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Taste of India

  • Veg-friendly Veg-friendly
    ( 7 reviews )
Contact 661-764-6464
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20687 Tracy Ave, Buttonwillow, California, USA, 93206

Serves meat, vegan options available. Indian restaurant on the I-5 freeway (exit 257) with a large rooftop sign that advertises vegan food. Has wraps - ask for the vegan menu. Sometimes the owners take holiday, so best to call ahead.

Category: Lacto, Indian, Take-out, Non-veg

Reviews (7)

First Review by Chia

Good food amidst the culinary wasteland - Edit

We were vacationing near Palm Springs, and changed our route homewards at the last minute, to I-5. We had no Internet access, so no way of finding out if there would be any findable vegan food either on the drive or on the Monterey Peninsula once we arrived there rather late. So we were thrilled to see a couple of billboards advertising the option of vegan Indian food. the billboards went by pretty fast, so we didn't quite see the location, but it turned out to be right off the freeway at Buttonwillow, where we were planning to fill the car up anyway. We did spot the signage on the restaurant roof as we approached the off-ramp. We got the food to go, so that we wouldn't have to hunt for dinner in Pacific Grove (a smart decision). However, I did succumb to the temptation of a VEGAN mango lassi to drink in the car, & which was delicious. The food travelled very well for the remaining hours of the trip, and was really satisfying. We had a large order of basmati rice which was perfectly cooked, an order of saag aloo (mild) which was extremely tasty, and an order of (2) very large samosas, which were spicy, but not too spicy for my sensitive mouth, and also tasty. It was a good Indian meal, very affordable & plenty for 2 of us (we're not "American style" eaters) - would have been about $18 without the lassi. The older gentleman who served me was very sweet & charming. I assume the restaurant is oriented to Northern India, and in my experience, it is pretty impossible to find an all-veg No. India restaurant. The all-veg ones tend to be So. India cuisine, and serve a lot of dosas. So I really appreciate the fact that this place has an extensive veg menu, and a specific, separate vegan menu, with a reasonable assortment of choices. Particularly being located on the I-5 corridor of endless unhealthy chain eateries. Now that I know it's there, I will always stop there on every future trip to So.Cal!

Pros: right off the freeway, tasty , affordable

Cons: traveling on I-5


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vegan-friendly oasis in I-5 desert lands - Edit

Riding Megabus from LA to SF, what do my eyes spy but the word "vegan" in giant letters! Try our vegan Indian food! And what do you know, the bus took the very next exit for our rest stop.

A very helpful and kind older gentleman showed me the separate vegan menu. They had vegan mango lassi, made with soy milk!

All I had to do was mention the bus, and he went back to the kitchen to make sure my order would come up quickly. And it did - fastest Indian food ever. Very hot and fresh! The potatoes in the samosas were shredded, making them extra flavorful. The mango lassi was ice-cold, sweet and delicious - never had better.

The décor was inelegant, but the food and service was top notch. I won't be able to drive by this exit again without at least getting a lassi.

Pros: vegan menu!, very accommodating!

Cons: they do serve meat, unbeautiful décor


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Delicious food but overpriced and small portions - Edit

My family and I were driving from the San Jose area to Arizona and saw some large signs on the side of Hwy 58 on the way to Bakersfield for some veg and non-veg Indian food. Buttonwillow is a tiny town about an hour west of Bakersfield and 2 hours north of LA, so it's in the middle of nowhere. My first impression of the place was the rundown state of the building. We were nervous that the general area was unsafe.

Once we stepped into the restaurant, we were the first ones there so we were greeted by a very friendly proprietor. The restaurant takes an odd format where you go up to the counter to order/pay but it's otherwise a formal restaurant. I found it a bit odd to have to pay for the food before you even see it. Now I know why (after it's too late) - the portions are ridiculously small and way overpriced. $11 for a medium sized bowl of dal, chana, chicken, etc AND the rice/naan is $4 extra. The appetizers are small portions, ie $4 for just two pakora. I was shocked given that I paid $45 to (barely) feed two people. On top of that, their drinks (soda, beer) were priced double that of what you'd expect, ie a bottle of Diet Coke was $2.50 . Granted, the food was delicious so I'm more a bit frustrated at the "inexpensive" status on Happy Cow. If it's his prerogative to cater to the upscale classy market while serving in a dilapidated building in the middle of nowhere, that's his right as a business person, but overall it would have been nice to know how little and expensive the food was going to be otherwise we would have just waited until Bakersfield. What I don't understand is the tiny portion sizing. For those desperate for vegetarian/vegan or indian food, it may be your only choice within an hour, so you may not mind it so much. But it ruins repeat business as far as I'm concerned! It doesn't cost that much more money to add more food (bulk rice and beans and spices are CHEAP), and they'd get better word of mouth that way, more business, etc.

Pros: Delicious, Spiciness catered to your tastes

Cons: Small portions, Too expensive


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yummy - Edit

Don't let the sketchy building scare you away. Reasonable pricing and a great selection. As a vegan traveling with a carnivore, there was plenty to choose from for both of us. I was afraid I would just have to wait for good vegan fare from LA to Sacramento but was very pleasantly surprised. I recommend this restaurant for vegans. Very tasty!

Pros: well marked menu

Cons: sketchy exterior


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Great alternative in California's Central Valley - Edit

Travelling on Interstate 5 through California's central valley doesn't make for a lot of choice in dining. There are plenty of the standard fast food places, and not much else. This is especially true if you're vegan like me. I can carry food bars and buy bananas from Starbucks.

But in Buttonwillow, near the southern end of the valley, there is Taste of India. This is not a vegan restaurant, but they have many vegan options. They are clearly marked on the menu board, and there is even a separate vegan menu for convenience. They even have a vegan mango lassi made with soy milk.

I'm no expert at Indian cuisine, but the dishes we had were very tasty. I don't know how they would compare against Indian restaurants in urban areas, but remember this is out in Buttonwillow -- hours from Los Angeles, and even more hours away from San Francisco.

The man at the counter was friendly and helpful. Taste of India is a welcome alternative for anyone travelling by, especially vegans and vegetarians.

Pros: inexpensive, friendly


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Sanity Among Feedlots - Edit

I LOVE stopping by this place after (and before) driving past the feedlots that line the freeway, north and south of this haven. Although they do serve a carnist clientele, I was greeted with VERY warm and compassionate service--the gentleman I spoke with last time was himself a vegetarian on the basis of his religion; i do not doubt his word or begrudge the entire menu.

Since MOST of the businesses off this exit are Truckers' stations and cheap motels, i am compassionate that they are trying to do business here. The cajones to put VEGAN in huge letters on their roof.... Awesome! I love to support them!

Pros: Vegan Options, Friendly Syaff, Quick Service

Cons: Non-vegan menu items, Remote location


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Comment - Edit

I had read about this place on happycow, and while driving thru enroute from Los Angeles to San Francisco, I saw a large sign for it and decided to stop in. Oddly they were closed, seemed to be for personal reasons, but said they would resume regular hours several days later.

Their large signage stated "Vegan Food"; however, upon looking at the wraps menu that was taped to the window, I saw lamb, shrimp, chicken... I think the restaurant is trying to expand their market to get more vegetarians to stop off the freeway and eat at the restaurant, but it did not look like they genuinely want to become more veg and less meat. I didn't see the main menu, but I know I won't be stopping here next time I drive by--I just don't want to eat at a place to offers primarily meat.


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