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/
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 . . .
Here's my Passage to India review from two years ago:
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.