Palo Alto Weekly

Eating Out - October 28, 2011

Shop Talk

AMBER CUISINE ON PALO ALTO SCENE ... Downtown Palo Alto's Junnoon restaurant has closed, but another Indian eatery is poised to take its place. The popular and Zagat-praised Amber India restaurant in Mountain View is adding another location at 150 University Ave., under a different name with a slightly different perspective. Amber Dhara will offer "contemporary Indian food" in comparison to the traditional menu for Amber India, owner Vijay Bist said. "We will have a more seasonal menu, with fresh, green, California produce and local cheeses." The menu will focus on more healthful versions of traditional Indian dishes with "less cream and lighter gravies and curries," he said. Bist added that some of the dishes will have ingredients from southern India and will even include seafood, which is not typical. He expects to offer weekend brunch and, after a few weeks, happy hour and live music at night. "We want to be a place where people can comfortably sit down and where young people can go at night," he said. Amber Dhara will be open until 11 p.m. on weekends and will serve vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Amber India also has locations in San Francisco and San Jose, along with the more informal Amber Cafe in Mountain View. More about the chain is at amber-india.com.

— David Ruiz

LIFE AT LYFE ... One street over from University Avenue, the Lyfe restaurant (its title refers to "love your food every day") has opened at 167 Hamilton Ave. in downtown Palo Alto. Chefs Art Smith (a former Oprah personal chef) and Tal Ronnen (who penned the book "The Conscious Cook") have created an uber-health-conscious menu that lists the calorie and sodium counts right up there with the prices. For example, $11.99 gets you 303 calories worth of grilled barramundi in a spicy vegetable broth with edamame, cabbage, spinach, roasted mushrooms and salmon (763 milligrams of sodium). If you're still hungry, you might opt for 187 calories worth of Brussels sprouts and squash (207 mg sodium) for $2.49. Other menu items include breakfasts, flatbreads, soups, sandwiches, cakes, smoothies and several dishes incorporating "gardein," a meat substitute made from plant-based foods. Go to lyfekitchen.com or call 650-325-5933.

— Rebecca Wallace

STARRY-EYED ... The latest issue of the Michelin Guide for restaurants in the Bay Area and wine country singled out four local restaurants. Baume in Palo Alto, which serves "French cuisine moderne," won the coveted two stars ("Excellent cuisine, worth a detour"), while Chez TJ in Mountain View, Madera in Menlo Park and The Village Pub in Woodside got one star ("A very good restaurant in its category"). Details are at michelintravel.com.

— Rebecca Wallace

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