Lunch brings a daily all-you-can-eat buffet, while dinner switches to a la carte offerings from a number of categories. Start with an appetizer such as the Hyderabadi chili chicken cubes or a perfect-for-summer Kumar’s tropical salad with mango, avocado, feta cheese and seasonal fruit.
From the clay oven come assorted meat, fish and vegetarian kebabs including Fhaldaari Seekh, a kebab of minced plantain, ground fennel and cardamom. Entrees, mostly inspired from Northern India, include the staple chicken tikka masala and lesser-known Awadhi goat curry. Biryanis, naan and roti-stuffed breads from the tandoori oven, and desserts such as homemade cheese dumplings in saffron syrup, round out the selections.
Outside of a lobster entree, prices never rise above $15, with most items under $10. The interior is traditional-meets-modern with several gorgeous artistic touches such as spacious arches and columns, golden walls, a purple ceiling and flower paintings. As a bonus, add Vedas to the list of Peninsula patios to visit this summer with its beautiful backyard dining area.
514 Peninsula Ave., San Mateo; (650) 343-6300, VedasRestaurant.com
Restaurants don’t get much more compact or specialized than San Mateo’s Naru Bento in the former Sweet Breams taiyaki shop space near the Caltrain station. You can choose from the selection of meats such as pork or chicken katsu (lightly breaded and fried cutlets) or minced kurobuta pork, accompanied by small compartments of rice, egg and pickled vegetables to complete the bento box, and perhaps winter melon tea to round out the meal. Taiwanese or Japanese bento boxes are the only choices here, though rumor has it that noodles may come in the future. Naru Bento uses some of the Bay Area’s most renowned meat producers including Mary’s free-range chickens and Niman Ranch pigs, all free of hormones and antibiotics. The stamp-sized operation is take-out only with no room for tables.
220 Second Ave., San Mateo; (650) 685-8889, no website
Palo Alto - El Granada
Of course today is Father’s Day, and restaurants up and down the Peninsula are offering special meals for the celebration. Treat dad to an outdoor barbecue at Palo Alto’s Macarthur Park, with its holiday grilling station on the patio. The bountiful dinner buffet is $45 for adults and $24 for kids. Yes, the famed baby-back pork ribs are one of a dozen items offered.
If dad enjoys beer, a great choice would be brews and the coast views at El Granada’s Hop Dogma Brewing Co. The young brewery is celebrating its first Father’s Day.
27 University Ave., Palo Alto; (650) 321-9990, MacarthurParkPaloAlto.com
30 Avenue Portola, Suite 1B, El Granada; (650) 560-8729, HopDogma.com