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Berkeley Indian Places near Shattuck & University

Dustin_E Jul 18, 2013 12:16 PM

are any of the indian places in berkeley near shattuck and university any good?

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  1. Robert Lauriston RE: Dustin_E Jul 18, 2013 01:13 PM

    I like the rasam, vada, sag paneer, and chile uthappam at Udupi Palace. Thalis can be pretty good to excellent depending on the luck of the draw.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston
      Dustin_E RE: Robert Lauriston Jul 18, 2013 01:21 PM


      1. re: Robert Lauriston
        escargot3 RE: Robert Lauriston Jul 21, 2013 04:26 PM

        After several disappointing meals at udupi in Berkeley, I stopped going to what used to be a fave. I frequent the one on Valencia instead. Much better use of spices. But perhaps the Berkeley location has improved. It's been a few years now.

        1. re: escargot3
          Robert Lauriston RE: escargot3 Jul 21, 2013 06:28 PM

          I've found it pretty consistent for those dishes.

          1. re: escargot3
            chefj RE: escargot3 Jul 23, 2013 03:09 PM

            Even the one on Valencia has gone down hill.
            We also stopped going to the Berkeley branch many years ago.
            Even on the most basic South Indian items they were very badly made and seasoned.
            It has been a long time now it is possible that it has gotten better, but with the closing of the Union City store and Dropping of quality in SF I doubt it.

        2. r
          rccola RE: Dustin_E Jul 22, 2013 02:48 PM

          This is a good walk (or drive--they have a parking lot) but Himalayan Flavors is excellent. Mixed Indian and Nepalese/Bhutan/Tibet food. Some unusual dishes over and above the usual. very clean and pleasant too

          3 Replies
          1. re: rccola
            drewskiSF RE: rccola Jul 23, 2013 09:37 PM

            Same owners as Taste of the Himalayas on Shattuck

            1. re: drewskiSF
              rccola RE: drewskiSF Jul 27, 2013 01:22 PM

              Perhaps but food tastier--definitely different cooks, so I don't care who is the owner.

              1. re: rccola
                Glencora RE: rccola Jul 27, 2013 08:45 PM

                Or how the chef's name is spelled?

          2. Melanie Wong RE: Dustin_E Jul 23, 2013 01:15 PM

            How's Kabana these days at its new location? Haven't eaten there for many years.

            ETA: oops, at San Pablo, not Shattuck.

            13 Replies
            1. re: Melanie Wong
              escargot3 RE: Melanie Wong Jul 23, 2013 01:25 PM

              but good question. I will make a point to check out the new location soon.

              1. re: Melanie Wong
                ernie in berkeley RE: Melanie Wong Jul 23, 2013 02:48 PM

                I've been there a few times. The food is basically the same, with the default heat level above that in other Indian/Pakistani places. It doesn't have the sort of grungy character of the old place, with Bollywood videos screaming out of the TV in the kitchen, of course.

                1. re: ernie in berkeley
                  chefj RE: ernie in berkeley Jul 23, 2013 03:06 PM

                  " It doesn't have the sort of grungy character of the old place"
                  They are working on it giv'em time. Saag, Nan And Tandoori as good as ever.

                  1. re: chefj
                    ...tm... RE: chefj Jul 24, 2013 12:31 AM

                    Agreed, the food is as good as ever. My friends noticed that they actually have about the same number of tables at the new place as the crowded old place, just with more pleasant (aka some) spacing. I imagine this was a deliberate decision on the owner's part--he reads as grouchy to some patrons, but I see it as a "this is how things are done" attitude.

                2. re: Melanie Wong
                  sandunga_rbb RE: Melanie Wong Jul 23, 2013 03:38 PM

                  We got takeout from the new location in March. Delicious but, to our non-Pakistani palates, wildly spicy. Almost inedible. We had gone once or twice a year for the last few years and it did seem like the heat level was creeping up. We have not tried asking them to tone it down—has anyone had success with that?

                  1. re: Melanie Wong
                    zippo RE: Melanie Wong Jul 23, 2013 03:51 PM

                    I've had the tandoori catfish in the old and new locations and didn't notice any difference - it is still my favorite dish in Berkeley...

                    short vid from old location-


                    1. re: Melanie Wong
                      chocolatetartguy RE: Melanie Wong Jul 23, 2013 04:26 PM

                      San Pablo isn't that far from Shattuck and the pickin's are a lot better: Priya, Kabana, Indus Village.

                      I have always thought that Kabana cooked in a style similar to Shalimar in SF. Would that be accurate?

                      1. re: chocolatetartguy
                        chefj RE: chocolatetartguy Jul 23, 2013 04:38 PM

                        Yes, Very similar.

                      2. re: Melanie Wong
                        psb RE: Melanie Wong Jul 23, 2013 06:50 PM

                        I often forget about KABANA but I feel it continues to be solid. IMHO, it is better than VIK in similar area/price range. And has better price/perf than AJANTA/Solano.

                        These days I more often get a meat dish or two to go ... dont recall how the veg dishes are.

                        I think consistency is often a challenge with the cheap indian places [shalimar/naan-curry/pakwan/lahore karahi], e.g. some veg dish will have like x2 too much CORRIANDER SEED. K is pretty reliable.

                        1. re: psb
                          chefj RE: psb Jul 23, 2013 07:02 PM

                          I do not think you can compare Vik's, Ajanta and Kabana. They are all completely different styles of food.
                          It would be like comparing Quickly, Gum Kou and Koi Palace.

                          1. re: chefj
                            psb RE: chefj Jul 23, 2013 07:38 PM

                            That's only true if you ban the term "Indian Restaurant" ... I mean how can you say "I feel like Indian food tonight" when I dont know if you mean northern/mughlai or dosas.

                            If you are driving by University and San Pablo, and someone says "lets go to VIK *for dinner*", it would not be odd to counter offer with "how about KABANA instead". While it would be if you wanted to go there for CHAAT/DOSAs.

                            My criteria "well known berkeleyish indian often discussed on CH".

                            I didnt say "OMG, the glassware at KABANA left much to be desired compared to AJANTA". I specifically mentioned price/perf for a reason.

                            1. re: psb
                              chefj RE: psb Jul 24, 2013 04:37 PM

                              IMO it would be odd to counter Vik's with Kabana. One is fairly vegecentric and really only does Chaat well and the other does best with meats and hardy Curries.
                              As far as Ajanta goes I think that the quality of preparation and Ingredients puts it a completely different set form the other 2 and a better deal by your criteria (though it is not in the area you specified so its inclusion is odd).

                            2. re: chefj
                              Robert Lauriston RE: chefj Jul 24, 2013 09:08 AM

                              I agree, there's a little overlap but Vik's is mostly South Indian vegetarian with a lot of lighter dishes.

                              Kabana is Pakistani, pretty meat-centric, and even the vegetarian dishes are on the heavy side.

                        2. e
                          essvee RE: Dustin_E Jul 23, 2013 03:18 PM

                          Biryani House is pretty good and very cheap. Try the, well, biryani.

                          1. v
                            vulber RE: Dustin_E Jul 23, 2013 04:16 PM

                            chaat cafe is decent; with some well-priced lunch specials. service is typical indian restaurant slow.

                            1. j
                              Joel RE: Dustin_E Jul 24, 2013 06:54 PM

                              There is a "new" Nepali restaurant quite near:
                              Chulo restaurant
                              2160 University Ave
                              Berkeley, CA 94704

                              It replaces a former place called "Yak and Yeti" -- could be the same owner or chef. I've never been.
                              The menu has many Indian dishes as well as Nepali specialties.

                              1. m
                                ML8000 RE: Dustin_E Jul 24, 2013 07:15 PM

                                re: Kabana's new place, definitely nicer than the old place but food wise, Indus Village around the corner, is a big step up, IMO, at the same general price point. I'd still go to Indus Village first.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ML8000
                                  chocolatetartguy RE: ML8000 Jul 25, 2013 11:35 AM

                                  I've liked the veggie combo at Indus Village recently after dismissing the restaurant previously. It is a few dollars cheaper than Kabana, especially with the combo platters. I wouldn't say that it is better than the Kabana assuming that the new incarnation is the same as the old one.

                                2. e
                                  emraguso RE: Dustin_E Jul 26, 2013 02:26 AM

                                  If you're willing to drive/bus/bike I HIGHLY recommend Aangan (San Pablo and Solano) in Albany -- Indo-Nepalese. Everything is delicious -- I always get the saag paneer (which is creamier than it often is), the chicken tikka masala, the lamb roti (keema roti?), and the sev batata puri appetizer. Very reasonable prices.

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