Darbar Indian Restaurant - Palo Alto, CA

Living in the Bay Area definitely has its perks, especially in terms of choices in food! We have never been more satisfied by restaurants than here, and for foodies like us, that means a lot! So last weekend, we decided to explore the Palo Alto downtown on foot. It's a quaint little downtown close to the upscale residential area of Palo Alto. There are several restaurants to choose from, but an American friend at work had recommended an Indian place called Darbar Restaurant, and we decided to check it out. It was totally worth the trip, because the fresh and homemade-style food, with no additional garnishes required, was so good that it spoke for itself!

Darbar is not a very upscale restaurant; in fact, the first look from outside may put you in second thoughts about the place! But open the door and you'll see a vibrant indian restaurant, a huge bronze statue welcoming you at the entrance. The decor is fitting with warm tones of light yellow and orange. The place is really small though, and they have a setting for the buffet table at the end of the room, making the dining area even smaller. I wouldn't rate it high on the ambience, but then the food will make it worth your while!

Darbar serves both North and South Indian cuisine, and has lunch buffet specials from Monday to Friday in the noon, which has more than 20 items on the table. It's affordable, and definitely a great lunch place for people working around the area. The Dinner Menu is like any other restaurant, with lots of choices for appetizers, tandoori dishes, vindaloo, vegetarian entrees, meat, seafood and desserts. While you wait for your food, they serve you a complimentary plate of potato fritters. The gravies and curries are very tasty and flavorful; not the typical curries with an overload of cream and a few spices. While we enjoyed the Paneer Do Pyaza and the Malai Kofta, our friends relished the Chicken Vindaloo, Lamb Kurma and Tandoori Pomfret. Everything was cooked to perfection, and the balance of spices and flavors with the sauce or veggies was really commendable. Another highlight was the Biryani, which I must say was very delicately flavored with spices and saffron. It's not easy to make a good biryani, but the chef at Darbar seems to know the trick!

We were surprised to see a lot of americans dining at this restaurant, and they all seemed to be really enjoying the food! On the down side though, they don't have a sufficient wait staff, and hence you might have to wait long before you get to enjoy your dinner! Being small, it easily gets cramped, so either go in early to beat the crowd or make reservations ahead. If you are looking for a fun place for a large and boisterous group, Darbar may not be the ideal choice; it's more like a highly affordable family restaurant to enjoy good indian cuisine. And after dinner, you can walk down to one of the gelato cafes in the area for a perfect dessert! On the whole, I'd say Darbar Indian Restaurant is a place I'd definitely visit again for their food.

Darbar Indian Cuisine in Palo Alto

129 Lytton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301
(650)- 321-6688
Darbar Indian Restaurant

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Anonymous said...

this is a regular indian place hangout for us! even our kids love it:)


Anonymous said...

the place is not that great-looking, but the food is awesome!:)


Anonymous said...

Found your blog through Margot on Coffee and Vanilla. I used to live on the peninsula and our former neighbor introduced us to Darbar. Haven't read through your entire blog but have you tried Gaylord in Atherton on El Camino? Prices are more expensive, but so goooood. The food was too spicy for our kids so we would do date nights there once or twice a year.

Anonymous said...

How funny, I used to live right around the corner from Darbar. I've eaten my share of the food there, I remember it as being quite good. Now I feel like having Indian food for lunch...