My local Grocery Outlet store is currently currying a variety of Sky Valley bottled sauces. I picked up the Tikka Masala sauce because it’s vegan, and I’m always looking for stuff that my vegan daughter can eat. Unfortunately this was a bust.
The sauce itself wasn’t bad. While I wouldn’t say it tastes like the tikka masala you can get at Indian restaurants, it’s better than anything I could make myself. Indeed, it tastes very much like Trader Joe’s masala sauce. They are both far more acidic and less sweet than your restaurant tikka masala sauce.
The big problem for my vegan daughter was that the sauce was too spicy. She ate it with lots of rice, but still couldn’t get past the spice. Now, she doesn’t like spicy food, so in terms of level of spice I’d say this sauce is “medium” spicy.
The 13.8 oz bottle of Sky Valley tikka masala sauce sells on their website for $5.30, but it was just $2 at Grocery Outlet and it was on sale for just $1.75 at Walmart (regular price $3.65). It’s produced in Danville (so not to far away from where I live) and exported all the way to the UAE!
We stopped by India Oven / Indian Masala for lunch on a Thursday night in late July, 2017 and enjoyed their lunch buffet. It was pretty generic as far as Indian lunch buffets go, which is not a bad thing.
The restaurant is a fusion of two different Indian restaurants, Indian Oven and Indian Masala, and it does not seem to have decided upon a name so it’s using both. Hey, it’s Vegas, why not? It sits in a small strip mall but the inside is rather nice, it could even pass for elegant if it didn’t have a buffet.
The buffet included a small salad bar, made-to-order naan (choice between plain, butter or garlic), had a couple of appetizers (vegetable pakoras and samosas), soup/daal (if I remember correctly), rice and vegetable rice and four each vegetarian and meat entrees. It most certainly did not have all the dishes they claim to offer in their website, not even close. I tried the four meat dishes and was fairly pleased. The chicken tikka masala had a very nice flavor, slightly spicy, but deep. I enjoyed it. The goat and chicken curry both seemed to have the same sauce, it was good but not a favorite. The chicken tandoori was juicy and very flavorful. My daughter was less happy with the paneer dish she had, but it wasn’t one she usually eats (there was no paneer tikka masala).
The buffet also includes drinks, and my daughters liked the lemonade and the mango lassi, which was more like a thin mango drink than a lassi.
Service was fairly good, though they initially tried to charge my husband for a buffet even though he had clearly not eaten anything (he was sick). Dinner for the four of us (I was there with three tweens), came up to a little over $50 after tax.
Given the plethora of Indian restaurants in Vegas, I’d probably try a different one next time, but this is certainly good enough to visit again.
India Oven Restaurant
India Masala & Bar Grill
1040 E Flamingo Rd
Las Vegas, NV
Open 11.30am to 3pm – 5pm to 10pm
We were in Sedona on vacation, staying at a house near Cuisine of India aka Indian Palace, India Palace and Delhi Palace. I don’t know what the actual name of the restaurant is, I’ve found reviews under all names. We wen there for lunch a rainy day in August, 2013.
According to my daughter, this was the smallest buffet at which she’s ever eaten. That’s not necessarily true for me, but with ten or so offerings, including rice, it would definitely not win any prizes for size. Then again, it also doesn’t seem to be very popular, at least for lunch, so few offerings hopefully mean the food is fresher.
As far as Indian food goes, this buffet was pretty average. I liked the mushroom korma, but the chicken tikka masala was underseasoned (even though it was a bit spicy). The same can be said for the chicken tandoori, it didn’t taste as if they’d use any spices on it other than pepper. The lamb curry was OK, though the lamb was a bit dry and tough. The rice was a bit too starchy for my taste, but the garlic/herb naan bread, served pipping hot, was quite good. Sweet lassis also lacked flavor.
My biggest problem with the meal was the price. We ended up paying $42 before the tip for 3 people. That’s pretty ridiculous for a buffet lunch. Now, my husband didn’t look at the bill carefully so perhaps they charged us for our other daughter who didn’t eat any of the food (which they knew, as she instead had a subway sandwich at the table). According to the website, the lunch buffets are now $10
As far as the restaurant itself, it was your run-of-the-mill shopping center restaurant, it didn’t have any ambiance to speak of.
Cuisine of India/ Delhi Palace
1910 W Hwy 89A, Suite 102
I haven’t been to dinner to the new Taste of the Himalayas restaurant, which replaces CreAsian, but I did go to its Grand Opening which included a limited free buffet. From it, I can say that I’m glad to welcome them to San Leandro.
Taste of the Himalayas is a popular Nepali restaurant in Berkeley. They’ve taken over the old CreAsian space, a much welcome change as far as I’m concerned. While I liked CreAsian, it was too expensive and the menu never changed. Alas, they seem to be wary of their new venture in San Leandro, so they are keeping some old CreAsian dishes in the menu and they are mostly concentrating in serving Indian rather than Nepali food. I imagine that will change as they get more comfortable in San Leandro.
At the Grand Opening they had three meat curries to taste, their chicken curry (normally $14), lamb curry ($14) and the chicken nauni (not yet in the online menu). The regular curries were OK, the flavors were good and solid, but not compelling. However the meats themselves were spectacular, the chicken was velvety and the lamb was beyond moist and tender, without being fatty. These taste like high quality meats. The chicken nauni, on the other hand, was very, very good (though actually, the sauces mixed together tasted even better). It was similar to a tikka masala, only the chicken wasn’t smokey (and was moist) and the sauce was less sweet. Still, it was very balanced. Taste of the Himalayas does offer a chicken tikka masala ($15), and I look forward to tasting it.
Both the plain ($3) and garlic ($4) nan were nice, though the fact that they were hot and not burned helped.
I didn’t try the vegetarian offerings, so I can’t opine, but I heard the vegetable pakora (also not in the menu) was also very good.
According to their website, they deliver with a $25 minimum order.
CreAsian – Taste of the Himalayas
1269 MacArthur Blvd.
San Leandro, CA
M-Su 11:30am to 3:00pm, 5:00pm to 10:00pm
Indian Oven opened up in the space that Raaga used to occupy. They still have the same phone number, but the space has been modified (part of the dining room is gone) and I think they are under new ownership. I went to the restaurant for dinner there last week with my sister Kathy, who was having a hankering for Indian food, and left mostly satisfied.
Looks wise, Indian Oven doesn’t have much to recommend it for. It’s your typical Indian restaurant, without much in the way of ambiance, but nice enough. You go here for the food, not anything else. The service was quite good, however, and the waiters very young and very affable.
Kathy and I were planning on taking food back home for Mike and Mika, who were at the pool, so we ordered tons of things. We started with the chicken pakora ($4), which was disappointing. The very small chicken pieces has been overly battered and were quite flavorless. To add insult to injury, they were very tough and dry. I got the impression they had been cooked earlier in old, almost stale oil, and then reheated. I would definitely not order this dish again.
Indeed, you may want to avoid all chicken dishes at Indian Oven. Our chicken tikka masala ($10) was equally disappointing. The chicken once again was very, very dry. While I suspect that chicken tikka masala was invented in the first place to use up left over chicken tikka, most restaurants manage to make it with pieces that retain some moisture and flavor. The sauce itself was quite good, a pretty standard masala, and I’d order the dish again, albeit with lamb.
Indeed, both of the lamb dishes we ordered were quite good. Lamb korma ($11) is one of my all time favorite dishes and Indian Oven’s version was pretty good. The lamb was moist and not overly fatty, and the curry was mild but flavorful. Kathy was disappointed by the lack of coconut flavor in the curry (per the description of the dish), but IMHO kormas never taste much of coconut. In all, I was satisfied though I’ve tasted better kormas elsewhere.
The mint lamb ($11) was equally satisfying. Once again the lamb was tender, and the mild mint flavor of the curry was quite alluring. Kathy enjoyed it as well.
Finally, we shared a kashmiri (aka kabuli) naan ($4). It was good enough, though once again not the best version of kashmiri/kabuli naan I’ve ever had. It was s bit expensive for the quality.
In all, our meal was quite good. What we ordered ended up being enough for 4 adults and one child, and the total bill came to $54 including tax and tip. I’d go back there again, though I might give other nearby Indian restaurants a try first.
10110 Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Daily 11 AM – 3 PM & 5 PM – 10 PM.
In the last couple of weeks I’ve gone to Favorite Indian twice, once for lunch and once for dinner. Their offerings are just as extensive for both though the dinner buffet, only available on F/Sa/Su is more expensive ($15 vs. $11, I think). Still, it’s an amazing deal considering that you get over 20 choices of dishes, plus nan bread, sodas, juices and dessert! And keep an eye on Yelp and their Facebook Page for special offers. Mentioning “Yelp”, for example, should get you a 15% discount off the buffet prices.
But the deal with Favorite Indian is just how amazingly good their food is. I mean, this is buffet food (they do have a la carte dinners weekday nights, but why would you bother?). And it’s some of the best tasting Indian food I’ve ever had.
In my last two visits the chicken tikka masala has been to die for. The chicken itself is a bit dry (that’s what you get when you use white meat), but the sauce is heavenly. I don’t bother with the chicken anymore, just put the sauce over rice or eat it with nan. At a dinner visit, I couldn’t get enough of the fish pakoras. The flaky, melt-in-your-mouth fish has a wonderfully crispy crust and was delicious. Their tandoori chicken has also been very good in my last visits, as have been assorted curries. They vary from time to time, but they are all worth trying (even if not all are always winners in my book). My daughter loves their soft serve mango ice cream for dessert, but I’m a fan of their gulab jamun. which they serve both hot and cold (hot is better). Their nan bread is quite good, but at the lunch buffet I went they had a paratha sytle bread that was even better.
Anyway, I’m in love with Favorite Indian and I can’t wait to go back.
I’ve been back to both the lunch and dinner buffet at Favorite Indian several times now. It’s always good. Mika loves going for the mango soft-serve ice cream.
July 2010 Review
Favorite India on “A” Street in Hayward has been my favorite Indian restaurant in the area since it opened. The small, humble dining room isn’t much to look at – but the Americanized Northern-Indian food is delicious and the staff is very friendly. Plus, and this is a very important plus, they deliver to San Leandro.
Some months ago they opened a new branch in Hawyard, under the name “Favorite Indian” and we finally checked it out last January, when we discovered the A St. location is no longer open for dinner. The new location is a great improvement. It’s in what was probably an all-American family restaurant in the past, so it hasn’t much in the way of atmosphere, but they’ve added a couple of nice fountains and some decorations and the place looks nice enough. More importantly it’s comfortable, with plenty of booths and tables that accommodate large parties (there is even a party room, I think) and there is plenty of room for a large buffet – which they now offer not just for lunch but for dinner on Friday, Saturdays and Sundays (6 – 9 PM).
In the last seven months I’ve been to Favorite Indian for lunch and dinner on numerous occasions – and I’m always impressed by the buffet. It has an enormous array of choices, more than 30 items, so much that you cannot possible hope to try everything (even if, like me, you just skip the vegetarian options as a matter of course). Last night the meat offerings alone included chicken tikka massala, chili chicken, ginger chicken, chicken tandoori, lamb vindaloo and a lamb kofta curry. There were many vegetarian choices, including vegetable pakora and daals, There are soups and salads and the usual accountriments – including rice and hot naan. The buffet price ($14 for dinner) includes soft drinks and dessert (mango soft ice cream in addition to Indian goodies).
What is really impressive, however, is the quality of the food. It may not have the sophistication of the offerings at Aroma in Castro Valley, but it’s uniformly tasty, nicely seasoned (i.e. not too spicy) and very balanced. Everything, from the tandoori to the tikka massala sauce tastes great. Nothing is too oily, nothing too fatty or gritty. The chicken in the tikka massala did manage to be a bit too dry for my taste in my last visit, but that was really a minor complain. In all, I don’t think you can get a better meal in the Bay Area for the price – one reason why I keep going back 🙂 BTW, you can get a 15% off discount of your dinner bill by mentioning “YELP” when you visit (I’m trying to see if they’ll do the same for “Marga’s Blog”). Restaurant.com also has gift certificates, but it’s only valid on the a la carte menu, Sunday through Thursday.
Favorite Indian Restaurant
24052 Mission Blvd.
Note: Raaga has closed. Indian Oven has opened in its location.
I was visiting my parents in the SF Valley this weekend, and my sister Kathy suggested that we go to Thai West for lunch, a favorite restaurant in the neighborhood. Alas, it was close for Sunday lunch, so we went hunting for another alternative. Raaga was the first such alternative we found – and I was glad we did.
We got to the small strip-mall restaurant around 12:30 PM on Sunday (July 2008). The place was deserted, and they were just putting out the lunch buffet. I hope people in the area are late lunchers, because no one came while we ate.
The food was very good. The buffet consisted of three meat dishes (chicken curry, goat curry and tandoori chicken), and 2 or 3 veggie dishes – I noticed a vegetable sambaal and some daal, I’m not sure if they had something else. There was also rice, vegetable pakoras, raita and things of the sort. They brought fresh nan to the table, and it was very good, thick and warm.
I loved everything I had. The tandoori chicken lacked the red dye that is usually used to give the dish its distinctive color, but it was juicy and very flavorful, without being spicy. Indeed, Mika, my picky 6-yo, ate quite a bit of it. The chicken curry was both rich and deep, a tiny bit spicy and somewhat sweet, with layers of complexity. It was not the sort of dish you tend to get in a buffet – I really enjoyed it. The goat curry was almost as good, well balanced, rich in flavor, giving you something new, yet familiar (to eaters of Indian food). Kathy tried the veggie pakoras and she thought they were very good as well, Mika even ate a couple of bites without complain.
Service was great, if silent.
The bill came up to $38 after tax. They only charged us for 3 buffets (there were 3 adults and 3 kids, but the kids mostly ate rice), and we had 4 drinks. In all, I thought it was very affordable for the quality of food.
10110 Topanga Canyon Blvd.