Family Dining in Marin: Anohka Cuisine of India
January 19, 2011Posted by pamela |
Way back in the days before children (BC), we used to love to go out for Indian food. This happy trend continued even after our son was born; until he hit about three he would eat just about anything we put in front of him, but eventually he entered his "white food" stage and it was all over. Fortunately, kids eventually outgrow their seemingly carbohydrate-only diet, so we decided to check out the lunch buffet at Anohka Cuisine of India, a restaurant located since 2009 on Grant Avenue in Old Town Novato.
The lunch buffet is a great strategy when dining at Indian restaurants with children, because there are usually more than enough items offered that will please little picky eaters, and the grownups with more sophisticated palates can indulge in their favorite dishes without worrying if the kids are going to eat it or not. Anohka's buffet is pretty cheap at $8.95 a person, and with kids at half-price it's really a win-win situation for everyone concerned.
The restaurant itself is a small gem on downtown Novato's main drag. Decorated in warm hues and colorful Indian-themed paintings, it's a cozy and inviting spot. We settled down in a corner table and loaded up the kids' plates with pillau rice, tandoori chicken, fish pakora ("Indian fish sticks" is what we told the kids), and fresh fruit. Fresh naan, hot from the tandoor oven, was brought to the table by the friendly staff, and of course everyone likes naan.
Other notable offerings in Anohka's buffet included saag aloo (creamy spinach with potatoes), a chicken curry, dal, and navrattan korma (a mixed vegetable curry). Out of everything, we all agreed that the tandoori chicken was the best, and perhaps some of the best we've had in Marin. Also, don't forget the condiments—the fresh mint and tamarind chutneys, raita, and Indian pickles were really outstanding, too. And of course we all saved room for dessert, heading back to the buffet to get some kheer (a chilled rice pudding), and little balls of gulab jamun (little donut-like spheres of milk-based pastry coated in a sweet honey syrup).
All in all, it was a happy lunch outing. We haven't been by for dinner yet, but reliable sources tell us it's just as good if not better, so we'll have to give it a try in the evening. Owner Surinder "Pal" Sroa also runs the highly regarded Lotus Cuisine of India on Fourth Street in San Rafael, and Café Lotus in Fairfax, as well as the venerable Novato institution the Golden Egg Omelet House (back after a brief stint as the Old Town Bistro), which is right next door to Anohka.
Anohka's buffet is served seven days a week from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, and it's open for dinner Monday through Saturday from 5 to 9:30 pm and Sunday from 5 to 9 pm. You'll find it at 811 Grant Avenue, between Sherman and Reichert Avenues. For more information, visit their website at www.anokharestaurant.com or call (415) 892-3440.