For our tenth Oakland restaurant, we decided to return to our roots a bit.
Our unhealthy-but-delicious-and-cheap-food roots, that is.
There was a time in my life when I would get up every Saturday morning, shake off any headache leftovers from the previous night’s trip to Mad Mex or P-Caf (it was college, what can I say??), and walk up the street to India Garden to indulge in the lunch buffet. Back in those days, it was a mere $7.99 and featured samosas right on the Saturday buffet.
Also, back in those days, I had to walk up Cardiac Hill in Oakland for class at least once a day, and would often go days without taking my car anywhere because I could (and DID) walk everywhere.
So you know, double-samosa-Saturday was not the worst thing.
The buffet has gone up in price the tiniest bit (it’s now $8.99), and I swear it starts a little later, at 12:30 instead of 11:30, but it still hits the spot, especially after a night at the monthly Unblurred Gallery Crawl in Garfield, where we walked several miles throughout the evening and had little to eat besides boxed merlot (see, another throwback to the college days: how many boxes of merlot did we go through in the early 2000s??).
This was Michael’s first round from the buffet. You will notice that he samples all the meats, including goat. I just recently met some cute pet-like goats the other night, who are kept by a friend’s family, and I could not dream of even tasting this plate!
I, as usual, stuck to the veggie dishes. They had a ton of potato (aloo) dishes on the buffet this time, and I tried them all! Aloo gobi is one of my favorites, it’s that yellow curry sauce with potatoes and cauliflower. Also, they make vegetable pakora, which are those yummy fried things on the plate – perfect with tamarind sauce. The mattar paneer (my standard dish of cheese and peas) was a little watery this time, but if you soaked it up with naan and rice, it was still delicious. The weird green stuff is palak paneer, which is a delicious spinach and cheese dish that goes so well with bread. And of course, there’s my little bowl of aloo channa chat in the back. I could eat that stuff every day!
It’s always a good idea to take a moment to prepare yourself for round two. You can see the buffet behind Michael in this picture: there’s a ton to choose from, and it’s so good that it’s impossible to resist seconds.
Interestingly, like I seemed to remember the buffet from my college days, it led to a massive food coma. Lucy was pretty happy with this: not only did I snag a tiny cube of chicken in my napkin to bring home for her to sample, but Michael and I both passed out for almost three hours after lunch, and Lucy got to capitalize on some snuggle time! You need to seriously bring your appetite for the India Garden lunch buffet!
We like India Garden at other times of day, too. They have half-price food each night from 5-6 and then again from 9-11. (That’s a recent change: back in my day, we ate our Indian food at half-price from 11pm until 1am, and we were too tough for heartburn!) You can find them on Atwood Street in Oakland, and they often run coupons in Clipper magazine. They have great takeout, too, as many a Steeler game at my house featured halftime India Garden. Pittsburgh sure makes it difficult to decide where to go when you want good Indian food, between these guys, Coriander, and Tamarind! (Although I’d definitely rather be overwhelmed than out of options 😉