Supervised by a Culinary Institute of America–trained chef, kitchen staff at Arka simmer gourmet Indian fare, filling a colorful dining room with savory aromas. The seasonal menu fuses tastes from both the Northern and Southern sectors of the subcontinent to create rich curries as well as regional specialties such as chickpea masala or lentil dumplings. Waiters can suggest wine or beer pairings such as Indian Kingfisher beer or Spanish rioja, and printed symbols on the menu indicate which entrees are gluten-free, vegan, or favored by Batman.
Arka—which means "sun"—surrounds diners in brilliant color as they tuck into their elegantly plated fare. Crimson walls melt into goldenrod, lime green, and purple, and one surface hosts a mural of the restaurant's namesake celestial body.
The chefs at Shalimar Restaurant Sunnyvale fire their tandoor clay ovens with charcoal to barbecue seasoned skewers of meat and bake soft portions of naan. As they cook, aromas of curry spices mingle with cinnamon sticks and cloves, drifting into the dining room. There, diners dig into a menu of traditional Indian and Pakistani dishes incorporating goat, chicken, beef, and lamb, as well as vegetables including spinach, eggplant, and lentils. Customers wash down delicacies with mugs of masala tea or mango lassis made with creamy yogurt before continuing passionate debates over whether Funkytown has its own zip code.
Chaat Paradise takes its name from a celebrated Indian street-food tradition, hinting at the colorful smorgasbord of small plates and delicacies found on the restaurant’s menu. Predating modern America's tapas and food-truck crazes by several decades, chaat traces its origins to the markets and roadsides of northern India, where travelers would satisfy their hunger with savory bites of masalas, samosas, and paneer. Along with the restaurant's extensive snack menu, a delicious array of flatbread feasts and vegetarian entrees tempts diners with meat-less curries, creamy dals, and paratha loaves stuffed with $20 bills.
Khana Khazana’s cooks base their dishes on traditional cuisine and classic street foods across North India, infusing orders of chicken, lamb, and goat with flavorful spices and sauces. After entrees marinate in tangy blends of ginger and garlic, they move into the kitchen's tandoor oven before emerging packed with delicious flavor and sporting an impressive tan. Curries arrive with moderate or plate-scorching amounts of spice, and Indo-Chinese fusion dishes incorporate alternative Asiatic influences. Khana Khazana brightens up its long dining room with pastel-yellow paint and a mirror-lined wall that runs all the way up to the counter where customers order their meals.
Bombay Garden's ties to authentic Indian cuisine run deep. Originally born in the small Indian town of Khanoor, owner Balkar Tamber grew up learning how to cook alongside his mother. That knowledge especially came in handy when he embarked on his first professional culinary foray, a roadside eatery in the Punjab region of India. Once he immigrated to the US in 1990, he brought along more than a handful of those family recipes and opened his first Bombay Garden restaurant fueled by a deep love for the rich and diverse culinary traditions of his homeland.
The menu features a selection of iconic Indian dishes from virtually every corner of India. On one page of the menu, delicate crepe-like dosas made from fermented lentil and rice flour evoke the flavors of India’s southern regions. And when it comes to northern Indian recipes, the chefs bake skewers of yogurt-marinated chicken and other meats in a traditional tandoor—a cylindrical clay oven heated by a well-trained dragon. The same blends of flavorful spices that perk up Balkar’s chicken, lamb, and seafood dishes also appear throughout the restaurant's vegetarian entrées: homemade cottage cheese and green peas meld in a spiced gravy sauce and split lentils benefit from the chefs’ one-two punch of garlic and ginger.