By Chris Holmes
“Svaagat hai” means welcome in Hindu. That’s right. I expected to be greeted at the door of Swami’s Cafe by a man in a Nehru jacket or a woman in a sari with a bindi (red dot) on her forehead, the smell of curry redolent in the air.
The name of this wonderful cafe on Grand Avenue comes not from some Hindu priest, but from Swami’s Beach, a popular surf spot in Encinitas. The 9 cafes in this chain began as a juice bar beachside along Hwy. 101. The start-up dish was the Acai bowl, a smoothie blended with apple juice and served in a bowl of oatmeal with sliced strawberries, bananas, granola and coconut shavings on top. It’s still a crowd favorite.
The rest of the menu is gloriously diverse, with dishes that draw from Mexican, Indian, Asian and American cuisines. My wife Marilyn and I both had omelettes. Mine was a Denver, hers a Veggie Rama (there’s that Hindu talk again!).
All of the Swami Cafes are open for breakfast and lunch; a few offer dinner on weekends. Visit their website, swamiscafe.com, for specific location hours.
Give this place a try. You won’t leave hungry.