Ananda Fuara: White Light on a Dark Night
Nosh Magazine, Number 2
By Nova Lee Szoka
Ananda Fuara has good food – especially if you are
vegetarian or vegan. The restaurant is somehow related to
Sri Chinmoy, a super athlete/musician/guru dedicated to spreading
his message of inner peace to the world. Some of my friends
have been a bit put off by the restaurant’s New Age
ambiance – so if you have a problem with being served
by thin peaceful looking women wearing saris, you might not
want to go there. However, I have a secret love of Southern
California/holistic health/healing/yoga and that kind of stuff.
The vibe reminds me a little of San Diego Wellness Expos –
the place is filled with white light.
Playing right into the So Cal theme, our waiter was a man
who my friend Laura thought looked like Ted Kennedy on his
way to play golf. Now you might be asking: What does a Ted
Kennedy look-alike have to do with spiritual enlightenment?
Well, I guess there are a few discrepancies. For example:
the male waiters don’t have to wear saris, the restaurant’s
décor has a near cafeteria-like sterility, and the
white light I mentioned earlier may come from the florescent
light fixtures. Also, of the thirty or so books for sale by
the cash register, all are written by Mr. Chinmoy and include
the following titles: The Master and the Disciple, My Flute,
and Diana, Princess of Wales, Empress of the World. This entire
aside, once you taste the food, most of these details will
We started by ordering Samosas, for which Ananda Fuara is
known far and wide. These Indian pastries are filled with
t potato-pea curry and served with the Chutney of the day.
They arrived piping hot, and indeed, were amazing –
just the right balance of curry spiciness and non-greasy pastry.
Another promising favorite is their Dahl, a lentil soup that
shares the same tasteful delicacy as the Samosas –full
of flavor by not too heavy.
The best thing about this restaurant is their great selection
of entrees. All the meat dishes are fake meat and most, except
the Neatloaf can be made vegan. What blows by mind every time
I go there is the fact that they can make amazing Indian food
and then turn around and serve up tasty Falafel, Nachos, and
Stir Fry. The food is as versatile as founder Sri Chinmoy
When our main courses came, my friends had gotten over the
Hare-Krishna vibe and were happy to dig into their meals.
My roommate ordered the Neatloaf, another house specialty,
which is a ‘meatloaf’ made from grains, eggs,
ricotta cheese, tofu and spices. It comes with mashed potatoes
and gravy and does service to the meatloafs of the world.
If you aren’t vegan, it’s definitely worth checking
out. Robert ordered the Potato-Tofu Ravioli and he was suspiciously
quiet as his finished every last morsel on his plate. Laura
got the Baked Potato, which had a few Jack-in-the-Box-esq
toppings to choose from. I had the Ensalada Mexicana, which
is black beans and brown rice topped with the freshest salad
on the block, complete with cheese, salsa, guacamole, and
sour cream. This salad is like a healthy version of a super
burrito. There is certain bliss to finding rice and beans
hidden under the salad layer, instantly dispelling the thought:
Darn, I’m just eating this salad, is that going to be
enough? The rice and beans provided a reassuring, Yes.
For dessert there is an entire case of mostly vegan pies,
cookies, and brownies. Ananda Fuara also has a breakfast menu,
with Tofu Scramble and vegan Potatoes. Surrounded with such
great food, I began to feel like the folds at Ananda Fuara
were there to teach us that spiritual enlightenment is inextricably
linked to gastronomical enjoyment – and good sleep,
as the restaurant closes at 8PM.
1298 Market Street @ 9th Street in San Francisco
Monday – Saturday 8AM-8PM, except Wednesday 8AM-3PM
Monthly Sunday Brunch – call for times
Closed the 2nd and 3rd weeks of April and the 3rd and 4th
weeks of August for staff retreats