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Mar 12, 2013 11:44 AM

Best Chicken Makhani on the Peninsula/South Bay?

Does anyone have a suggestion for a place with great Chicken Makhani/Butter Chicken, preferably near San Mateo?

I've tried Clay Oven in downtown San Mateo and found it to be pretty mediocre and americanized. I'm looking more for something home style, hole in the wall, ambiance is not important. Seems that Sunnyvale is probably more of a better bet to find great indian food but there's so many places there it's hard to know which ones are worth trying.

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  1. My favorite Indian place is Turmeric in Sunnyvale on Murphy Ave. The Chef's bio seems legit ( and it's the only restaurant I've ever been to anywhere where I prefer the vegetarian to the meat dishes. Oh, except the chicken makhani which is is amazing (the sauce is rich and deep). They do lunch buffets and but also have a sit down area on the bottom floor.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bunson

      I had a chance to talk with Chef Arvind Bhargava about how he makes the chicken makhani at her earlier restaurant in 2003. Does he still make it this way?

      Absolutely the best butter chicken I've had, and I use those two tricks when I make it at home myself.

    2. I do order this dish sometimes when I can't have spicier food, and my favorite is from Taste Buds in Sunnyvale. Everything there is more home style than at lots of other places.


      1. I haven't found a Butter Chicken that tops the one at Amber India in Mountain View.

        1. Thanks for the suggestions everyone will give those places a try. Taste Buds is one of the places that was on my list, the one thing I noticed that makes me hesitate is that it in the pictures it seems they use chicken breast in their butter chicken. Is that true? I've only ever had it with thigh meat and assume that is the more authentic and my preferred cut of chicken.

          3 Replies
          1. re: mliew

            Yes, it's boneless white meat, as is true for most places around here. As far as I know this is a English-Indian dish, so I'm not quite sure what "authentic" means in this context. Bone-in meat is used in many other dishes at Taste Buds like the chicken curry and gongura chicken special.


            1. re: mdg

              Chicken tikka masala is an Anglo-Indian dish, but murgh makhani is one of the Mughlai standards. When both are offered on a menu, the chicken tikka masala is usually made with breast meat and the chicken makhani is made with dark meat. But different restaurant do different things and it's best to ask in advance.

              1. re: mdg

                To tag on to what Melanie says, on top of CTM often being paired with white meat while Butter Chicken being paired with dark meat, the recipes themselves tend to differ slightly.

                CTM takes on a more tomatoey, acidic and milder tone (and redder color), while Butter Chicken, on top of the creamier texture, tends to have a spicier edge and more undertones (perhaps from the use of more spices like fenugreek). Not always the case, but for the places that offer both, that's what I've noticed.

            2. If you're looking for something more rustic / home-style and hole in the wall, Kebab & Curry's in Santa Clara is a good bet.

              Another one that's similar to it (but haven't been there) is Naan & Masala in Milpitas. Isn't it coincidental that the names are kinda similar and the menus are almost identical?