The cozy Asian-Indian restaurant on the corner of Main Street and Rose Avenue is less than a year old. But the aroma of curries and grilled kebabs wafting from India Garden has already enticed many downtown visitors.
The eatery opened last September and is the only Indian-themed on Main Street.
Ganesh Sanap and Paul Grewal, who are friends and business partners, operate the restaurant.
Sanap, a Santa Clara resident, is the President of the Northern California Cricket Association and is a software engineer by profession. Grewal, a one-year resident of Pleasanton, is a former electrical engineer.
"I am fond of food and [eating] Asian-Indian cuisine. I used to drive either to San Francisco, Berkeley or Fremont. So, my friend Ganesh and I decided to open one in downtown," said Grewal. "What could be a better place than downtown?"
So, Grewal and Sanap bought what used to be French restaurant and transformed it into an Indian-themed eatery. Establishing the business was a family affair, with Grewal's wife, Manpreet, took charge of the interior design.
Today, the restaurant has bright red walls and Indian paintings hanging on the wall to give diners an authentic experience.
The restaurant has a menu of northern and southern Indian cuisines and has a lunch buffet featuring over 10 main course items, desserts, fruits and appetizers.
The dinner menu is extensive with many authentic Indian dishes to choose from. The restaurant specializes in chicken tikka masala, naan and tandoori chicken, lamb curry and mango shakes. Occasionally, the restaurant also carries an Indo-Chinese lunch buffet.
"Our special dish is India garden shrimp kabob," said Grewal, and added it's special because it is marinated with a specific kind of a curry. Other specialties are biryani (rice) and goat curry.
To make his business successful and to learn the art of creating a wide array of traditional meals, Grewal took six months of cooking training from Deepak Bhardwaj, a well-known Asian Indian chef in the Bay Area.
Grewal entered into the business at a time when many restaurants are shutting down. But he said he likes the challenge. As long as the restaurant serves good quality food, he said, customers will come back.
"Day by day it's getting better," said Grewal. "I would say, it was a good investment and we are doing good."
India Garden's clientele is diverse and many inquire after Grewal's recipes. There are those who come in to taste Indian cuisine for the first time.
Denise Aldrette said she has brought her families and friends to try the restaurant's dishes.
"I like its food. " said Aldrette. "I like that they keep changing the buffet menu."
The restaurant also offers catering and takes reservations for birthdays, weddings and corporate parties.