We’ve been on the look out for a new regular Indian restaurant ever since Hamro Aangan in Albany changed ownership and the service and quality of food went down hill.
I’m very boring and loving having chicken tikka masala and some good garlic naan. I’m also looking for my meal to be $15 or under, though that seems to be increasingly impossible. I’m also looking for it to be in Berkeley, Albany, or El Cerrito.
Got any recommendations?
P.S. Anyone know what happened to Bishnu, former owner of Hamro Aangan? If he opened up a new place, I would be very interested to go there.
For years, I was a regular at Kabana Restaurant (Pakistani) on University Ave. near San Pablo Ave. in West Berkeley for my favorite dish, tandoori catfish (about $11). Not a fancy setting but bold spicing and in your price range. I was also a fan of their bindi masala (dry fried okra in spices) when available as a special.
Food writer Jonathan Kauffman, formerly of the East Bay Express and now at the SF Chronicle, has favored the goat curry. Recent ‘Y’ reviews are almost all positive.
1025 University Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94702
Have you tried Vik’s Chaat on 4th Street in Berkeley? Not exactly chicken tikka masala but very good. They specialize in chaat which is a category of street food.
Some things I like there are the cholle bhature, dahi batata puri, chicken kathi roll, and lamb baida roti. Their dosas are pretty good too.
Don’t know where Bishnu went but we, too, would be eager to find out. Sigh, so hard to keep up where the good cooks are these days!
We didn’t know he had sold; no wonder Aangan’s cooking has changed.
Priya on University at Addison has an excellent buffet, lunch and dinner. There’s a large variety of dishes that I’ve never seen elsewhere. They often have a tasty (but bony) goat curry. Chicken tikka masala is usually available. $11.99 for the buffet.
Down the street, I’ve had good meals at Indus, a Pakistani place. Most dishes are under $15.
Back on Solano, House of Curries at Curtis has some of my favorite combination lunches. They also have goat. Heated patio in front. Prices around $12.
A short video clip of tandoori catfish at Kabana from 2013 at its previous location. I doubt that the presentation has changed:
Thank you all for the suggestions. I’ll give them a shot!
The chef at Jotmahal worked for years at Kabana but I haven’t been there yet. The prices look very reasonable.
Another edit added: Oh, I found this post in the yelp reviews that the original poster might appreciate -
Really delicious chicken Tikka Masala, veggie korma, lamb biryani and samosa chaat. We have been looking for a new go-to since Hamro Aangan changed ownership, and this place may be our new spot!
Another of Jotmahal’s specialties that you won’t find at many other Indian restaurants is the Punjabi saag. This was a heavily spiced version of the creamy spinach dish that every Indian restaurant serves — except made with mustard greens instead of spinach, yielding a purée that was a darker shade of green, and had a smoother texture and a bolder, earthier flavor. Sometimes you’ll see the dish listed on menus as sarson ka saag, and it’s traditionally served with a kind of griddled corn-flour flatbread called maki di roti — a tortilla-like bread I’ve only seen at one other East Bay restaurant (as a weekend special at Masala Cuisine in Deep East Oakland).
1543 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley
I’ve actually given Jotmahal a try. Only once though. The food was okay but the portions were very small. The naan had a weird taste, like baking soda. According to Luke Tsai review, maybe we just ordered wrong.
I don’t think we’ll ever go back because the service was pretty terrible. Not only did the food take forever, but there was so much confusion clearly going on in the kitchen that things seemed to come out that were never ordered in the first place to other tables. Our waitress also forgot things several times over and seemed very inexperienced. The restaurant was not busy at all on this particular night so there was not a clear explanation for all the issues and it was at least a year after they first opened.
Five years on. Priya closed before the pandemic when the owner retired. House of Curries on Solano survived the shutdowns. Indus Village on San Pablo did not.
Someone, maybe at EBEX, was raving about the samosas at the Cedar Market grocery store, corner of California. I had some for lunch today, and they are very good. Light and flaky, not at all greasy, $2.00 each.
I’ve had a nice meal from Munch India near Ashby bart, it’s takeout only and requires pre-ordering by noon, but the menu is extensive and everything we got was tasty.
Got a recommendation for Guru Curry in El Cerrito from a foodie friend just a couple of days ago. In the old Sasa Kitchen location, they liked it a lot as the food was much less sweet than usual. All the sides are a la carte, however; but rising prices are everywhere these days.
We can personally recommend Namastey Patio on College Ave. in Rockridge near the BART station, which is only a little further south. Indian/Nepalese, and both goat curries are outstanding, along with the giant chicken samosas.
I have been a fan of Kabana and have noticed a lot of places have closed. We tried Royal Indian on San Pablo in San Pablo right next to Smart and Final. I believe it is new. We were there at lunchtime and only the staff were there. But we felt it was really good and will be back soon. We both got the Thali which gives you two smaller portions of the main course dishes. So we got to try four, and we were very pleased. If I remember correctly they were $20 each or maybe $19.
Re Hamro - glad we’re not the only ones who noticed the food was not as good as before! Very sad, their dry-fried curried goat was outstanding altho I know it couldn’t have been a high-profit dish. The owner (original, not the new ones) once told us that dish takes 19 hours to prepare and cook properly.
It’s why one doesn’t see a lot of dry-fry curries on menus. The flavors are so intense but it takes time to cook it down. I’ve done it at home and it’s a LOT of standing over the stove, stirring consistently so it doesn’t burn, especially towards the end.
I think it was in the East Bay Express that someone mentioned that Cedar Market, at Cedar and California, had good samosas. They do! Very good, in fact, $1.99 each, under the heat lamp at the counter.