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Palo Alto Recs for 10+ group of College kids

hi,
I'm look for some restaurant recommendations for the Palo Alto/Sunnyvale-ish area (basically a half-hour radius ok). I'm part of the UCLA Wushu team and I'm looking for some nice reasonably-priced places to pig out/celebrate after the national collegiates championship. We'll be a group of about 15 people. Any kind of food welcome. Buffets, like an all-you-can-eat KBBQ ok, Hometown Buffet not... Thanks thanks! (I'm a first time poster ... yaaaaaay!)

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  1. Palace in Sunnyvale is a AYCE Korean BBQ

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    Palace B.B.Q. Buffet
    1092 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

    1. There's a Todai in Cupertino. There's also a bunch of AYCE Indian buffets in Palo Alto and Mountain View.

      1. Wrote somewhat detailed info earlier only to lose it with a touch of the wrong key:-( The previous two posters sum it up in a nutshell! Grand Indian Buffet & Turmeric, both in Sunnyvale offer buffets at dinner time & so does Passage to India in Mountain View. Not sure if any Palo Alto Indian buffets are offered at dinner. There's Darbar & Janta on Lytton & Hyderabad House on University ave. with the latter being counter service.

        Also, no Asian buffets but Castro street in Mountain View has tons of restaurants (ethnic and others). Just in case for something different, I dug up this on Ramen. An old thread but there was some activity last month.

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/36964

        Good luck!

        1 Reply
        1. re: ceekskat

          There's also Hokkaido (in San Mateo), Indulge (San Carlos) and Moonstar (in Daly City) -- all Asian AYCE places.

        2. I think Turmeric has the best Indian buffet in the Bay Area. They only have dinner buffets certain days of the week. The $13 price tag is worth it. They always have some unique (always tasty dishes) that you won't find at other Indian restaurants.

          Zeni in San Jose is a fun place for family style Ethiopian food that's very reasonably priced ($9 per person). It might be my favorite restaurant in the Bay Area.

          A suggestion that's actually in Palo Alto is Patxi's for Chicago stuffed pizza. I'm in love with their Californian (spinach, red onions, low fat cheese, whole wheat crust). I'm not sure if they take reservations, but you might have a problem going there with 15 people if they don't.

          Also:
          New Kapadokia in Redwood City for Turkish food (entrees about $15)
          The Counter in Palo Alto for build your own burgers

          11 Replies
          1. re: katya

            There is no way you'll get 15 people sitting together in The Counter

            New Kapadokia has small portions (fine for me, not quite martial-artists-after-a-tournament quality - I've walked out hungry but satisfied, the food is tasty)

            Ceekskat's buffets might be good - none of the palo alto places have buffet for dinner.

            I offer up So Gong Dong Tofu House. The portions are big (tho not AYCE - although technically those little plates get refilled whenever you ask) and cheap. They should be able to pull together a bunch of tables in the back area and you can get silly.

            Palace BBQ is likely a good choice, if within range - haven't been there myself, though.

            1. re: bbulkow

              You're right about The Counter being too small - for some reason I totally forgot about that when I suggested it - unless they're able to reserve 1/3 of the restaurant for you.

              I disagree with you on New Kap. Believe it or not when I go I eat the lentil soup (very filling) and one of my five piece lentil kofte appetizer and that's it. My husband's a bigger eater but he usually brings quite a bit of food home from his entree (he doesn't get an appetizer though we usually do share baklava).

              I still stand by Turmeric as your best choice. Palace BBQ isn't bad either.

              1. re: katya

                I also think New Kap is a bit quiet for the atmosphere. It's a nice little restaurant in a sleepy part of a sleepy downtown.

                We're talking 15 wushu guys celebrating a martial arts national college championship and pigging out. I think there are better choices.

                morabbitron, let us know what you choose, eh?

            2. re: katya

              I'd been following this thread to get recommendations for places to take a teenager with a big appetite. I took the recommendations and decided to try Turmeric last night. I have to say I was very disappointed. While the selection is large, the basics weren't done well. I know the price is small for the bay area, but even at $13 a piece, I expect that my food should be edible. I had raw pieces of rice caught in my teeth and the nan was burned to a crisp. Now I realize this is a buffet and the kitchen may have been rushing to get out enough food, but that doesn't excuse not doing a good job on the basics that everyone who dines there is going to eat. The entree selection is large but the ones that I tried were just ok. Not great, but ok. I think I've just been spoiled with great buffets in SF and I just can't find something I like in the south bay.
              This was my first time here and probably my last unless someone I know is hosting a party and I feel obligated to attend. I like to give places the benefit of the doubt but raw rice??? Really now.

              1. re: sflegs

                Sorry about your dinner at Turmeric. I only recommended to OP as key words/phrases were "any kind of food" & "buffet" and more importantly, assumed they meant dinner. That said, I would have thought Turmeric was a safe bet as I went to a customized birthday dinner buffet in November and it was not bad. There must have been about 75 people incl. children and they had some interesting dishes including a delicious baked cauliflower dish. Finally, I would think any place that served Nan that was "burned to a crisp" would have replaced it with a fresh one, especially at a restaurant like Turmeric.

                My rec for an Indian buffet in the South Bay/Peninsula would be Amber in Mountain View (Jan. review attached); however, this is only offered at lunch. I actually went there again this past Thursday & I think it was as good as New Years Day if not better! Hope you give them a try as they offer lunch buffet 7 days a week. For some reason, Amber Santana Row is not as good. Amber SF is soon to open (perhaps April or May) on Market near Four Seasons.

                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/479754

                1. re: ceekskat

                  Also surprised. We do a lot of Indian buffets, because my kids love Indian and when they are hungry it is a great way to get them food fast. Tumeric is one of our favorites. Every time we have gone most of the dishes have been one, with one or two exceptions. We don't really care much about naan, so I can't comment on that. my 4 year old ate it, but that isn't saying much. That cauliflower dish is really good... Desserts are not the highlight.

                  1. re: jsaimd

                    link

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                    Turmeric Restaurant
                    141 S Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94086

                2. re: sflegs

                  Turmeric is my favorite Indian buffet in the Bay Area. I'm surprised and sorry to hear you didn't have a great experience. I've never had any problems like the ones you mention - maybe it was an off night? Like the other posters I, too, love their baked cauliflower dish. It's true that unlike other restaurants theirs is the type of place to fix something (burned naan) if you were to point it out. Granted you shouldn't have to point it out.

                  I think the South Bay buffets focus more on vegetarian dishes, and are weaker in regards to meat dishes. (For instance I never see nice chicken breast tandoori in the South Bay. The meat dishes always consist of dark meat covered in sauce. It's always chicken masala down South instead of chicken tikka masala.)

                  1. re: katya

                    Katya, have you had a chance to make it to Amber Mtn. View buffet? On my visit last week, they served tandoori chicken (nice flavor & smoky), delicious chicken curry incl. breasts (liquidy, no cream!), and their "signature" butter chicken (I'm not a fan though). The curry came out as a replacement for the lamb of which they had run out. I was initially disappointed but once I tasted the dish, I was quite satisfied. There were several big groups that day...had to wait for a table even at 12:40! In summary, if you haven't tried the buffet, please do.

                    1. re: ceekskat

                      I haven't tried the buffet at Amber. I've been meaning to despite the lunch buffet cost which I've heard is around $14. (Is that correct? $10 is my usual lunch buffet limit, but I'm willing to make an exception.)

                      I've had weird experiences with the Amber franchise. I thought the restaurant was very overrated, but LOVED Amber Cafe. (I reviewed both on Chowhound.) I wasn't that impressed with the butter chicken when I went to the regular restaurant (though to be honest I ordered the Chicken Tikka Masala which I'd heard was identical but used white meat), but did like the Dum Aloo Bukhara.

                      Amber (India) Alert: Supposedly Good Restaurant Nowhere to Be Found
                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/39970

                      Revisiting Mountain View’s Amber Café: Still Eaarning As for the Baay Area’s Best Chaat
                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/46070

                      I'm thinking of trying Madhuban on Lawrence Expressway near Arques in Sunnyvale. It's $12 for the lunch buffet (though there's a 15% off coupon in The Metro). There are good reviews on Yelp. Any Chowhounders been?

                      1. re: katya

                        $14 for weekday buffet & $15 for wknd extended buffet. I think I like their buffet better than their a la carte menu (those have hit or miss). Once you've had this, perhaps you will reconsider "I think Turmeric has the best Indian buffet in the Bay Area.". LOL.

              2. ahhhh. thanks you guys! we might be unadventurous and end up at KBBQ. though about the counter, I liked the one in Santa Monica thought it was also incredibly tiny and packed.

                1. for dinner we actually ended up at the promoted banquet at the Grand Buffet in cupertino(?) - AYCE sushi, chinese food, bbq, buffet etc. pretty typical. I don't know if this is the normal price but we paid 17.50 each which was kind of a rip off but we showed up late (9:30PM) too.

                  we did eat lunch at this good chinese restaurant. Hu-Chiang Dumpling House. 10877 N. Wolfe Road, Cupertino, CA. It serves xiao long bao or soup dumplings. they aren't listed as xiao long bao on the menu but as tang bao. I don't know why but that's what they are. pretty quality shanghainese food. I don't recommend their ventures into N. style chinese food, such as the green onion pancake which was just floury.

                  we got pork tang bao, beef tang bao, shrimp w/ tofu, vegetable buns, curry chicken, hot and sour soup. the skin on the soup dumplings was nicely done. soup dumplings had pretty good soup, pork over beef. vegetable buns had really nice texture to the skin. hot and sour soup was too salty.

                  so from what we ate and from what we saw people eating, i'd go with orders of the pork soup dumplings, milk fried buns, dong po rou, and a soup of some kind.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: morabbiton

                    Thanks for reporting back.

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                    Hu Chiang Dumpling House (moved)
                    10877 N Wolfe Rd, Cupertino, CA 95014

                    1. re: morabbiton

                      Don't know how your competition went, but hope you had a fun weekend! Thanks for the feedback.

                      1. re: morabbiton

                        Yea ever since the owners had a big disagreement and split I think the place hasn't been that good and its too expensive. Hu-Chiang is okay for their TB and I like their frog legs and that pork bowl dish with the white buns, overall everything else I could pass up, but my parents like it there...