It was a Saturday night (April 2004), we had gotten a babysitter and we were in Berkeley to see a movie at the Shattuck ("The Fog of War"; it was very good). We had an hour before the movie started and we figured we'd wander around and find a place to eat. I'm always up for Indian food and India Palace seemed as good a choice as any.
India Palace occupies a large room (with a smaller second floor) on University Ave. near the UC Berkeley Campus. Its look is a little bit more upscale than your typical Indian restaurant, and has prices to match. Tandoori entrees start at $11 and go up to $19 for a mixed grill, vegetable curries average $9, chicken curries $10, lamb curries $12 and seafood curries $14. Unfortunately, the quality of the food (fine but not outstanding) did not match the prices.
As our time was limited, we skipped appetizers and went directly to the main dishes. We ordered the chicken pasanda and the lamb tikka masala, two of our favorite curries - both medium-spiced. We found the chicken pasanda to be quite mild. Unlike other renditions we've had, it didn't have any hint of sweetness, instead it had a strange taste that reminded us of celery. There were no obvious hints of cilantro, and while we could see a cashew or two floating in the sauce, more would have been better. I very much doubt I would order this dish again.
The lamb tikka masala was better. The sauce was spicier, more hearty and complex, and pleasantly tangy. The lamb was very tender and not too fatty. We'd order it again.
In both cases, the meat portions were not very generous. Probably enough for dinner, if you've also had appetizers, but don't plan to take any home. We also ordered a kabuli nan ($4), which was fine but not outstanding. We used it to eat up much of the sauce. We ordered sodas with dinner and they came at room-temperature served with a glass full of ice. I personally don't like this as sodas go flat very quickly this way, and you do have to give them time to cool down.
Service was OK, though there wasn't a waiter around when we wanted to order more rice. Still, both the food and the bill came promptly enough (a plus for us as we were going to see a movie).
In all, I don't think I'd go to India Palace again. Kamal Palace is only a couple of blocks away and I like it much better.
M-Su 11:30 AM - 3 PM, 5 PM- 10 PM