Thursday, July 9, 2015

SF Eats: Saravanaa Bhavan

Sarvanaa Bhavan (Rating: A) is one of N's favorite South Indian restaurants.  I've heard this restaurant come up in conversation numerous times, so when I was out in San Francisco we made a point to check it out.  

The restaurant isn't quite close to the city.  In fact, it's about a 45 minute drive from San Francisco, in Sunnyvale, California.  Sunnyvale is home to a number of Indian restaurants and shops, probably due to the large Indian and South Asian community.  

We decided to order two entrees and share:  the Paper Dosa and a Thali. A thali is a meal made up of a number of dishes.  This one was different from most I've had, in that the meal included three rice variations.  The meal itself contained: Papadum (the disc shaped 'chips' you see below), Achar (or pickle - spicy mango), three different types of rices (Sambar rice, Vegetable Pulav (aka pilaf), and Thayir Sadam (aka yogurt rice), sauteed green beans and coconut, and Kesari (a cream of wheat based dessert - the orange item in the top right of the plate).  Usually the Thali's I've seen  have a portion of rice along with several curries, but this was a different twist from what I've had.  The Sambar rice in the middle and the Vegetable Pulav (aka pilaf) were our favorites! 

Here's the Paper Dosa.  'Paper' because it is so thin.  I love dosa like this because it's extra crispy and fun to share.  I'm not a huge fan of Masala Dosa (Dosa filled with a spiced potato mixture), so N compromised with this plan Paper Dosa.  You dip the crunchy, warm dosa into the sambar, tomato chutney, and coconut chutney and just nosh away.  It's absolutely delicious, especially with some Madras Coffee or Masala Chai to wash it all down with. Saravanaa Bhavan's Madras Coffee is the absolute best! Strong and delicious.  I appreciated that everything was served in steel dishes, just like they are in India! Gives you that real "down home" authentic feeling.  When we left the restaurant I told N this is definitely one of the places in California I'll be returning to time and time again! 


  1. How much I wish I lived by you to enjoy this Indian goodness, I actually live in Jersey City NJ, which is known for a big Indian community so we have many great Indian restaurants here, to treat ourselves when a craving hits!

    1. Hi Katalina! Thanks for visiting the site! My sister lives in San Francisco and I live in Washington, D.C. both areas have such a large Indian community, so definitely nice to have options when it comes to Indian restaurants! My boyfriend is from New Jersey so I'm definitely familiar with the area, and of course good old Edison has its share of Indian eats too!


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