[Mountain View, CA] AnnachiKadai, Tamil Nadu eats

AnnachiKadai is a newish thali place serving Tamil Nadu specialties on El Camino near Grant/ 237. They serve the thalis on a banana leaf. The server said that sometimes this is done back home during ceremonial occasions and its an honor to be served food on a banana leaf. The banana leaf is supposed to give out an aroma to the hot food like rice and add good antioxidants for the skin.

I ordered the Ilai Virunthu- non vegetarian thali, which came with 3 meat curries. There was the fried tilapia in a slightly tangy curry spicy kind of pulusu. There’s also a spicy goat curry and a chicken curry. The separate chicken 65 was well spiced and fried and not look neon-red as some of the other renditions around. I was not a fan of chicken 65 previously and AnnachiKadai’s version was a cut above these other renditions.

The kootu on the upper right was gram in a coconut based curry. Next to it was a pooriyal that was made with kovvakai, an Indian vegetable. Both were pretty nice.

The little dabble above the curry was a very sour curry lemon pickle. Addictive. The yogurt was very creamy and smooth. The plate came with a serving of soona masoori rice, chappati and pappad.

I don’t necessarily detect a lot of banana leaf fragrance. I suspect that’s because of the time to ship these leaves across the ocean, and the need for preservation.

Overall, the thalis were solid. I’d be happy to go again and try the vegetarian version. All of the items can be refilled upon request. The kitchen was oddly slow despite most of the items should be cooked ahead of time.

The mango lassi was unsweetened. Which was, to me, how it always should be and was much welcomed.


Spotted a cross near the counter. Looked up the internet and apparently most of the Christian minority in India lives in Tamil Nadu. A little bit of culture we pick up by eating different food.


My wife and I went to Annachikadai a month or two ago. Food was interesting, different from most of the other southern Indian restaurants around. Don’t expect to walk in with more than 4 people at a popular dinner time in good weather and get seated without a long wait; it’s a small place, and the demand from homesick Tamils for this kind of food far exceeds the local supply; it was packed full including the outside tables. My wife had a masala dosa. I had the veg thali, which came with whatever dishes they were making that day, and we’ll have to come back another time to try more things. Good luck to them! They could probably use one or two more staff, if there’s room in the kitchen.

How did you like the veg thali and the dosa?

(Oh, thought that got into the final version; I guess it didn’t.)
Dosa was good. I’d have preferred more coconut chutney. The thali was interesting - designed more for the “eating with rice with your fingers” style rather than individual dishes, a number of small things that they came around and refilled often, and I don’t remember what most of them were by now. Good rasam. We also got some kind of pakora appetizer.

Went once, wasn’t impressed. Agree with your thought this is a place to get the thali and eat with your hands, it’s what all the locals were doing. We didn’t go that way and were disappointed ( have never not finished chicken 65 ), but with the admittance that we didn’t eat the right thing.
Atmosphere is unappealing. Lots of bare bulbs and concrete walls.