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27221 Ortega Hwy, Suite G, San Juan Capistrano


People packed tables inside of San Juan Capistrano restaurant Basanti on a recent Saturday as the fragrant smell of spices wafted in from the kitchen.

It’s been more than a year since the restaurant opened at a strip mall along the Ortega Highway and started serving up Northern Indian cuisine and business has been excellent.

The Chicken Tikka Masala, one of the lunch entrees, is not only an extremely filling option, but it’s also rich and loaded with flavor.

The tender, tandoori-roasted chicken comes slathered in a creamy butter and tomato sauce with sides of freshly cooked naan bread, rice and a salad.

For those looking for something less ubiquitous to Indian restaurants than Chicken Tikka Masala, Basanti has a varied menu of dishes from Himalayan Momos (a kind of stuffed dumpling) to Shrimp Vindaloo.

Basanti is open for lunch from 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. daily. It’s open for dinner from 5-9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

— Alex Groves 

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