Zareen's, Mountain View

Zareen’s is a little restaurant near the Google campus that serves Indian and Pakistani foods. The menu is purposely small, and the food is quality. Their main selling point is that the quality of the ingredients is good, and it shows in the food we tasted.

We’ve been there a few times. we like:

  • the Naan. the fermentation is a grade above many naans in the area. fluffy goodness.
  • the daal. the lentil and spicing are very harmonic. i’d much prefer that they offer this as entree instead of meal so i can get a bigger container.
  • the rice that comes from a meal, and the veggies next to it. it may be free, but its very well flavored and again, I’d love to be eating this in bigger portion. not even sure if i can get this standalone.
  • tikka masala. reminds me of the one from Amber.
  • shami kabab

The restaurant is small with a few tables and lots of people walking in an out to pick up food. So we get it to go. They are always busy, so order online ahead of time and pick up.

477 Plymouth St., #C, Mountain View, CA

The halwa-puri aloo cholay is great too. chickpea, and potato on the side with a very lightly and well fried paratha. texture is very delicate.

the restaurant tastes very home made, food well made with care.

Ate here and was pleased. Is very “clean” tasting.

Portions are small, but in a good way.

Zareen’s now offer specials for the week. They say they are testing new menu items, and if the specials sell well they will appear on the menu permanently. They are on a board in the shop, so you’ll have to call in to see what they are.

They now have a slightly bigger menu. Tried the bhuna gosht, slow cooked with potatoes in a fairly thick curry sauce. The tri-tip was tender and the potatoes absorbed all the spices and flavors from the curry, and the curry itself was flavorful. The naan helped mop up all the sauce. A success.

Also had the chicken boti sizzler. This one was ok. Fairly similar to how tandoori chicken is spiced, but without the red color. It’d be more moist and tender if they use more dark meat.

They now reconfigured the dining room so its more spacious and one can actually sit and eat there more comfortably without a hundred people walking closely past picking up orders.

New weekend special- Sabri Nihari, which is supposed to be a homage to Sabri Nihari House, a Nihari house in Karachi. From Wikipedia: ‘In Karachi, Nihari became a roaring success[6] and soon all over Pakistan. Now Nihari is available in Pakistani restaurants around the world. Nihari[7] is considered to be the National Dish of Pakistan.’

The curry is a gravy like curry, with 6, 7 pieces of very tender beef shank stewed over night in spices (pippali? noodle like ginger, etc). (No bone marrow/ brain that I can see). Delicious.

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Since you like nihari, have you tried the version at Shalimar? Ive had it both in Mtn View and in SF and it is one of my favorite dishes at Shalimar. I havent been to Zareen’s but will keep it in mind next time Im doing takeout in Mtn View.

I used to live right next to Shalimar and frequented the place but never had this dish. How’s Shalimar these days? There are some fairly scary recent reviews from Yelpers.

Still same as 10 years ago as far as I know. I order only my favorite dishes like nihari and tandoori chicken but those dishes are still excellent. Spinach/potatoes were also excellent last time.

Zareen’s is coming to Cal Ave in Palo Alto in a month or two. Good to have a good Indian option in Palo Alto.

We have three of different types in Univ Ave, and Darbar still seems to do land-office business.

But… I agree.

The Cal Ave location in Palo Alto is open. They have been in soft opening for a few weeks. Had lunch there today. The menu is similar to their Mountain View location. Had a chat with chef Khan and I asked her what they have here that’s different from their Mt View locatoin. She said the naan is much better in this location. And that garlic naan is new. She brought one on the house for us to try.

All in all I thought the food got good potential. Kitchen still needed to work out some kinks around seasoning and I shared the thoughts with the chef when she asked how the food was. We’ll be back. I am glad that Palo Alto has a fast casual Pakistani / Indian place. And not one that’s ‘University Ave-decor-upscaled’.

Next to The Counter burger.

The garlic naan:

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There was a fast-indian place there when the building was first (re) built and The Counter first arrived, but it was super forgettable. Glad Zareen’s is finding its footing.

CurryUpNow is in Univ Ave, of course - similar-ish - I like Zareen’s a lot better.

There’s Tava Kitchen in Town & Countrytoo. Zareen’s has more traditional dishes that appeal to tastebuds from the subcontinent, however. The Palo Alto shop was almost all Indians/ Pakistanis when we were there.

Thanks for the reminder about Tava. It’s on my “the rest of palo alto” random list, but hasn’t come up yet.

I finally had a chance to try Zareen’s. Loved the naan, the texture was amazing. I also really liked the jalapeno (?) yogurt.
I liked my shami kebab plate, but it was slightly salty for my taste. I should have ordered the nihari because of all the sauce that goes so well with naan!

Which one did you go to? Mt View or Palo Alto? The one meal I had in PA when they first opened was saltier than MV’s, though I haven’t had another chance to go again.

Mtn View. It wasn’t too salty, just more than I am used to.

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Making noodles. Phongdien Town, Cantho City, Southern Vietnam.
Credit: CiaoHo