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Style Magazine

Porottas: South Indian Cuisine in Roseville

1245 Pleasant Grove Boulevard, Suite 120, Roseville, 916-771-0992,

As of this writing, it’s late summer 2020, and outdoor dining is still the mandate. To compound the issues, our friends in the hospitality industry are facing unusually warm weather, and the air is dense with smoke from the fires that seem to be a yearly cycle here.

But through the apocalyptic forecasts of some, there are still determined entrepreneurs providing soulful sustenance to those of us willing to seek it.

Medu Vada


And so it is with Porottas, a Roseville restaurant serving scratch-made South Indian cuisine. On my recent visit, owner Kavita Mohan greeted me at the door with menus before I proceeded to the makeshift patio. First up was medu vada—three savory doughnut-shaped fritters made with urad dal (black lentil) batter served alongside coconut chutney and sambar. The latter is a lentil-based vegetable stew/dip that can be prepared to suit your capsaicin tolerance. Even though medu vada is typically eaten for breakfast or as a snack, I would love to have it as an appetizer with a cold IPA (beer and donuts? Yes, please!).

Hyderabadi Vegetable Dum Biryani


Next, I followed Kavita’s recommendation and ordered Hyderabadi vegetable dum biryani, which is a mouthful—both figuratively and literally. The aromatic entrée featured fresh vegetables marinated with yogurt, alongside fried onions, spices, saffron, coriander, and cashews cooked with long-grain basmati rice. Served with raita and salan (a curry-style condiment), the flavors and textures in this dish seem to come at you from every angle: the savory vegetable and spice-infused basmati, the fiery and fragrant cumin/chili/tamarind salan, and the cooling raita sending waves of sensory stimulation to your frontal lobe.

Masala Dosa


Finally, what seems to be everyone’s favorite: the masala dosa. For the dosa neophyte, it’s a crispy crépe made from lentil and rice batter. The masala version from Porottas is massive, and it conceals a 4”x4” portion of warm potato masala (seasoned potato “salad”). For me, the combination was a bit bland, although the chutneys and sauces served with it added some balance. Next time I’ll opt for the rava onion masala dosa and increase the heat level. I’ll also leave room for a mango lassi, chai tea, or Kumbakonam coffee (a piping hot blend of frothed milk and fragrant, fresh-ground coffee beans), for which I will undoubtedly return soon, Stop in and try all of Kavita’s family recipes; you won’t be disappointed.

Mango Lassi


Hours: 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m., 5-9 p.m. (Monday-Thursday); 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m, 5-10 p.m. (Friday); 11:30 a.m.–9:30 p.m. (Saturday-Sunday)
Try This: Hot N Sour Soup, Medu Vada, Samosa, Rava Dosa, Hyderabadi Vegetable Dum Biryani, Tea Kadai Bonda, Thali, Mango Lassi, Gulab Jamun
Drinks: No alcohol
Tab: $$
Heads-Up: Menu is entirely vegetarian; catering available; outdoor dining; kids’ menu includes a chocolate porotta; dishes are from the Southern region of India (all five states) and composed of simple, high-quality ingredients (chillies, garlic, ginger, coconut, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, and traditional herbs); online ordering available; home delivery service offers fresh meals (pick from individual or family packages) brought to your door daily, weekly, or monthly (follow them on Facebook for more info @porottasroseville1245)

by Lorn Randall