Top-notch Indian cuisine the hallmark of Concord's Swagat

Top-notch Indian cuisine the hallmark of Concord’s Swagat

Top-notch Indian cuisine the hallmark of Concord's Swagat
Swagat owner-chef Manet Kumar carefully prepares his diverse gourmet creations. (Rich Eber photo)

Richard Eber, Taste and TellCONCORD, CA (Mar. 27, 2024) — The number of high-end restaurants located in Concord can be counted on one hand, and Swagat Indian Cuisine is a deserving member of this small group.

Since current owner-chef Manet Kumar purchased the business in 2021, it has grown into a gourmet paradise that has attracted attention throughout the Bay Area.

Prior to buying Swagat, he received a degree in culinary arts from Pusa University in New Delhi India. After spending several years in Hong Kong and Taiwan, Kumar worked for a decade as executive chef at Silicon Valley-based Sakoon Restaurants.

For diners who have stayed away from Indian food because of strong curries and unfamiliar spices, Swagat’s diverse menu eases these concerns.

“The spices are chosen accordingly, based on our customers’ choices and reviews,” Kumar elaborates. “The cuisine is packed with flavor, and there is something to suit every taste. Indian food is also relatively healthy, as it is based on fresh vegetables, lean meats and healthy spices, made fresh every day in our restaurant.”

‘Simply delicious’

A lunch buffet offers a diverse sampling of Swagat’s specialties 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. each day. I especially recommend this for parties of one or two. Dinner service begins at 5 p.m.

While I was there, staff frequently replaced hot entrees to avoid stale buffet fatigue. Among the top dishes sampled was tandoori chicken, an Indian mainstay that marinates overnight and is cooked in a clay oven. It is simply delicious. The spinach with lotus seed and homemade garlic naan bread are also of the highest quality.

My favorite was the curried goat, which tastes similar to lamb. It was highly spiced and paired well with saffron rice that moderated the heat.

The buffet includes desserts made each day. Lychee Halwa, comprised of fresh lychee fruit and semolina flour, goes especially well with the other courses.

Following a wonderful buffet experience, I brought my entire family to enjoy dishes prepared from the main menu. It is an excellent idea to have a large group, allowing for a diverse sampling of Indian cuisine.

We started our evening with an avocado Jhalmoori, which consisted of ripe avocado and rice puffs with a mixture of onions, mint and tomato. Our table soon fell in love with this Indian version of guacamole, and we quickly ordered more.

Also excellent were the stuffed Mirchi, Lahori Fish Pakora and Potato Peas Samosa. These dishes were so good, we could have easily dined solely on appetizers.

Next, we shared mango-olive and arugula salads. Feta cheese and sun-dried tomatoes accompanied the arugula in a balsamic vinaigrette. By this time, our table did not care if they were partaking in exotic ingredients such as cumin, coriander seeds, curry, beans, lentils, mustard seeds, chilis and fermented yogurt.

Our next reward was several scrumptious main courses, beginning with Fish Tikka made with Swai Basa. It was tender and tasty while not being overcooked. Next came Kadhai Shrimp, which we all enjoyed. My favorite dishes were Seekh Kebebs and the Triple Threat rack of lamb.

Vegetarian offerings

Swagat offers some 16 menu items for non-meat eaters. In tasting these vegetarian dishes, we didn’t feel we were missing anything. Especially noteworthy is the Saag, which consists of spinach, garlic, cottage cheese and potatoes. Okra, cauliflower, lentils and chickpeas are other components of their diverse vegetarian offerings.

Operating Swagat and a flourishing catering operation that accommodates up to 300 guests keeps Kumar and his wife Neha busy. Added to their workload is taking care of an infant baby girl at their Brentwood home.

Swagat is at 1901 Salvio St., Concord; 925-488-9811. It’s open 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. Reservations are recommended on weekends and for large parties. Don’t miss it.

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Rich Eber
Rich Eber

Rich Eber is a local journalist and long time resident of Concord.  His diverse topics covered go from politics to gourmet food.  He can be reached at