good indian on the peninsula
There aren't a whole lot of options. I've heard there is a decent place in Redwood City (Suraj), and there's good stuff in Palo Alto and San Francisco. In between those cities you're in a dead zone with a couple exceptions.
If you're looking for a traditional sit-down place, Nawab is a pretty good option (and there's an Entertainment Book coupon for them). I've included a link to their lunch buffet which should be avoided, but there's a link at the bottom of that post to my good experiences ordering off the dinner menu.
Their chicken tikka masala has gone downhill over time, with less chicken chunks and a too creamy sauce. It's still pretty good though. I used to love their channa masala but it was too salty last time I went. Hopefully that was only *that* time. The chicken melai kebab and aloo paratha are still excellent options.
Roti Bistro in Burlingame has a lot of fans on this board. The place looks great and the menu sounds great, but I think some of the dishes fall a little short.
Clay Oven in Downtown San Mateo was just OK. Shimla in Foster City served entrees with congealed sauces full of grease. I know there's a big Indian population in the Foster City area. I just don't know where they're eating.
Your very, very best bet for Indian food is Annapoorna in San Mateo. They specialize in South Indian food and is all vegetarian. Their aloo bonda and masala dosas are particularly good and super cheap.
Bombay Garden in San Mateo is hands down my favorite - mostly because of their awesome lamb curry on the lunch buffet and super-yummy fish pakoras off the menu. Everything else is usually very good as well.
A friend of mine said he was surprised and impressed with Shabnam's on Ellsworth, but I haven't been yet.
A few other good Indian places in the Peninsula:
1. Amber, both the one in Mountain View and the one in Santana Row- food's good at both, although I've heard that the Santana Row rest. is partial to large groups- apparently their seating for small groups is not good.
2. Passage to India in Mountain View is pretty good. their Indian-Chinese food is delicious.
3.Spice Hut has some an unusual menu-they serve south Indian delicacies that your grandma might have made at home, but are rarely seen on restaurant menus. the food is really good!! Saravana Bhavan in Sunnyvale has the classics and will offer you an authentic South Indian experience.
4. Shiva's in Mountain View- offers a stylish dining experience. Food's good too.
5.Kokila's -- unusual in that it is dedicated to Gujarathi cuisine (most indian restaurants serve North Indian style food).
places to avoid:
Annapoorna in Sunnyvale- awful! terrible!!
Bombay Oven in Cupertino --run for your life!
Junoon-- overpriced and overrated