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Indian buffet - san francisco, peninsula or south bay

Where's your favorite Indian Buffet? I enjoy this place but it's in the South Bay - http://www.grandindianbuffet.com/

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  1. If its not too far south, Amber India in Mountain View on El Camino near Rengsdorf. Good quality and nice ambience.

    1 Reply
    1. re: vivian

      I second Amber India. I just love the buffet there.

    2. Amber is just north of Rengstorff on El Camino. Just south of Rengstorff is Passage To India. While overall the food is definitely better at Amber, Passage has a much larger selection, included some items you don't normally see at standard Indian buffets. I've eaten way too much too many times there . . .

      3 Replies
      1. re: nsheth

        What items does Passage have that are not the standards? What are your favorite items? What to skip?

        1. re: rworange

          Here's my Passage to India review from two years ago:
          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

          Since then I think they've actually expanded the number of chaat/South Indian vegi items they have on large hot platters near the entrance. Dosas, aloo tiki, and pav bhaji always make an appearance and are the best items there. Their meat dishes are not as strong.

          1. re: katya

            I haven't been in about year, but I remember liking their pav bhaji also. They often set out some other bread options past the ubiquitous naan (stuffed paratha, etc.). The dosas weren't great, but a good change of pace from the standard North Indian fare. This may only be for dinner, but in the back they would set up a tawa (spelling? tava? basically a hot grill with things like okra, eggplant, potato, etc.). They also have a little section of Desi-Chinese dishes, none of which stood out in my mind, but it's something to try. I also like their little chicken rolls, set out near the raita/chutney stand. They also have tiny cakes (probably eggless) among the dessert options.

            I think on Tuesdays they do an all-vegetarian buffet, but I haven't had that in years.

      2. Below you'll find my most recent Indian buffet rankings in the Bay Area. I recently revisited Mayuri's which has been rarely mentioned on this board. Their $9 lunch buffet was definitely still really, really good. Everything was refilled often, and the tandoori chicken was a standout. It was really tender and smoky like I'd ordered it off the menu, instead of being dried out like at most buffets.

        Mother May(uri) I (Santa Clara Indian Buffet)
        http://www.chowhound.com/california/b...

        Katya’s Ranking of Bay Area Indian Lunch Buffets
        (I might be forgetting some

        )

        1) Passage to India (Mtn View)
        2) Priya (Berkeley)
        3) Mayuri (Santa Clara)
        4) Mehak (Berkeley)
        5) Sargam (Walnut Creek)
        6) Maharaja?. (Mtn View – on Castro St., can’t remember name but it’s not Sue’s)
        7) Tandoori Mahal (San Francisco)
        8) Khana Peena (Berkeley)
        9) Rajib? (Richmond – Can’t find it online; might be closed)
        10) Swarna (Walnut Creek)
        11) Mezbaan (Santa Clara)
        12) India Palace (Berkeley)
        13) Nawab (San Mateo – Good to order off menu; terrible buffet)
        14) Raj (Oakland)

        I once ate at the buffet at Swagat (Mtn View) – I can’t remember it well enough to rank.

        4 Replies
          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Thanks. Forgot to update the URL!

          2. re: katya

            I have gained a lot of weight at Passage to India's Fri-Sat-Sun dinner buffet (the large location that once was a Bob's Big Boy, not the little bakery/mithai location down the road). Even with about 25 food troughs and piles of different types of bread, they still manage to serve different things on different visits. Chicken Vindaloo seems to rotate with Methi Chicken; Fish Curry with Punjabi Fish; and so on. The dessert I describe to people as doughnut holes in sugar syrup is the best I've had on any buffet.

            > I once ate at the buffet at Swagat (Mtn View) – I can’t remember
            > it well enough to rank.

            If this is the one that was in a motel near San Antonio, it has been replaced by Dastoor. I haven't tried it.

            By the way, Darbar, on Lytton near the train station in downtown Palo Alto, makes a tasty lunch buffet.

            1. re: Jefferson

              The doughnut holes in sugar syrup dessert you're referring to is called gulab jamun. I'm personally not a big fan of the dish(too sweet and too fried for me), and prefer kheer (a rice pudding) instead as my dessert of choice in Indian restaurants. I've never tried it at Passage to India. I'm impressed at how well you know their buffet!

              I saw an interesting version of gulab jamun in Mayuri's buffet a few days ago (the dessert changes daily). The gulab jamun was dry and coated with coconut flakes. It really looked like a coconut covered doughnut hole.

          3. Komala Vilas in Sunnyvale. Not really a buffet because they come around and serve you, but it is all you can eat. They'll keep refilling your plate until you tell them to stop. Very good vegetarian south Indian food. For lunch, they have a small set menu that changes regularly (sambar, rasam, rice, two other daily special vegetarian dishes, plus dessert). If you want a wide variety of dishes, don't come here. If you want fresh and tasty vegetarian fare, this is the place.

            http://www.komalavilas.com/

            1. What do you guys think of Suraj? I really liked their lunch buffet. http://www.surajrestaurant.com

              1. Don't know if anyone has tried the buffet at Tumeric in downtown Sunnyvale. It's family-run and the chef is excellent. He makes everything from scratch. They have a great lunch buffet (seven days a week) and a dinner buffet Friday and Saturday nights. What I really like is that the buffet items change regularly. I like Amber's buffet too, but the food items are the same every time I've been there. Prices here are reasonable, especially the dinner buffet at $12.95. If you're ordering a la carte, definitely get the Aloo Dum Chutneywala (which is a vegetarian dish-potatoes stuffed with nuts and raisins and other goodies in a silky mint sauce).

                Here is the website (info about the lunch buffet but not the dinner buffet can be found on the website):
                http://www.turmericrestaurant.com

                1. Southern Spice Bistro on El Camino Real at Del Medio in Mountain view is very much worth a visit. The buffet is very good, reasonably priced, and changes from day to day. Their a la carte dinners are more expensive, but the quality is very, very good. Try the bone-in Andrha meat recipes.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Jeremy Tavan

                    Haven't tried their buffet yet, but definitely second the rec for dinner in general. Flavors are authentic, and when they say spicy they mean it! Biryani and goat fry/goat curry are excellent.

                  2. are there any indian buffets in the peninsula that offer a soft serve mango ice cream? i've had them at the indian buffets in berkeley

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: yenyen828

                      Yep, I was about to suggest Passage to India. I know they had it 6 months ago, so they probably still do.

                      A little farther, but I believe Mayuri in Santa Clara has it.

                    2. Passage to India mentioned above in MV - used to have mango soft serve ice cream. I haven't been there in about 3 years now. Maybe another chowhound can update us ?

                      1. Bumping this thread to get some more opinions on Indian buffets. I'm actually pretty new to Indian food since I was out of state for about 5 years and I'm playing catch-up. So far the only two places I've been to are the lunch buffets at Turmeric in Sunnyvale Town Center, and Mayuri's in Santa Clara. Both are excellent and differ enough where I dont' feel drawn to one or the other. If anything Turmeric has much better vegetarian items, while Mayuri has the edge on meat items.

                        I do notice some dishes are served at both, but are there any other Indian buffets that would seem "different" than Turmeric and Mayori? Or is the north/south represented pretty well by these two? Mezbaan and Grand Indian Buffet are close to work, how would you compare those?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Bunson

                          I've been disappointed by Mezbaan in both my visits.

                          Turmeric is my favorite buffet right now. I like Mayuri's a lot, too.

                          Udupi Palace (Sunnyvale) has a good South Indian lunch buffet. The highlights include a small complimentary dosa (I always have to remind them for it though!) and uttapam.

                          Taj (Sunnyvale) is my favorite cheap buffet. $7 (before tip and tax) gets you a pretty respectable spread of food. Highlights include saag paneer and chicken tikka (both dishes are ones I'm not usually fond of either, but they make them good). Even at 1:45 p.m. the chicken tikka isn't dried out!

                          I used to like Passage to India more. Now I don't think it's worth whatever they're charging now ($15?) for their weekend dinner buffet. They do offer a pretty amazing spread and some unusual buffet dishes like aloo tikka and dosas.

                          I've heard good things about Amber India's lunch buffet.

                        2. I like Karma Indian Bistro in Cotati a little farther but worth it

                          1. Annapoorna in San Mateo for their dosas and vegetarian only fare.