Chicken Tikka Masala (credit: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)

There is nothing quite like a good curry to tantalize the taste buds and wake up the palette. Perfect for both vegetarians and meat-lovers alike, sampling a delicious curry is a surefire way to spice up a diet. Luckily for locals, the Bay Area is home to a myriad of excellent dining establishments offering up high-quality curry. Here are five of the best spots for curry along the Peninsula.

Janta Indian Cuisine
369 Lytton Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94301
(650) 462-5903

Open for dinner seven days a week, downtown Palo Alto’s Janta Indian Cuisine dishes up a full and varied Indian menu. Diners can choose from a multitude of traditional curry options such as lamb rogan josh, chicken tikka masala, or shrimp palak with curried spinach. Vegetarian curries are plentiful and include everything from chana masala to matar mushroom. Check out the lunch buffet Monday through Saturday in order to sample a bit of everything. Alternatively, select one of the dinner specials which include a selection of curry, salad, dessert and chai.

Amber India
2290 W. El Camino Real, Suite 9
Mountain View, CA 94040
(650) 968-7511

With a long-standing tradition of showcasing Indian fine dining, Mountain View’s Amber India has been a pioneer in dishing up traditional-with-a-twist Indian cuisine. Both Zagat-rated and loved by locals, a meal at Amber is sure to please the palette of any curry lover. Menu choices range from the tempting Madras seafood curry replete with ginger, coconut and curry leaves, to Ceylon chicken curry. Head to Amber during the lunch hour for an extensive buffet with 15 to 20 different dishes from which to sample.

Darbar Indian Cuisine
129 Lytton Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94301
(650) 312-6688

Another downtown Palo Alto hotspot, Darbar Indian Cuisine specializes in the combination of both Northern and Southern Indian dishes. The menu includes a varied selection of vindaloo including lamb, chicken, prawn, beef and pork. Other curry options are Malai kofta curry with lamb meatballs, or fish curry. The weekday lunch buffet boasts over 20 different dishes to choose from, including numerous vegetarian and meat options. With convenient access to the Caltrain station, as well as fast and friendly service, a curry filled lunch at Darbar is a sure bet.

800 California St., Suite 100
Mountain View, CA 94041
(650) 960-3802

Located in the heart of downtown Mountain View’s Castro Street dining district, Shiva’s specializes in Northern Indian cuisine. Shiva’s dinner menu has an extensive selection of curries ranging from mouth-watering butter chicken to lamb Sali boti with ginger, apricot and coconut milk. Ever popular is the lunchtime buffet, open seven days a week. At an affordable $13.95 on weekdays and $15.95 on the weekends, the lunch buffet offers up a rotating selection of 12 entrees, as well as soup, salad, hot appetizers and other accompaniments.

Vedas Indian Restaurant
514 Peninsula Ave.
San Mateo, CA 94401
(650) 265-8601

Vedas Indian Restaurant in San Mateo is the second site opened by Chef Pradeep Kumar, after his success with the Milpitas location. Chef Kumar specializes in refined Indian cuisine, and adheres to the highest standards of quality control by employing everything from his own proprietary blends of spices to in-house grinders to preserve flavor in his masalas. Curry options range from a Goan-style fish curry in coconut sauce to the spicy hot Madras Balti chicken. The San Mateo location is open six days a week, Tuesday through Sunday, for both lunch and dinner.

Joanna Metheny is a freelance writer covering all things South Bay. Her work can be found on