Saffron Indian Bistro, San Carlos, CA
Tasty Subs and Pizza, Sunnyvale, CA
Indian pizza topping. The veggie pizza is tasty.
Chaats & Currys, Sunnyvale, CA
Chaats & Currys, Sunnyvale, CA
Very good quality food for such an affordable price tag. I am almost convinced they are selling themselves short. For less than $12 you get a very fulfilling dinner that comes with soup, salad, vegetable, rice/nan together with your choice of entree. There are free chutney, various condiments and sauce to go with your food as well.
The tandoori chicken was a bit drier than I would like but the lamb korma curry was a pure labor of love. I had a very enjoyable meal that really hit the spot. Ambiance is basic but the restaurant is clean and bright. It was rather fun to watch some Bollywood movies there too. Can’t wait to return and try more items on their menu.
Food: 4/5. Quality food made with labor of love.
Service: 4/5. Very friendly and helpful.
Ambiance: 3/5. Not much of an ambiance but the restaurant is neat and bright.
Price to Value: 4/5. Can’t get any better at this price.
Madras cafe, Sunnyvale, CA
Fans of Southern Indian food will be thrilled about this little cafe. They make one of the best dosa in the area. These little pan fried Indian crepes were paper thin and perfectly crisp. It tasted great even on its own without condiments and fillings. I like their dosa and batura better than many other fancier places around. Unfortunately the sambar and chutneys on the side were a bit mellow and I certainly had better ones elsewhere.
Madras does have a very cafeteria like ambiance. You order from the counter, wait a bit to be seated and then they will bring out your food when ready.
Despite the no frills setup, the decor is modern and clean. It might be a hole in the wall mom and pop shop but by no means ghetto.
Price to Value: 4/5
DOSA on Fillmore, San Francisco, CA
There are no shortage of Indian restaurants in the bay area but Southern Indian food is surprisingly different to find. Whoever came up with the business idea to bring the staple southern Indian fare to such a trendy spot is just pure ingenious. DOSA is truly one of a kind in the city (not counting its sister restaurant Dosa on Valencia of course).
The restaurant is huge. There is a spacious bar, communal tables, lounging area as well as plenty of tables in two floors. Even then, the restaurant is a complete full house on the weekends. Reservation is not too too difficult to come by. Just need to call a few days in advance. Walk in or same day reservation might be possible but do not count on it. You don’t want to wait for 45 minutes do you?
The food was good. Very authentic in taste with much welcomed Californian twist featuring many locally sourced, farm fresh or organic ingredients. I can’t say it was the best Southern Indian food I have had in the area. I could still name a handful of restaurants that would beat them in taste and price. However, none of those restaurants match this level of service and quality. You are paying extra for the service, excellent wine list and a nice ambiance. Let me tell you, it is totally worth it.
The tasting menu is great for first timers. The portion is adjusted smaller so you get to try more things. Otherwise, just one order of their dosa could easily fill you up.
I love the energetic ambiance but the tables were a little too close together for comfort. It is a fun place to bring your date to but not a place you could enjoy a more intimate and private conversation.
Naan n Masala, Milpitas, CA
Craving authentic Indian curry? This is where you can find tasty, inexpensive no nonsense Indian food.
Their garlic naan was awesome. Every piece was perfectly crisp and flavorful. I found myself not wanting to drench it in sauce so I could savor it completely. Chicken Tikka Masala wasn’t bad at all. Even though the meat was slightly dry, the rich buttery gravy made up for it. I technically ‘drank’ almost the entire plate. Goat curry was well spiced. It is a good choice if you want something slightly less creamy.
Butter chicken and tandoori chicken are the next on my to-try list.
Naan N Masala is located in the back of a really quiet strip mall in Milpitas. That only means easier parking and less wait time. People working there are really friendly and helpful. Doesn’t matter if you are a first timer or a regular, you will be welcomed like family.
The Dosa Republic, San Mateo, CA
If you love the format of Curry Up Now’s brick and mortar restaurant you will love this new creation as well. Located away from the busy downtown San Mateo on a quieter strip of El Camino, The Dosa Republic offers an extensive menu of traditional and fusion dosas and other Indian street eats. Ambiance is hip, contemporary and modern just like their sister restaurant.
Food is fairly inexpensive. You can get a very fulfilling meal for less than $10. Even the most expensive items on the menu are just slightly over $10 and the portions are generous. All dosas come with 3 tasty chuctneys and sambar for dipping.
I had their popular Tangra dosa (filled with Chinese noodle and veggie) and The Classic Dosa (with just potatoes). While I enjoyed the gratifying bold flavors of Tangra, I was more in love with the traditional classic. Just simple curried potatoes with crispy dosa crepe was enough to make me happy. Baby Idli Indian Chinese Manchurian starter was interesting but the sauce was a bit too salty for my taste. Their Coorgi Filter Coffee was quite good.
These guys really know how to market with the social media. They offer freebies from time to time on twitter or with checkins so follow away.
I will return for some sweet dosas next. All you gulten-free diners and vegans out there will be really happy with this shiny new addition.
Vik’s Chaat, Berkeley, CA
If you are looking for good and cheap eats in Berkeley neighborhood, look no further. Vik’s Chaat is not your typical Indian restaurant. Granted Indian food are mostly not expensive, Vik’s Chaat went one step further by streamlining the kitchen into an almost ‘industrialized’ operation. The food court style dining area might not look that fancy but your food is always made to order. Everything came out fresh and delicious. It is casual dining at its finest.
Despite the modern decor, the food is no fusion style. Everything is 100% authentic.
Love their samosa. Love their dahi batata puri. They have a great selection of Indian dessert pastries too.
Sanaa, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Walt Disney World, Kissimmee, Florida
Not a bad Disney resort dining option but far from 4.5 stars average it is receiving. Sanna describes itself as an African restaurant with Indian flavors. Unfortunately, the menu and food really suggest more far Indian influence than African. This is all, I am afraid, just a gimmicky to fit into the whole African safari theme.
This restaurant is not without merit. The appetizer sampler, for example, features fairly decent samosas and lamb Kefta. The Indian-style Bread Service is not to be missed. The bread, though not exactly authentic Indian, were nicely done and paired with very likeable accomplishments. Their signature slow cooked entrees were not as impressive. Our server recommended the Spicy Durban Chicken and the Shrimp with Green Curry. Neither were memorable. If you want dessert, Chai Cream or the dessert sampler are a safe choices. I can’t say the same for the Orange-Sesame Cake. The dryness was unbelievable.
Sanaa is not a bad place to dine, but only if your choices are limited to the Disney area. As always, the outside world offer far better options at faction of the price.