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Nepali (x2) in Berkeley ?

  • moto Apr 11, 2014 06:01 PM
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we're passing through downtown Berkeley in a few days. has anyone tried either Taste of the Himalayas (just north of downtown) or Himalayan Flavors (a bit west) recently ? apparently they're both owned by the same family. is the cooking at either nuanced and distinctive, rather than generic -- they have similar menu dishes. if there's another Nepali place close by that's superior, suggestions are welcome of course. thanks to all.

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  1. My favorite is Mt. Everest on Telegraph.

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/828211

    1. I also like Everest Cafe on Solano. (I've not been to Taste of the Himalayas.) A Nepali Uber driver from the Sacramento area recently said that Aangan (San Pablo Ave.) is his favorite in this area. I've never been.

      The mango chicken at Himalayan Flavors, when it was on the specials, was one of the tastiest dishes I've had. When they made it (not as a special, and not on menu) it wasn't as good because I'd expect the sauce didn't have a chance to develop.

      Himalayan Flavors has an ample off-street parking lot. Everest Cafe has relatively easy street parking (some metered, some not). Aangan may have a few spaces in the Bev Mo parking lot - otherwise fairly easy street parking.

      1. We've eaten twice at Himalayan Flavors - once for dinner and once for lunch. Dinner was great, lunch was terrible. The staff was discombobulated; dishes arrived erratically and relishes that were supposed to accompany them showed up...whenever - at one point arriving well after the plates were cleared!

        At dinner, they charged $5 for an espresso-sized cup of chai with no refills allowed. At lunch, when we asked specifically why they were charging for refills, we got chai in big cups with free refills. Who knows why, LOL?!?

        Some of their food is good, but compared to Hamro Aangan it's priced on the high side for the portions.

        Hamro Aangan is in Albany, on San Pablo at the foot of Solano, so not far from Berkeley. As far as I know BevMo does not let any other business use their parking lot, but as lmnopm says, street parking is easy.

        HA is our favorite curry restaurant. Spouse loves both the goat dishes - fried and the kashi ko masu, spicy curried goat, whose gravy is incomparable. The fried goat varies, depending on what cut they can buy: once it was neck bones, once it was goat breast.

        Their housemade cheese is very good, and the starter dishes are sized better for four people than two (meaning we usually have leftovers to take home). The naan arrives buttered, which more and more restaurants are beginning to drop.

        The vegetable mo-mo's were a generous serving, with a coarse yellow curry dip. We judged them okay, but we prefer the housemade cheese in the paneer pakoda.

        We've ordered the various lamb tandoori dishes and the best is the boti, boneless lamb cubes with vegetables on a cast-iron server. This server plate has a small handle, yet another good reason for insisting on one of the larger tables. The lamb is marinated to be super tender even though it's cooked well-done, and the serving is surprisingly generous. At first it looked like it was all vegetables, but there turned out to be quite a number of small tasty lean lamb cubes underneath. The veggies were wilted but not caramelized; we left most of them as unseasoned and uninteresting.

        Aangan's most interesting dishes aren't the docile Mughal curries; but more the ones that are home-cooked "my mother/grandmother/aunt makes this best" curries. There's still a lot of the menu for us to cover at Aangan. But overall we'd say they're average for Indian curries, but those gutsy, fiery Nepalese dishes rock (we specify extra hot, and they take us seriously).

        6 Replies
        1. re: jakkom

          Good point on the lunch - Himalayan Flavors is a lot better for dinner, and Everest Cafe is great for lunch - they have a nice variety of substantial thali at reasonable prices.

          1. re: jakkom

            thank you one and all for the informative replies. H. Aangan looks intriguing because they apparently serve dishes from the opposite side of the subcontinent, dosas and uttapam, probably unique to the area's Nepali eateries. will defer to the driver's decision.

            1. re: moto

              Here's more about Aangan. It mentions that the owner used to work at Vik's. That's where he probably saw how popular South Indian food can be.
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/728198

              1. re: moto

                Dream on about Nepali-style dosas. The driver's probably a relative.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  not assuming at all that they're Nepali style dosas. they might have a multi ethnic kitchen staff (note M.Wong's report, "he has a separate cook who makes the dosa"), or a cook who's lived in varying parts of the sub continent, or learned the techniques in various kitchens where he or she worked. in any case, we don't really enjoy Vik's or the Berkeley branch of Udupi, so Albany is as close as anywhere else we could find dosai.

                  1. re: moto

                    Aangan owner Vishnu Bhandari's daughter was our waitress last summer, and told us that a family member - can't remember if she said her mother or her grandmother - specifically came in to cook the gravy for the kashi ko masu.

                    We don't care for dosa so didn't ask if there were any other dishes from family recipes.