This was my fourth trip to Shiva’s. I had been there a few times over 2 years ago when this blog did not exist. Today, I went prepared for my buffet to take pictures and then write about the overall experience. So here you go, my review of Shiva’s Indian Restaurant in Mountain View, CA.
Shiva’s is located at the intersection of California St and Castro Street in Mountain View. It is well known in the neighborhood and to most South Bay folks. It aims to offer an upscale Indian culinary experience. On weekdays, they offer a buffet for $12.95 (plus taxes) while their weekend buffet adds in more items for an extra $2. I had tried their weekend buffet once before and liked it. So this time it was the weekday one.
We walked in at 12:20 and the place was relatively relaxed. It would soon fill up but we got good seats immediately and made our way to the buffet area. The buffet table started with the desserts – beetroot halwa, badam kheer (almond pudding), and apple walnut pudding. I have the habit of sampling the desserts with my first course- if one or more was good, I would do the second round in the end. This also allowed me to pace my meal accordingly based on how much dessert I was going to consume. In that sense, the apple walnut pudding was a disaster. I didnt bother to finish even my first serving. The badam kheer was decent. I was definitely wowed by the beetroot halwa. The texture and the sweetness were just right. I definitely went for seconds in the end.
The buffet had a lentil soup that was good to taste but smelt strongly of coconut oil which was a turn off for some on the table. The fruit offerings were very good for an Indian buffet. Often times, the cut fruit section is sad looking with old and ripe fruit. The slices oranges and pineapple were a joy to eat and I definitely had multiple servings of that. The appetizer was vegetable pakoras- they were crispy and good.
For the sabzi (curries), I am happy to report that they had 6 vegetarian options- most of which had a uniqueness to it. This is better than most Indian places were 4 is the typical vegetarian dish count. Of the 6, I didnt sample the Baingan Bartha (I dont eat eggplant) and mushroom curry (no mushrooms for me). I tasted the dal, the paneer chilli, cauliflower subzi and the aloo palak. All four of them were good with the pulao rice and the naan delivered flesh to the table. Specifically, the paneer chilli was a standout.
Overall, the buffet was good. It filled me up well and I didnt find anything below par. Some dishes stood out as very good (beetroot halwa and paneer chilli) and the quality of cut fruit was definitely a notch above the competition. I liked the lunch and would recommend it.
Ambiance: 8.5/10. The restaurant has its own unique look with images of the Shiva linga and thiruneer (sacred ash on his forehead) iconography everywhere. The place looks dated from the last time I was here but still relatively unique.
Service: 8.5/10. Nothing to complain about. Naan arrived frequently and without asking.
Food: 8.5/10. I liked it. Some dishes more than the other but none too bad.
Price: 7.75/10. On the pricier side for a weekday buffet given the competition on nearby El Camino Real.
Overall: 8.5/10. I would definitely recommend Shiva’s for a good vegetarian weekday buffet lunch.