1559 Fourth St.
There may be other Indian-spiced restaurants in Marin County, but San Rafael is home to the only Indian street food-cum spice market around, . People as far north as Santa Rosa zip down Hwy. 101 for the chaat, authentic dishes that originated on the streets of India's big cities.
"Chaat" are savoury snacks, typically served at road-side tracks from stalls or carts in India. The already cult-status/Yelp adored menu includes popular chaat options such as Dahi Puri and Bhel Puri. Lotus Chaat also has a market with organic spices, herbal diuretic tonics and small meals ready for take-out.
Owner Surinder Pal Sroa is a long-time Marin resident and the owner of four other beloved restaurants in the county, including San Rafael's , in Fairfax, and and in Novato. Lotus Chaat & Spice Restaurant opened on Fourth Street a year ago, in April 2011.
“I love the restaurant and love our customers," said general manager Elvis Fernandez. "It’s an enjoyable place to be. Our regular customers are always satisfied, returning and bringing more of their friends."
Lotus is fortunate to have culinary talents of executive chef Hari Mehta, former owner of popular San Rafael destination. He knows his food, he knows his Chaat. “There’s a lot of creativity in putting together chaat plates, which are the original street foods of India,” Mehta said.
Lotus Chaat is ahead of the culinary trends. The demand for Indian street food has expanded over the years because these types of dishes are made with healthy ingredients: whole grains, grain and bean flours, fresh potatoes, chickpeas and vegetables such as onion and cauliflower.
Patrons, especially diet-attentive ones, will appreciate the genuine concern and the menu options at Lotus. Vegans and gluten-free folks will die for the Dosas, a classic street food wrap made with lentils and rice flours. The Bhel Puri, another vegan option, is a delicious snack mix with fantastic ingredients including peanuts, puffed rice and tangy tamarind sauce.
Every menu item is cooked fresh every day with many organic ingredients, and free range chicken. Elvis and his crew want customers to feel great about about what they’ve eaten, so asking for samples is encouraged!
Since Surinder is a resident of Marin County, he knows and appreciates the importance of community. Support the community and the community supports its local businesses, which is why throughout the summer months, every Thursday is family day at Lotus Chaat, with 15 percent of the total proceeds from daily sales donated back to two schools in the Sun Valley neighborhood.
In the coming months Lotus hopes to expand the market section of the spot, which already has a wonderful selection of spices, rices, frozen meals and other quality cuisine items difficult to procure. Those who were heading to Berkeley for spices and ingredients now need look no further than the spice shop at Lotus Chaat. The shop also offers local ice cream Three Twins for takeout.
Coming soon: Be on the lookout for small wraps and takeout options for folks on the go.
Lotus Chaat & Spice offers cooking classes every last Monday of the month. The restaurant closes early. Elvis and Hari don their aprons and from 6 p.m. to 8:30 a fabulous lesson ensues. The limit is only 10-12 people per sessions so please call to book a spot. (415) 454-6887