Ananda Fuara - Vegetarian Restaurant
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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 fade away.

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 himself.

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.

Ananda Fuara
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
Cash Only
(415) 621-1994