Lotus Chaat and Spices

  • Veg-options Veg-options
    ( 5 reviews )

1561 4th St (at F St), San Rafael, California, USA, 94901

Serves meat, vegan options available. Many dishes are vegan. Uses organic ingredients as much as possible. Note: Lotus Chaat and Spices is not the same place as Lotus Cuisine. Open Tue-Sat 11:30am-9:00pm, Sun 11:30am-8:00pm.

Categories: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Ovo, Indian, Organic, Take-out, Non-veg

5 Reviews

First Review by pepperka

Good food; wish they would stick to an all-veg menu. - Edit

Lotus Chaat & Spices is all the positive things the other reviewers have said--delicious dosas, excellent service--and I will add that the special hot green sauce is YUM. Best thing about Chaat now is that, as of Spring 2018, the restaurant is all vegetarian! ***(SEE UPDATE BELOW)***. They got rid of all the carcasses on the menu, as I pleasantly learned when I dined there last month. There is still dairy, so vegans need to specify when we want chai tea that we want it w/out milk, things like that, but as other reviewers have noted, the menu is very well-marked. What a delightful thing to have my favorite restaurant in Marin become even favorite-er!

****UPDATE April 9, 2018****
They've already reverted back to meat on the menu. Some carnists complained, and they added dead animals back. Bummed.

The grocery is small but well-stocked (and has expanded into the restaurant portion of the place as they continue to offer more grocery items). I go here for most of my bulk spices.

The catering is also top-notch. I ordered huge platters of food for a family 3-day weekend for 12 people, and there was so much delicious food that Indian was all we ate for 3 days. Surprisingly affordable considering it amounted to more than 100 meals (3 meals/day x 3 days x 12 people). And, as always, Chaat gave me plenty of my favorite hot green sauce!

***please note that I'm trying to give this restaurant 5 stars, but Happy Cow does not yet know, at the time of this writing, that this is now a 100% vegetarian restaurant and will only allow 4 stars. This is a 5 star restaurant***

Updated from previous review on 2018-04-06

Pros: ]delicious food, excellent, friendly service, excellent, friendly service

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A good option if in the neighborhood - Edit

Lotus Chaat and Spices offers a refreshing change from the usual overfried Indian restaurant menu, with a selection of chats, snacks, and South Indian meals, including some that are more health-conscious than the typical Indian restaurant. The Bean Sprout Bhel is a good example — creative, light, fresh, and tasty.

There are enough vegan items on the menu that hopefully most diners will find something appealing, and they're clearly marked.

If this place were completely vegan, we'd be devoted regulars, but unfortunately they do sell meat. At least they do make efforts to cater to vegans, and we very much appreciate that.

Updated from previous review on 2014-08-27

Pros: Several vegan items clearly marked

Cons: Serves meat

1 Response
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madbrewer 05 Apr 2018 - You're right about all the positives of Lotus Chaat & Spices (plus, see my review of Apr 5 2018). About Radiance: it IS closed and has been for years now. In its place inside the Open Secret Bookstore on C St San Rafael is a cafe called Key Tea, which has some vegan options but is meat-friendly. Still a decent place to get some soup or something.  

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Must try Thali - Edit

I had the most delicious South Indian Thali here over the weekend. I thought it was vegan but I believe there was dairy in it - so be sure to ask for the vegan version if that's what you would like. A big masala dosa with a bunch of dipping sauces and a couple of other dipping breads (menu says idli, vada, sambar, rasam, and vegetable of the day). So delicious, I can't wait to go back for it.

Pros: delicious, attentive staff, outdoor seating

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Attention to detail and attentive to vegans - Edit

Had end of school year dinner for family of four. Only one of us was familiar with the menu. Great healthy tasty vegan options and owner truly supports non GMO and organic in restaurant and attached store. We will definitely return again for dinner.

Pros: friendly, tasty, variety

Cons: not 100% vegan

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Great service, delicious food! - Edit

I guess this place is really new, but happily lacking in the problems usually associated with that. To start off, the service was great! The server was really friendly and knowledgeable (tell him Vegan and he'll guide you), made good suggestions, and made sure (nicely) that we knew how to properly eat the food... which makes sense if you try the Pani Puri, you'll see what I mean. The guy bringing the food was polite and quick, and the other guy (manager maybe?) was really friendly and helpful when we browsed the little food shop attached.
And the food! Fantastic! Chaat is a little different than most americans are used to, and that is just fine. I highly suggest the Pani Puri--great flavors, and fun to eat! The Lotus Special Dosa was really flavorful with great texture. The sambar served with it was different than I'm used to, and not my favorite, but still tasty. And ohhhh the Bean Sprout Bhel! So different, so delicious. It's little tiny sprouted beans (not the actual shoots, just the beans right after sprouting) mixed with veggies, crispy stuff, and sauces. Delightful and fresh.
My suggestion is do what we did--get a few things and split them all. It's really affordable too, so an attainable goal is trying everything on the menu in the next year :) Oh, and the server said they are adding more vegan things soon... yay!

Pros: delicious food, good price, great service

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