Himalayan Flavors replaces Pomegranate in Berkeley
Looks like Pomegranate on University in Berkeley closed down and was recently replaced by an Indian restaurant, Himalayan Flavors. I tried Pomegranate once...standard Mediterranean cuisine... the gyro meat was good....but, the place was practically empty. You could easily drive by this place on university and miss it.
Anyone try the new place?
1585 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94703
i'm about to quit my job in berkeley for a job in SF, and i've been meaning to check this out for a while. can't believe i've been missing out on this for so long.
what a gem of a place. they have the standard indian dishes, and also nepalese dishes, but where this place really shines is the bhutanese/tibetan dishes in the "regional "section" of the menu.
i had #30, the jasha maroo, chicken cooked in garlic/tomato/ginger sauce served over brown rice. they tried to dissuade me from ordering spicy, but i told them i wanted it prepared how they would in the himalayas, and they certainly brought the spice. was here by myself and not ravenous, so i didn't get anything else, but i'd love to come back here and get a group to try all of the regional dishes.
not sure if business is good though, there was only one other group of people eating at noon on a friday. it's not the best location either - lots of car traffic, but very little foot traffic outside of the hotel guests. hope this place stays around.
This is one of three Himalayan restaurants owned by the same family, all of them in Berkeley. It's a little more upscale than its siblings.
Inconsistency is a problem. The food at lunch was prepared differently than the same items at dinner. The service was relatively poor. Two side dishes at lunch were ice-cold from the refrigerator, very unpleasant.
The food here is gently spiced compared to the better Indian and Burmese places. The mo-mo's are good (although they're better and totally authentic at Kathmandu/Berkeley...but K/B is painfully slow). The tandoori grill is quite nicely done compared to other places. The naan is puffy, though, something my spouse doesn't care for.
Everest, on Solano Ave., isn't as good on the mo-mo's or tandoori, but their saag paneer is much better than Himalayan Flavors.
But otherwise, the food is on the ordinary side. If you like it gutsy and spicy and energetic, you'll be better off at Indus Village or Kabana, both further down on the San Pablo Ave. corridor.
I am surprised about the spice comment, because I've been there maybe half a dozen times (both lunch y dinner) and "medium plus" has been from comfortably hot to a bit more than comfortable. My lunches have been more inconsistent, but at worst, was acceptable. Definitely more heat than Indus Village (which I find to be a different cuisine altogether).
As the servers on my visits have been exceptionally nice and eager to please, I'd suggest that if you weren't thrilled with an item that you let them know.
This is the kind of place that I want to succeed. Just different enough, can shine at its best moment, and is always at least good. Plus, the price and availability of parking is a big plus.
Chile heat is always a relative matter. I can only say we love hot food, I cook a lot of really spicy food, and we found Himalayan Flavors very mild as chile heat goes. A little tingle but nothing else.
Very pretty place, and yes of course Indus is different but not that different; all of these areas are heavily Indo-cuisine based.
Sorry did not catch up to your reply until now; I don't always check some of the older threads. We went back to Indus subsequent to your post, July 2012, and were shocked by how bland and uninteresting the cooking had become. Kabana as well; we weren't impressed by the new quarters although the heat level was still good.
We are currently favoring Hamro Aangan in Albany. They are a little inconsistent like most budget ethnic places; much depends on which family member is in the kitchen that day! But the the Khashi Ko Masu has a terrific gravy and both fish and cheese pakodas are marvelous. When you ask for "hot" on the Ko Masu, it genuinely comes a 7 or 8 on scale of 10. Super-duper with raita and their excellent naan!
I've had Himalayan Flavors ramp up the heat successfully - so much so that "medium plus" was about as hot as I'd want it and enjoy the meal. I suppose it depends who is in the kitchen, and if the server thinks you 'really mean it.'
The protein quantities in the meat dishes are on the short side, but with the sauces, they are filling enough.
I recently had a Nepali Uber driver (who lived up in Davis) and said that Aangan is his favorite. I still haven't been.
re: Robert Lauriston
That sounds great - I didn't notice it (even though I was eating there last night, probably when you walked by).
We had the lamb momos, a goat curry (very good), and although the mango chicken wasn't on the menu this time, they made some for us. (It was good, but better the previous time, likely because the sauce was prepared in advance and developed more complexity.) Meat quantity in the dishes is not very great, as before. Again, the Phapar ko babar was good.
After 2 dinners and 2 lunches there (one of each very good, and one of each good), I'd say that this place is on the occasional rotation list.
The food went well with a Donkey and Goat rose - of course, not on the restaurant's menu, which remains sadly deficient in that department.
re: Robert Lauriston
Huh, I guess I forgot to report on my meal there. The tandoori pork wasn't what I imagined, it was pork belly and didn't have much seasoning, reminded me more of something I'd get at a yakitori place than other tandoori dishes. The buckwheat pancake was closer to an American buckwheat pancake than I expected.
I felt like I didn't order very well, some of the other things I tasted and saw were more interesting, definitely want to go back and try more dishes.
I had lunch there a few weeks ago. It was ok, if kind of underseasoned compared with that place on Solano. On the other hand, I was alone had a generic lunch plate, not one of the big selections of Nepali dishes; it looks like it would be worth visiting with a crowd so you could sample more.
re: ernie in berkeley
I had a wonderful dinner there tonight.
We started with Lamb momos. Very tasty, with a delicious sauce
Then, we had the mango chicken (on the monthly special list) and lamb samdeh. The sauces were complex and delicious. Each quite distinct, and I used the rice to keep them separate. (Each entree comes with a side of rice - choice of basmati or brown). The mango chicken sauce was hard to describe - almost a BBQ sauce - delicious sweet and spicy.
Speaking of spice, "medium plus" was a good amount of heat - I have a feeling that full "spicy" would have been a bit uncomfortable. They are not afraid to put heat in the food, but sensitive to the fact that it can make a lot of Berkeley people cry.
When the dishes came out, my first thought is that we didn't order enough food. The sauces were so rich that we actually ordered plenty.
Instead of naan, we got the Phapar ko babar, a buckwheat pancake. Very good.
If you want a better wine, I suggest you BYO and pay for corkage. The in-house selection is poor.
Service was very friendly. This is far from "fine dining" by any stretch of the imagination, but I found it to be the most interesting meal out in quite awhile.
Contrary to ernie's experience above, I once stopped in for lunch, and had a goat special a few months ago (my only prior visit), and found it to be delicious.
I've only ordered Nepalese dishes here. The place was about 3/4 full.