After a tablehopper report about this almost two years ago, numerous delays, and a short run as a hookah lounge, MELA TANDOORI KITCHEN is finally opening for meal service, and will be holding a soft opening this Friday for lunch. A buffet lunch of Northern Indian and Pakistani dishes will be available (either $11.95 or $12.95, and all you can eat), featuring classics like tikka masala, aloo gobi, and channa masala, with rotating dishes daily. The Civic Center location has 50 seats, plus an upstairs level. Beer and wine are available. Open to start Mon-Fri 11am-3pm, and will be starting dinner nightly 5:30pm-10:30pm around March 18th. 536 Golden Gate Ave. at Van Ness, 415-447-4041.
After Maharaja Indian Restaurant on Valencia closed, it was believed to be opening as Taj Express, but I was very happy to be driving by and see a sign for GAJALEE instead, proclaiming “Coastal Indian Seafood.” Grub Street has further details, mentioning the owner, Boni Jacob, is from Udupi Palace down the street, and the cuisine will be “focused on the regions of Goa, Kerala, and Kamataka [sic].” According to someone at Udupi in Berkeley, the opening is Wednesday—I couldn’t get an answer from anyone at the Udupi on Valencia. 525 Valencia St. at 17th St.
Mela Tandoori Kitchen exterior; photo from Facebook.