Shalimar is a chain of Indian/Pakistani restaurants in Northern California. The one that I frequent is on Jones St in San Francisco. So this Shalimar isn't the classiest restaurant in the world, nor is it in the best neighborhood. So it's in the Tenderloin. So the place is really shabby. So everything is served in scratched up plastic plates and bowls. So it's self-served. So the bathroom is absolutely disgusting. So I saw a drug transaction right outside the window as I was dining. So my friend wouldn't let me walk here or back to BART on my own.
But it's still good. It's still good.
I've heard about the wonders of Shalimar for quite some time before I actually tried it. From what I've been told, they're pretty authentic (hey, I don't know what authentic tastes like! I only know of deliciousness :D). They've got land animals on their menu, plus seafood, and my favorite, a pretty generous vegetarian menu. Their menu changes occasionally, but their staple dishes usually stay the same numbers:
I like ordering by numbers! Everything is delicious, albeit the curry dishes being a bit too salty sometimes. The naan is warm and fluffy and the rice is perfect. The rice custard can be unnecessarily too sweet, though still delicious! It's exciting and thrilling, yet scary, to eat because there are all sorts of mystery solids inside, all sorts of nuts and pods. And the best part? I can just throw down a $20 bill for two and have tax and tip included. Super cheap!
I must add that their green chutney sauce is AMAZING. I'm a condiment whore and when there are LARGE squeeze bottles at my disposal, I go to town! I remember the first time I went to Shalimar, before I went to town, I went to heaven first when I saw how many full bottles that they had in their fridge. I use it on everything except for the custard. And when I have nothing else to use it on, I squirt it into my spoon and drink it like soup. So good! I usually end up eating over half the bottle on my own.
Compared to all the other self-served Indian restaurants I've been to, this one has surprisingly good service. Plates, utensils and napkins were brought to us, and when the food was brought out, each plate was introduced instead of just tossed onto the table. I can dig it.
So if you're brave enough to trek out to the Tendernob, Shalimar is where you'll find cheap, delicious Indian/Pakistani food with some seriously AMAZING chutney.