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Indian Restaurants in Soco: The Naan-o-matic Guide

Author: | posted 07/22/09 | Print This Post Print This Post |

Not sure
where to eat Indian? Here’s your Naan-o-matic Guide to Indian Eats in Sonoma and Napa.

BiteClub gives a rating from 1-5 (being the best) for Naan (fresh Indian bread served with the meal); Tikka Masala (which, though hardly authentic, is the General Tso Chicken of Indian cuisine and a benchmark for most non-native eaters); whethere they have live entertainment (sitar, bellydancing) or a lunch buffet; price (from $ to $$$$ — Indian food can be surprisingly spendy) and some of the restaurant’s specialties.

Click on the name of the restaurant for more information and details.

Restaurant Naan Tikka Belly Dancing Lunch Buffet Price Specialties
Pamposh 4 5 No No $$$$ Top pick for Sonoma County. Don’t miss the tandoori
or apricot chicken. Well-trained staff and always-spot-on dishes from this SR
kitchen. Tikka is dead on.
Neela’s Indian Cuisine 4 4 No No $$$$ Haute Indian style cuisine with a California influence. Excellent wine list, top-notch naan and delicate flavors that make it a top pick.
Pine Cone UR UR No   $$ Odd mix of Indian and turkey-dishes makes for a
unique, but sometimes confusing menu.
Kabob & Curry House 3 3   No $$$ Solid downtown SR curries.
Sizzling Tandoor 3 4 Yes Yes $$$ Butter chicken beats tikka hands down. Extensive
menu can sometimes be overwhelming.Regional specialties are worth checking
out. Live entertainment including belly dancers and sitar music adds fun. Lunch buffet is solid, but not extraordinaty.
Karma Bistro UR UR No Yes $$ RP/Cotati folks swear by the lunch buffet.
Anna Purna 2 UR No Yes $$ Nepalese and Himalayan dishes add interest to middle-of-the-road Indian in downtown SR.
Tandoori Express 3 2 No No $ Cheap, cheap, cheap. Limited dishes from the steam
tables at this strip mall eatery are passable, but fresh-made naan bumps up
the edible factor. Cash only across from JC campus.
Himalayan Kabob and Curry House 3 4 No No $$$ Petaluma newcomer has struggled with service, but
dishes are worth the weight. Nepalese momo add to the menu.
Masala Jack’s 3 3 No. But Bollywood videos entertain. No $$ A good bet in Cotati, but service can be slow.
Excellent for-take out or newcomers to Indian cuisine.
Shangri-La 4 4 No No $$ Reasonably priced and close to SSU. Solid Tikka and
wonderful naan.
Himalayan Tandoor and Curry House 3 3 No No $$ Nepalese dishes, plenty of vegetarian options that
reflect tastes of Sebastopolians.
Yeti 5 3 No. No $$$ Best naan in Sonoma. Don’t miss the honey naan.
Hidden away in Glen Ellen it can be hard to find, but seriously. The naan.
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21 Responses

  1. Mark Gerhard August 2, 2009 at 5:23 pm #

    HImalayan Kabob and Curry House in Petaluma has live classical music every other Sunday night from 6 – 8 pm. LOngtime students of Ustad Ali Akbar Khan perform on sitar and tabla, no cover.

  2. Fran July 30, 2009 at 12:14 pm #

    I was at Masala Jack’s on a late Saturday afternoon about 2 months ago and they did have dancers! Great fun!
    Also, we arrived quite a bit early for dinner one time to find the doors locked. The owner ran out to let us in and started making us goodies until the chef arrived. Great customer service.
    My college kids adore this place…

  3. D, Taran July 28, 2009 at 4:42 pm #

    WTF?!?!?! I can’t believe they failed to mention Namaste, who in my opinion has some of the best Tikka, not to mention service in Sonoma County!!

  4. Cheryl July 28, 2009 at 2:55 pm #

    Best Indian food, hands down, Mogul Mahal in Kuwait City, Kuwait. Yes, if I won the lottery I’d rent a jet and go there again just for their Indian food. I crave it still, and it’s been 10 years!

  5. Jason Reed July 27, 2009 at 4:56 pm #

    Bummer- I’m heartbroken to hear Taj has closed. Did you find out why?

  6. Frank July 27, 2009 at 11:40 am #

    Tip: Avoid the places that have belly dancing. About as ridiculous as an Italian or Chinese restaurant having belly dancing. Like Dan said, not Indian at all.
    Also think Namaste in Petaluma (not on this Bite Club list) and Shangri-La (on list, near SSU) are tops in our area.

  7. Steve O July 27, 2009 at 11:28 am #

    Namaste Cafe in Petaluma is real deal, excellent nan and authentic Nepalis dishes.
    Belly Dancing in Indian Restaurants!!!!….WHY?

  8. apt9000 July 27, 2009 at 10:25 am #

    @Marta Dee
    If I remember correctly the Sizzling Tandoor in Bridgehaven/Jenner uses the garbanzo flour as well for their pakora.

  9. Marti July 27, 2009 at 8:27 am #

    Yeti – hard to find and hidden away?!?!
    What county do you live in. It’s on the very main street of Glen Ellen and most of the Sonoma Valley. Sheesh.

  10. Marta Dee July 26, 2009 at 9:23 am #

    Taj in Windsor used garbanzo bean flour which is the authentic flour to use for several dishes. It is the only place that I found that used it for its vegetable pakhoras and for the crisp flatbread, which they would make special for me when I came for the buffet, since I am allergic to gluten. I am really sorry to see them close. Do you know any other restaurant that does this? Please remove the belly dancing column, and replace with whether they use authentic ghee, or whether they use garbanzo flour for any of their dishes.
    Thanks

  11. Billie K July 24, 2009 at 9:40 pm #

    My favorite Indian place is gone; unfortunately the culturally bankrupt community of Rohnert Park only seems to favor standard fare from chain restaurants and whatever new taqueria comes along. Priya on Country Club Drive in the Pacific Market center was a real gem. Its lunch buffet far outshone that at Karma Bistro and its dinners, though not inexpensive, were tasty and authentically prepared and served.

  12. dan July 24, 2009 at 4:28 pm #

    Namaste in Petaluma blows away all of these listed. Authentic, fresh, and great service. It’s my favorite.(and their buffet, even though small, kicks butt because of the freshness)….
    Also, What the heck is this Belly Dancing fad for Sizzling Tandor? Belly Dancing is not Indian, it’s not Greek, and it’s definitely not Turkish. It’s Arab middle eastern originating from Egypt, and refined by the Lebanese.
    I find it somewhat comical that some Indian establishments are using it to bring in customers who don’t know it has no connection to Indian culture. Bhangra, Garba, rasa-lila, and Natya (Bollywood style) are Indian dancing. None of which resembles traditional belly-dancing.

  13. Leland July 24, 2009 at 3:06 pm #

    Massala Jack’s has belly dancing on Saturdays –nice bellies too! Great food and wonderful people.

  14. BiteClubEats July 24, 2009 at 2:51 pm #

    Heard for a local that Taj shuttered for good.

  15. Sylvia W July 24, 2009 at 2:21 pm #

    Heather! Dearest!! Great Job and you forgot Sizzling Tandoori out at the Coast – Jenner-ish – take a left at the stop sign where 116 runs into whatever it is (instead of a right which will run you right into Jenner) – and you’ll soon see it on your left. Sit in a window or on the deck for wonderful views of where the river meets the sea.
    anyway – Family run, absolutely SCRUM in terms of delicate, subtle and traditional flavors and textures…..
    Chow, Bella!

  16. Vince July 24, 2009 at 1:39 pm #

    Nice guide Heather! I heard you on KZST talking with Mona from Pamposh yesterday. She’s great, and I love Pamposh. BTW, congrats on the bus billboards, can’t wait to check them out. :)

  17. jv July 24, 2009 at 1:11 pm #

    You left out Namaste in Petaluma; best naan I’ve had anywhere and great lamb or chicken biryani

  18. Jason Reed July 23, 2009 at 4:10 pm #

    FWIW- it’d be more useful to have a location column than a bellydancing column- might make it easier for readers to scan & find a nearby spot.
    Also: what’s up with Taj in Windsor? I love that place but the last few times I’ve been by they’ve been closed w/ no explanation. I really hope they haven’t gone under- I loved their tikka masala and shahi korma, and they were always such friendly hosts.

  19. Anonymous July 23, 2009 at 2:56 pm #

    You forgot Masalaexpress in Petaluma. Masalaexpress has the most authentic Indian food in the county. They make dosas–hard to find elsewhere in the county–and are extremely reasonable in price. The owners are from Chennai (Madras). Chicken Tikka Masala, btw, is more generally found in north Indian restaurants, not south Indian restaurants.

  20. BiteClubEats July 23, 2009 at 12:53 pm #

    Hey Andrew…you’re totally right. I added a little explanation to the Naan-O-Matic Guide. My computer battery died last night as I was trying to put this together. Thanks for the heads up. Tikka Masala (as you mention) is a totally UK construct. But you can’t escape it, and it turns out to be the most ordered dish in most Indian restaurants in the US. Or at least around here. So I use it as a benchmark for the uninitiated and those (like me) who just love it anyway.
    Best!

  21. Andrew July 23, 2009 at 12:27 pm #

    Tikka masala seems like a strange benchmark to judge a South Asian restaurant. Though it’s one of the more likely dishes to appear on all the menus, you know it’s a UK creation.
    I used to judge South Asian restaurants by their tikka masalas before I realized that it was ultimately unfair. Where is the tikka masala dish passed down from generation to generation? It doesn’t exist.
    I’m glad you mentioned other dishes, and perhaps the quality of the tikka masala corresponds to the quality of the rest of the menu.
    But this seems to propagate the idea that the tikka masala is true to some South Asian cuisine (Indian? Bangladeshi? Nepalese?). I would hate for someone to walk into a restaurant, order the naan and tikka masala, and not come back because the tikka masala didn’t live up to some self-invented ideal. They’re such vast and interesting cuisines, filled with an incredible degree of regional variance, and to hold them to the foreign standard of a foreign dish seems a little unfair.

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