Business Buzz: Anya’s Kitchen Offers the Flavors of Indian Cuisine

(Jeff Heyman, Photographer)
Owner Vikram Aggarwal (right) serves spicy dishes with his employee Jitender Kamboj, at Orinda’s newest hotspot for Indian food, Anya’s Kitchen. Aggarwal said he loves the friendliness of the customers in Orinda. Anya’s Kitchen (named after his daughter) is open daily in the Theatre Square neighborhood on Moraga Way.

    If you’re in downtown Orinda, see crowds and inhale delicious aromas, then you’re near the new local hotspot for Indian food at Anya’s Kitchen. Vikram Aggarwal brought his expertise in Indian cuisine from his Anya’s Deli in Berkeley to Orinda to the delight of many of our residents.
    His new restaurant, in the former location of Reem’s Steaks on Moraga Way, opened last year and serves popular and regional specialties.
    “I’m from Punjab in India,” said Aggarwal. “So, we do northern Punjabi food, meaning more spices and more flavor.”
    The restaurant is affectionately named after his daughter.
    “I was thinking about a small name and not something like ‘Taj Mahal’ or a typical Indian restaurant name,” said Aggarwal. “It’s like a mom-and-pop shop name. It sounds more family-oriented and not like the name of a franchise restaurant.”
    Aggarwal explained he and his brother previously owned a restaurant in Berkeley. Feeling the need to grow outside of Berkeley, he set his sights on Orinda.
    “I felt like I wanted to be somewhere else and get a different clientele. There’s a lot of competition there,” he said.
    In addition to higher rent, Aggarwal said Berkeley’s student-oriented economy subjected him to seasonal lows. “At UC Berkeley, there’s winter break in December and then later, summer break, so business is lower during those times,” he said.
    “Customers always say it’s good food, good service and a clean restaurant,” said Aggarwal. “It’s an open kitchen and they love to watch us making their food and cooking naan bread. They love that stuff.”
    Known for their Chicken Tikka Masala, he said, “We do a very good Coconut Chicken Curry and Saag Paneer, which is cheese and spinach.”
    Vegetarian options are numerous and include favorites such as Paneer Tikka Masala and Malai Kofta. Aggarwal highly recommends Veggie Korma for vegetarian diners.
    His restaurant also includes halal options with lamb and goat dishes.
    Decorated with colorful upside-down umbrellas, Anya’s Kitchen has a full menu and more than a dozen appetizers. There’s a wide variety of naan, featuring both sweet and savory options.
    “We have garlic naan, cheese naan, chicken naan and we have lamb naan,” he said. “We have a pesto naan that’s a cheese naan topped with pesto sauce.”
    Aggarwal adores Orinda’s patrons.
    “I love it. The customers are so polite,” he said. “There are just some very nice people around Orinda – very nice people.”
    Located at 70 Moraga Way, Anya’s Kitchen is open daily, 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Visit Entrees range from $14 to $18. Call 925.257.7021.

David Fonseca can be reached at davef52@gmailcom.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.