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Aug 3, 2005 12:55 PM

What is the BEST Indian Restaurant in the S.F. Bay Area

  • c

Hi Everyone.

OK , my partner and I love Indian food, we have been to a few wonerdful Indian restaurants in San Francisco and in San Mateo. But we are looking for recommendations for the best and most authentic Indian reataurants in the S.F. Bay Area in order to select one we can dine at this coming Saturday evening. We don't mind driving, we are located on the northern end of the peninsula.

Thanks in Advance

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  1. I would have said Vik's in Berkeley which is also one of the cheapest Indian joints in the Bay Area. However, I'm guessing from your post that you're a) looking for entrees and not chaat, and b) Vik's closes at 6 p.m.

    My fav Indian restaurants:

    -Vik's, Berkeley
    -Passage to India, Mtn View
    -Nawab, San Mateo
    -Mayuri, Santa Clara (I've only had the Wed. dinner buffet)
    -Priya, Berkeley (I've only had the buffet but have heard the off the menu stuff is good)
    -Real Ice Cream, Santa Clara (for cheap chaat)
    -Ajanta, Berkeley (for some unusual upscale stuff in nice environment)
    -Naan 'n Curry, SF & Berkeley (cheap and quality is as good or better as places that charge double)

    2 Replies
    1. re: katya
      Robert Lauriston

      Vik's is great food but not quite a restaurant.

      I don't think any of the other Indian places in Berkeley are better than what you can find on the Peninsula or in SF. I wasn't impressed enough with Priya or Ajanta to go back.

      Ajanta's not as dark or dingy as your typical Indian hole in the wall but I still found it grim and depressing. Khana Peena across the street is by far the nicest space of any Indian place I've been to around here.

      The Naan 'n' Curry on College near Ashby is by far the nicest of the N'n'C / Shalimar / Shan-type places.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        When did you last go to Ajanta? I found the interior very enjoyable (elegant even)

    2. r
      Robert Lauriston

      Which Indian places did you find wonderful?

      1. More info on Ajanta at link below. I disagree with Robert's assessment of the place, and I've been there a couple dozen times.

        I too would like to know which places you have enjoyed.


        4 Replies
        1. re: nja
          Morton the Mousse

          I also disagree with Robert on this one. I go to Ajanta about once a month. I've had many excellent meals there. I've brought friends and family who love Indian food to Ajanta and they've always been pleased. I appreciate that they use sustainably raised meats and organic produce. I've eaten at countless Indian restaurants, both sit down and hole in the wall, throughout Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Ajanta is my favorite. The prices are reasonable, especially if you order A La Carte.

          Indian Oven (not Indian Clay Oven) in SF makes an amazing Tandoori Chilean Sea Bass but they don't understand how to make a decent veg. curry.

          I tried Naan n Curry once, it was awful.


          1. re: Morton the Mousse
            Robert Lauriston

            What did you find awful about Naan 'n' Curry? If you didn't have a particularly unlucky meal there, we must have very different standards for Indian food.

            I keep thinking I should try Ajanta again, since so many people like it, but our meal there was so sad, the server such a jerk, and the atmosphere so depressing I can't bring myself to.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston
              Morton the Mousse

              The Saag Paneer at Naan N Curry was awful. The saag was oily. Oily curry is usually a sign of a bad Indian place - it means they're too cheap to use ghee, butter or cream. The paneer was tasteless.
              The naan was fine, but I don't think I've ever had a bad piece of fresh naan in my life.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                You should definately go back Robert! I've gone twice (dinner and lunch) and enjoyed it both times. The service is slow, but the atmosphere was fun, the server was sweet and the food excellent.

          2. My favorite is still Amber India (the original in a strip mall on El Camino - Mountain View). The lunch buffet is great as are the regular dishes. I really like the tandoori fish, okra and butter chicken.

            Another one I like a lot is Roti on West Portal in San Francisco. This is the second restaurant with the original being in Burlingame (I've never been). I love the sheek kebab and their curries. I would say that seafood is a weakness at this place. A co-worker spoke with the owner one time and found out they owned a restaurant in India located at the town she's from. It was apparently a very good and popular restaurant.

            1. Don't forget Dhasaprakash down in Santa Clara. Southern Indian, vegetarian. Good stuff.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Kim Cooper
                david kaplan

                Was just going to suggest Dasaprakash as well. I really like their dosai and other south Indian specialties. And the ambience is upscale.

                1. re: Kim Cooper

                  I'm not qualified to judge, but I recently took a friend from Bangalore to the lunch buffet at Annapoorna (Southern Indian vegetarian) and he proclaimed it the most authentic Indian food he's had since he moved to the Bay Area.

                  The people who work there are really nice, too.

                  2299 South El Camino Real
                  San Mateo, CA 94403
                  (650) 345-4366

                  Between 24th and 25th on the east side of the street. Parking behind the restaurant.

                  1. re: Liz
                    Melanie Wong

                    I'm glad to hear that Annapoorna is open for lunch, as it didn't use to be. While it's good and authentic, Dasaprakash cooking and atmosphere are kicked up a notch.

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      Well, I'll have to take him there then. It's kind of far to go for lunch, but I think he would enjoy it. I'll report once we do that.

                      Thanks, Melanie.


                      1. re: Liz
                        Melanie Wong

                        I hear you on the distance, Santa Clara's far from the City for me too, otherwise I'd be there more often. I haven't been recently so look forward to hearing new reports on Dasaprakash. The setting is casual and relaxing, not the hubbub and fast turnover of the other South Indian places. The design incorporates whatever the Indian equivalent of "feng shui" is and just makes you feel good to sit there.