Saravana Bhavan - A Pure Vegetarian South Indian Restaurant

Saravana Bhavan is a pure vegetarian restaurant that is highly unusual for a New York Indian restaurant -- in that it serves cuisine exclusively from (vegetarian) South India. Their chefs come directly from India. They are run by the prestigious Hotel Saravana Bhavan, which is the most popular vegetarian chain in India. You can find more information on their website:

David Greene happens to love this place. He says, "This restaurant is exquisitely delicious and way out of the ordinary. With its idlies, vadas, many varieties of dosa, spicy rasam soup, and other South Indian specialties, you will experience delectable South Indian vegetarian cuisine that is absent from 97% of other New York Indian restaurants. And Saravana Bhavan is the popular favorite and the critics' favorite of the few South Indian restaurants that do exist in New York."

They serve traditional South Indian fare including many chutneys, lots of rice dishes, and specialized breads. "South Indian chutneys are made of tamarind, coconut, peanuts, lentil, fenugreek seeds, and cilantro. These chutneys are light, more flavored and aromatic, and are the perfect complement to the food they accompany."

The restaurant is located at 81 Lexington Ave on the corner of 26th Street. Closest trains are the N/R at 23rd Street and the 6 at 28th Street.

Zagat gives Saravana Bhavan a super-high food rating of 25 -- unheard of for a restaurant this inexpensive.  Their review: “Heavenly” dosas and other “cheap”, “wonderful vegetarian” dishes elevate this “unassuming” Murray Hill South Indian miles above “your usual curry joint”; “regimented” service and “cafeteria”-like decor don’t deter the “crowds”, so “be prepared to stand in line.” (Note: Saravana Bhavan has renovated and expanded -- to keep up with demand!  We have a large reservation, so there will be no problem with seating.)

Here is a quick look at their menu:

For those of you who have never attended one of our Vegetarian Meetup events, this is an incredibly friendly and welcoming group. To find us: our group will occupy their entire, large second room. It will be easy to find our group, or you can just ask any restaurant staff member for the "meetup".

Also note: there will be only one seating. Please arrive promptly at 7:00pm. Thank you.

-- Rekha (new assistant organizer) and David

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Very interesting to meet new ppl!

    July 21, 2012

  • Kate

    Great meal! Menu had so many options to chose from it was hard to make a decision on what to order.

    July 19, 2012

  • David G.

    The food is always superb here -- that is why it is hailed by the critics and public alike as NYC's #1 South Indian restaurant! Lovely company -- I was delighted to meet many new members. And how fantastic to hang out with all our wonderful regular members. Thanks to Rekha for her kind hosting! Congratulations on your first Meetup event as a new Organizer!

    July 18, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I thoroughly enjoyed the company, cuisine and the superb as always organization.

    July 18, 2012

  • Sherry

    It's always good to eat at a restaurant and not worry about animal flesh and byproducts. That being said, I very much enjoyed the food and the company of my table-mates.

    July 18, 2012

  • Dawn D.

    I thought the servers would be more knowledgeable on the menu. Were disappointed.

    July 18, 2012

  • Abby Z

    Food was enjoyable, restaurant was very comfortable even though it was packed with the meetup group, and the crowd was friendly and mingled well together. My first event with this group and I had a nice time. It was also great meeting David Greene. Thank you, Rekha!

    July 18, 2012

  • Roberta K.

    Sorry found out about wait list so late. Would have loved to come.

    July 17, 2012

  • rekha

    Hi Roberta.. So glad that you are interested! Unfortunately, there is just one seating at 7pm... We will look forward to you joining us at the next meetup...or this one, if a spot opens up on the wait list...thanks!

    July 15, 2012

  • Roberta K.

    Wow- What I have been looking for. I am waited listed. If I come at 6:30pm is there a chance for me. Please!

    July 15, 2012

  • rekha

    @Sharlene..we would love for you to join us! But, please note as outlined above that there is only one seating scheduled and we request that you arrive at 7pm. thanks so much!

    July 10, 2012

  • David G.

    The great majority of their dishes are vegan. (It would be pointless for us to go otherwise. :) You can confirm with your server that your dish is vegan, and ask them to make it vegan if it happens not to be.

    July 3, 2012

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