Photos By: Sharon Back
Tired of typical Mexican and Italian restaurants? Then try Spice Avenue, an ideal restaurant choice for graduation dinner. This restaurant, located on upper State Street, features authentic Indian cuisines with a variety of different spices and curries.
Brothers and co-owners, Sunny and Sandy Pujji, opened Spice Avenue about eight years ago with a founding philosophy that people need to experience genuine but delicious Indian food. They said that no other Indian restaurant lives up to that standard.
The atmosphere and quality of the restaurant is appropriate for a sophisticated graduation dinner with family and friends. But the restaurant’s size seems a bit limited for several large groups of people. The quality of their service is agreeable as they are quick to serve food and the owner is quite friendly and talkative with his customers.
The pricing of the meals ranged from a simple vegetarian dish for $9.95 to a chef’s special rack of lamb for $19.95. A complementary appetizer, broccoli soup, is served along with the Entrée, Chicken Tikka Masala. This is a popular dish with a variety of different spices, and it only costs $11.95.
The Chicken Chettinadu curry (mild, medium, or hot) is also a popular dish on the menu. It consists of coconut, curry leaves, chicken, special chettinadu spices, and coconut milk for $11.95. Rice and bread are essential with your curry entrees, but they are separate orders costing about $2 to $3 each.
“I really love curry, but I planned a family trip to a beach house just north of here and we are going to barbeque on the beach after my graduation,” says Rachel McSpadden a fourth-year Hydrological Science major at UC Santa Barbara. “But I am definitely going to check it out because I like trying new places and I have been looking for a good Indian food place beside Naan Stop.”
The owners boast about their highly trained chefs and the consistency their restaurant offers. Many UCSB students can be seen dining there, especially on Wednesday nights when they offer a dinner buffet for $12.95.
“The buffet gives those who aren’t familiar with Indian food a chance to sample a few things,” explained Sunny Pujii.
In addition to curry selections, the menu features mixed grilled entrees like chicken, shrimp and two different kinds of lamb baked in a clay oven or Tandoori, an Indian-style barbeque.
For those who have never tried Indian cuisine, the two brothers also own Naan Stop in Isla Vista and Curry Leaf in Camarillo. Stop by Naan Stop to get a taste of the popular Tikka Masala with your choice of naan without compromising your budget. There you will get a taste of the flavor that Spice Avenue has mastered.