Growing tired of sub-par Indian restaurants, The Snobby Foodie searched long and hard to find the Bay Area's Best Biryani. Her search took her to places so sketchy that she was sometimes afraid to leave her car. One time, she was served an overpriced plate of biryani, and she had to send it back because it was mushy and gross.
Finally, she made a list of the Bay Area's Best Biryani. Despite her many findings, she kept returning to the same places that provided great service, consistency, and excellent food.
North Indian: Tava Indian Bistro
It's refreshing when an Indian restaurant serves a different chutney with the momos than it serves with the papadum. I was like 95% sure thy were going to be the same & was 100% ready to get annoyed. But was pleasantly surprised when the flavors were drastically different. Well played. It's a bummer that my standards for Indian restaurants have come so low.
The curries at Tava tasted unique (not like a blend of each other), the meat was perfectly done, and nothing was overly oily. I'd recommend this place and I would come back. I actually really enjoyed it! (This is a rare comment, coming from me.) The curries are great. I didn't try the biryani because it wasn't dum.
Ways you can mess up biryani:
- Too greasy
- Mushy, Overcooked Rice
- Flavorless Curry
- Overcooked chicken
- Not enough pizzazz (cashews, raisins - I call these party favors)
South Indian: Udupi Place (Berkeley & SF, CA)
What to Get: Rasam & Mysore Sada Dosa OR Thali
This is the type of meal where you tie up your hair. When it comes to serving spicy food that's actually spicy, these people are NOT messing around.
For $15, you taste buds will be so stimulated and your belly will be so full that you'll have to eat an entire bowl of raita and roll home. Raise your hand if you've accidentally bought over priced dosa. Overpriced dosa is like eating overpriced crepes. What am I paying for? I mean- I have Alton Brown's recipe on my computer! The point is: don't overpay for dosa.
Side Note: Some of you may have thought that Indians eat butter chicken all day, 'er day. You'll be surprised to know that India is quite a large country with diverse food. WOW! Also, dosa is the ish.
Fusion: Avatar's (Sausalito, CA)
The first time you go here, let the owner order for you. Do you have a dietary restriction or preference or are you just picky? The owner will adjust any dish to your preference and spice level. He has an amazing memory and will remember the dish you order the next time you come to the restaurant.
What you should get the second time you go: Punjabi Enchiladas OR Lamb Curry
Owner (with charming accent): We were the first restaurant that catered to celiac disease in 1989. Your doctor didn't even know what the hell celiac disease was back then.
On that note- how do you make a samosa gluten-free and make it as EPIC as this? HOW HOW HOW HOW?!?!?
Usually restaurants that attempt fusion are just plain awful. They usually do neither cuisine well. At Avatar's this is not the case.
BTW- all other fusion places are total garbage. Seriously. Take my word on it.
Okay, I know these restaurants are nowhere near each other, but hear me out! The food is the best I've had in the Bay Area (and I've had A LOT of Indian food). You should give it a go and let me know what you think!
If you have any suggestions, comment below and I'll give it a go. Until then, here are some posts to quench your newly found Indian food cravings:
THE ARCHIVE -- past winners
North Indian: Aasna (Milpitas, CA) --> Closed :(
What to Get: Chicken Biryani & Baigan Ka Bharta
I know what you're thinking. Where is the butter chicken? Don't you fret, you can get butter chicken, vindaloo, and chicken korma here too. I like this restaurant because they do the things on their menu well. They don't just offer dishes for the sake of it.
If you don't know what chicken biryani is, you haven't been reading this blog long enough. It's a chicken and rice dish that takes quite a bit of effort and attention to timing. Basically, it's rice and chicken curry layered and cooked in a way that the curry flavor is embedded in the rice. There's a lot of ways to do it wrong.