See New Delhi Chaat Cafe for current reviews.
We ordered vegetable biryani and sag paneer dinner, which came with naan, lentil and pea dishes, and of course chai. Everything was delicious. I was asked if I wanted my biryani "as it comes," i.e. mild, and this mild was still pretty liberal with the chiles.
Our table neighbors ordered a full range of chaat dishes. One of them had lived for a long time in India and assured me that the food was authentic. The owner, Arun Pereira, told us that everything was made fresh every day and to order. (The menu boasts fresh, fast and healthy; if it's made to order, it may not be as fast as some people like, but it's well worth the wait.)
2005-04-18 17:52:46 I had the Bhatura Cholle for lunch today. It was very good although the Bhatura(pasteries) were a little oily. I was worried that it wouldn't be enough food but it ended up being sufficient. I got a smallish bowl of delicious garbanzo beans with a little kick, two large pastries and all the free chai I could drink. It was definitely finger food and it seemed pretty authentic. My only complaints would be the noisy refrigerator, use of disposable plates and utensiles and "stale" interior decor. I will be going back for the food though. NOTE: This comment was from when the restaurant first opened and may no longer apply. —JackHaskel
2005-04-18 19:30:45 So yeah Chole are garbanzo beans/chickpeas. For the most part, good bhatura should be big and puffy. It does tend to get oily 'cause it's fried—but it shouldn't be too oily. I haven't been. But now i'm So excited that there's chaat in davis. In my opinion, there are No good indian restaurants here. —SapanaShende
2005-04-18 21:31:50 They put flyers everywhere on campus today in a fashion about as bad as Kaplan and even the Students for an Orwellian Society. I realize they are a business that wants to get their name out but how they treated the bulletin boards shows a complete disrespect for students. —RobRoy
- at least they're not a national chain like kaplan. we should really kick kaplan's ass one of these days. —ArlenAbraham
2005-04-19 16:39:19 I went to Chaat for lunch and ordered two things: Saag Paneer (ala carte w/ Naan) and Pani Puri. Saag Paneer is basically spinach with cubes of goat cheese. Pani Puri is an appetizer which involves filling a hollow cracker with potatos, garbanzo beans, masala, and a kind of spiced-mint water. My friend ordered the Chicken Curry dinner which comes with naan, rice, daal (a kind of soup), and this other vegetable dish. I found the main dishes to be generally tasty, but they weren't as flavorable as the traditional Indian cooking I'm used to. The Pani Puri, on the other hand, was delicious. I actually think Raja's Kitchen does a good job when it comes to North Indian cooking. The Naan was good, though a lot smaller than served in Raja's. The rice, in my opinion, could've been fluffier. They actually serve two different types of rice: One is the traditional Basmati, the other I forget. Thought that was strange. I want to return one day to try their take on a Dosa. —JesseSingh
2005-04-20 16:43:15 I had the chicken vindaloo and samosa chole. The curries were authentic — in my opnion the best in Northern California. The chaat snacks are comparable to Vik's in Berkeley. I hope that New Delhi doesn't change into a "formal" Indian restaurant. Thank goodness for authentic Indian food at a bargain price. Hurray! —GurdipSekhon
2005-04-20 16:59:05 I loved the family style of this chaat cafe. The owner came to my table, chatted with me for a few minutes and even told me that if something wasn't on the menu he would try to make it for me. While the interior isn't as colorful as some may like, the family atmosphere makes it feel like I'm at my desi friend's house. I ordered the lunch special (aloo mataar) which was fresh and flavorful. I stayed for a few hours and studied while drinking free chai. I never felt pressured to leave. The owner's wife brought me a free dessert (golab jamun) to sample! I'll definitely be back. —PriscillaBarr
2005-04-20 22:22:22 Very cool laid back vibe, kinda like Roma. The waiter guy looks and sounds disturbingly like phil. —KenjiYamada
2005-04-21 14:48:36 I went there today and it was very good. My friend and I ordered like 4 things and it only ended up being like $16 total. They are also very nice and friendly and the free Chai is very good as well. I recommend the vege pakora as a must. VERY VERY good —AshleyOrsaba
2005-04-22 14:17:25 Have been there a couple of times now. Some dishes are good and some are not. The good: Cholle Bhature, Bhel Puri, Seekh Kabab Wrap, Boti Wrap, Tandoori Chicken, Paneer Wrap. The not so good: Any chaat item with Dahi(Yoghurt)(Found those to be bland), Gobhi Paratha(Bland again and not authentic either) and the "Aloo Tikki Chaat"(The tikkis were oily and limp). Free chai is nice and the prices were reasonable. However the service leaves something to be desired. On my first visit they forgot to bring a dish that we ordered even after we reminded them, the second time they brought a wrong one. The waiters do not have any idea about the items on the menu and the manager is rather loud. —AmitSahoo
2005-04-22 14:29:51 While I am far from being an Indian connaisseur, I found the food here to be pretty bland. The chicken curry left much to be desired, and while it had spice, it had no underlying richness or flavor. The chicken itself was cooked well and was delicious, but the curry it was in was bland and tasted just like vegatable base. I prefer Kathmandu Kitchen and the prices (especially for the lunch buffet) are not that much more pricey. The panner tikka masala is delicious. —PhilipNeustrom
2005-04-25 12:27:29 I was greatly impressed with the food! I went with a few friends and we ordered the chicken curry (rich in flavor with much depth), dahi papdi chaat (delicious) and the NDD Wrap (very spicy, with the meat well flavored). We sat in front of the kitchen and it we got hilarious entertainment watching the cooks. The environemnt was laid back (I totally felt I could stay there and study). I am so happy that Davis finally has authentic Indian food! —AnuSingh
2005-04-25 21:12:29 this place brought a smile to my face. Finally a chaat in the region! I get angry when i go into the other indian restraunts in the Sacramento area. They are soo horrible. I've never had my Tandoori chicken w/ Nan called a "wrap." THat is a total American health/pita craze thing adapation. I guess you have to change with the times... But whatever...im cool with this place and I will come back. The only strange thing about this place is the waiter. He didn't even know the food he was serving! —GeorgejAndrews
2005-05-17 20:31:54 They no longer do free chai with the meal. That was a little disappointing after all the hoopla. So no one is going to be staying up studying in this place. But it is excellent indian food, priced appropriately. I'll second the comment about the waitstaff being clueless. Our waitress not only did not know the daily specials but also ended up serving us a dish we didn't order. (Which turned out fine, because it was delicious). We got the saag paneer, which was nicely spicy, and the tandoori chicken wrap which is stuffed with chopped cucumber and spices. The wrap was very flavorful but I could have done with less grease. Also would recommend the Pakori Chaat- an appetizer made of these pastry puffs in a sauce of tamarind yogurt. Interesting flavours. I'd like to see this place add more non-fried dishes to the menu because everything they do have tastes so good... I think they could do it healthier. —SamanthaGrant
I love this place. I thought the Aggie ( in addition to slaughtering the english language) gave this place the raw end of the deal. The food is delicious- especially the Paneer Tikka Masala, Garlic Naan, and Chicken Sandwhich ( different from the wrap). Don't go to this place if you expect to be in and out quickly- although they advertise 'quick'- it is but a farce. Be prepared to deal with spacey waiters, bickering between waitstaff and owners, and screwy orders. But as long as you are not in a hurry- this place has excellent food, and very nice owners. I wish Davis attracted more family owned ethnic restaurants like Chaat- this place is quite delectable.
Until i went to this place i was rather disapointed with the indian food offered in Davis. Raja's is just well Blah, and Kathmandu Kitchen wile good is a little pricy for their nothing out of the ordinary decent indian food. However, this place is such a great relief. i have never been to a chaat restraunt so this was great. my bro and i ordered a salad 2 appetizers and a tandori chicken wrap, and the tab came out under 20 bucks. i think we even got extra food as this appetizer of 2 fried patties with garbanzos and chutney majically appeared at our table. we had no clue what it was, maybe it came with something, maybe it was a complimentary thing for trying the place, or maybe it was a mistake. so basically we got 3 appetizers. the puri yogurt appetizers are the best, the paneer salad did not come with cranberries and almonds like the menue said but it was still good. the wrap was excellent. the one dish i might pass on next time is the Ghobi paratha. it was not what i expected, sort of like a naan pizza with Ghobi and spices as the sauce. it was a little salty in bites. but since you are able to order a bunch of different things it really doesnt matter if one dish isnt that good. i loved this place. definatley coming back. -MattHh
2005-05-23 21:23:06 The Dahi Batata Puris were a little overpowering, but the sauce was good for dipping wraps in. Wraps, by the way, obscenely good. —DanielMedinaCleghorn
2005-06-06 00:10:11 I went here tonight and we all loved it. The portions are great and the food is the most authentic in davis. Their service has also improved since they started. —RohiniJasavala
2005-06-19 10:00:04 Excellent! The atmosphere seems to have changed since the initial reviews (real plates and flatware, service at our table). Service was friendly, quick, and accomodating. They followed through with a deadly spicey request by redoing it to make it hotter, and they made fresh ice tea since they were out. Everything was very tasty, (Saag Paneer; Bhatura Cholle; Paneer Pakora [tanodori baked]; Chicken Tikka Masala; Raita ). The portions were large. Nothing was too oily, not even the Pakora. Total for two $30.00 with lots of food to go. Thanks, will definitely be back! —HuEntireName
2005-07-22 03:47:44 Hi, I'm one of the waiters.. I am the one that "looks and sounds disturbingly like phil". I know not of this Phil person. Anyhow, about the fliers.. I recall students actually coming in and offering (for a price) to do the job of posting fliers for us. They handled creating the fliers and it would seem they handled plastering the campus with them. Our apologies, we had no idea they would fail at something as simple as posting fliers. Blame Phil *cough*. About the waiters not knowing what we are serving.. We were not trained in any way, shape, or form to recognize and differentiate between the various dishes. We learned, we adapted, or we were tossed out the window. R.I.P. Phil. That isn't an issue anymore. Keep in mind that it is better for a server to admit they know nothing about the item in question, rather than to make something up on the fly. Rest assured that I would rather admit defeat and ask one of the cooks over serving you something other than what it is that I described. —OliVer
2005-07-24 18:27:28 About two weeks ago, I tried eating here. There was no line to be seated, so we were seated immediately and given our menus. The end. For the next fifteen or so minutes we waited for someone to come by with a glass of water or to take our order? Nothing. We saw the two or three servers standing around talking to each other, couldn't get their attention. Normally I would have been more persistent about getting their attention for some service, but I was too hungry to be bothered. We got up and left the restaurant. The older lady noticed we were leaving without having our orders taken and wanted to take our orders just then, but I really didn't see the point in it. We went downstairs to Thai Recipes and had wonderful Tom Yum soup (shrimp) and that Masamarn curry I love. I might go back to Chaat, when I'm not so hungry I guess... —IrenePark
2005-09-06 04:16:50 Had the Aloo Tikki Cholle and Dahi Batata Puri when I tried Chaat out in their opening week. I remember the dishes being very favorable, however, what I remember most is the 45 minutes it took to serve our party of two. For a long time this has prevented me from coming back, but I think i'd like to give ND Chaat another try. —AlvinTsao
2005-09-27 12:27:04 Went there last night (9/26) and was disappointed to find out Chai was no longer free. It now costs $1.50!!! And to top it off, Chai wasn't good. —RochakNeupane
2005-10-13 15:24:07 The food is very good, but each time I come, it's like returning to an abusive relationship. I've never seen such contempt for the customers. It will sometimes take forever to get service, as the people would rather be doing something else. I tried to get a snack with 25 minutes before closing, and was yelled at for my efforts. If you advertise yourself as selling snacks and 'fast food', you should take orders with twenty minutes before closing. And if you close at 9:30, don't put 10p.m. on your hours. One of the waiters is a tweaker. But again, the food is exceptional. —MisterProfessor
2005-11-05 09:42:09 It's quite pleasing to discover a restaurant that, on request, will serve dishes with piquancy levels high enough to sustain a pleasant burn while not detracting from the flavor of the food. It's true that the service is at times inattentive, but this isn't always a bad thing: in the right place at the right time, the absence of regular refills or the obligatory is verything all right? generates a sense of privacy and comfort. As for the dishes, my reaction to what I've tried thus far was unexceptionally1 positive. The sauce used for my Lamb Saag was, for my taste, slightly too oily, and the lamb seemed dry and tough. For my second dish, I ordered the Lamb Vindaloo. As before, the piquancy level was just right, by request, yet the same may be said of the lamb in this dish as in the previous. And here, too, I felt the sauce, while tasty, was nevertheless overly laden with oils. Again, this is unexceptional: Indian restaurants rarely skimp on unhealthy additives, which is part of the appeal. My major complaint rests not with the dishes themselves but with the rice and naan. The former was unusually short-grained, insofar as quality Basmati is concerned (such as Tilda Brand), and lacked that basic, ubiquitous adverb associated with Basmati—fluffiness. As for the naan, it seemed overly mass produced; eaten alone, it tasted like a greasy pancake. Complaints aside, I can say that, on the whole, I enjoyed my visit. The unpretentious, cozy atmosphere, embellished by hints of welcome seediness and the pleasantries of family business—all these qualities, in addition to the food—warrant my patronage. —ZN
The refrigerator was still too loud.
There were not so many people at the Cafe, but we went around 12:15 pm. The place filled up slowly as while we dined, and by the time we left, there was a good amount of people, at around 2:00. The food was finely cooked—nothing raw, nothing undercooked, and everything came out warm enough to be enjoyable. It wasn't piping hot, nor was it too mild. The "ground lamb" turned out to be a ground lamb sausage that was creepily red and spicy, which was not expected. The price of the food was understandable; it was not too pricy, although there could have been more side dishes with the meal. The food wasn't excellent, but it was good for what it was and what was paid for. The Chai Tea was awful, bitter, and gross.
The lady who takes orders and brings out the food spoke with a very heavy accent, and even "professional" restaurant reviewers like us had no idea what she was talking about :)
The guy at the register looked groggy, was not Indian like the rest of the staff, and came in on a skateboard. He made no effort to wash his hands when he got in at around 1:15.
The cooks looked very stereotypical for an Indian restaurant. One even wore a turban! They kept looking at us through their window. Some of these observations, however, have no bearing on the quality of the food (or even the service, for that matter). —JohnDudek, AlexNorris, SteveDavison
2005-11-14 18:37:57 That SWRR review is kinda awful! —JackHaskel
2005-11-14 19:12:37 the swrr review is not complete. Wait for Steve and Alex to fix it up, it's just a basic outline so far! —JohnDudek
2005-11-15 21:57:01 thanks for moving the review down. We're going to figure out a better method for doing reviews, and are sorry for writing up such a crappy one for the Chaat, because it really was great food. —JohnDudek
2005-12-09 01:45:13 It's amazing isn't it. Some Indians even wear turbans. crazy. —GautamJoshi
1. I say unexceptionally because it's only on rare occasions that Indian restaurants transcend the upscale fast-food category; nonetheless, since its the best fast-food around, we can't help but want more—it sure beats McDonalds.