With its fancy light fixtures, white tablecloths, and abundant silverware (a big fork and a little fork), Ajanta is one of the East Bay’s more elegant Indian restaurants. More importantly, the food is as varied as it is refined, with a focus on creative preparations of harder-to-find regional specialties. The restaurant eschews typical curry-house standards such as chana masala and aloo gobi. Instead, the rotating menu of regional dishes might include things like seyal machi — perfectly cooked fish fillets served over a lush caramelized onion sauce — or dakshini gosht, a South Indian braised lamb dish with all the richness and depth of a good beef bourguignon. Even humble offerings like the mango lassi and the assortment of naan breads are much better than average. Reservations recommended.

— Luke Tsai

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Price: $$-$$$

Payment Type: Cash, all major credit cards

Uses organic produce and sustainably raised meats.

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