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Jan 25, 2009 09:59 PM

Help: Dasaprakash or Saravana Bhavan?

I have a South Indian friend visiting from a hick town in Arizona who wants a fix of South Indian food she doesn't have to cook for herself. Last time she was here three years ago, we went to Dasaprakash and she liked it, so she suggests going there again when next we go shopping in San Jose.

However, I haven't heard much about Dasaprakash in awhile, which makes me nervous. Especially, since a lot of the Indian coworkers have not heard of the place. One Indian coworker suggested Saravana instead, although he did say that his wife was offended by the rude service.

To give you some background info, she liked Udupi Palace as reasonably authentic, hated Dosa with a passion as being pseudo Indian, and described Vik's as "Northerners making a valiant attempt at South Indian food, not entirely successful."

Since we may have time for only one South Indian meal, I want it to be good. Does anyone here have an opinion?

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  1. I haven't been to either one in a few years, but my (outdated) experience was that Saravana Bhavan was much better than Dasaprakash (although Dasaprakash did have an excellent upma).

    The other place you should consider is Komala Vilas for lunch - according to a South Indian friend of mine, it's by far the most authentic, with waiters walking around and ladling food onto your plate. Dinner is less interesting, but still good - standard dosas, uttapam, etc
    My report:

    1. sfbing, we've had good meals at Dosa House in Santa Clara (on El Camino Real) on a couple of recent visits--they have both Andhra and Madras thalis and extensive variations of dosas. Plenty of the other usual dishes in a vegetarian S.Indian eatery, the iddlys, uttapam, et cetera.

      1. I recommend Saravana Bhavan or Madras Cafe for dosas & Annapoorna in San Mateo for a buffet lunch (excl. Sundays) which includes my favorite items, vadas* & one dosa. I recently had a thali at Saravana Bhavan consisting of 2 chapatis, rice, one papad, two vegetables, 2 rasams, sambar, yogurt & dessert for $12.95 but for $10 or $11 at Annapoorna, one gets much better value & food.** If I could only have one meal, I'd choose Annapoorna.

        As for Komala Vilas, I was extremely disappointed with their dosa (not fermented/sour enough, too greasy) and vada (not crisp). Have not been to lunch so can't comment on rice, rasam, veg., etc.

        *Prefer Annapoorna's vadas to Saravana Bhavan or Madras Cafe (at least last time I was there).
        **don't expect to be blown away, mom's food will probably be better.

        1. SB has the best dosas (and the chutneys that accompany them), IMO. I liked the variety of dosas at Dosa Place, but I found the chutneys unpleasantly weird.

          I enjoy the thalis at both SB and Dasaprakash.

          Dasaprakash's service is much, much better than SB's. It's often loud at SB, with either people screaming, or music blaring -- if you can filter that, that's good, but if you want something more peaceful, you should search elsewhere, I think.

          Dasaprakash's breads are far better than SB's, such as the poori or bhatura. Very tender and tasty. SB's often seem like cardboard. I like a good channa bhatura, and Dasaprakash's wins out, so far.

          1. I've been to all the restaurants on my ranked list below more than once except for Saravana Bhavan and Annapurna. As a result I don't feel as qualified to compare Saravana and Dasaprakash, other than to say "Go to Tirumpathi Bhimas."

            Here are my South Indian rankings:
            Kathleen’s South Indian Rankings:

            1) Tirupathi Bhimas, Milpitas
            2) Annapoorna, San Mateo
            3) Udupi Palace, Sunnyvale (but definitely skip the buffet)
            4) Saravana Bhavan, Sunnyvale
            5) Dasaprakash, Santa Clara
            6) Dosa Place, Santa Clara
            7) Swathi Tiffins, Santa Clara
            8) Annapurna, Sunnyvale

            Here are my reviews in more detail of each restaurant:

            A Dose of Dosa and an Utt of Uttapam