[SFBA] South Bay Indian/ Pakistani restaurants

[Mod note: split from SF Bay Area vegetarian recs? discussion since the focus goes beyond vegetarian)

I haven’t gotten to many of the pure-veg Indian places, and there are so many of the others, plus they come and go (sigh - Dosa Place is gone.) I generally go with my weekly dinner group, which is mostly meat-eaters, a fishaterian, a vegan, and me (lacto-ovo), most of us like hot and spicy. Some places I’ve been to in the last year or two

  • Turmeric Indian, Murphy St. in Sunnyvale - one of the best around for typical Indian menu. They also have a buffet at lunch (and maybe weekends that gets good reviews.)
  • Chennai Grill, off Lawrence - counter-order formica place, consistently good, biryanis and a few other things
  • Bezawada, off Lawrence - interesting thali place, mostly Vijayawada style which I hadn’t had before, fancy decor, not what I’d go for every day but quite good.
  • Peacock - Bowers&ElCamino - best Gobi Manchurian around, really good biryanis.
  • Bombay to Goa - El Camino in Sunnyvale - I like them (and the fish-eaters in the group really like them) good variety, spicy.
  • Amber Cafe, El Camino in Mountain View - dosas! And other curry and chaat stuff, but I’m there for the dosas.
  • Bombay Garden, Lawrence&ElCamino - Large, fancy, one of the best buffets around (currently only lunch and weekends.)
  • Chennai Kings, El Camino in Mountain View - small, good, a bit disorganized. Dosas.
  • Amber India, El Camino in Los Altos - for many years, they were the best Indian restaurant around, but always too crowded. They moved to a fancier and larger location, prices are much higher, they’re now only somewhat crowded.
  • Sakoon, downtown Mountain View - fancier than most, good buffet at lunch, usually crowded, nice bar.
  • Zareen’s Pakistani, Mountain View, over by Google. Amazingly good. But small, so “by Google” means “line out the door by 11:45”, and they don’t take reservations so getting a table for 6-8 people on a midweek evening doesn’t even work. She’s got another place in Palo Alto but I haven’t tried it yet.
  • Hole in the wall takeout with maybe a few tables? Bunches of those.
  • Passage to India - El Camino, Mountain View - they’ve been around for decades, they’re ok, but the interesting part is their bakery on the northbound side of El Camino. (Sometimes they’ve had a vegetarian restaurant next to that, but not currently.)
  • Indian Street Cafe, Sunnyvale - a bit confusing, has some north and south Indian stuff, I liked it. Informal, trying to look like you’re eating outside.
  • Red Chillies, Milpitas - Kerala style, which there’s not much of around here, good, a bit pricey but worth a trip.
  • Sansar (formerly Sneha) - Lawrence in Sunnyvale - used to be the canonical buffet place to take a group of 2-100 people with no advanced planning, always adequate, seldom spectacular. Under their current management, they’ve got fewer dishes on the buffet, most weren’t as good, hopefully they’ll still get better, because they’ve still got scale.
  • Spice Hut, El Camino in Sunnyvale - non-fancy counter-order fast-foodish place, lots of space, edible. I wouldn’t make a special trip there unless I needed to take a bunch of kids somewhere, but if I were in the area and wanted to grab a quick lunch it works.

Thanks! This is quite a comprehensive post! Perhaps we should get a separate South Bay Indian discussion going, not just the veg ones. There are a few that I want to try but haven’t yet, like Nawab’s, Milan’s (someone from India suggest their off-menu stuff is great)

Glad to hear their biryanis are still going strong. I liked their biryanis too. I haven’t been to Peacock since they closed down the Mt View branch.

I haven’t worked up the enthusiasm to try the PA branch again yet. But agreed the food at the MV branch was better executed than the average joints around.

Is the Sakoon menu more traditional now? I recall the opening chef experimented a bit.

I vaguely recall the chef has good credentials from DC or somewhere. I have had their buffets and lunch ordered off the menu. But have not tried dinner. That’s probably where the food should shine if cooked by the chef.

A piece on SF Magazine about the South Indian dining options in Sunnyvale:


Sunnyvale is indeed the hotbed for a variety of Indian choices now, maybe alongside Fremont. More than 100 such restaurants according to Yelp.

I haven’t been back to Sakoon in a while - they did seem to be experimenting, and I liked it.

Another new opening that was fun is Annachikadai, in Mountain View on El Camino northbound, a Tamil place. Their specialty is thali-like assortments of food served on a banana leaf (on a metal tray), refills as needed. The Yelp reviews had a lot of “oh, boy, haven’t been to one of these since I was back home”. It’s a small place, blink and you’ll miss it, and the time my wife and I went there for a late dinner it was crammed full, 10-minute wait to get a table for two (quite a bit longer for the group of 4 who were waiting outside); I think there was one other table on non-Indians in the place, most people eating with their fingers or chapati instead of forks. We’ll have to try it again when it’s been open longer and it’s warm enough for them to use their outside tables so maybe it’ll be a bit less crowded. I got the veg thali, my wife got a masala dosa, both pretty good.

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Peacock is now back in Sunnyvale. Technically the old Peacock on ECR is just across the border in Mountain View. The menu I was told is the same as before.