Monsoon

Monsoon, an Indian cuisine focused restaurant in the heart of the Gaslamp District, is part of the Monsoon Group’s four main establishments that serves San Diegians a taste of the country, not just curry. The brother and sister tandem of Chefs Rakesh and Ashley Popat have a wide assortment of appetizers, entrees, Indian breads, curries, tandooris and vegetarian dishes on the menu to satisfy even the most critical Mumbai and Calcuttan food connoisseurs. The Lentis n’ Lamb and the Bangalore Masala bolster this bevy of long-time family recipes and round out this epicurean experience. Monsoon has an all-you-can eat daily lunch buffet for just under $14 from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and on Monday nights ($20) from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. so patrons can get their fill of flavorful fare. Its outdoor seating provides guests the chance to enjoy the warm weather and hustle and bustle of Downtown. Inside Monsoon the floor-to-ceiling waterfalls, the warm wood, and exposed stone provide diners with an elegant eating environment. If you want exotic and authentic Indian food, Monsoon is a must.

Monsoon: A Delicious Exercise in Cultural Exchange

We arrive at Monsoon on a fittingly rainy evening, as suggestive of the restaurant’s namesake as San Diego can muster.  Escaping the inclement weather we are immediately immersed in a warmly exotic refuge.  Seated side-by-side at one of the restaurant’s lush, saffron-colored banquettes, we gaze out at an architectural visual feast.  The restaurant is a skillful blend of decorative influences, marrying East with West, the natural with highly contemporary constructions.  Antique, Louis XVI-style chandeliers illuminate hand painted beams, and the bulbous bodies of sitars and tablas that decorate the walls.  Hindu stone sculptures punctuate large murals depicting colorful scenes of India, juxtaposed against the sleek modernity of the bar and buffet area to the right.  The tranquil sound of the trickling waterfall room divider echoes off rock pillars, mimicking the soft rain outside and transforming the space into an intimate dining oasis.  Pulsing, global-inspired trip hop tunes mingle with this naturalistic soundtrack to create a lively, yet unobtrusive musical setting, building anticipation for our culinary journey.  It is an environment that, like the menu, subtly blends diverse cultural influences, merging authenticity with experimentation, to create a unique global harmony.

While the menu at first glance reflects India’s distinctive culinary traditions, certain flavorful anomalies catch the eye: a starter of Masala Hummus, a Tandoori Chicken Caesar salad, and a Sundried Tomato and Basil Naan promise an epicurean adventure into uncharted flavor terrains.  Not only does Monsoon transgress global culinary borders, it also introduces diners to the gastronomic diversity within India.  Although predominantly North Indian in influence, Monsoon’s menu also features various regional dishes like Goa Fish from the Portuguese-influenced West, and Dizzy Nu Shak, a South Indian banana curry with certain East African influences.  The beverage list is similarly diverse: a respectable, California dominant wine selection is offered alongside a tantalizing mix of themed martinis and cocktails that utilize traditional Indian flavors like chai tea and tropical fruits.  Overwhelmed by the dizzyingly enticing menu options, my dining companion and I put our trust in the capable guidance of the Popat siblings, with mouths watering and expectations high from the spicy aromas perfuming the air.

We begin with brimming, stainless steel bowls of Malagatwany Soup.  The scents of coriander and garam masala waft up from the bowl while black gram dal and chunks of chicken peek out teasingly from the thick, rich liquid and hint at hidden depths.  It proves to blend the flavor memories of comfort embodied by homemade chicken soup with the rich spice mysteries of its culinary culture of origin.  The lentils and yogurt blend together to make a creamy, hearty broth, punctuated by the meaty chicken pieces, and infused with the complexities of its enigmatic seasonings, all of which is amplified when soaked up by the naan’s “blank canvas” accompaniment.  The soup manages to make the foreign familiar, while still maintaining a welcome exoticism.  It is a memorable start to the evening that portends to redefine my notions of winter comfort food.

A trio of appetizers is brought to the table in a riot of colors.  The vibrant red Chilli Chicken, accented by luscious strips of red bell pepper, contrasts beautifully with the green fan of lettuce leaves and sunny yellow lemon slices that garnish the dish.  Again, the air is filled with tantalizing scents, dominated by the tickling heat of chilies and a pleasing citrus acidity.  Tasting the dish reveals surprises obscured from olfactory detection.  The dish combines the smoky, spiced flavors of traditional Indian tandoori with a sweet and sour more characteristic of Cantonese cuisine.  The two disparate cultural cuisines are blended masterfully together by Chef Popat, creating a bold and unique dish that manages still to maintain the distinctive culinary traditions of each culture.

The Desi Chatt elevates classic Indian street food to the refinements of haute cuisine.  Two large samosa triangles entice us with their golden, flaky exteriors.  Part of each triangle is dipped generously in a tantalizing spiced raita-a traditional yogurt condiment mixed with cucumber and mint.  Yellow-orange mango slices and orange carrot slices punctuate the plate with appealing color explosions.  Upon biting into the samosa, my mouth is immediately hit with a pleasing assault of spicy heat from the spiced potato and pea mixture inside the buttery crust.  With expert timing, the cool raita swoops in and soothes my tongue, while simultaneously enlivening taste buds with citrus and mint.  Like any good street food, Monsoon’s Desi Chatt proves difficult to resist, fulfilling all our fried food yens while still maintaining an epicurean eloquence.

We are next served three whimsical cocktails: the punchy Bollywood Night, the tropical Passiontini, and a  Masala Hummus “cocktail”, served cheekily in a towering martini glass over a plate of garlic naan segments.  Both beverages transport the palate to paradisal destinations: the passionfruit and mango sweetness of the Passiontini and the minty, blackberry refreshment of the rum-based Bollywood Night balance the spicy heat of the meal and echo the exotic atmosphere.  The Masala Hummus is similarly refreshing, exciting the taste buds with unexpected flavor fusions.  The subtle dusting of garam masala transforms the traditional Lebanese dish into a tasty exemplar of harmonious cultural exchange.  The pungency of the garlic naan infuses the Hummus with a welcome intensity.

Our entrees arrive together in a dizzying array of aromas and colors, accompanied by a variety of chutneys and sweet and savory naan to complete the edible rainbow.  The startling red of the Chicken Tikka Masala catches my eye first.  Large chunks of tandoori chicken stew in a thick, red masala sauce over a contrastingly verdant bed of lettuce leaves.  The smoky char imparted by the tandoor oven distinguishes Monsoon’s chicken tikka from others I have tasted, adding textural integrity and a roasted heartiness to the typically soupy dish.  It is well paired with the Channa Masala, a spiced chickpea dish of satisfying simplicity.  Like the Chicken Tikka Masala, the Channa Masala is a study in texture: each plump chickpea balances the buttery softness and firm nuttiness of any expertly prepared legume.  With a similar flavor profile, the Channa Masala helps extend the pleasurable experience of the Chicken Tikka Masala, causing it to linger longer in the memory of our mouths.

The undisputed stars of this course, however, are the Lamb Korma and Dizzy Noo Shak.  In varying hues of umber and sienna, the two curries both complement and contrast each other visually and flavorfully.  The Korma’s onion pungency and saffron floral notes balance the gamey lamb, while the sprinkling of golden raisins in the dish add light, sweet accents and greater complexity.   The Dizzy Noo Shak similarly blends spice with sweet.  While as faultlessly authentic as the other entrees, this banana curry is rarely seen at Indian restaurants.  Chef Popat drew on her diverse upbringing to recreate this dish from her childhood in East Africa: its Swahili name and South Indian heritage trace the pattern of her family history around the globe and through her mother’s kitchen.  True to its inspiration, the Dizzy Noo Shak embodies the deep satisfaction and familiarity of a home cooked meal: the sweet starchiness of the banana is reinforced by the creamy coconut base, while the distinctive flavors of cumin, mustard seeds, and a multitude of more subtle spices add a curried savoriness to the dish.  It imparts a sweetness to the Lamb Korma’s dark heartiness.  Together they warm me to my core, expanding my notion of comfort food into new, exotic territories.

Three of the restaurant’s most popular desserts are temptingly presented on a platter brimming with vibrant strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and kiwi half moons.  The Mango Mousse towers above the rest: a creamy orange confection served in a martini glass.  Light as a cloud, it dissolves into a sweetly ethereal mango vapor in the mouth, invigorated by the tartness of its fresh fruit accompaniment.  Monsoon’s Kheer, a traditional Indian rice pudding, stands next to the Mango Mousse in a preciously dainty parfait glass, topped with a fruity strawberry “flower” garnish.  Creamy, and nearly floral with cardamom, it is both light and rich, without the cloying sweetness of other puddings.  Departing from the silken desserts that precede them, the Chocolate Samosas are a textural enticement.  Drizzled with chocolate sauce, these flaky, buttery pastry triangles conceal delectable chocolate centers, resulting in a flavor delightfully reminiscent of pain au chocolat.  A bite of strawberry adds a tart decadence to the chocolate treats.

The aromas and taste memories expressed by Monsoon's culinary ideology cling to my senses long after our unwilling departure.  Blending the familiar with the exotic, regional specificity with notions of universality, Monsoon functions as an epicurean articulation of our growing globalized culture, and the potential pleasures yielded by harmonious cultural exchange.  It is a most delicious, forward-looking optimism.

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Restaurant Info

  • 729 4th Avenue
    San Diego CA 92101
  • Address: 729 4th Avenue, San Diego CA 92101
  • Cross Street: F Street
  • Location: Downtown | Gaslamp Quarter
  • Cuisine:
  • Cost: $$ | Inexpensive | $25 - $50
  • Category: Casual Dining
  • Star Rating:
  • Reservations: Recommended
  • Dress Code: Casual Elegant
  • Meals Served: Lunch | Dinner |
  • Parking: Street |
  • Payment Options: VISA | Amex | Mastercard | Discover | Diners Club |
  • Corkage Fee: 15.00 | Per 750ml bottle.
  • Staff: Rakesh Popat | General Manager
    Ashley Popat | Executive Chef
    Mark Dewey | General Manager
  • Phone: (619) 234-5555

Business Hours

Monday
Main Dining Room | All Day 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Tuesday
Main Dining Room | All Day 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Wednesday
Main Dining Room | All Day 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Thursday
Main Dining Room | All Day 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Friday
Main Dining Room | All Day 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Saturday
Main Dining Room | All Day 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Sunday
Main Dining Room | All Day 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.

Features

  • Full Bar
  • Catering Services
  • Outdoor Seating
  • Smoking Area
  • Takeout Available
  • Winning Wine List
  • Wheelchair Access
  • Valet Parking
  • Personal Wines Allowed
  • Lounge / Bar
  • Healthy Options

Occasion

  • Romantic Dining
  • Dining Alone
  • Business Dining
  • Meet for a Drink
  • People Watching
  • Special Occasion
  • Vegetarian
  • Quick Bite

 


F.A.Q. - Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, Monsoon has a section on their menu with at least 19 vegetarian menu items.
No, as smoking is not permitted in any California restaurants.
For large party events, Monsoon can accommodate groups up to 120 guests.
No, but Monsoon has two sister restaurants. They are Bombay Exotic Cuisine of India in Hillcrest and Masala Spices of India which is also in the Gaslamp Quarter.
Yes, there is a lunch buffet daily from 11am to 2:30pm for $13.95/person.
Yes, on Monday nights from 5pm to 9pm for $19.95/person.
Monsoon does not have a private room, however, they do take large parties in their main dining room.

Menus

Lunch & Dinner

Appetizers

Curries

Chef Specials

Indian Breads

Chutney

Pakoras

Soups

Salads

Tandoori

Biryanis

Rice

Sides

Vegetarian Dishes


User Reviews

Truly Fine Cuisine  

An unbeatable full dinning experience from the food to the ambiance. Tranquil with a Gaslamp flare, this restaurant brought flavor back into food!!! monsoonrestaruant,com you have to see it with your own eyes.

Delicious and fun.  

I give this a conditional 5 stars. If I'd been in more of a hurry, I would have given this restaurant 4 stars, vecause the wait was rather long. However, there was such a fun atmosphere (belly dancing, but not obnoxiously intrusive) and our waiter was so friendly that we didn't mind the wait. The menu was huge and varied. The selections were well priced. My friend had the lamb kebabs and enjoyed them a lot. I had the spicy paneer salad and cauliflower pakora. Both were yummy though the paneer wasn't spicy enough for my taste. It was still very tasty and my only regret was that I didn't have more room to try more appetizers. I did try the mango ice cream, though, which tasted very fresh and fruity.

BEST RESTARAUNT IN SAN DIEGO  

BY FAR THE BEST SERVICE/FOOD IN DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO....BEAUTIFUL FUN ATMOSPHERE....AMAZING FOOD, FRIENDLY AND EXTREMELY ATTENTIVE STAFF....DO NOT MISS THIS ONE!!!!!!!!

Monsoon  

I highly recommend this restaurant. It is a delightful experience to dine there. I was impressed with the elaborate decorations and rich colors that make the ambience enjoyable. The food is phenomenal and very authentic. It is the best Indian restaurant in Southern California, in my opinion. Also, the service is impeccable.

An Indian Treasure  

Monsoon being my first Indian restaurant experience, I was highly pleased with this treasure. The ambiance of the restaurant was lovely--Indian music (great for dancing!), high backed sultan's chairs, and beautiful wall paintings gave the restaurant an authentic, but fancy, feeling. The food was excellent. We ordered the sweet naan, which came with coconut and cherries--a sweet-toothed pleasure before the spiciness ensued. The curry came in four styles of heat--mild, medium, hot, and tiki. We chose the medium, which was hot enough for me! The curry was just right (I ordered mango) and very flavorful. I was pleased that I had been warned about the heat of the dishes, and I would recommend that, unless you can stomach ultra-spicy foods, not to go above medium. All in all, Monsoon was a fun, eclectic, and delicious experience. I would most definitely go again. There are hundreds of choices for anyone, even if you don't like Indian food, and it is hard to choose just one item.

great  

great

Delicious as ever  

I recently visited San Diego for the second time and made it a point to revisit Monsoon. Still crowded, noisy, and we still had a ridiculously long wait. But, the four of us showed up at 7:30 PM without reservations, so we knew it'd be a long wait. The waitstaff is very helpful and friendly. The dancer and I had a nice chat. The food was delicious. I had the Kofta, medium spiced. I've been thinking about it for a week and wishing for another serving. The samosas and pakora are well-spiced but not flaming hot. For food this good, I can put up with a long wait.

Best Indian food in town  

Indian food is pretty readily available in San Diego but many places just fall flat. Star of India does not utilize the spices needed in order to truly enjoy India cuisine. Monsoon not only delivers in this aspect but has a wonderful atmosphere and service. Try to mango mousse and chai to top off whatever you order.

Hip Hindi Hangout  

Very unusual menu- stuffed banana cuury, jalapeno naan and tasty chicken tika masala-yum. the food is well prepared and the servers freindly and unobtrusive. the decor is very sexy and great on impressing dates. This is my favourite restaurant.

Wow  

I would like to say that this is the best indian food I have ever had. The decor , music, ambiance, servers and specially the food, amazing. I would recommend it to everyone. I must say, is worth going downtown, even though parking is always trouble!

Let see who's there  

My Mom and I have gone there 2 times now and each time we have sat close to a celebrity. Tonight was the lead singer from Social Distortion!! Although my mom had no idea who that was… I freaked out. My mom loves the food… I go there to see who I can spot.

Fabulous!  

I went to Monsoon a couple of weeks ago. My boyfriend and I had reservations for 5pm, which is when they start serving dinner. The restaurant was quiet at that time, so it was very relaxing. The decor is great! We sat near the waterfall. The service was excellent. Our bill was a tad high for me (I'm a student. However, it could have easily been lower. The food was very good. The leftovers did well too. :) Overall, I had a wonderful time!

Gaslamps Best.  

some of the best curry I have ever had and I grew up in london!

A Great Date  

I wanted to surprise my wife with a nice night out together. I chose Monsoon because of its accesible Downtown location and Indian Cuisine. We enjoy trying ethnic foods and Monsoon provided a delicious taste and much more. The friendly wait staff helped make this a special night. We indulged the menu with everything including cocktails, appitizers, entrees and dessrts. Each course of our meal was prepared with care and presented well. We are definitely going to make this a regular spot to eat and will also try the sister restraunts Masala and Bombay.

Now thats what I like!  

I just wanted to say that this has been some of the best indian food I have ever had. I read a few of the reviews on this site and almost didn't go, but I'm glad I did!! My night was great! My server had lived in Bombay for 6 months before she moved to San Diego and knew a lot about the food. Mine was not spicy, but my friend liked it hot and that is what she got. Loved it! Try it!

WOW!  

I was apprehensive about trying Indian food at first, but I brought my friend in with me to try out Monsoon. Everything was excellent! The decor is alluring and waterfall is relaxing. The martini list was great, the mangotini is a must! We tried the pakora sampler for an appetizer and had the chicken makhani and yellow dal for dinner. We loved the food and our server was very helpful in guiding us in the right direction as far as food and drink chioces. I would recommend this place to anyone who has never tried Indian food and for those who are already big fans.

Best Indian food in San Diego  

I can't believe all the negative reviews. Well lets start out, I have been to this restaurant several of times and will still keep going. I have been to many Indian restaurants in San Diego County & Las Vegas, NV. This restaurant is a Fine Cuisine!! Its a 5 Star Restaurant!! The food is very delicious and great quality. I love the way this restaurant is interior designed, definitely luxurious. I have gone to have lunch to their all you can eat Buffet for only $10.00... its a must!! However, I have gone at night for special ocassions to have dinner, its the best especially on a friday night!! Don't leave without having a taste to their alcoholic drinks!! Wow, they are amazing!! On the other side, you can also have the mango shake!! Wow, its delicious!! I would definitely recommend Monsoon to everybody!! =) -meli

Indian Sweetness  

WOW! I was hesatant of visiting this location because i read a few bad reviews, (but you know how those go) but was rewarded BIG TIME. The staff was very friendly and profesional, the food was awesome, and the bar selections were way above average. I recogmend the mixed grille with garlic naan and the chicken tika masala. And from the bar, the mango tini, infact the bar tender actually asked me how i would like the drink made and then personally delivered it to me, thats service. Furthermore all the dishes are also made custome to your liking. Another huge selling point for me anyway was that as i entered the establishment, one of my life time idols, MIke Ness from Social Distortion was thanking the waiter as he left. To me thats a selling point. Definatelly try this one out!

Wonderful service and excellent food  

After reading both positive and negative reviews, we decided to give Monsoon a shot. We are so glad we did! We made our reservation for 8pm Saturday evening, we needed to push it back to 845pm. It was no problem. The waitress was a nice girl that took great care of us. The food was just as we ordered, fantasicly spicy! Everything was just great for our night out. Highly recommend Monsoon!

Great Service, Food  

We reserved a table at Monsoon from out of town based on its high recommendations. We were not disappointed. The ambience was lovely and inviting. The food was delicious as expected. But it was the service that really put Monsoon over the top. We had arrived a little earlier than the crowd that eventually settled in, and our host let us select our own table. He continued to show attentiveness without being overbearing, and that set the right tone that allowed us to enjoy our meal with friends. I would also recommend Monsoon and would consider eating there again next time we're in San Diego.

Excellent  

We enjoyed the service, selection, and quality of food.

Really, really good food.  

Nice service and some of the best Indian food we've had. My husband raved about his lamb tikka masala. I loved everything.

Excellent restaurant  

My husband and I ate dinner here last week and were not disappointed. We had the Aloo Chatt Massala, Garlic Naan and Nariyar Curry - all were absolutely delicious. We also enjoyed quite a few cocktails and martinis which were just as good as the food! We would not hesitate to go back again. Service from the hostess to the waiter to the busboy was superb!

New look of Indian food  

With restaurants like Monsoon, Indian Food is at the heels of the sushi craze. I still think Bombay in Hillcrest is the number one Indian food restaurant in San Diego, but Monsoon is a close second. While I agree that the staff is not very “authentic” for an Indian restaurant, although that is why Monsoon is so popular. Monsoon is stepping out of "the Indian Box" and growing in popularity with the American culture. They are very diverse in staff. Do only Italians work at Italian restaurants or Japanese in a Sushi deli??? While the service was only good, It was by far the best of all the Indian restaurants in San Diego. Most San Diego restaurants lack on service! I challenge all restaurants to step it up a notch. The food is no where near bland. It makes me wonder if the people writing these reviews actually eat at the places, or just wanted to cut them short out of jealously and spite. I look forward to my next monsoon experience and would recommend it to my closest friends. Service B+… Food A+… Atmosphere A++… Overall Experience… very memorable.

not for the weak of stomach  

My girlfriend, who loves Indian food was really very enchanted by the entire atmosphere. I was enchanted by my girlfriend. We found common ground in the food, we both loved it. I do warn you, if you are not used to the spicy stuff, stay at home, this stuff has some kick.

Good food and ambience  

The food was good (though a little expensive, then the other Indian places in San Diego). The ambience was perfect and name Monsoon, suited perfectly once you walk in. The service was very good and friendly. The menu offered items that you usually do not get at other places. People appreciating spicy food should try the JalFarehzhi here. The ones with a sweet tooth can go with any of the mango dishes and do not forget the Kabuli Naan.

Monsoon  

Flavorful  

Best Indian food around. Lost my ticket and had to wait about 45 minutes for food. Definitely average service and chilly inside.

Great for lunch  

The lunch buffet at Monsoon is awesome and reasonably priced. The food is always excellent.

New fan of Indian food  

This was my first experience trying Indian food. I was floored at how tasty the various curries were. I absolutely loved the Vegetarian appetizer sampler with the various sauces. My only complaint was the slow service. I asked for a glass of wine with dinner. By the time he remembered, my dish was halfway done. I will be coming back for the food though!!! Excellent.

Monsoons taste of India  

Having been taken to this resteraunt by a close friend I didnt know what to expect. Now I cant stop from going back at least once a month. From the very aluring decor of the tables to the rainfall fountain I can not think of a better place to take friends or family. The staff are wonderful and helpful in answering all of your questions if this happenes to be your first time enjoying Indian. The price of the food is worth the entire experience. This place is not for the casual dinner, I would recommend looking nice when setting foot into this establishment, but if you are looking to impress Monsoon's is the place to go.

I welcome a Monsoon  

This restaurant offers great food and refreshing ambiance. Well worth the price of the lunch buffet. They have two varieties of Naan and many many selections for authentic indian food.

Monsoon  

The restaurant has a lovely atmosphere and a friendly greeter and the food was good and reasonably priced.

good food  

Tika Masala was my favorite.

overall  

excellent food and service but a little pricy ,, but coupons are available at sandiegorestaurants.com

Lovely Restaurant  

Monsoon provided a great meal, excellent wait service and a lovely setting for a fine dinner in San Diego.

nice night out  

Great place to actually have conversation with your friends. The food was really good and very filling. If I'm in the mood for Indian food would definitely come back.

Great food & location!  

I'd actually call this a 3 1/2 stars--above average but not the best Indian food I've ever eaten. The service was just okay--not very authentic. Everything was presented well and tasted very good--not too spicy (disappointing for my companion because he asked for spicy and it wasn't). The interior is beautiful and unique--it looks like it was supposed to be a French or Italian place, again, not very authentic. Too bad they don't have Kingfisher on tap, either! Fun for the Gaslamp, very good food.

If You Must  

Great decor and pleasant if not authentic servers, the food left a lot to be desired. Very boring and bland.

Belly dancer idea is BAD  

the food is good ,think better than any indian restaurant,but too noisy inside and loud music and less space.need to change the furniture,too big for small space.IDEA OF HAVING A BELLY DANCER IS TOO BAD,INDIA DOESN'T HAVE BELLY DANCER,rated 3

just ok  

My husband and I love Bombay so we decided to try their sister restaurant Monsoon. It was ok. the service was great, but the curries were not as tasty as Bombays and the exact same dishes were 3-5$ more. There also was an overkill with cinnamon and ginger. We will be sticking to Bombay for Indian.

Order something with mango  

We go out for Indian food more often than any other type of food. Monsoon is not at the top of our list, but it's still worth a visit. GOOD: food quality/presentation, food selection (lots of variety), restaurant decor. NOT SO GOOD: noisy atmosphere, more expensive. The food here is good, but not any better than our favorite places to go. If you do eat here make sure to try the mango soup!

Not great  

We've dined here a few times, but i am never blown away by their food. I much prefer a couple of the other indian restaurants that we frequent. Monsoon is overpriced, and their food all seems to taste the same.

wtf  

dont make me write a review after i just took your survey

Don't waste your time  

Worst service and food around. Fish was frozen (many times, I think). It was completely mushy. The wine they tried to get us to buy was a red sitting on the table next to a lit candle. The appetizers were greasy and not very authentic. Avoid this place, especially if you like Indian food. (Real Indian food.) Amateur service.

Came up short  

As an Indian customer, I think my opinion may be slightly biased, but I've eaten at many Indian restaurants, here in San Diego as elsewhere in Southern California. For North Indian Fare, the cuisine is mediocre in quality. The ambiance--intersting. Are there really belly dancers in India? The interior feels more like we were in a European restaurant. This place doesn't feel like an Indian restaurant. The service--we waited patiently 25 minutes for our main course to arrive (I finally had to get up and ask the manager what happened)--was also mediocre. My family and I went to this restaurant with high hopes given some of the other reviews. However, for North Indian Cuisine, San Diego has better options.

Great place, bad food  

I must find out about Indian cuisine, but every dish tasted the same for me. Little variety, warm dishes. After the first plate I could not continue eating because the strong flavor of the food.

Dissapointing  

Service was horrible ( we had to ask for everything). Food was overpriced adn bland. Not worht the trip at all.

very unprofessional service, worse entertainment  

I have been to many Middle Eastern Restuarants for belly dancing, I love most of them and their food, but in Indian Restaurant worse belly dancers, bad costumes, do not know how to dance and entertain. They are like strippers... Food oh my God, worst Indian food, what happened to Bombay quality here, aren't you the same owner????you should change your service and style of entertainment, bring better music, belly dance to INdian music, or whatever they call fusion music....I was in Middle East for long time, I have never heard music like this before... Good luck!

Most "Un-Authentic" Indian food I have ever tasted  

I am Indian and was really excited to eat at this restaurant. But the food was so bland. My girlfriend who is not Indian even thought it was flavorless. For calling itself "FINE CUISINE OF INDIA", they hardly used any Indian spices at all. We ordered the Chicken Biryani and it tasted like some Italian dish. They put in mushrooms, green peppers and tomatoes and hardly any rice. Believe me, that's not how you make biryani. There was no hint of any cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon, saffron or curry. Another disappointing side dish was the lentils ("DAL"). It was extremely plain, with absolutely NO FLAVOR! Even a box of Channa Masala from Trader Joes has more flavor! They couldn't even get a simple drink right. A glass of their "Mango Lassi" had more "curds" and hardly any taste of mango. I empathize with people who go here, pay so much money and think they are tasting authentic Indian food. The only positive thing I can say about this place is not even about the FOOD!! The only good thing about "Monsoon" was the ambience (Indian music and a belly dancer). So if you want to pay a lot of money for small portions and definitely NOT AUTHENTIC Indian food and a small fortune in parking...then by all means go there.

Blame the customers  

We learned of this restaurant by the advert on their vehicle parked on 5th street. Our party requested first available seating and the hostess suggested we be seated at their sister restaurant Blue Ginger that wasn't as busy and they would have no problem serving the food there. We were seated immediately and drink order taken and served fifteen minutes later. We then ordered, 30 minutes of no attention at all between later the waitress told us it would be another 45 minutes until our order was ready because they were so busy and would we like an appetizer. We had ordered them with the original order so she said she would get us something from Blue Ginger. She never did. She acted affronted that she would be serving the other restaurant's menu and that it being late wasn't her problem. 20 minutes later the food arrived. The fact that we were far past starving may have influenced the enjoyablity of the meal which was found to be very good. She passed our table 3 times each time we dared to irritate her repeatedly asking for water and drinks that never came. The last time I raised my voice and asked again for water and she irritated got a pitcher and poured it herself literally splashing it over and onto the floor. "Next time you come here it would be better if you made reservations than be seated over here and get food from there." Pardon us for having been seated here by the hostess because the company was more worried over losing any customer than in providing service. Bad attitude and being shuffled off instead of being honestly told there would be a long wait doesn't make for a repeat customer here.

most  

Don't be fooled by the beautiful interior design and decoration. I am Indian and I have tried many Indian restaurants from quick service to fine dining and Monsoon has to be one of the most disgusting restaurants I've ever been too. The food doesn't even taste Indian. It's embarassing that food like that exists. In San Diego the best I've had would be a tiny little quick service restaurant called "Indian Tandoor" on Mira Mesa Blvd and 2nd "Star of India" on Garnet in Pacific Beach

I'm a Doctor and Staff Members were High!  

My husband and I have enjoyed Monsoon's wonderful food and ambiance for 4 years--now my sister, whose husband is deployed to Iraq finally found a sitter so that we could share dinner together out on the town 12/21/06. To my amazement we were treated like second class, the hostess barely could form the words to seat us at around 7pm with hardly anyone in the place, she looked disheveled and miffed that we hadn't made a reservation and then our substandard treatment only began there. The unkept water boys took forever to refill water yet circled our table like zombies without asking if we needed anything or picking up one dirty dish. We took this to heart until we noticed how all of their pupils to include our hostess and waitress looked as large as kalamata olives--how great that some people can slum through life halfassed baked when most have to work to afford to eat here. At the end of our lackluster meal we just thought it frikin sad that we felt obligated to pay these lowlifes tips on top of their already luke warm overpriced food. Thank god they let the industrious hispanic from the kitchen serve our food..it would have never made it to the table. Management should rethink this one fast. There was no one authoritative looking in the place to complain to before leaving without receiving a fit of giggles from these non-comps. I want my $75 back.

Indian food lovers, NEVER go here, worst service  

I and my husband were so carried away with the review for Monsoon restaurant at 4th avenue down town that we could not stop ourselves from dining there. We reached there at 9:00 pm and felt good to see that vow..it was flooding. It was hard for us to wait but realizing it was weekend, we were like ok..But we got the seats immediately and then were first served by water. Now starts the real experience. After about 10 minutes a waitress comes in takes our order. We ordered for Mutter paneer, paneer tikka masala, garlic naan, plain naan, and rice as sides. Much for two but we were hungry.

Now starts the real story. After 45 minutes we get to have our dinner, which spoils the mood as such and then all our excitement about the food vanished discovering that the preparation was just an average, primarily because of the sweetness of the paneer tikka masala which should not have been there. The first side bowl of rice was served in a bowl and the second in a Karahi which seemed like somebody picked up an empty vessel dipping in a bowl of cooked rice and just brought it. We asked for some chopped onions. After 10 minutes of our dinner we reminded for chopped onions, but did not get..and then..when we were about to finish the dinner we called the waitress to get the bills. At last moment a waiter brought us about couple of tiny slices of onions with chilies in a very small bowl for a cost of $4.95. Believe me till now I have eaten in more than 20 Indian restaurants in different parts of US, but I was shocked to discover this kind of service.

In total..a complete awful Service and an average food preparation. NEVER EVER will go there again

Monsoon Review  

Extremely bad food, no taste at all. All time bad experince, will never go to this restaurant again.

Review for Monsoon  

This is the Worst Restaurant I have ever seen in my life. The food is so much costly with extremely worst QUALITY. The Rotis served were half cooked, half burnt. When we told matter to waiter, he was rude in behaviour. One plate of vegetable costs more than 16$ and the Quality is like that even DOG will not eat it. I can describe Monwoon restaurant as "Big name with No Quality, No Service, No Customer relationship". I will suggest Better to remain Hungry but never go to Monsoon.

Rip-off  

They added an 18% tip on the entire bill (including the tax) for a BUFFET.

All around awful  

I love Indian food, so I thought this'd be a shoe-in. Wrong. From the moment I walked in things started going wrong. I asked to be seated somewhere warm, but they wanted to put me outside since so the place wouldn't look so empty. They compromised on putting me just inside with all the doors open, so it was just as cold as outside but without access to the fading sun. I asked for non-caffeinated tea and was brought black tea, I asked for mild food and was brought stuff that burned a hole in my tongue. I couldn't eat more than a bite of the appetizer, and the main dish was only so-so. The only palatable thing was the paratha, but I could have bought just-as-good bread at any reasonably priced Indian restaurant anywhere. The waitress was invisible, and when she did occasionally did come around bubbly, blond, and idiotic. All this for only $50/person. I wish I'd stayed in my hotel and ordered room service.

Worst experience ever!!!  

We went to this restaurant thinking that it would be a good experience but it was horrible!!!!!!!! We are indian and this nothing like what an indian restaurant should be! We got the lunch buffet because everything else was extremely overpriced! The food was very bland. The chicken tasted like it had gone bad. The tofu was gooey...ewwh! We had to pay a 15% gratiuity for a lunch buffet. We served ourselves!!! We would never go back to this restaurant and we would definitely not recommend it to any of our friends!

One Step Above Fast Food  

Monsoon "Fine" Cuisine of India is, first of all, absolutely filthy. I was seated by the "waterfall" which is moldy and only looks nice from far away. There was a lot of rice and other food items all over the floor, practically rubbed into the old carpeting. My silverware was spotted, and so was my water glass, and so was my wine glass, and I had to have the buss boy exchange my dinner plate for one without grease smeared all over it. When I used the restroom, I was not surprised to see paper all over the floor, a spotted mirror, greasy television screen, and vanity which looked like no one had attempted to clean it for weeks. Going back to my table I could also see into their garbage pit of a kitchen, and smell the fresh aroma of trash, or spoiling food... I hope it was in the trash can!

My dinner was, well spoiled by the whole experience. The moldy smell of the waterfall, the non-indian club music, the filth, my waiter who was condescending/unpleasant/and tried to tell me what to order, ignoring my dietary restrictions. My dinner was spoiled by the young manager gathering staff in the middle of the restaurant constantly to have 'serious' looking conversations with them. It looked like he was either yelling at them, or alerting them to some crisis all night, but none of it had to do with cleaning anything.

The phone kept ringing way too long. My waiter complained about his job to me. My bill was served to me in a grease covered vinyl book. And when I left, the hostess said "see ya." If that's the way Monsoon does business, fine! Just, please don't call it Fine Dining, call it Indian Diner or fast food. Drop the dinner price from $17+ to $4.50. Serve food on plastic plates if you're not interested in washing them. Have a walk up counter so customers don't have to deal with the unpleasant staff.

Honestly, I would like to take the owner(s) to a nice restaurant so that they can see what Fine Dining actually is. Even a restaurant such as Bennigan's could teach them a lesson about cleanliness and service... perhaps even Inn-&-Out. After that, they can work on their manners.

Yours Truly, Jon "notamonsoonfan" Ficolli

Worst Chicken I ever had, grizzly and fatty,  

Don't waste good money on this poor quality food. I could not finish my meal, it was nasty, big lumps of fatty grizzly chicken. We ate there about 2 years ago but thought we would give it another chance, I wish we hadn't!!! It's a shame it's a nice location and beautiful restaurant even the service was good. Just the food lets it down so badly.