Favorite Chaat places in the bay area??
My Indian brother-in-law is coming to visit for his birthday in early February, and we were thinking of taking him to get some chaat. We've only tried Amber Cafe and some other Chaat place in Mountain View several years ago (sorry, can't remember the name...).
Any favorites or ideas on the best places? i've looked at some of the previous posts, and a lot of individual dishes sound good, but it's been difficult to compare the different restaurants. We've been meaning to try Vik's for years, but get sidetracked by so many other places in Berkeley when we're there...
We're based in San Mateo, but are willing to drive anywhere around the bay, if it's worth it. There will be a fairly big group of us, so at least rudimentary tables & chairs would be good. thanks in advance for any help...
thanks for the Chaat Cafe suggestion (although the 2 urls look identical to me... perhaps it's a browser issue?)...
since they have more than one location, i've read previous posts that say that some branches are supposed to be better than others... have you been to multiple locations, and do you know if there is a difference in the menu at different locales? thanks!
Here are my rankings among the chaat places of the Bay Area
1) Amber Cafe, Mountain View (malai methi wrap, samosa, aloo tikki)
2) Vik's, Berkeley (chicken kathi kebab - only on weekends, samosa, aloo tikki, dosa)
3) Real Ice Cream, Santa Clara (sev puri, ragada pattis)
4) Chaat Cafe, San Francisco and other locations (potato stuffed naan, samosa; avoid the entrees)
Can't remember the following as well; they were good but not amazing (GBNA)...
Chaat Paradise, Mountain View
Deedee's, Mountain View (good stuffed potato naan)
Chaat place on the corner of El Camino & Wolfe, Sunnyvale
Other chaat place in Sunnyvale (Chaat something...)
Bombay, San Francisco
I would say that among my favorite places, Vik's and Real Ice Cream (a.k.a. Olety's Chaat Corner) have the largest menus and are the most traditional. Chaat Cafe only carries about 8 chaat items. Amber Cafe has a big menu, but there are probably 8 chaat items on it, though lots of other interesting items like the malai methi wrap. Chaat Paradise, while I thought it was just okay on my only visit, had the biggest chaat menu I've ever seen.
If you do go to Real Ice Cream, it goes without saying to leave room for their delicious ice cream. They carry some unusual flavors like rose petal, cardamom, and saffron (I think it's saffron rose pista?).
Vik's rises clearly to the top for me. My instincts seemed to be confirmed when I took some friends from Mumbai who said it tasted wonderfully like "home". They don't have masala dosas on weekdays, though. also, it's good to go at about 5pm on weekend evenings - not crowded, and still a bountiful kitchen.
If I had to pick just one, it would be Chat Patta Corner in Fremont. Here's my post.
I prefer it over Chaat Cafe, Vik's, Amber Cafe, Olety's Chaat Corner (Real Ice Cream), Deedee's, Chaat Paradise, Krishna, and Lovely Sweets and Snacks, which all have their various strengths.
If you have time, you could head to Fremont and hit up Chat Patta, and try the two locations of Chaat Cafe plus Lovely Sweets and Snacks for a chaat tour and select the best items from each. I've not tried many locations of Chaat Cafe, but those who have say that the Fremont locations are the best in the chain.
Thanks all, for the many comments & suggestions... This makes me want to do a serious taste testing of all the places, but unfortunately that will probably take a while since we don't make it to all those locations on a regular basis.
Due to the constraints of the visit, we'll have to go on a weekend, so i think Vik's might be too busy to make it enjoyable with 10 people. right now i'm leaning towards Chat Patta and possibly another location... Melanie's posts & pictures on Chat Patta made me salivate. Amber's menu seemed a little too fusion-y for our Indian guests. but i'm also considering Real Ice Cream (the ice cream seems an added bonus) or Chaat Cafe (since the papri chaat seems universally loved.)
anyways, Melanie's post is the only one i've seen on Chat Patta, and we should be able to try a lot of different items, so i'll try to post after we go... Thanks again for all the help!
I have posted on each of the places mentioned in my post above, mostly with photos I think. If you pull them up, you can compare and constrast to see what suits you best.
P.S. Dana Bazar (sic), the sister spot to Chat Patta Corner is more well known. But it has no seating. And, Chat Patta gets spelled many different ways too, so hard to find by searching here or on the web.