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Berkeley restaurant reccommendation for Saturday

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WendrynB Dec 14, 2005 11:06 AM

I used to live in the Bay Area, but it's been 8 years now and I need some help. We'll be in Berkeley Saturday evening for dinner and I'd like to find good ethnic food. We live in Reno, which is sorely lacking good ethnic food for the most part, and would like somewhere new to try. We really like Blue Nile but would like to expand a bit.

Indian food is at the top of the list of preferences, but I want good food and I have had bad experiences with Indian food that has not been very well made.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Hole-in-the-wall is fine as long as the food is good.

Thank you!

Regards,
Wendryn

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    susancinsf RE: WendrynB Dec 14, 2005 11:35 AM

    Well, when my sister comes down from Reno, she *has* to grab something to eat at Vik's, (Indian Chaat) but unfortunately they close at six...I haven't tried Ajanta, which I know has been mentioned on the board...

    As for other ethnicities: the Mexican food in Reno is as good as or better than what I've found here. I actually think there are now at least one or two decent Indian places in Reno. If I were coming from there for dinner, I'd probably choose China Village in Albany (on Solano Ave, and right next to Berkeley), for cooking I don't think you will find at home. Scroll down for some recent reviews....

    5 Replies
    1. re: susancinsf
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      WendrynB RE: susancinsf Dec 14, 2005 12:49 PM

      Thank you!

      On looking at the board comments, I think we'll try Ajanta.

      Just for reference, the Indian food in Reno is passable, but not *good*, and they will not make things hot. We have good Mexican, reasonable Chinese and a couple of good Thai places, but that's about it - most everything else is either a chain or inside a casino, neither of which really appeals in general.

      --Wendryn

      1. re: WendrynB
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        janet of reno RE: WendrynB Dec 14, 2005 01:19 PM

        Well, not to burst your bubble, but hubbie and I were not all that impressed with Ajanta. We found it bland, despite our requests for spicy. Of course, its been a while since we ate there. As for Reno, the new Indian restaurant at the corner of Vassar and Virginia is pretty good, but not super spicey (no Northern Indian place is, and thats all you'll find in Reno...). There *are* good non-chain places away from casinos, but most are not ethnic. Of course, all this is a discussion for the California board....

        1. re: janet of reno
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          WendrynB RE: janet of reno Dec 14, 2005 01:24 PM

          Oh, there are a lot of great little places to eat in Reno, don't get me wrong. I just grew up in the Bay Area and could satisfy an urge for almost any kind of food from another country, and here it is severely limited. My fiance and I both love to cook, too, so if we can't find Indian food that we like, for instance, we'd prefer to make it rather than buy something that just isn't quite as good as we'd like.

          We'll have to see how Ajanta is. Thank you for the feedback!

          1. re: janet of reno
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            Robert Lauriston RE: janet of reno Dec 14, 2005 01:49 PM

            The one time I ate at Ajanta the food was undistinguished, the lighting was awful, and the taciturn server didn't warn us that we were ordering two almost-identical dishes. I found the experience impossible to reconcile with the enthusiasm with which people had recommended the place.

            With the much nicer Khana Peena across the street, and several good, cheaper Indian restaurants closer to home, I doubt I'll ever get around to giving it another chance.

            1. re: janet of reno
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              Morton the Mousse RE: janet of reno Dec 15, 2005 02:54 PM

              Ajanta is definitely not the place to go for a "spicy fix" but the food is not bland. There are deep, complex flavors in the dishes. The food is spiced well without being spicy. I think that a lot of "hole in the wall" Indian places use excessive heat to cover up inferior ingredients. Ajanta uses great ingredients, so you can taste the flavors of each dish. Some might argue that this is not
              "authentic", but Ajanta makes no claims to being "authentic."
              Ajanta is not for heat lovers but every Indian food fanatic I've brought to Ajanta (probably about 10 at this point) has loved it for what it is.

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          Morton the Mousse RE: WendrynB Dec 14, 2005 12:51 PM

          Ajanta, hands down. I've had a lot of Indian food some of it great, some of it bad and Ajanta is some of the best. The menu is very interesting; it features cuisine of many different regions of India and dishes that you wont find anywhere else. There is also a notable Cal influence; lots of fresh vegetables, everything is organic, Niman Ranch meats, etc. Saag Paneer and Lamb Korma are excellent. Tandoori Portabello Mushrooms are to die for. Mango Lassi is as good as you'll find in the states. Prices are reasonable for sit down Indian, especially if you order A La Carte. Make a res now, they always fill up on weekends.

          ajantarestaurant.com

          If not Ajanta, Cafe Colucci blows Blue Nile away in terms of Ethiopian food. Service at CC has some problems, but the eggplant tibs and the chickpea dish are outstanding.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Morton the Mousse
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            WendrynB RE: Morton the Mousse Dec 14, 2005 12:58 PM

            Thank you!

            It's good to have another possible Ethiopian place, too - we'll try that next time. I appreciate the tip, will make a reservation today.

            --Wendryn

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