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Jul 23, 2005 07:24 AM

does anyone knoe of an upscale Indian restaurant?

  • y

Just came back from a trip in London, I went to the Cinnamon(sp) Club. If anyone knows of it you know its fairly upscale and although the cuisine is Indian it is just that cusine. Beautiful presentation excellent flavors and unique ingriedents(sp). Such as shiso leaves and those yummy mushrooms that smell like maple syrup. I am looking for somethin like that in the Bay Area to take my dad. Any Recs would helpful.

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  1. I am a long time occasional visitor to London , and have loved the creative kinds of Indian restaurants that have proliferated there in the last 15 years- starting with the still beloved Cafe Spice Namaste, and followed by many others. There are some similarly "innovative", delicious, [and expensive] places in NYC- Tabla and Tamarind come to mind, but I know of only one place here that even makes the attempt- Tallula in the Castro in SF.I've been 4 times since it opened 2-3 years ago. I had a wonderful initial experience and touted it to friends. Initially they also gave glowing reports. I returned and a had mediocre experience with both food and service, and soon friends were reporting similar disappointments and mentioned "changes in the kitchen".I tried once more, felt "ripped off," and I did not return, until earlier this year with visiting English friends wanting something "interesting" after being massively underwhelmed by a visit to Amber India in the South Bay for a business dinner. We had a "decent" experience. "At least they are trying", said one of my visitors, and of course they were amazed at "how cheap"[!?!?] every thing was compared to London. It might be worth a try , given your quest. I look forward to other posts mentioning places I don't know about!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jimbo
      Zach Georgopoulos

      The opening is a couple of months away, but the owner of Gaylord has said he plans on taking a more innovative approach to the cuisine at his new location in Sausalito, and is working with a new chef to develop the menu. Should be interesting.

    2. we regularly make trips to Amber India, they have amazing food....full menu online, we prefer the Mountain View location but several people have posted that the Santana Row is better...It seems exactly what you're looking for...


      3 Replies
      1. re: bandit
        Robert Lauriston

        Amber India's food is really good, and as suburban strip malls go the decor is nice, but it's nowhere near as fancy and upscale as the Cinnamon Club, which is in a beautiful landmark building.

        We have some Chinese and Vietnamese places that are sort of comparable, but no Indian.


        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          WOW, that is gorgeous...Definately the Santana Row location- since its about the decor and food !! I guess I would have to say that the decor & food at Tallula falls short and Gaylords food was on the same par as Indian Oven for me- not horrible but I won't go back....

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Thanks for the link. The discussion of the various wine styles made good reading.

        2. m
          Morton the Mousse

          Try Ajanta in Berkeley. I've been to countless upscale Indian Restaurants in both Northern and Southern California and I think Ajanta is the best. Premium ingredients and excellent preparations. Prices are quite reasonable, especially if you order A La Carte. My favorite dishes are:
          Saag Paneer - I've had far too many orders of Saag in my life to count, but this is the best.
          Lamb Korma - Quality meat stands out. Perfect sauce.
          Papadam - This is the rare place that makes fresh papadam instead of using pre-packaged ones. You can taste the difference.
          Tandoori Portobello - Not traditional, but surprisingly delicious.
          Mango Lassi - Always a good indicator of restaurant quality. It is fresh tasting and not too sweet.


          2 Replies
          1. re: Morton the Mousse
            Robert Lauriston

            Ajanta is not upscale except compared with maybe Naan 'n' Curry. It's a nothing-special storefront, low ceilings, bad lighting, nothing fancy about the decor. My one meal there was mediocre, partly because the sullen waiter let us order two dishes that were the identical preparation of two different meats.

            I liked Khana Peena across the street much better.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I agree that khana peena is much better and a friend of mine owns a store near ajanta and says that ajanta's kitchen is pretty dirty . . .just a rumor but im not going to risk it!

          2. Masala in Danville is excellent! I go all over the bay area in search of good indian cuisine and find this to be a delightful and fun restaurant. If you take your dad there I am sure you both will enjoy it. Anu the owner is very friendly. They have a great lunch buffet tues-fri 11:30-2pm

            1. b

              Alas, there are no upscale Indian places in Bay Area.

              Bay area indian food has started looking up a bit recently, what with chaats, dosas, and idlis entering the food lexicon here. But nothing to compare with London.

              Any chowhounders care to speculate why?

              4 Replies
              1. re: butter_chicken
                Robert Lauriston

                I think upscale Indian / Cal-Indian would be a hit for anybody smart, talented, and rich enough to put together the right combination.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  I would think so too. Upscale Indian has certainly succeeded in NY. I am just surprised that Bay Area didn't take the lead, considering the huge number of Indian/Pakistani immigrants here, a number of whom are both smart and rich.

                  I hope they are right when they say that all good things come to those who wait.

                  1. re: butter_chicken

                    It is a puzzlement, isn't it? Turmerik in Sunnyvale closed recently, would love to know where executive chef, Arvind Bhargava is now.


                    1. re: butter_chicken

                      Hmm, moving out here from Philly, I was shocked that, with the exception of Mountain View, there were no cheap Indian restaurants. They were all pricier than I was accustomed to.

                      So I for one am very happy with the recent explosion of Paki/Indian restaurants.

                      Similarly, my prior experience of Greek restaurants was that it was a reasonably priced cuisine. So I was surprised at how expensive Kokkari was. Everyone seemed pleased with their meals and the service was very good. And a nice touch was that they had no problem that I wanted to pay for my share of the bill separately, since I hadn't brought enough cash with me.