Best Indian Restaurant

Shalimar

Most of the Indian restaurants around here are gorgeous, brocaded, teak-velvet palaces with spotlit Shivas in every crimson crevasse and humdrum, halfhearted food on every platter. Shalimar is exactly the opposite. In a tiny, noisy storefront setting of styrofoam cups, red plastic baskets, and fluorescent lights, a squad of Pakistani cooks can be seen chopping, skewering, and mixing up aromatic, delicious North Indian grub: fabulously moist, smoky tandoori chicken; creamy, earthy palak aloo fragrant with spinach and spice; pillowlike naan bread stuffed with crunchy garlic; rice custard with cardamom for dessert. It's a little bit of Calcutta in San Francisco: Indian linguistics reverberate around the open kitchen, there's generally a turban or a sari at the next table, and the food tastes as lusty and spicy as the real thing. You're a much bigger person than we are if you can spend more than $10 or $12 here.

 
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