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Looking for slightly upscale Indian restaurant in East Bay

m
missdemo Feb 15, 2013 09:04 AM

Something like Breads of India in WC (never been here but have been to the closed original and one in Oakland sometime ago) would be ideal but their recent reviews on Yelp have me a bit scared to try it. Any recent experiences with them? Taking friends so I don't want a disaster on my hands!!

Looking for something a little nicer than the average Indian but definitely looking to avoid anything like Amber India in San Francisco in terms of price and "scene". Any regional speciality would be fine but not an all vegetarian place... Thanks

  1. Robert Lauriston Feb 15, 2013 09:12 AM

    Ajanta's the only place I can think of that fits the description.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston
      m
      missdemo Feb 15, 2013 11:15 AM

      It looks like a good option and I have heard good things about it. So this is a good possibility.

      I am wondering if there is anything on the 24/680 corridor (Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek, San Ramon) as that is where my friends live...

      1. re: missdemo
        Robert Lauriston Feb 15, 2013 12:18 PM

        The only place I've heard of in eastern Contra Costa County that's at all upscale is Clay Oven in Livermore.

        1. re: missdemo
          tvr172 Feb 15, 2013 12:39 PM

          Look into Swad in Lafayettel. I was there 3 years ago and remember it being good. But not sure if it is considered upscale.

      2. s
        Steve Posin Feb 16, 2013 08:49 AM

        Khana Peena on College Ave in Rockridge

        5 Replies
        1. re: Steve Posin
          escargot3 Feb 16, 2013 10:05 AM

          Since the OP is seeking "something a little nicer than the average Indian" , I don't think Khana Peena fits that request.

          1. re: escargot3
            Robert Lauriston Feb 16, 2013 10:09 AM

            In terms of atmosphere, Khana Peena's nicer than the average Indian dive. It has white tablecloths and decent lighting.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston
              bbulkow Feb 17, 2013 11:29 AM

              I always liked Khana Peena Solano's food (never tried Rockridge).

              That's controversial here, but I find Adjanta's food unusual (in a good way) but very muted from a spice perspective. Khana Peena's food tends toward the oily, but has a punchy brashness I like when I'm wanting indian. Adjanta is refined.

              Very different experiences.

              1. re: bbulkow
                Robert Lauriston Feb 17, 2013 12:00 PM

                Ajanta's food varies a lot. I had a highly seasoned dish at lunch there last year. I thought I posted about it but I can't find it. It was some sort of bean soup / stew / curry, one of the monthly specials.

              2. re: Robert Lauriston
                drewskiSF Feb 17, 2013 11:38 AM

                And some interesting murals up in that dome area

          2. m
            missdemo Feb 17, 2013 01:15 PM

            Thank you for all your replies.

            I realize in my posting that I wasn't specific as to whether I was looking for upscale food, upscale decor or both. I was looking for something with slightly upscale decor more than the food - and from looking at the pictures probably Khana Peena or Swad could have met that criteria - "white tablecloths and decent lighting" - I think was basic criteria.

            However, we decided to go for the gusto - and try Ajanta as I had heard about this place for some time.

            It was a good choice - the food was a very elegant and refined take on Indian food. The decor was MORE than slightly upscale as was the food. It was upscale but with a tranquil quality (unlike the dreaded Amber India SF).They specifically asked us how spicy we wanted the dishes - our dining companions were concerned to go too spicy so we asked for the dishes to be a mix of mild-medium and medium-medium and I thought we got what we asked for by and large and the compromise worked for all. I also must add that the service was really very good - very helpful and informative and just the right mix of friendliness and formality.

            I have to say that their homemade Kulfi was amazing - the best I have ever had - I am still thinking of it!!

            However, I would have to designate this restaurant as a "special occasion" indian restaurant because it was $160 for four people: four curries "dinners" (dinners just means a little spinach, rice and some "pickles" for each person) four desserts and 4 beers and 2 glasses of wine and some pappadum. Portions were not large.

            So if you want a "special occasion" indian restaurant Ajanta will not disappoint.

            1. r
              rccola Feb 17, 2013 03:35 PM

              Had a wonderful meal at Himalayan Flavors the other day. Yes, it's not just Indian but Nepalese too but the food was really great and reasonable and there were tablecloths and friendly people. There was a vegetable ball in what was like a tikka masala sauce but better and a Nepalese lamb dish that was better than vindaloo. On University in Berkeley about at California.

              And the servings were generous enough for leftovers, so it wasn't one of those places where you get a tiny little silver serving dish of food. And they serve beer and wine, unlike some Indian places that are really Pakistani.

              I'm going back as soon as possible.

              1. d
                Dieppe Feb 17, 2013 04:03 PM

                Casting another vote for Ajanta on Solano Ave. Each dish is distinctly seasoned and balanced (unlike many Indian restaurants where the same base seems to be used over and over.) The room is airy and dressed in soft tones. Consistently satisfying.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Dieppe
                  r
                  rccola Feb 18, 2013 06:05 PM

                  ...and not terribly Indian. At least not at all like what I had in India. And I stayed with some wealthy people who had professional cooks.

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