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NYC hounds seeks authentic S. Indian in Sunnyvale area

We're visiting the SF area from Queens, NYC and are looking forward to some excellent S. Indian food in the Sunnyvale area (way better than the options in Queens, anyway).

On our last trip, we were extremely impressed by the thali lunch we had at Komala Vilas -- esp. loved the idlis, which were better than those we've had in Bangalore! :)

Is Komala Vilas still THE place to go for good South Indian? We've also heard about a newer place, Pesarattu, and on our last visit we were curious to try (but lacked the stomach capacity) Tirupathi Bhimas (sp?).

Given that we prefer lighter food (i.e., less ghee/oil) and full-throttle spicing (we're used to Indian home cooking with ample mirchi/masala), where should we go for lunch this Thursday?

Many thanks, in advance, for your advice!

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  1. Hi City Spoonful

    Try Madras Cafe ..Their Dosa's are pretty good ...Rava Dosa there is a must try ,from the samples I have seen they are pretty good .

    Dosa in bangalore is thicker and if you are after the deep down south vegetarian it may not what you expect .

    Happy eating
    regds
    Traveller

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    Madras Cafe
    1177 W El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

    2 Replies
    1. re: green_wyvern

      Madras Cafe is indeed an excellent choice, as is Madura (more Tamil Nadu style). Two other favorites for dinner are Taste Buds and Peacock, the latter just over the Sunnyvale border in Mountain View. They have a mix of southern and northern, vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, but I haven't tried them at lunch lately.

      Michael

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      Taste Buds
      673 Grape Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

      Madura Indian Cuisine
      1635 Hollenbeck Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

      Peacock Indian Cuisine
      867 E El Camino Real, Mountain View, CA 94040

      1. re: mdg

        Many thanks for your recommendations!

    2. There are a variety of options in the Sunnyvale area. If you enjoyed Komala Vilas (it's still there) there are a number of similar places (very simple, limited menu, authentic) that cater to Indian ex-pats and immigrants. Many are off the beaten path, perhaps closer to an industrial office park area. I've often been intro ducted by word of mouth, and don't remember all the names.

      I appreciate that you are looking for South Indian places only.

      One example is Archana, at 920 E Argues Ave.

      http://www.archanausa.net/

      However, I am a bit confused as another restaurant also appears to be listed for the same address; even the same phone number. Change in ownership?

      http://www.anandabhavanusa.com/home.html

      A larger, more commercial place Saravanaa Bhavan, also in Sunnyvale.

      If you are interested in some other styles of Indian food in the area, but with a similar vibe, you could take a look at Chaat House in Sunnyvale.

      http://www.chaatus.com/

      Or Chaat Paradise in Mtn. View

      http://www.chaatparadise.com/

      1. Tough question.

        All the places you listed are all vegitarian. Of course S Indian includes several different strains, including vegetarian. Like Chettinad, of which there are at least 5 in greater sunnyvale.

        I recently did a round-up of half the Chicken 65 places (10 in 2 evenings), and I was shocked by the wide number of indian places I had never even heard of - and I thought I was conversant in Sunnyvale S indian. A simple search on yelp shows 120 indian entries within 5 miles of Sunnyvale, and just a Sunnyvale search (which reaches out to Milpitas) has 250 entries.

        Since we have different tastes, I'm not going to recommend. I'd only suggest trying a different well regarded place, or trying to have two meals. There's just so much out there.

        (one of my favorite chicken 65 was a place that just opened and doesn't appear on any restaurant map or listing service.)

        1. If you "Full Spicing" You may want to give http://www.anjapparca.com/ a whirl. They are a chain from Chettinadi and their food is the most highly spiced I have had in the area. There meat dishes are the focus but they make great Dosi and have a good Veg Thali.
          I can not speak to their Idily but judging by their Dosa it should be good.
          Tirupathi Bhimas is also good, and all veg. I do not think that their idily are very good. They tend to be large and heavy.

          2 Replies
          1. re: chefj

            Anjappar fared very well in my chicken 65 test, and I still have a take-out container of special chicken (dry). Very yummy stuff. Some of the other CH reports have been Meh, but according to my one visit, they're nuts. Anjappar is all the way across 237 which can be a traffic issue depending on time of day.

            1. re: bbulkow

              True but the OP mentioned Tirupathi Bhimas also so....
              My S.O. gets the Veg set meal and it is really good. I have had their Podi ghee dosa which was really very good.
              The chicken 65 and the Pepper Chicken Masala(wet) was great. I see lots of Chicken Dum Biriyani coming out of the kitchen as well.

          2. Peacock (Santa clara) - try their Biryani, delicious.

            Pessrattu (Sunnyvale) - hole in the wall kind of place with great food. They do not go light on spice.

            Madura (Sunnyvale) - would recommend their Thalo.

            1. Thank you, everyone! We decided to try Pesarattu, and had an amazing thali lunch there! (Still contemplating whether we have room for an order of idlis from Komala Vilas -- they are particularly good...)

              The spicing at Pesarattu was indeed full-on and with no questions asked or less intense alternatives offered -- just the way we like it. The aloo gobi sabzi was quite oily but also very flavorful. The sambhar was our favorite --very different from the Tamil sambhar we're used to -- distinctive spicing (maybe no/less tamarind?) and no hunks of veggies. The rasam was also distinctly spiced and full throttle on the mirchi. It was super thin (couldn't even make out lentil grains) and was the perfect way to wash down our meal. Great halwa, too -- not too heavy on the ghee but super flavorful. :)

              I wish we had time to try some of the other places you all suggested -- it will have to be fodder for our next visit. Here's hoping it will come soon. :)

              You're all very lucky to have access to such authentic South Indian food. There's simply not enough of a South Indian community in the NYC area to support it, so we're left with the usual North Indian fare (which my husband and I cook at home anyways...).

              2 Replies
              1. re: CitySpoonful

                Thanks for reporting back. I'll have to try this one - it's a little further away from me than the ones I recommended but seems worth it!

                Michael

                -----
                Pesarattu
                893 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

                1. re: CitySpoonful

                  anjappar does have a branch in new jersey....