When you step inside Great Indian Cuisine, Santa Clara’s newest Indian restaurant, you will be greeted by the cheery mango colored walls, comfortable burgundy booths, and rows of shiny copper pots set out for the weekday lunch buffet. While you eat, you can watch the upbeat Bollywood videos on the screens above the dining room.
“We make everything fresh here and our chefs are very experienced,” says Navi Bains, the restaurant manager who also happens to be an alumnus of Santa Clara High School and De Anza College. “My dad, Balhar Bains, is the owner here, and he has over 20 years of experience as a chef. He used to work at Amber India in Mountain View.”
Originally from Punjab, India, the Bains family has been living in Santa Clara for the last 15 years. With his extensive culinary knowledge of Indian cuisine, it made sense for Balhar to open his own restaurant here in the city. Since Great Indian Cuisine opened in September 2012, word has been spreading around town about the high quality of the food.
“Sometimes we have members of the construction crew for the 49ers stadium come here for lunch,” Bains says. “We also get people from the local high-tech companies. We get families. We even get people coming all the way from Fremont and Hayward just to eat here.”
A popular appetizer is the vegetable samosa, made with a crispy crust on the outside and just enough spice in the potatoes and peas on the inside to activate the taste buds. Popular entrees include the butter chicken and great Indian goat curry.
“All our tandoori items are also popular,” Bains says. “Our tandoori dishes are prepared in a clay oven that drains out all the fat from the meat. The meat cooks similar to barbeque meat, but it tastes much better.”
“We have dishes for vegetarians too,” Bains continues. “The paneer tikka masala is made from farmers cheeses and spices. The Navratan korma is made from nuts and vegetables, such as peas, carrots, and cauliflower. The cheese comes in a cream sauce that is similar to gravy.”
Diners must make room for dessert. The restaurant serves kulfi, the chef’s version of an ice-cream bar. The ice-cream comes in flavors such as mango and malai, which tastes like sweetened milk. The kheer is a rice pudding that teases the senses with subtle flavors of saffron.
Bains says that local residents who live within a three mile radius from the restaurant can get free delivery with a minimum purchase of $50. He adds that the restaurant will offer a 10 percent discount for companies or schools hosting events.
This hidden gem of a restaurant is easy to miss. Located on 2026 Agnew Road in Santa Clara, Great Indian Cuisine sits on a quiet street with a few simple signs advertising the location.
“I had someone tell me they’re glad they didn’t judge a book by its cover when they came here,” Bains says. “This restaurant is somewhat hidden. Don’t judge it by how it looks on the outside. You’d be surprised and pleased when you come inside.”
Visit http://www.greatindiancuisinesc.com for more information.