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Apr 5, 2007 12:01 PM

Tandoori Bites the Big One in San Jose

I really wanted to like Tandoori Bites located in the heart of the Silicon Valley commuter lunch shed. The owner couldn't be nicer. On our first visit she brought by a fresh basket of naan, and actually had us put our half gnawed pieces of naan in her hand. The naan was perfect - big and poofy, slightly burnt in a few places, with just a slight brushing of butter.

That first visit we tried the buffet, which is fairly small as Indian buffets go. My favorite dish was the potatoes and turnips - a surprise since I don't like turnips - however, I didn't spot one potato in the dish. The channa masala (usually a favorite for me) was far too watery. The chicken curries all had meat with questionable quality. I would have liked to have seen some chicken tikka masala with tandoori chicken meat or kebabs with chicken breast meat.

Overall the buffet was okay, but definitely not worth $10. For $7 I'm happier with the buffet at Taj in Sunnyvale. The best sounding item on the Tandoori Bites menu was the aloon naan, but I couldn't justify paying an extra $4 for it after already paying ten bucks for lunch.

If you decide to order off the menu, the entree prices are in the $13 range - even at lunch. I did notice the naan wraps though, and decided to make a return trip a week later for those. They are advertised as to-go only, but if you arrive after 1 p.m., you can convince them to make them to eat there. The boyfriend and I shared two naan wraps - each consisting of meat, cucumbers, onions, and chutney wrapped by naan (actually I think one didn't have the cucumbers or chutney). The naan was good. However, the meat quality of the chicken wrap left something to be desired. The chicken tandoori wrap wasn't much better, and had an odd taste that took some getting used to. Perhaps the seekh kebab wrap is better, but I'm not going back to find out

My Current Indian Buffet Rankings:
1) Turmeric, Sunnyvale
2) Priya (Berkeley)
3) Passage to India, Mountain View
4) Mehak, Berkeley
5) Sargam, Walnut Creek
6) Mayuri, Santa Clara
7) Taj, Sunnyvale
8) Maharaja?, Mtn View – on Castro St., can’t remember name but it’s not Sue’s
9) Tandoori Mahal, San Francisco
10) Khana Peena, Berkeley
11) Rajib?, Richmond – can’t find it online; might be closed
12) Swarna,Walnut Creek
13) Tandoori Bites, San Jose
14) India Palace, Berkeley
15) Raj, Oakland

Tandoori Bites
3730 N. First St. (at Tasman Dr.)
San Jose, CA 95134
(408) 324-1862

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  1. Not a fan of this place either.
    I didn't have time to go to any other place and I really wanted Indian so I stopped by here for the lunch buffet.
    The curries were all watery. All their veggie dishes didn't have too many veggies in it. Like you, I couldn't find potatoes in the aloo ghobi they had that day. It was more sauve than anything else.
    Their chicken is mostly thigh meat and the cuts were pretty small. You have to fish out the meat to get enough on your plate. It was spiced very mild but it was missing flavor. The taste just seemed off.

    The naan was good. Warm, chewy and crusty all at the same time. But that's not enough reason to go back.

    I noticed they now have some lunch special for $6. I can't recall how many items but it is to go. Since I wasn't impressed with the food, I haven't gone back.
    I rather make the trip to Mayuri or even Bombay Garden.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Margo

      It sounds like you had the same exact experience as me!
      Is Bombay Garden the new buffet place that opened in Sunnyvale?

      1. re: katya

        Bombay Garden is the one on Larence and El Camino, right next to OSH. It is in the old location of Pasand if I'm not mistaken.

        They have a large buffet. I lost count but for sure more than 20. They have both North and South Indian. Everything is labeled and the South Indian is on it's own area. Mango soft serve for dessert.

        I never wrote a report on it but I should. It wasn't too bad.

        1. re: Margo

          There's also a Bombay Garden in Newark, on Mowry Ave, across from the Newpark mall. I thought their lunch buffet had an excellent selection, maybe 20 or so dishes. But I kept going back for the lamb curry and tandoori chicken, didn't have room for much else after my initial sampling.

    2. Have you tried Tandoori Oven in San Jose, either at the Prune Yard or 150 South First.? We liked their food and service although last Sunday the lamb was a bit dry, could have been because Sunday's in downtown SJ are often slow.

      1. You oughta try the buffet at Masala Indian Fusion in Danville. Ignore the fusion part, the chef/owner used to cook at 4 star hotels in India, and the fusion stuff is only part of the dinner menu, you can get traditional stuff lunch and dinner. I think the buffet is still only $9 (I don't get to go as much now that I work too far away), and is always really good, and changes depending on what's fresh. Masala is still my favorite Indian restaurant of all time.

        1. Glad you're continuing the buffet hunt, katya! Sounds like things have changed since my visit soon after opening. At that time I was dismayed by the preponderance of white meat chicken.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Melanie Wong

            I feel like having a song to the tune of "You say tomato" about how you like dark meat and I like white meat. (Caveat: I like white meat when it's moist and flavorful and done correctly, not when it's too dry.) Except for the wraps we didn't order off the menu. I was glad to see your report since I was curious about the entrees.

            1. re: katya

              Ha! And, that's why we need to hear from a wide range of tastes. A couple South Indian spots with buffets I've noticed but not tried are Southern Spice in Mtn View and Spice Hut Bistro in Menlo Park. IIRC, Southern Spice includes beer on weekends.

          2. Katya,
            The number 8 restaurant you mention is Godavari.