ShareThis Page

Yuva India gives customers taste of homemade authenticity

| Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 9:14 p.m.
Yuva India restaurant Friday June 13, 2014 in Oakland.
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Yuva India restaurant Friday June 13, 2014 in Oakland.
Navin Kohli is owner of the Yuva India restaurant Friday June 13, 2014 in Oakland.
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Navin Kohli is owner of the Yuva India restaurant Friday June 13, 2014 in Oakland.

Owners of an Oakland Indian restaurant pride themselves on deviating from the typical with their food offerings and the way they serve them.

Diners won't find a buffet at Yuva India on South Craig Street. But they will find an expansive menu that's become popular with college students, neighborhood locals and out-of-towners.

“I always had a passion for cooking,” says Navin Kohli, executive chef and owner is a native of India. “I grew up watching my mother and grandmother cooking.”

Yuva's menu is based on those family recipes “with a modern touch,” Kohli says.

The restaurant, open since 2012, opts to focus on “quality not quantity,” he says.

Lunch items, all of which are served with tossed salad and basmati rice, include favorites such as the Yuva Lunch ($10.95), with chicken tikka masala, lamb curry and butter naan; the Spice Lunch ($9.95), with chicken, lamb or goat vindaloo, butter naan and tarka daal; and the Vegetarian Lunch ($8.95), with palak paneer or chana marsala and tarka daal.

Signature menu items featured on the dinner menu include Navin Kohli's favorite Kashmiri Goat Curry ($12.95), with goat simmered in rich onion curry with Kashmiri herbs and spices and finished with coriander. Another favorite is the Goanese Lamb Vindaloo ($13.95) listed under House Dishes and featuring lamb braised in a tangy hot sauce infused with garam masala, garlic and vinegar.

“Snacks” ($1.50 to $6.25) include samosa, pakora, bhel puri and a variety of naan. Flavors of lassi, a yogurt-based drink, include mango, strawberry, sweet mint and cumin and badam ($3.75).

Dessert highlights include the traditional Indian version of carrot cake, Gajar Ka Halwa with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream ($4.25), and Kulfi ($4.25), made of pistachio and malai.

Yuva also offers a wine-and-beer list, featuring some brands from India, such as the Sula Shiraz ($8 a glass), a medium-bodied wine with ripe-cherry and plum fruit and black pepper flavors, and Chenin Blanc ($7), a semi-dry light wine with pineapple and stone-fruit flavors.

The menu is clearly marked to indicate vegan-friendly, gluten-free and vegetarian options. There is not, however, a numerical scale to determine spiciness. Homemade chilie paste is used to up the heat factor for those with an affinity for spicy.

Yuva's decor is inviting with rich red, orange and green accents on the seating, hardwood floors, spiral lights and enlarged photos of day-to-day Indian life.

Yuva India, 412 South Craig St., Oakland, is open 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch every day but Sunday and from 5 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 5 to 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays for dinner. Details: 412-681-5700 or find Yuva India Indian Eatery on Facebook.

Rachel Weaver is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7948 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me