Junnoon – Palo Alto, CA

Indian~ Odd choice for a birthday dinner but that is what I picked. I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of authenticity – whether we were in for indian fusion or just good ol’ indian with hiked up prices to match Palo Alto’s appearance.

(Did I mention, this was recommended by the Michelim Guide under the Bib Gourmand category; meaning that the restaurants serves “good food at moderate prices”. With a price below the maximum of $40 (as determined by current economic standards). There are probably more criterias involved but that is what I understand).

As mentioned before, I am a sucker for highly recommended or award winning restaurants. I don’t like to “hedge” my bet on some unknown restaurant. They can be hole in the walls but if they come highly recommended – I am definitely there.

When we got there, we were presented w the ala carte and a prix fixe menu. Meep and  I chose a prix fixe and a couple other items of ala carte.

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Junnoon Prix-Fixe Dinner – 3 courses for $29.95

Junnoon’s Signature Tangy Semolina Shells
Semolina shells filled with spiced chickpeas, mint and tamarind chutney

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1st course: Junnoon’s Signature Tangy Semolina Shells

Semolina shells filled with spiced chickpeas, mint and tamarind chutney

I thought this was decent – very nice tang from the tamarind and crunch from the shells. Meep didn’t enjoy this but he was never a fan of tamarind.

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2nd course: Gulmarg Style Lamb Rogan Josh


Australian lamb marinated with yogurt and almonds, slow braised with green and black cardamom, clove and peppercorn

Very tasty! Lotsa spice and a good balance of heat as well. Tasted pretty authentic but the meat chunks could be bigger and a little fattier because the texture of these tiny cubes were kinda dry n tough.

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Side dish #1 with prix fixe

Black Lentils


Lentils simmered with ginger, garlic and tomato

Not a fan. Was never a fan of lentils so I will not comment on this much.

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Side dish #2 with prix fixe

Classic Naan

Brushed with butter. Nice hot and tasty with a good char – no complains here.

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Off the ala carte menu:

Chef’s Garlic Chicken Tikka – $8

Tender chunks of farm raised chicken breast marinated with chickpea flour, green chilies and garlic, gently seared in the tandoor oven. Served with naan.

Meep and I LOVED this dish – the chicken was sooo moist and it had a good char taste. The salad on the side was a nice compliment to the chicken along w naan.

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Shrimp in Coconut Mustard Sauce – $23

Black tiger shrimp in a coconut and Bengali mustard sauce

This was disappointing as well – Meep warned me about ordering shrimp from an Indian restaurant but I wanted to try a non meat dish. The prawns were not black tiger shrimp and way too small.. Worse part – they tasted like frozen shrimp.

I should have ordered the signature halibut w mash potatoes BUT mash potatoes at an Indian restaurant just seemed weird, no?

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Roasted Eggplant Crush – $6

Crushed, smoked eggplant sautéed with garlic and tomatoes

I loved loved this as well. I don’t know how they did it but they got it really fluffy~ Fluffy crushed eggplants!! LOL It has so much flavour and was so good with the naan.

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Drinks:

Sangria – $11

Look at the insane amount of fruits! This drink was 2/3 fruits and all alcohol. Unlike the usual smooth, citrusy and refreshing sangria I have had: this is potent and way to intense. All I taste was alcohol – I guess for some, it is a good thing.

Also ordered the Mango Lassi $6- very tasty but was warm by the time we got it, not too appealing after ten minutes.

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Dessert from Prix Fixe:

Orange and date pasties with vanilla bean ice cream.

Our server told us that the filling taste like red bean paste, which it did!! How weird is that? Orange + Date = Red Bean Paste. This was really good as well. The pasties came to us hot and crispy with a nice ice cream.

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Total damage – $115 including tax and tip

Personal rating – 2.75 out of 5 (Average)

Service was excellent, drinks were tasty (but warm) and food was a hit & miss. I have had indian food that is just as tasty for a fraction of the price. Ultimately, one is paying for the ambiance and service.

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Junnoon

150 University Avenue

Palo Alto, CA 94301

(650) 329-9644

Junnoon on Urbanspoon

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