeping most people happy most of the time.
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: erik (24/08/2008 6:05:35 PM)
    Comment: A friend told us about himalayan curry house I must say, coming from Santa Rosa, this place offers better prices than any other Himalayan/Indian food up here, and at much better quality, using organic and natural products. For $8, you can get their chicken curry, which comes with a pot of rice, and fills you up pretty good. Service was excellent – I’ve been there once and told them we were trying to make a show at SSU. The restaurant was pretty full ( only one or two tables open), and they had our food out in 6 minutes. Damn. A+ from me. Good food, good prices, good service. Nothing more to say!
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: paul (24/08/2008 6:07:54 PM)
    Comment: Couple months ago a friend of mine took me to himalayan curry house for dinner. With his suggestion I ordered Chicken Tikki Masala and Garlic Basil Naan… And since that day that place have become the most favorite eating place. I crave for that Chicken Tikki Masala. I have tried many ethnic restaurant in the past… Never had such a desire to go back to same restaurant. Now when I get hungry himalayan resturant comes first in my mind. Soothing chanting music some thing sound like “Om Mani Padme Hum…. ” I keep hearing again and again. May be that is the trick they have with good food and chanting soothing music makes me go again and again. Some of my friend who never wanted to try ethnic food are now himalayan curry house converts. Happy eating.
    Reply to Comment

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