Note: La Bella Italia has re-opened in the same location under the name Tuscany.
As I announced a couple of days ago, La Bella Italia has become “My Ultimate Tandoori”. Its old Italian menu is not changed, but it’s now complimented by an Indian menu. The new menu offers a plethora of entrees from all over India ($8-13 a la carte, $12-17 with plain naan, rice, salad and lentils), including quite a few vegetarian entrees. There are several appetizers and desserts in their take-out menu, but they were not included in the dine-in menu that we were given (after asking for it, they gave us the Italian menu by default). Appetizers in the take-out menu include vegetable (but not chicken) pakoras for $5 and chicken samosas for $6. They also have a variety of naans ($1.25 – 4), but not kabuli naan. Though not in their menu, they do serve lassis. I had a sweet lassi, which was OK. For some reason it was pink – it tasted a little bit of curd, but mostly of sugar; it was extremely sweet. I think next time I’d ask them to make it less sweet.
Dinner started with their usual rolls and butter – the rolls were warm, but a bit stale this time. They also brought us papadums, which were very crispy but too spicy for my taste. They were not served with the cilantro and sweet-sour sauces that usually accompany it at other restaurants.
For dinner we had our “staples”: chicken tikka masala ($9), lamb korma ($10), a plain naan ($1.25) and an onion kulcha ($3). I also ordered rice ($2, I think).
The tikka masala and korma sauces were quite similar – the korma being more spicy (we ordered them medium). They were thick, flavorful, without much in the way of sweetness. The tikka masala lacked any pretension of smokyness, and the korma was probably bolder and less creamy than other kormas I’ve had. I wasn’t crazy about them, but that’s probably a matter of individual taste. I did eat them all (helped by naan), I just didn’t love them. The chicken, unfortunately, was quite dry and the lamb a bit too tough.
I’m not an expert on identifying rice grains, but I can tell you that the rice served here was not basmati. The grains were pretty thick, and it was stickier than it should have been (perhaps it was a tad overcooked). It also tasted very plain, without the nutiness of basmati. Interestingly, I found that the curries were horrible when eaten together with the rice – fortunately we had the naan.
The naan and the kulcha were quite nice, and I would order them again.
Dinner came up to $40 after tax and tip – a little steep, I think. Service was good, though the waiter failed to let us know about the Indian menu, and he did not tell us what we could order off-menu (such as appetizers, desserts and lassis).
In all, we had a pleasant meal but not one we would be rushing to have again. The food at Favorite India, in Hayward, is considerably more to my linking and its entrees are a dollar or two cheaper. My Ultimate Tandoori delivers with a $30 minimum order; Favorite India does as well, but only to parts of San Leandro.
Still, I’m quite happy that Ultimate Tandoori has opened and I imagine I will go back with friends when we don’t want to have an Indian dinner in the city. I’m also planning on trying their lunch buffet ($7 without a drink – 11 AM to 3 PM daily) (see update below)
My Ultimate Tandoori
15015 East 14th St.
San Leandro, CA
Daily 11 AM – 3 PM and 4 PM – 10 PM
San Leandro Restaurant Reviews
Marga’s Indian recipes:
Today I went to lunch to My Ultimate TAndoori with a couple of friends. The buffet lunch had regular salad, raita, plums (I think), vegetable pakora, chicken tandoori, a seafood curry, a lamb curry and chicken tikka masala (I think). It also had rice, some spinach dish, daal, a vegetable curry (I think) and, for dessert, gulab jamun and a rice pudding. The buffet was $7, with drink and tax it came out to $10. A hot butter naan is served at the table.
All in all I thought it was an average Indian buffet. The naan and the gulab jamun were simply delicious. The chicken tandoori was a little uneven, the first piece I got was very good and flavorful, others less so. The meat curries tasted about the same as they did the other night. They were thick and tasty, but they were missing something. Perhaps they have not simmered for long enough. Once again I found the chicken somewhat tough, and I preferred to eat the curries with the delicious naan. I didn’t try the vegetable selections. One of my friends really liked them mixed with raita – the other one didn’t do so and found them too spicy.
In all, it was an OK buffet, though not one of the best I’ve had. I expect that I’ll go there from time to time and you should give it a try too.
We went again to My Ultimate Tandoori around Xmas time with my parents and I think we had a pretty experience. Mike and I had Indian food and my parents Italian. It’s been a while so I don’t remember what we all had, but we all liked the food. However, we all felt it was overpriced, which is why My Ultimate Tandoori is not my choice for either Indian or Italian food, despite the fact that it’s relatively close to my home.