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Indian in Fremont with nice quiet atmosphere

bogman Mar 13, 2013 12:14 PM

First time poster from a non-foody...please help me make my foody friend happy!

I live in Fremont and almost never eat out. I have a friend coming down from San Francisco next week who is excited to try some Fremont Indian food. I'd like to find an authentic Indian or Indo Pak restaurant where six people can hang out and quietly and comfortably catch up for several hours.

After doing some research on this site I found that Shalimar seems to be a good bet, but there is a Shalimar location in SF, so I don't want to go there (and the atmosphere doesn't seem quite right).

An excellent post (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/866183) makes me excited to try Bismillah, but again the atmosphere doesn't seem right...I'd be happy to pay a little more for a better place to hang out.

I'm hoping someone can give me a recommendation. Thanks in advance!

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    ceekskat RE: bogman Mar 13, 2013 01:15 PM

    Not sure if there is anything in the area worthwhile for hanging out, especially considering Indo-Paks (& quite a few others) don't serve alcohol. I would do take out from Shalimar or Bismillah & call it a day. Tandoori items & biriyani are best.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ceekskat
      bogman RE: ceekskat Mar 13, 2013 02:10 PM

      Thanks so much for the advice! Alcohol is not necessary, or even desired, so if that changes your thoughts please let me know.

      1. re: bogman
        ceekskat RE: bogman Mar 13, 2013 07:22 PM

        DH refers to Shalimar decor as "cafeteria". Big hall with bunch of tables & big counter for ordering food.

    2. Melanie Wong RE: bogman Mar 13, 2013 02:23 PM

      How is Bombay Garden on Mowry these days? I've not been there for several years, but I recall a nicer atmosphere and hope it has not deteriorated in the meantime.


      1 Reply
      1. re: Melanie Wong
        ceekskat RE: Melanie Wong Mar 13, 2013 07:20 PM

        Forgot about this place as I only queried Yelp for Fremont places. It's been 7+ years since I've been. Lunch buffet was not bad but not no item so memorable to warrant return trip across bridge.

      2. chefj RE: bogman Mar 13, 2013 02:33 PM

        For upscale Indian Fremont is not the place.
        Amber India or Sakoon in Mountain View
        Akra or Turmeric in Sunnyvale

        8 Replies
        1. re: chefj
          bogman RE: chefj Mar 13, 2013 04:29 PM

          Thanks for the advice. Upscale isn't necessary, just quiet and comfortable, so if you have any other ideas I'd love to hear them.

          1. re: bogman
            chefj RE: bogman Mar 13, 2013 04:55 PM

            The problem is going to be quite. I can not think of a Indian Restaurant that is not noisy, TVs Kids Music.

            1. re: chefj
              bbulkow RE: chefj Mar 13, 2013 05:28 PM

              Amber, Sakoon, Akra aren't dead quiet but aren't a rolling party. I'd consider any of them as fairly upscale, more so than shalimar.

              OP, I think your question should be:
              I want quiet and loungy, they want Fremont Indian. Two goals that clash. What's our best compromise? There are 60-ish indian places in fremont according to Y*lp; what's the most upscale and quiet of the lot?

              That's a better question. Fremont Indian is known for inexpensive, bold tastes, a bit on the boisterous side.

              Regrettably, I don't know the answer. I looked through Y*lp's list and I've been to other branches of those restaurants, but none are on the quieter and more upscale side.

              1. re: bbulkow
                chefj RE: bbulkow Mar 13, 2013 06:10 PM

                The Poster seemed to dismiss these and then said that they did not want 'Upscale" I was not saying that Amber, Sakoon, Akra are loud.

            2. re: bogman
              Robert Lauriston RE: bogman Mar 13, 2013 05:03 PM

              Chaat Bhavan has been reasonably quiet when I was there.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                hyperbowler RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 13, 2013 05:59 PM

                Depending on the type of friends, Chaat Bhavan might be a good suggestion.

                Are you going during the day or night? I did a Chaat crawl this past weekend, and hit Chaat Bhavan at 2pm. It was pretty packed. It's not loud in the sense that you'll be hoarse afterwards, but it's a busy place with lots of families. There was a decent amount of space around the tables, the servers weren't intent on kicking anyone out, and you could probably slowly order more dishes as the meal progresses. Plus, if they're coming all the way to Fremont, you might as well take them to a place like Chaat Bhavan that has really good dishes you won't find in SF (e.g., the methi poori or the chaat basket (which includes sprouts, and in a better form than in the Sprouts Bhel)).

                1. re: hyperbowler
                  ceekskat RE: hyperbowler Mar 13, 2013 07:09 PM

                  OP should be aware Chaat Bhavan is all veg... nothing wrong but just different. http://chaatbhavan.com

                2. re: Robert Lauriston
                  chowmeaow RE: Robert Lauriston May 12, 2013 08:06 PM

                  Chaat bhavan is always crowded though. its quite popular, it seems.

            3. myst RE: bogman Mar 14, 2013 10:02 AM

              Was hoping to get some good ideas myself- but looks like it can't be found. Have you thought about trying something slightly different? I recently ate at Salang Pass. It is Afghani Food. The restaurant is NOT fancy inside, but there are tables where you can sit on floor pillows, and larger groups were lounging there for quite some time having tea etc...

              I found the food to be very tasty and it was so fun to try new things -plus the service was friendly and welcoming. http://salangrestaurant.com/

              It was not crowded (so you could lounge) and the dishes -- especially the appetizers were ample. This is not a pretty facade type place or the nicest part of Fremont, but don't let that deter you. Maybe try it out first - it is "Indian-Like" and a fresh experience if you have not had Afghan Food.

              I ordered an appetizer, maybe called Bolani? I ordered it spicy (I love spicy food) and I recevied a massive pile of spicy potato stuffed crispy bread pancakes. It was enough to serve as an appetizer for a table of six! I also had Ashak - a meat dumpling that was good with a slightly sweet taste. But I had already gorged myself on Bolani and could not really eat anything else.

              1. b
                bogman RE: bogman Mar 14, 2013 10:35 AM

                Wow, thanks to everyone for all the great info and ideas! I very much appreciate your help. I had no idea I was asking such a difficult question :). If anyone else has any ideas, please let me know.


                1. b
                  bogman RE: bogman Mar 18, 2013 04:45 PM

                  I thought I would follow up with a note about our experience:

                  I talked with my guest about the conflict between quiet hangout and Fremont Indian. She did a little web research and decided she wanted to try Shalimar. We met for lunch on Monday at 11:40, arriving close to opening time hoping to avoid the crowds. I was surprised by how spacious the dining area was. The music wasn't too loud. We sat at our table for about 3 hours enjoying the food and conversation. We never felt pressured to leave. There were plenty of other people eating there, but it never felt crowded or even noisy. Everyone enjoyed the food. It was perfect for our purposes.

                  So I think Fremont Indian can be great for a quiet hangout with friends, maybe you just have to avoid the busy days and times.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: bogman
                    Ruth Lafler RE: bogman Mar 18, 2013 06:36 PM

                    Thanks for the report back -- I'm glad you and your friends had a good experience.

                    Your initial request didn't mention you were planning on having lunch -- you might have gotten different answers if you had.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                      bogman RE: Ruth Lafler Mar 18, 2013 07:26 PM

                      thanks, good to know, I'll keep that in mind for the future :)

                    2. re: bogman
                      ceekskat RE: bogman Mar 18, 2013 10:14 PM

                      Glad everything worked out, thanks for reporting back.

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