If you asked me what I miss most about home after a month here at UC Berkeley, it would be my mom’s home-cooked Indian food without a doubt. I long for the sambar and rasam that I am so used to having every afternoon and the soft phulkas and mouth-watering sabzis for dinner. Here’s a list of my go-to places for whenever I am craving some Indian food!
Namaste Madras Cuisine
Located on Shattuck Avenue about 10 minutes from Sproul Hall, my parents and I first visited this restaurant the night after I officially moved in. The menu boasts a wide range of both North and South Indian dishes. The fluffy idlis (steamed rice cakes) with the quintessential sambar and coconut chutney was heaven to our taste buds. We loved the food so much that we returned the next week for the afternoon buffet. But most importantly, the lunch buffet is discounted for students — all the more reason to check this place out!
The 51B bus drops you right at Udupi Palace’s doorstep on University Avenue. Again, I visited this restaurant with my parents once Golden Bear Orientation concluded. We all ordered a South Indian thali (a set meal consisting of a platter of a variety of vegetable dishes, rice, breads and sweets) that came replete with over a dozen components. The traditional home-cooked flavors were a great source of comfort in a new city.
House of Curries
Despite House of Curries being the closest of these places to the residential halls on Durant Avenue, I stumbled upon this place only when I was showing my uncle around Southside during the first week of classes. We had creamy paneer tikka masala (Indian cottage cheese in onion- and tomato-based curry), dal, rice and crispy naan (Indian flatbread). But the most exciting part of eating here is the free unlimited authentic Indian chai — very different from the Americanized ‘Chai latte’ — that comes with every meal! Moreover, it’s the perfect place to get takeout, because of its proximity to the residence halls on Southside.
JotMahal Palace of Indian Cuisine
JotMahal’s rich food makes the long walk down Shattuck Avenue worth it. This place offers a range of North Indian delicacies and includes lunch buffet options that have a great balance between vegetarian and nonvegetarian dishes. Like its name suggests (‘Mahal’ in Hindi refers to palace), the restaurant has a sophisticated ambiance, and the packed tables during the weekends bear testament to the delicious food!
If you haven’t visited any of these restaurants yet, what are you waiting for?